Archive for May, 2012
When you hear of women in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, completely covered in black and prohibited to step out their home without a mahram (male blood relative – husband/brother/father), it is normal for people to make negative judgments about that culture. That’s where Global Adjustments comes in. We create Global Citizens who understand the culture of different ethnic groups, especially when it comes to doing business with them and living in their country.
A few weeks ago, we got to interact with a group from a technology solutions company sitting out of Pune, Bangalore, and Chennai, moving to Qatar. Most of them had either never been to a Gulf country or only visited. While in Qatar, they were expected to interact with people from the United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, probably one of the most misunderstood cultures in the world.
Prior to the training, we interacted and conducted surveys with people currently living in these countries to get a first-hand account of what life is like there as a foreigner. As we do with all country-specific trainings, we also had a live expert who had lived in Qatar and travelled to many Gulf countries, and knew what it was like to be an Indian there.
As expected, there were a lot of questions. One participant from Bangalore asked, “How is the night life in Qatar?” Another participant, a father of a 5 year old asked “where can I send my daughter to school?” Other people asked “How are Qataris in business negotiations?” and “What should we keep in mind about business meetings?”, and of course, the ever-present “How do I stay out of jail?”. We discussed housing, transportation, alcohol permits, dress code, government regulations, dining etiquette and medical facilities.
Preparing people for the Middle East is much more than Q & A, though. It’s more than just knowing the answers, because the questions will always be endless. We prepared them to understand which questions were the most important and to also answer the “why” behind it all. We worked to empower them with the confidence they need to represent their company and India well while working abroad. In short, we made Global Citizens out of them.
For more information about our specialized training programs focused on a particular region, contact email@example.com
An engineer who had come to work in India from the US was floored by how many Indians had an engineering background. As he started to work with his Indian colleagues though, he noticed a difference between them and his co-workers back home. He said “Where I’m from, we are engineers because we have to be. There isn’t any other option. We were born to figure out how things work and build things and there’s nothing else that we can do.”
Many Indians also become engineers because they “have to”, but for other reasons, either economic or because that was the career path chosen for them by their parents.
This brings up a classic issue of culture when it comes to what your job is in life. On one end of the spectrum you find a system where the elders in a family use their life experience and wisdom to choose a path for their children since they are not aware of the challenges that will come in life. Elders are also wiser to know which jobs provide a steady income and which ones are pipe dreams.
On the other end is a system where young people are invited to choose their own career in something that interests them and they would enjoy doing for the rest of their life. Study what you love and you’ll find a way to make it pay for your life.
Both are present in most cultures, and both have advantages, but which is better, becoming an engineer because your personality demands it, or your parents?
If you listen only to Hollywood and Bollywood, the answer seems a bit one-sided. On a recent episode of “The Voice”, an American singing competition, they did a feature on a young Indian girl who was auditioning. Her whole family was in the medical field and she was also expected to do the same, but she had a passion for singing and was bucking the family trend. After a fabulous performance, the American host was all too eager to go to her father and say “What do you think now?”, as if to jab him for making such a foolish decision as to waste her on medicine.
But the other side of the argument gets less press. In a world where not every dream comes true, parents are faced with the difficult task of trying their best to shield children from not being prepared for the changing world. Left to their own devices, most teenagers are not really equipped to make such big decisions. In a recent study, high school girls were asked to choose which job they would most like to have such as a U.S. Senator or the CEO of a large organization. The #1 answer by far (43%) was to be a personal assistant to someone famous. Perhaps not the best career planning.
Hopefully this is one area where we can learn from each other and help our children be passionate, and also wise.
Ever looking for new ways to understand each other,
The Training Team