7.4.08

Asian Workguide from a Misguided American

I survived the first day of work in Asia.

10 Lessons learned:

1. Don't point at anyone. In general avoid one finger pointing. Works better to do a hula dance waving your hands in the general direction of what you want to point at.
2. Bobbing your head up and down erratically does not satisfactorily meet the bow etiquette. But the Japanese seem to find it funny anyway. Actually, so do the Americans.
3. When handing things to people, use two hands and present it.
4. Talk slow and talk loud. Don't expect the same in return.
5. Be careful who you approach in the group. You need to go to the senior most person to get a response. It likely won't match the reality of the situation.
6. Name tags are a life saver to those unfamiliar with Asian names.
7. Anyway, you still won't be able to pronounce the names right unless they use a Western nickname.
8. It's an absolute must to privately ask people if they understood what you said and check what they are doing.
9. It is very interesting to see what they thought you meant instead.
10. Rice is for breakfast. Then again, so are waffles.

Posted from Singapore

1 comment:

aimee said...

the "asking in private" is indeed a necessity. one of my first projects with a> was working with a development group in malaysia. on the phone everyone would say they were on time, on budget, and understood what needed to be done. after the first couple of weeks of EVERYTHING being late, a partner politely explained that they were never going to publicly say they weren't going to make a deadline, they were behind, or they didn't understand what needed to be done.

tough concept for this high driver. :-)