Saturday, April 30, 2011

Time to Work

Almost 3 weeks have passed since the day that I stepped foot in our office in Hong Kong and therefore it's about time that I start sharing some of my experiences of working here in this different environment.

Over the last 6 years I have been regularly visiting our Hong Kong office, but usually I stayed there only for a few days or at maximum two weeks. During those short visits I always had a warm welcome. Many times I was invited to attend (an excellent) "Dim Sum" lunch, or a Japanese dinner after work.
And even though I had these positive experiences before, I felt a sort of thrill running through my veins when stepping into the office on my first monday.

"Is it me who needs to adjust to the new environment, "
"or is it the new environment that needs to adjust to me as well?"

I discovered that I'm not the only one who needs to get acquainted by my new surroundings. Even though our Hong Kong office has frequent visitors from many regions of the world, having a "foreigner" from Europe at the office every day of the week who passes you in the hall, who needs to sit next to during lunch (and starts to talk in some language that appears to be English) can be a little bit uncomfortable.

In the first week I experienced that people found it difficult to just walk into my office and talk to me in person. I discovered that they would rather call my colleague in China to ask a work related question, than to walk in my office and communicate with me directly.

I happened to find out what was going on when I got several phone calls from my colleague, asking me questions on behalf of persons that were sitting not more than 20 meters away from me. Once I figured out what was actually going on I had to smile, but of course I can understand the situation. To break the ice I started to make contact with everyone, having just casual conversations, and I must say that little by little people start to talk to me spontaneously, once they get over that little communication boundary.

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