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Thread: Hi, and a problem

  1. #31
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    Default Hi, and a problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Apjp View Post
    Manners are all an act really.

    We have manners while half the Europeans have some sort of bizarre Table manners/rituals which take months of living and working in different countries to understand. I experienced this in France, more briefly in Berlin, now here.

    The positives of Irish working culture are just as outweighed by all the negatives.

    You will probably find, if the experience of myself and other islanders in Canada is any guide, that you are sailing smoothly through foreign waters after about a year, without really totally realising what you are doing differently. The brain's capacity for adaptation is interesting in that regard, I guess! Good luck anyway.

    Re manners:
    They're also an unspoken code, allowing people to silently assign you to a social strata by watching how many of the bizarre rules you appear to be aware of. One of the nice things about North America, and Ireland to some extent, is the degree to which that sort of thing has been ignored in the interests of more egalitarianism. Older generation, wealthier Brits need to be watched out for in this regard, though. Some of the older more Presbyterian type Canadians, too.

    'Tis the degree of consideration for others that is important, much more so than whether you remember to move your soup spoon backwards across the bowl etc.

    Please and thank-you's, yes, silly etiquette, no, for me at least!

    And (good point RNY), some stuff is better eaten with just a fork. Spaghetti, anyone?

    And Mowl, Scandinavia sounds nice. Bet the skiing is good too. I really miss Canadian winters. You can DO Stuff....rather than constantly dealing with horizontal rain. Ah well. On the other hand, European chocolate is much better. 😃
    Last edited by morticia; 02-11-2014 at 08:08 PM.
    "The floggings will continue until morale improves "

  2. #32
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    Default Re: Hi, and a problem

    Your insight on Finlandic office culture and the comparisons with behaviour there, at home, and even to a lesser extent comparing behaviour online are interesting.

    I'm giving this place a year basically as I have a teaching contract til the summer and another job starting in a few weeks. Personally although I felt a little ripped off when in Berlin doing an internship/working for feck all in a café as well, and the stay was briefer than it ought to have been, I appreciated the clarity regarding who was what and what was what.

    I also spent a lot of time with Germans in France and in work over the last few years, and there was very little of the Bull you'd get from Irish people, while very little of the hidden hierarchy-Herr such and such is Herr such and such, and they are direct and to the point.

    I've a teaching application for Switzerland pending. Kind of thing you can only compare in depth once you've done it extensively I guess. When I traveled through Switzerland though people were direct, though maybe that was an act for the tourist, but that would be a great trait in an office environment.

    I like work, I like teaching, I like the business of it and yes even some routine, but I don't like being asked to use first names and go for coffee, getting invitations to staff events etc. and then thinking everybody is professional but friendly bar the one guy who I already mentioned, and then 2 days later I find out one of those people reported me to the academic co-ordinator for not saying Good Morning to them(literally their complaint), causing me no end of hassle in clearing up things over the weekend with my boss by email when I am not due back at that workplace until the week after next.

    I've never reported anybody in my life over anything, even at school. I don't do shopping. I just don't-I will always try and talk to someone about things even when I don't like them. It just never occurs to me as an option. That's a very Irish thing maybe, not wanting to be seen to shop someone, but I can't help it and I think it is one of the more rare positive traits we have at least in the work place. Not saying it is always right, but more often than not, it is smarter.

    On here if something happens, we have PMs to clear up misunderstandings, and moderators if things get really out of hand.

    At work in theory, with emails and co-ordinators, you would expect similar discretion, but in one of my workplaces of late it sadly has been lacking.

    I saw Keano, a very intelligent man, say to Kevin Kilbane in an interview lately, 'I like the job, I like the business, but people read too much into things, I'm not going to invite ye all back for Xbox'. The man had a small flat when at Sunderland, living out of a box eating pot noodles, ready to move on when it was time to move on-so that's another quality worth observation as well maybe. Fail to prepare...Prepare to fail

    Maybe a similar approach is a good idea, especially in working life. Formality is not something I was reared in, so that makes the hidden nature of it here even more difficult to grasp, and understanding amongst some people is a bit lacking betimes. It's a bit early yet, but The German office culture maybe rather than local one I am encountering or the one I had at home, and Nordic approach as you describe it, at least has the merit of clear boundaries and takes no prisoners for the sake of trivialities.
    Last edited by Apjp; 02-11-2014 at 08:13 PM.

  3. #33
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    Default Re: Hi, and a problem

    Very interesting, the whole not wanting to shop anyone thing. We share that with the Brits, but the Canadians used to do the whole smile at your face and give out to your boss about you thing, and having been brought up with the "complain to the powers that be only as a last resort" UK/Irish thing, I remember getting REALLY upset about it.

    Not much comfort, but the only way to cope (for me) was to spend much more time on "trying to be perfect", and watching my back, and also to realise that since they were always giving out about each other as well, this complaining obviously was just seen as "pulling the offside person back in line" rather than the sort of message of abject hatred you'd be sending if you did it back home.
    "The floggings will continue until morale improves "

  4. #34
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    Default Re: Hi, and a problem

    @Apjp

    I think you are just overwhelmed by the new culture you find yourself in at the moment

    in the US people go by first names (more so in the North than in the South) the social stratification is more horizontal than in the EU but it is there and you will learn to read the clues as to what is acceptable and what is not, what is expected of you. Finding out what Expectations are is crucial so you can meet them.

    keep an open mind and observe, observe, observe how others interact

    As Morticia says 'manners' are just ways people in continental europe found to assign to you a social status

    In the UK you dont need that cos you have the language, you can break people down into high or low by the way they speak, the vocab they use..

    most people do this cos they need a reference to find their own manners to deal w you... (they are fully aware they are also being judged by you and are trying to adjust their behavior as well)

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Hi, and a problem

    RNY, I'm afraid the UK upper classes have an evil habit of doing just what the continentals do. But other than that, I'd totally agree. The accent thing isn't unique to Britain either; the French and Germans do it too apparently.
    "The floggings will continue until morale improves "

  6. #36
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    Default Re: Hi, and a problem

    I think another factor which may not appeal to many of our recent 'interlopers' may be the lack of a LIKE function here on PW.

    It's a well-known and oft-observed common trait elsewhere that members of cliques, secret society groups, members only clubs, etc, tend to use the LIKE function to endorse each others posts and to reaffirm bonds made made in the background away from the prying eyes the general front page activities of such sites.

    The total absence of a LIKE facility here is, in my opinion, a fantastic thing to behold.

    It separates the wheat from the chaff, in the best possible way.

  7. #37
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    Default Re: Hi, and a problem

    The total absence of a LIKE facility here is, in my opinion, a fantastic thing to behold.

  8. #38
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    Default Re: Hi, and a problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Ephilant View Post
    "Likes" this

    And on that positive note, I'm going to lock this thread, which has wandered around the block and into another dimension.

    Thanks to all who contributed
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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