Around a year ago, I moved to the U.S with my spouse and we both started working at tech companies here. Coming from a very different country, we were at first surprised at some behaviours we encountered that made us feel unwelcome.
After discussing this with some friends in similar situations, we realized that this probably wasn't a personal issue, but rather a cultural difference we had to get used too.
Specifically, the issue that struck us most is that employees tend to "keep to themselves", for instance:
If other team mates are in need of assistance or guidance, it is not voluntarily offered, and even when asked, it seems people leave their own task rather begrudgingly.
Inquiries on others progress isn't really done, even when the that knowledge would help the team as a whole progress.
This is relatively little room for "Out of the box" thinking - people are expected to concentrate only on their given task, and it seems polite suggestions for changes are not as well accepted here.
Eating lunch alone is common. I was used to lunch being a opportunity for team bonding, and skipping lunch (even if you weren't hungry) was considered very anti-social.
So, although we are getting used to the culture difference, it does extract a toll, and I was wondering if anyone here has encountered something similar. In your experience:
- Are the above behaviours indeed part of standard workplace culture in the U.S.?
- How would you suggest foreigners best adapt to this culture change?