I am thrilled to be reaching the end of this week. Both Wes and I have been extremely busy at work and I’m looking forward to relaxing with him a bit this weekend. Something funny is happening with mortgage rates and from what I understand they dropped really low yesterday but will go up again today. This sudden drop inspired a throng of people to surround my husband yesterday and clamor to apply for a refinance. He worked from 7:30am until 11:00pm last night and he was so goofy from the backbreaking work pace that I was a little worried. Like I’ve said many times though, that’s nothing a little vodka won’t fix. After a martini he was ready slightly more relaxed and ready to continue working in our comfy leather chair.
For my part, the company I work for has a lot of positions open right now so I’ve been working non-stop at scheduling interviews all week. My boss has decided that he has to redo the way we work and that’s added an additional level of stress to the experience. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but my boss is from India. When I joined this company I was unaware of how this cultural difference might affect our working relationship. Over the months I’ve worked here, though, I’ve become acutely aware that cultural differences in the workplace add a lot of misunderstanding and skewed perspectives to almost every situation.
For instance, my co-worker and I have been working very hard all week and have a lot to show for our efforts. Our boss came in yesterday, however, and declared that it still wasn’t good enough. Understandably, I was rather steamed about his comment. My co-worker, whom I adore, is also from India and she explained to me the vast difference between American and Indian work ethic and expectations. In America, she said, parents praise children for simply trying. In India, if a child is excelling in one area the parent is apt to bring up the child’s deficiency in another area rather than praise the good work.
This is but one of many misunderstandings I’ve had with my boss, who by now knows me well enough to know that I don’t keep my opinions to myself very well and will ask questions until I fully understand what is expected of me. These misunderstandings, frustrating as they are at the time, have really given me pause to think about what cultural differences in the workplace mean outside this company. I wonder if the differences spur growth and understanding or if those differences cause as much frustration and miscommunication as I experience here on an almost weekly basis.
It’s not all bad, though. My co-worker and I have a lot of fun teaching one another about the vagaries of each other’s country. We share blogging as a common interest and she blames me for her improved English writing skills while I blame the year she’s spent living here. She shared some treats her in-laws sent over from India, I introduced her to Starbucks. I taught her how to make pancakes, she taught me how to make hummus. Obviously, blended cultures in the workplace can work out beautifully. I guess it’s just going to take more time before I figure out how to work peacefully with my manager.
In other news, Wes and I are scheduled to watch “Knocked Up” over the weekend. I am excited because we’ve both wanted to see it and it’s apparently a very good film. One thing that I’m interested to see, however, is whether it’s as misogynistic as so many articles have claimed it to be. I feel strongly that the word misogynistic is improperly used most of the time it is applied to something. Surely there can’t be that many things that display a “hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women”. I even overheard a woman at a Starbucks once proclaim that her boyfriend was a misogynist because he didn’t like Tori Amos. Let me just say that her exclamation didn’t have quite the effect I think she was going for because I laughed behind her in line and her friend proceeded to explain to her that “I don’t think that word means what you think it means”. She was accordingly chagrined.
In other news, I rode the elevator with a woman yesterday who smelled exactly like cherry Jell-O. It was very pleasant, actually, because if there’s one thing that smells distinctive and yummy it’s cherry Jell-O. I had to wonder after she left, however, whether the smell was left over from an earlier preparation of said gelatin or if she was purposely wearing a perfume that smelled like that. If so, where does one purchase Eau d’Jell-O? Sign me right up, is all I’m saying.