Daily Work – Different cultures in my pocket

I have worked with English, Americans, Germans, Indians, Swedes, Danes, Lithuanians, etc., and I’ll tell you – I’m tired! Not sure if I’m tired, because I’m tired, or I’m tired, because of daily cultural differences. But why I am even writing that I’m tired?? I’ll be fine, I’m going to Indonesia for vacation soon! Today I wanted to share with you my experience about working with different people from all around the world.

Some of them have been my colleagues for several years in a row. And here is what I noticed about them. I hope, this post will be interesting for you, or maybe you had different experience – please share it!

Americans scare me! (I mean those from USA). They are so individualists and competitive, so into “You have to listen to me, I know what is right!”. Yeah, I know that too, ok?! We all have our understanding what’s right and we don’t have to listen to you! Americans work really hard and a lot of hours! Guys, do you really like working so much? I think you need to relax! I am usually impressed with the work Americans do, they are really good most of the time, but hey… work/life balance – do you have it in your country? I can’t say, that most Americans are rude, but I had to listen how Americans are shouting to their colleagues a few times. You do not look smarter if you are shouting, right? 🙂 (I have to remember this when I’m shouting at my computer when it freezes. How smart is that…). A few weeks ago I joined a new team. I had a meeting with one lady from USA. I was very polite and our meeting started like this: me “Hello Lesley, it is very nice to meet you. I’m new in this team, just joined couple of days ago. How are you?”, her answer was “Yeah…”. ?? 😀

I like Brits! They are polite. Or I am too naive to understand that they are polite not because they like you, but because they have lots of patience with people from other countries. They might think you are stupid, but they won’t show it to you. They will definitely speak about you with other colleagues when you are not around though. One my English colleague told me once, that most of the Europeans sound rude to them. I think that’s because we don’t like small talks so much like you do! I like Brits, because they are trained that English is a second language for the most of the world and most of them are trying to speak clearly, but… Some of them hate colleagues from other countries and they don’t care that nobody understands them. Actually, they care – they are indignant that not all their colleagues understand them. I think this hate comes from the fact, that people from other countries take Brits’ jobs.  Englishmen looooove meetings. I guess, meetings for English people are like flowers for me 🙂 They can have meetings all day long. All days in a row. They speak a lot! And their small talks – oh gosh, blah blah blah. I don’t know when they are working, because for me personally some meetings kill my time and I have to work overtime to do everything on time. The funny thing are chats. In most of the cultures you say “Hi” once per day no matter if it’s virtual or real environment, but Brits say “hi” every 3 minutes in chat or with every new topic! Why do they do that?

Danes – mysterious people. I’m not yet sure if they are very good or very bad! Most of my colleagues say that it’s difficult to work with Danes because of their laziness. You are lucky to find Dane at work if it’s 15:30! And if it’s Friday, you won’t find them in the office since lunch time! They need to go home earlier because of kids, dogs, cats, neighbors, fests, train schedule, wife, etc. But that’s what my colleagues say. I was lucky enough to work with really hard working Danes who are really dedicated and smart people! However, I really haven’t seen a Dane working extra hours. Their personal life is the most important and yeah… why the hell not?!

Germans. They are real fighters! I have worked with Germans a lot lately and I guess that’s why I’m tired now!!! If you have a few Germans in your meeting, prepare for some hot discussions, couple of fights. Some of them are diligent and those who are not – like to be demanding and pointing fingers to others. Anyway, these guys are really “hands on” kind of people!

Elder Lithuanians  do not know English, that’s why only young people work in international companies. They are young and eager to achieve more and more. They are creative and want to do their best. However, some of them are still lacking seniority and political savviness. Most of the time Lithuanians are going straight to the point and it’s good unless you are Brit who is not used to it! I have heard people from other countries saying that Lithuanians work a lot but they not productive. It is not truth!

Swedes are talkers! Like Brits they like meetings. They do not prepare proposals, offers, etc. First thing they want to do is a meeting! Only after talks, coffees, chats, lunch and talks again they make a deal and go home. Oh, and they really want you to learn Swedish!

Indians. Who hasn’t worked with them? A lot of companies have offices in India, so in my imagination Hyderabad, Noida and a few other cities are FULL of opportunities for young Indians! However, Indians are really patient people. They might not like their job, but they will do it because “they have to do it”. I have a friend in India who hates her job hours. She is working with client from Europe, so she comes home really late. She has been so unhappy about it, that I couldn’t believe she doesn’t do anything about it. “Why don’t you ask your manager to give you some client from Australia?” – I asked. She answered “We don’t do that, we can’t just go to manager and ask for another account”. Why not? Tell me that, why don’t you do that??? I often feel that Indians are stressed, but they don’t tell that to you. They will always say that they’ll do one or another task, but you never know if they will give you the result you need. They ask too many questions or they are don’t ask at all and that might affect the quality of task. Indians like to socialize, they like to talk about their family and other important things and they will gladly listen to your stories. Use it if you don’t want your Indian colleague to be so stressed and freaking out!

What are your experience with other nations?

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