Daily Special: Global Buffet

MC40_LanguageSymbol2Growing up, my friends came from many different backgrounds, and I attended a school where there was a lot of recognition of different cultures.  After I graduated, the Vancouver-based company I worked for targeted U.S. multinational companies. On many occasions we worked with client divisions outside of North America in locations such as Japan, U.K. or Germany.  Our internal group consisted of an Australian Project Manager, South African Designer, New Zealand Programmer, U.S. Art Director, Chinese Producer, Dutch UI Designer and Russian QA Specialist, among a team of Canadian with different lineage. Conference calls provided a unique opportunity to hear many different accents (and slang) at once and office potlucks were a treat featuring a global buffet.

Adjusting for difference was a regular part of our working environment. One example was job titles. On business cards, a “Sales Director” in North America might become a “VP of Operations” in China, where the status of a title is more important. This was life as normal, until I moved to a different job in another province.  One day I looked around and it struck me how we all seemed much more similar in our backgrounds. That’s the moment I realized I may have taken multiculturalism for granted.

- Michael in Alberta