Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cultural differences or just plain disrespectful?

I'm not patient.  I've been feeling stressed lately (lots of work, and with Christmas around the corner it all adds up to more stress), thus a little less patient (if that's even possible).  I'll be the first to admit that I have very low tolerance for slowness in general.

When I talk to someone, even to a pet, I do expect an answer or at least a reaction, I'm funny that way.  So, when I'm facing someone who looks at me like a deer in headlights, I can't help but feel somewhat annoyed.  My impatience kicks in.  I'm this way in everything, unlike Hubby who tends to be more so when driving, but somewhat "nicer" when dealing with people.  I just think he fakes it better, that's all.

Since I've been self-employed I haven't have to attend too many (useless) meetings.  I do have to meet clients, but since they pay me per hour, they tend to be a little more efficient.  What irritates me no end is people not respecting me.  Some people are always late.  That's just the way they are, the way they function.  I hate that.  They always have an excuse also, which makes it all even worst.  Maybe it is due to my many years in martial arts, where respect was number one, but to me always being late shows disrespect, not only to me and those around but to yourself as well.

Two weeks ago I had a meeting at a client with two other consultants and three staff members.  While I was sitting with the employee who had called that meeting for the others to show (and I wasn't there in advance, but at the time called for), I did mention how I hated waiting for disrespectful people.  It as almost funny how he agreed with me, but then said "well... it's part of some people's culture".
One of the employee showed up 5 min. late while one of the consultant showed up more than 15 min. late.  When he came in, I couldn't help but to thank him to finally make it.  He laughed a little, but I knew he had gotten my message. 

Last week, the employee called another meeting.  I accepted and replied to all on the distribution "It would be nice if everyone could respect the schedule time and be there on time."  Everyone did.  Saturday, that client had his annual end of year celebration.  Things were running relatively on time, considering the size of the event.  At our table, five seats were left empty.  For having organized many events, there's nothing worst than expecting people (especially RSVP) who end up not showing up.  Those things do happen.  What I find weird is how it often always happen to the same unlucky bastards to be late, but hey...  They started doing the awards presentation, etc. and at some point, a lady sitting across from me, said "I think I know who's missing from our table, he's always late, it's cultural, you know."  I didn't say anything, but thought how easily she was forgiving this flagrant lack of respect.  The celebration started at 6pm.  The missing person showed up well after 7:30pm.

Because it was a special celebration this year, someone in the group of non-employees suggested to get a nice gift (all together) for the CEO.  He asked for a specific amount and said he would shop and give us a card we could all signed before the gift was to be remitted to the CEO during the celebration.  Five or six of us agreed and contributed.   Well, the party went on, and on, and no gift was presented to the CEO other than one from his employees.  At some point I went to see the "organizer" of our little gift plan and asked if it had been bought.  His answer was "Yes, it's in my car.  Since we were a little late, I didn't know if we'd have time to present it to him".  I felt like punching him in the mouth!  What an ass!  When I asked when was he planning to give it to him, he looked confused, to finally answer Monday.  I'm not at that client on Mondays, and since he didn't have the card (either) I couldn't sign it.  When I told him he looked at me like a deer in headlights, argh!  Another punch coming!

I'm supposed to accept this and excuse his total disrespect of all involved and the CEO as well, as cultural differences, because he's African?  Really?  I don't think so.  He's just an ass, who sure acted like a big dumbass!

Cultural differences are (according to CICB):
  • Laughing is connoted in most countries with happiness - in Japan it is often a sign of confusion, insecureness and embarrassment.
  • In the UK Ireland and Commonwealth countries, the word „compromise” has a positive meaning (as a consent, an agreement where both parties win something); in the USA it may rather have negative connotations (as both parties lose something).
  • In Mediterranean European countries, Latin America and Sub Saharan Africa, it is normal, or at least widely tolerated, to arrive half an hour late for a dinner invitation, whereas in Germany and Switzerland this would be extremely rude.
I guess I'm not cultured, or lacking cultural knowledge or something, but to me what he did is so wrong, no matter where he's from...  I feel like putting a stop payment on the check I wrote him last week!

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