Welpenschutz (“puppy protection”): That’s what Germans call the special kind of leniency that newcomers are treated with.

Literally: “puppy protection” / meaning: an informal grace period or leniency shown towards someone new or inexperienced

Imagine walking into the wrong meeting room on your first day at a new job and finding yourself amidst a high-level executive discussion about annual sales projections. You’d be mortified, right? But, more often than not, you’d be met with amused chuckles and gentle guidance to the correct room instead of a full-blown dressing down. This is the embodiment of what Germans call Welpenschutz.

Drawing from the inherent soft spot humans have for puppies, the term translates to “puppy protection.” It’s the grace period or the leniency shown to someone due to their inexperience, much like how you wouldn’t be mad at a puppy for chewing up your shoe. It’s an understanding that rookies make mistakes as they find their footing, and that’s okay.

While the concept of Welpenschutz isn’t unique to Germany, the term itself captures the sentiment beautifully. It’s a reminder that everyone was new once, and we should extend kindness and patience to those still finding their way. So, the next time a young colleague forgets your name or messes up a presentation, just remember: they’re in Welpenschutz mode. And if you’re past your Welpenschutz phase and still making rookie mistakes, well, there’s always the “Monday morning” excuse!

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