A Culture of Independence & Acceptance

This is the first week that I am beginning to feel that my internship is winding down. With only two weeks left, I am constantly checking to see the dates of events and our program schedule in order to see if I will still be in the city at that time. With that being said, I still have lots of work to do and things to experience during my last two weeks in Toronto. This past week I was able to experience the Honda IndyCar Series in Toronto. While I have always been interested in cars, I have never really been into racing. However, the track was located less than a mile from my apartment and I could hear the sound of engines revving clearly through my window. It peaked my interest so I headed over with some friends to check it out. It was one of the coolest experiences that I’ve had during my nearly two months abroad. Watching the cars whiz by at over 200 miles per hour was truly a unique experience. This race truly peaked my interest in racing and I am now hoping to attend a Formula 1 Grand Prix at some point in the near future. Moving on to this week’s prompt.

Canada’s work culture shares a lot in common with the United States, and I mean it’s almost identical. Yet, there are a few subtle differences that I believe may be more common here than in much of the United States. One of the common themes of the work culture that I have frequently seen and experienced here is that a lot of the workers in downtown Toronto have large amounts of freedom and independence. I believe it is a fairly common practice for employees to have the choice of working from home, or a cafe, or wherever their place of choice is. It is not required that you must be in the office 9 to 5 Monday through Friday every week. Employees have the opportunity to work wherever they feel most productive, as long as the work is finished on time. Not only is location flexible, but so are working hours. If you can get the work done working 10am to 4pm, perfect. If you’re a morning person can work 6:30am to 3pm, great. If you’re a night owl and work best 2pm to 10pm, do it. The emphasis is all about getting the correct results and meeting project deadlines, but doing it in a way that works best for you. Working in this culture gives you a greater sense of independence in your career and I believe it leads to a happier and healthier lifestyle for employees.

A second notable cultural difference that I have observed in Canada, not only in the workplace but in every day life, is how accepting the culture is. As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world. The people here are very accepting of all people, no matter their gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. The work culture appears to reflect that as well, with many offices illustrating diversity and acceptance in the workplace. It really creates a positive work environment when everyone is free to express themselves as individuals and allows for increased creativity and diverse perspectives on the job, thus producing better solutions on the job. I believe the culture here in Toronto is far more accepting than that of much of the United States. While I understand Toronto may not 100% accurately represent Canada as a whole, I still believe that Americans could learn a great deal in this regard. The United States was founded on the belief of equality for all people, no matter their background or beliefs. However, in present times, it feels as though we are as far from those ideals as we ever were. The United States is extremely divided by politics, race, and religion, with people refusing to see or understand perspectives that differ from their own. I believe that Canada upholds these ideals far better than the United States and that we should work harder to implement this accepting culture into our daily lives.

I believe integrating more freedom into my future career would benefit me exponentially and increase my happiness on the job. I will look for a company that offers the opportunity to have more control over my own daily life and has a more relaxed work culture. Additionally, I will continue to be accepting of all people and will work to institute that accepting culture back into the professional environment on a day to day basis. This opportunity in Toronto has opened my eyes as to what helps make up a positive and thriving work environment and I hope to bring back my knowledge and translate it into my future career.