Ambiguity

I was told during orientation that we were going to experience a sense of ambiguity when being assigned work. However, i was not expecting it to be this hard to understand expectations. I report to five women, each of them with their own expertise. My main boss is the general manager but I have received assignments from each one of the woman. The hardest thing for me is deciding when the expectation changes from one woman to the next. A few of the ladies do not expect much, the bare minimum, which I can handle with ease. I know this because a few of the ladies once thought using a few formulas in excel was above and beyond their expectation and I thought they were necessary for the project at hand. There are a few that expect a lot more, to go in-depth and analyze multiple references to pick out the best options for their Hostel. Although the expectations are different for each of the women, the quality of work does not change.

The other day I was given a task from the head boss and one of the other ladies asks her when do you think he should be done that task and she turned to me and winked and said you have time. From that interaction I had to laugh it off and read between the lines. I assumed I had at least a few days to finish the project. I have never been given an exact deadline for any work. I do think that their pace of work is much slower than the working pace of America. I have been accustomed to work as fast and as efficient as I can in order to not let my boss down.

There have been other instances where I am thoroughly confused and i take a different strategy for those situations. I begin the task assigned and I make a rough rough outline and wait until the person who assigned the task leaves the room and then I ask another woman in the office if this what she thinks is the right direction. I have found success in this practice and the women that help me find direction are happy to help me.

I have yet to encounter a problem with a deadline. Many of the fellow workers understand that I expect a deadline so they try to help me out. My bottom line rule is finish the project as fast and as well as I can so I don’t have to worry about getting in trouble and they don’t have to worry about what they need for more than a day or two.

It is funny when I begin working and I look up and I see the other 4 women in the office on their phones or talking about what they did the other day. I enjoy the pace and attitude at work. They certainly have a healthy balance between their work and personal life with their respective lives overlapping. I understand their pace of work will not translate to the United States, but I hope I am able to keep the social aspect in my work life.

With the down time i have in between the projects I ask my superiors if they need any help with anything and if not then I will do my own thing, practice my spanish, or mingle with guests. I felt it necessary to share that because when i am lost without a task to complete I feel the need to ask my supervisors what to do in order to ensure there is no confusion.

The best thing one can do for themselves when faced with ambiguity is ask, work hard, be efficient with your time, and enjoy the time you have with your colleagues. The worst thing to do is not understand what the expectation of your work and sit back and not have the task completed when the boss asks for it. You look like a slacker, a fool and someone who doesn’t want to be there.