Saturday, October 16, 2010

If Julia closes the window it will be even harder to breathe

Last night at dinner we discussed how different Australian and Swedish workplaces are.
I am interviewing for jobs and mentioned that I so far had only met one set of bosses that I found strong, inspiring and confident. Everyone else seemed scared of standing up for their ideas in front of the client, which I find odd since it´s a consultancy´s role to kick their clients in the right direction.
We came to the consclusion that Swedish people are more outspoken and courageous because we have started our career in a world without hierarchies and with strong protection against being fired for tiny issues. Opinons are welcome and respected.
Here, I feel like an elephant sometimes, saying what I think and feel. And I always have to wonder what on earth people are really thinking behind their smiling surfaces.  Australians are hard to trust.
For example, a study showed that 92 % of Australians believe that child abuse is serious, but less than 50 % would contact authorities if they knew a child was being abused. Only one in three would contact the police. 87 % said they would ”mind their own business” and 48 % would not report it bc they might be wrong.
The study doesn´t reveal whether people would knock on their neighbours door and tell them off, but my own ”research” says ”no”. Australia is an interesting country to study though, with its many cultures living next to each other. 1 in 4 are born somewhere else in the world. We are all so different, living in our bubbles - Vietnames in one suburb and Greeks in another.
If Australia is going to survive long term it has to be more innovative, and get skilled staff from overseas, and if that is going to be a positive productive experience we all need cultural training, to understand and respect each other.
I think this is the trend. Unless Julia closes the window... in which case it´s going to be even harder to breathe - we all know what happens with a room when there is no fresh air...

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