Yes, that’s what I looked like in the first few jobs I had in Australia.
Who’d think, who’d know that workplace practices can be so different across continents?
Most of my career has been with Americans and what I knew was based on those experiences. There weren’t any stark differences between American and Indian workplaces and hence working here took getting used to.
My top 10 observations:
- Work is work. Don’t go looking to make friends at your workplace.
- You may have quite a few ‘older’ people at the workplace. Be prepared to listen to colleagues discuss their aches, pains and doctors.
- Try to not look baffled when someone refuses to help you by saying, ‘That’s above my pay grade’ or ‘That’s not in my job description.’
- Folks are pretty straight forward and blunt. Get with the program.
- Performance management processes and conversations are rare (strange considering point 4). I think it has to do with legal issues that may arise as a result.
- You don’t sit with your colleagues over lunch. You also don’t offer a taste of your food.
- Don’t get excited when your manager announces a team lunch. Most often, it just means that the team goes out to eat together but each person pays for their food. I learnt the hard way.
- Folks can stay in their roles or current levels for most of their careers. Not everyone is looking to climb the corporate ladder.
- Fires at work can wait – it’s a ‘no worries’ lifestyle.
- Work is one part of your life – it ISN’T your life! Prioritising your family and leaving work on time is a given. Yay, Australia!
While I think I’ve adjusted to most of the above, point 3 is one I struggle with. Collaboration and team work is a big part of who I am at the workplace.
If you are new to Australian workplaces, I’d recommend keeping a low profile for a while. Observe, listen and learn.
Your work practices in India may not always work here – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you insist on your style of working and refuse to keep an open mind, you will fall into a deep pit.
Cheers and good luck!