Sunday, October 23, 2011

Work Differences

Thanks to Gennifer6 for the suggestion...

I don't think I've ever blogged about the differences I've observed at work between Americans & Brits-I know I've talked about the differences with my colleagues at work, but that's probably about it, so here goes!

Gennifer6 wanted me to comment on workplace differences that I've observed. I'm sure in certain industries and companies, the differences are VAST, but barring a brief stint, I've primarily worked for US-headquartered companies.  So, what I've noticed may really only scratch the surface...

1.  To Americans, the 'work week' (and even the 'work day') is a very fluid concept.  In the US, you wouldn't think twice about leaving the office mid-day to go to the doctor/dentist/car repair shop, and you wouldn't think twice about leaving work a bit early on a Friday.  Conversely, it seems like the emails don't really stop after '5pm', and I definitely recall getting emails even on weekends.
In England however, I've encountered the complete inverse:  rarely, would I leave work mid-day for a personal errand (I'd instead try to schedule it for first/last thing in the day), and I can quite literally count on 2 fingers the number of times I've left work before 5pm on a Friday in 3.5 years (sigh).  However, rarely do I receive an email from a British colleague outside of work hours during the week, and the same holds true on weekends.  Brits seem to be more protective-and prescribed-of their 'non-work' hours, whereas for Americans, it's all just seems to flow together.

2. In England, don't even think of going to the kitchen without asking everyone (and it does feel like everyone...) if they want a cup of tea/coffee/water/biscuit...whatever the kitchen stocks.  It just isn't done.

3.  Employers in England (though, perhaps this is a London-only thing), are more 'generous' with the amenities they provide in women's bathroms:  lotion, feminine hygine products, and the ubiquitious aerosol deoderant are in almost every corporate bathroom I've ever been in.  It's a nice touch.

4.  Brits aren't afraid of being open to their colleagues about what they think-about their boss, other colleagues, etc...When working in the US, I can't think of a time I ever *truly* shared with a colleague my feelings about a co-worker or boss-at least while I was working at the company.  In England, it's the complete opposite.  I remember the first time I heard a colleage slag off a superior at work (to me, not to the superior).  My jaw almost hit the floor. 
I'm really going to have to be careful about taking this trait with me whenever I go back 'across the pond.'  Though I appreciate the candor of my colleagues, I don't think this one would go down to well back in the US!

Those are the big things I've noticed.  I can't help but think I'm forgetting a few things, so if anyone else has any observations, do pipe up!


Perhaps one of the most touristy things you can do in London, but I don't care.  I've wanted to go to the Northern Picadilly line terminus ('Cockfosters') for ages, and get a photo.

We went last Sunday-spent the better part of 2 hours round trip on the tube for just a few photos, but it was worth it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Great Sunday Read

Just this past week I picked up Twisted Agendas by Damian McNicholl. (In the interest of full disclosure, Damian contacted me on my blog & asked for a review.) This book intrigued me as one of the main characters was a female American expat living in London, and I naturally presumed I would identify with her.  I was wrong, but I'm OK with it! :)

I started reading the first chapter on the Tube at about 11am on Sunday, and  Before I knew it, 50 pages had flown by.  I had a few errands to run during the day which caused me to stop & start reading, but basically be 9pm Sunday night, I was finished with the book.

The gist of the story is that the two main characters, Danny and Pippa fatefully meet on a ferry from Ireland to England and end up becoming friends.  Their stories become intertwined in the here & now, and their side stories (disfunctional parents, confusing romance, general 20-something angst) also bind stories together.

Though the connection with the main character is what caused me to be interested in the book, the ultimate story, and plot development/twists & turns is what kept me turning the pages.  The last 20 pages were especially tense, as a few late developing plot twists (in my mind-perhaps I'm just daft..) really caught my attention.

Borderline drama, borderline thriller...either way, if you're looking for a great way to spend a Sunday-especially as the weather looks like it has officially turned south for the next 6 months... this is the book for you!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Google Freebies

I don't think I've publicly mentioned this, but my newest gig since early this year is with Google.

Long story short, they've just launched a new Paid Search program called AdWords Express.  This is a product for the 'little guys' to use who have limited budget & resources to set up their Paid Search program, and I'm lucky enough to have a handful of £50 vouchers in my hands for anyone to use who is interested.

If you're interested, drop me a line in the comment section of my blog with your email address (promise I'll delete your comment as soon as I email you to save you from spam), and I'll be happy to provide you with a voucher/coupon code for £50 of free Google AdWords advertising!

Not too bad for a Monday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How Would You Do?

Just had a bit of a laugh with my English (born & bred) colleague.  One of the local newspapers published sample questions from the UK Citizenship test.

He scored 12 out of 24 questions.  I scored 10. Not too bad relatively speaking.  Kinda interesting to see the kinds of information a Citizen is expected to know (read:  memorize and then forget).

How many did you score?

It's Official..

...I am now officially a London Asshole.

I knocked into a guy today while I was rushing to the tube (as you do).  He apologized to me.  Not in the harsh, fake "I'm saying 'sorry', but really I'm saying 'f-you'" way that many Londoners do.  His apology was genuine.

The problem is:  I knocked into him, and didn't even bother to say sorry (real or fake).  Instead, I simply ignored him and kept plowing on.

I have officially become a London Asshole.

I guess my only saving grace is that unlike most Londoners (especially commuters in & around the tube), I do feel bad about it.  And... I guess in all fairness, this may not just be a London thing, but a big-city thing.   Or not.