I work for a firm (PwC, and it’s actually a network of global PwC firms) that has almost 200,000 employees in 157 countries. So at Friday’s workshop that I attended – about a new method to help employees grow in their careers – there was a lot of discussion about cultural differences, and that it means to work in the USA for a global consulting services company. ‘Are we sure the framework and the methods discussed here take into account a multi-cultural workforce?’ was a very good question from the floor. In a way, with so many different cultures already present in large cities (and in our firm), the answer is yes .. but then again there is still a long way to go even in the USA, to appreciate and be aware of cultural diversity.
A few weeks ago Charles Mudede wrote in an article in the weekly newspaper The Stranger (as advice to new students coming to the city) in ‘How to Adjust to Multicultural Seattle if You’re from a Small Town’ (brace yourself) .. I understand you spent your life in the middle of nowhere. There were cows and chickens and not that many people. And if there were people, they were pretty much the same kind of people. They looked and talked the same way, they had the same religious beliefs, and they ate the same foods in the same way. Life was bleak in the small town. But now you are in a big city that has more diversity than you’ve ever been exposed to. How do you handle this new and colorful state of affairs? What should you do to avoid making a fool of yourself by revealing your provincialism? I’m here to lower a rope down into the dark cultural hole you’re in and pull you up to the light of big-city life. The advice I have to offer will not solve all of your problems, but it will make things a little bit easier.