Tonight, we had a big dinner party with all 275 of us, and it was one of those events where you know that although you’ll have fun staying up until 2:30 mingling with everyone, that you will be really annoyed the next morning (or, really, in the next few hours) when you have to wake up for the final 8am session of the week.
One odd thing that my New York colleague brought up to me was that she felt as though there were a lot of “greasy” colleagues across the other offices. I didn’t really know what she meant initially, but she said that a lot of our male colleagues, particularly the ones in the European offices, were a bit too friendly and affectionate and touched her more than she felt comfortable with.
I actually did notice that our European and Australian colleagues were more friendly and affectionate physically, but I didn’t really think anything of it because I think that there are some cultural differences to consider. Americans tend to be more puritanical and rigid, especially in the work place. Shaking hands and the occasional half-hug are the routine greetings when meeting up with colleagues you don’t see very often here. The kiss-on-each-cheek greeting or touching one’s shoulder when speaking and engaging with each other… pretty much never happens in my experience with American colleagues. It is something to think about and consider why our greetings are so different and what is considered “acceptable” and not “creepy.” But sadly at the end of the day, it’s what we are “used to” that we probably end up falling back on. Or maybe I’m just a bit of an outlier because I’m naturally very affectionate and expressive, so none of this bothers me. If anything, I actually love interacting with our international counterparts. I get a glimpse into perspectives I don’t always get day to day here. And that’s really fun and engaging for me.