Working with a European-based power generation company for over two years now, I have been rubbing elbows with some expats. They are all over our work place. Since my direct superior is a foreigner, I also have first-hand experiences with the ever confusing cross-cultural differences. So many insights, so many perceptions, so many stories that I have learned to adore and live with.
During my second day at work, I shed a tear. I was culture shocked in my own land. Before I took my position as an Executive Assistant, my previous employer discouraged me. He said that caucasians are strict and perfectionist by nature. However, I had no qualms and made my career move. I am always optimistic that he (or she) is a good person. I took the path of nowhere. “Nowhere”, simply because it was not the kind of career that I want. I didn’t see myself gracefully growing with it. However, the offer was so lucrative to pass. Going back to my tearful experience, it all started with a PC. The first week that I assumed office, I had no PC and no office at all. I had to share with my Boss. There was nothing I could do, but to be “fine” with it. That day, he went out for a business meeting. With his permission, I seated in his chair and tinker with the computer, of course, using my network account. Since it was my account, I customized the screen saver with a “God is good” wobbling script. Being a God-fearing Catholic, I found joy seeing it. When he got back to the office, I had no time to log-out my account. However, he was already seated in his chair and so I just did not do anything. A minute after, a big “God is good” scripts appeared in the 17-ich screen of his HP deskpro. After that, he asked. “Who put this is my computer???!!! Trembling, I raised my hand. Then he started telling me that religion has no space in this place. I just nodded my head, and tears started to fall, then he stopped. He must had realized that he had shaken me to death. God, I was horrified and all pale. When he learned that I used my account in doing so, he humbly apologized. Well, it was a relief. During lunch time, I asked one colleague who has worked with him for over a year, and shared my story. And so, I have learned that my Boss is not showy in nature, though he was born Catholic.
This incident taught me to be cautious in dealing with people outside my comfort zone and that, no matter how different our culture is with theirs’, respect should be set forth above anything else.Working in a diversified environment is exciting and very informative. I am guilty of admiring my white-skinned boss. He is committed to his craft and he works with utmost perfection. No room for personal matters is given in the workplace, which I like. In times of work-related distress, he will gladly offer his hands to help. I have learned so much about power generation as well as the corporate ladder itself. Lastly, the level of open-mindedness is so intense that it independence is vested upon us (his subordinates), thus, success is greatly achieved.
Besides, what could be more exciting than experiencing Europe in the Philippines?