There is more to accepting a job than just knowing how to do it. The decision becomes more critical when the environment is speckled by people from different races. You may have been the best in your previous station but you realize that you dealt with the same racial mentality and may have been so easy to manage. To get the job done, there is work culture but just how do you adopt the work culture in a foreign place without forgetting that you are a Chinese or African in an office full of Indians?
- Dress code
Some offices have specific dress code or customized clothing while some are free and accept anything decent. If you fall in an office with customized dress code, it is necessary to add some taste that carries your culture. While it is ethical to integrate fully into the system, that does not imply that you will have to change everything about you. Clothing is a very essential element of culture and despite the official look your boss may desire, don’t be shy to show the decency of your home culture. Once in a while, and when applicable, report to work in your Chinese Togae or Nigerian Agbada.
Remember, you are not doing it to soothe your cultural ego; you are just being a symbol of unity in diversity. The moment you adopt everything, the taste of a multiracial work environment is long lost.
Language is a very important tool as far as social integration is concerned. You will have to communicate with your workmates or clients. You may not have learnt the language of the environment as perfect as it should be but in the process, learn it only to expand your productivity. It may be so demanding to learn a new language and most of the time you may require an interpreter, but don’t struggle too much, ideas do not reside in a language. Furthermore, it is one thing to learn various words and their correct use in a foreign language but it is another thing to adopt the right accent. Do not struggle to attain an Afro accent when you have done much to learn the sentence structure, that foreign accent in a local dialect should be your trademark.
- Values and Principles
Fitting into your new job environment may demand more than what you already believe in. The culture in many workplaces may not be the exact reflection of what all of you believe in. There has never been such perfectly united system. There may be a time that you are going to compromise your own values and principles in the name of performing your duty. While as an employee, loyalty is key and it may be the best way to achieve unity of command, always be true to yourself. Before you adventure into something that will compromise your own integrity, ask yourself whether it is what you really want to be remembered for.
Religion is a very sensitive issue when integration at workplace is questioned. It speaks so many things about us, sometimes so boldly that we may not be able to hide. It tells about our dress code, it tells about our morals and many more. You may have worked in an environment which enjoyed a common religion and perhaps it was your custom to say prayers before rolling a day’s program. But here you are in place where no religion is binding. Work culture may do much to bring you together but the difference may be too obvious to even limit your out-of-job interaction.
Here, you are an agent of your religious divide. You are to stand your place but at the same time prove that your belief has nurtured into a social being. Practice your religion without fear only be sure that it does not override the general principles of your workplace.
Often, when you get into a new workplace, it is always a question of how you can fit into your workplace and not how your workplace can fit into you. Most people have lost themselves in the ‘line of duty’ to an extent of adopting a totally new culture. However, a foreign workplace is not meant to recreate you, it is to use what you already are to get to its goals.