Making the Most of It

On more week down and another week closer to being home. Its sad but recently I have found myself counting the weeks of my trip not by how many I’ve had but how many are left. This is a small difference in thinking that has had a huge impact in the way I feel about the remaining time I have here. This week isn’t quite filled with “lasts” (last weekend, last day of work, last night out) but it is filled with “half lasts”, some strange in-between that although not as definitive still has the same kind of demand for action and excitement. It may not be the last week just yet, but every moment wasted still feels like a missed opportunity. Every hour I’m not in a dark and dingy pub drinking Guinness and Jameson feels like an hour that I’m missing out on the true Irish experience, a cliché that my time here has been slowly unraveling.

One unfortunate thing I’ve had to deal with over here was missing out on a great holiday that is always guaranteed to be a great time back home, the Fourth of July. It was sad to see all of my friends enjoying their fun back home at barbeques and on the beach, but it was worth it to see my coworkers try to cheer me up. By now most of the people in the office know me, if not by my name then simply as “the American”. Because of this is was cute to see the people in my office wish me a “happy Independence Day!” on a day that means absolutely nothing to them. But this helped me to realize something about the English’s imperial past, almost everyone at sometime or another was fighting for their independence from that tiny island.

Work Culture

Because of my limited work experience, I am not sure if I am the most qualified to speak about the differences in work culture but there are a few things that I have noticed during my time here. It could be the specific work cultures I have been apart of both back home and here in Ireland but I would say the main difference I have encountered is the relaxed professionalism I see in the office. Back home I never heard anyone curse in the office, and if I did it was always directed inward. Either cursing at themselves for something they did wrong or directed at the general situation usually out of dissatisfaction of the amount of work they have to do now that some unfortunate circumstance took place, and always in a hushed tone.

In Ireland this is a bit difference. I am working in a department that works heavily with other people, because of this there are a lot of projects that rely on the input or cooperation with others. This can cause friction when others don’t comply with your requests or who over and over again are doing something incorrectly. This frustration can sometimes boil over, and because of the Irish colorful language mixed with a more candid conversational style can lead to some cursing in the office. Never from a bad place but it is sometimes thrown around to make sure someone’s point comes across. Since the people on the receiving end of this never make a big deal out of it, I have come to assume that this isn’t too out of the ordinary and most likely just another way to communicate the strong emotions someone is feeling. Because it is seen as something normal no one makes a big deal out of f-bomb being dropped over here or a bulls#%t being dropped over there.

Honestly, I could see this being something beneficial that could be brought to the US, obviously in moderation. So many times there are miscommunications because people don’t say what they mean or feel. If we broke down just a few of these barriers we might be able to improve the way we communicate with one another and reduce the amount of confusion and ambiguity in the workplace.