Time passing so quickly in my days in San Francisco, there’s only three weeks left before I fly back to Pittsburgh. This week, I am going to talk about my personal issues based on my experience of working in San Francisco.
There’s not much cultural differences affected my interactions with the citizens of the country, as the difference between west coast and east coast in the US is not that huge that makes me uncomfortable, but there is still one thing that affect my interactions with my boss and other co-workers is the communication. On the East coast, people are more direct. When someone says “yes,” that means they heard you and they agree. When someone says “no,” that doesn’t mean they’re upset. Rather it means they aren’t convinced yet or interested in doing it. People are more curt. Their sentences are shorter, perhaps, even harsher sounding. East coasters aren’t afraid to give constructive feedback in a direct way. When I work in east coast, if my boss does not like my idea, she will directly say “no, this idea is not good enough,” but here my boss would probably say “this idea is not bad, actually really interesting, but it will be great if you come up with some other new ideas.” At the beginning, this way of communicating is new to me, but now I know just don’t take it personally. Just come back with another option. People in San Francisco will likely communicate more indirectly. I never hear someone so readily criticize an idea. Instead, they’ll say something like, “I see your point,” or “Let’s consider some other options as well.” They are more diplomatic–softer and sweeter, even. You also won’t hear the word “no” as frequently. And when you hear the word “yes,” it may mean they’re just listening. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to take action. Be sure to ask follow-up questions to be clear on what they plan to do next.
As for the major differences in living, economic and political conditions for the average citizen in San Francisco is that here is even much more free than east coast. For example, the LGBT community in San Francisco is one of the largest and most prominent LGBT communities in the world, and is one of the most important in the history of LGBT rights and activism. The city itself has, among its many nicknames, the nickname “gay capital of the world”, and has been described as “the original ‘gay-friendly city'”. LGBT culture is also active within companies that are based in Silicon Valley, which is located within the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to that, I also noticed that San Franciscans and probably Californians in general are more conscious of their environmental footprint compared to New York. It’s rare to find a recycling bin on the street here but it’s slowly improving.
How did people in the country handle issues such as conflict, time management, encountering “foreigners”? There’s nothing special for people in San Francisco handle issues, just like the other part in the US. Remain calm, avoid drama, learn, listen and empathize much more, identify diverse perspectives, acknowledge your mistakes and forgive others mistakes is always the best way to handle conflict. As for time management, there is the Californian chill in San Francisco, therefore, people lay back a little bit here, my work start at 10 in the morning and end at 6 in the afternoon. People here is super embraced with foreigners since Bay Area is among the most diverse places in the country, a wonderful and eclectic place filled with people of every background. The Bay Area is a microcosm of the national melting pot, San Francisco in particular is the type of place where you can’t walk down the street without hearing another language.