You Do What, Now?

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My very truly honestly global job certainly keeps me on my toes from one day to the next, calculating time zones with ease and panache.

The laws that govern each country are different and there are nuances in languages that keep my brain working overtime.

This is never more apparent than in the weekly catch up meetings I have with my boss, who is located in London.

My boss has a sense of humor about to the level of mine, so lately we have this ongoing riff.

It goes something like this:

Boss: “So, what is this, um, let’s see what do they call it…yes, this day of groundhog you people celebrate in the US?”

Me: “What, they don’t have this holiday in the UK?”

Boss: “I don’t think so, what is this all about?”

Me: “So, wait, you’re telling me that in the UK they don’t pull rodents out of the ground in order to determine the extent of winter?”

Boss: “Not as such, no.”

Our conversation usually revolves around some odd thing that “you people do in your country.”

To be fair, I catch the brunt of this. You never know how weird you are until you see your own culture through another’s eyes.

Things like:

Boss: “So I’m going to be in the US the week of March 14th. I understand I’ll be able to participate in what you Americans refer to as St. Patrick’s Day.”

Me: “Oh c’mon, any holiday that involves drinking a lot of beer can’t be so bad.”

Boss: “Well, true.”

Or

Boss: “Did you watch this thing you Americans call the ‘Super Bowl’ this weekend?”

Me: “Yes, I did.”

Boss: “So, did the team you were rooting for win?”

Me: “Well, I wasn’t really rooting for one of the teams, so it didn’t matter.”

Boss: “Oh…so what did you do then? Did you attend a party?

Me: “Yes, I went to a friend’s house. We did what we Americans are fond of doing, we ate a lot.”

Boss: “Your people seem to like that.” (<- my boss attended his first American Thanksgiving meal this year and was horrified by how much food was presented.) My return vollies tend to be more along the lines of his use of language. Me: "So if we can crack on, is it possible to crack off?" Boss: --silence-- "I've never really thought about that." Or Me: "So you need to know when you say 'creating an implementation scheme', that the word scheme has a bit of a negative connotation for Americans." Boss: "How do you mean?" Me: "Well, setting up a scheme usually involves something illegal or at least questionable." Boss: "Oh! My. Well we won't use that anymore will we?" Or Me: "When you told me to revert on your email, I have no idea what you mean." Boss: "You mean my question?" Me: "No, I mean...the word revert means going back to a previous version. I don't understand how I can go back to a previous version of an email you wrote. It makes no sense!" Boss: --sigh-- "You click reply and answer my question!" Me: "Oh. I get it. That's a weird use of the word revert." Or, my personal favorite... Boss: "So to let you know, the UK office will be on holiday Monday." Me: "What!? Another holiday?" Boss: "Yes, this is a Bank Holiday and all will have the day." Me: "Don’t you get like five weeks vacation, too?" Boss: "Yes." Me: "When do you people find any time to work over there! Geez!" So yeah, US and UK relations continue to involve a lot of sarcasm. Good thing I'm good at that. Though the best part is when we have to chat about our counterparts in Canada, because that's when we're on the same side. We can both usually find some good reason to pick on the Canadians. (Aw Canada, ya know I love ya! You're like that pesky yet precocious kid brother who says adorable things like "aboot".)






Photo by Scott Duhamel and found on Flickr.

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