- Wise Words -
Work like an American.
Why it's more than ok to adopt "our" way of working
writer opted for anonymity
I recently moved to Europe and have found that Americans are put down in their approach to work. We (I am an American) get a bad rap for working too much while also being called lazy (am not going to get into that contradiction here!).
I initially didn’t give it much thought but now when someone discounts the American work ethic, it hits a nerve, more often than not, I am tempted to ask, what is so wrong with how American’s work?
How can people blanketly state that Americans would be more productive if they took their “holiday,” or that Americans need to be more patient in demanding a response to an email? I kind of just want to yell “take your siesta on the weekend and respond to my email or at least let me know that you got it so I don’t have to keep reminding you!” How hard is that?
The stereotypes typically relate to how the American way of working is less productive and this is something that I feel the need to take issue with. It’s okay to work like an American. Own it, defend it. I am willing to even go as far as saying that I enjoy it (maybe that’s not always the case but I definitely prefer it to the alternatives I have experienced).
The reason I wanted to write this piece is that I was recently told in a work-related context that I am impatient”. My response was “that maybe so but I like getting things done.” The back and forth continued a bit with me asking why it was too much to expect people to stick to deadlines or acknowledge a request? I asked how this could be considered impatient? Even if it is impatient, it’s not an unreasonable thing to expect. In that same response, I said maybe it’s the American in me that appreciates promptness and respects time.
The other aspect of working like an American that I need to address is the impression that we work "too fast", and that’s frowned upon why? I have received feedback that I work too fast and it opens me up to taking on more than I signed up for. Isn’t that a good thing? I am showing how productive I am plus I am taking on additional projects that I know I can deliver, given my time management skills. For me, the supervisors are never anti me being fast and furious, and if you play your cards right, the boss is the one who will come to you and make sure that you are not taking on too much. Your supervisor will always, always appreciate you being prompt, ahead of schedule and willing to take on more.
Being efficient is something that needs to be applauded more in the work place vs. criticized. While it is true that you can miss things by being too speedy (don’t sacrifice the quality of your work for being the first one to finish), take pride in not wasting your time or that of others. The more efficient you are, the more effective you can be for your team and organization. This philosophy has served me over and over again, even if it means that I am the one left frustrated waiting on others, but at least I know I have delivered.
So, what are the pros of being efficient or “overly efficient” as a someone from a siesta-taking country once described me:
While none of this is rocket science and may not work for all but it makes me effective and I am happily associated with the American way. I am proud to work like an American!
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