Seeing yourself through foreign eyes

February 7, 2014

in Cultural differences,Living abroad

A while back at work, a coworker said, “Americans are promotion happy. They’re always getting new titles.”

Immediately, I went on the defensive, thinking: you’re not American, you’re Swedish. What do YOU know about the US? But what I said was: Really? I’m not sure what you are talking about.

cincinnati Flags along the Ohio River.


Later, I got to thinking about his comment again. As I regularly publish promotions from around the world for work, I started keeping an unofficial tally of sorts. And you know what, I DO publish more promotions/title changes from the US than from anywhere else. When I realized that, I was kind of embarrassed that I had never noticed this before. Why did it take a Swede to point out something about my homeland? And more than that, why do we Americans have to overdo everything anyway?

Because I am generally wired to put a positive spin on these kind of things, I then thought: You know, everyone, no matter where they are in the world, likes a little recognition. What’s so wrong with getting a few promotions and being recognized for a job well done?

And  I suppose THAT very thinking is rather American of me, isn’t it? Even after nine years of international living, I am still a product of where I come from. But I am also forever changed by living where I do.

{ 1 comment }

1 janerowena February 24, 2014 at 20:33

My ex-husband worked for AMOCO for some years, and he used to laugh about people angling for a change of title – not even a promotion, just a new title to make their job sound more important. We moved to Chicago for a while and while he was there, he said they would all be measuring thrir desks and chairs to make sure they had the right size to fit with how important they considered themselves to be. He was just happy with a comfortable chair and a desk that wasn’t falling apart.

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