Discussion: View Thread

  • 1.  Does you cultural background effect your career?

    Posted 07-18-2019 04:12 PM

    When my (Eastern European Jewish) grandmother hosted guests, she would start by announcing that "the main dish is burnt, the house is dirty, and everything is over-salted". Then she'd pause to give everyone a chance to loudly protest and compliment her hospitality.

    After coming to the US, my mother had a huge difficulty selling her skills when interviewing for engineering jobs. Later she was horrified by the way younger American engineers presented their achievements during an interview, compared to what they could actually do when hired.  I occasionally catch myself going into the false self-depreciating routine. Among other things, doing so delegates the difficult task of evaluating yourself to others.

    Is  'modesty' expected in your culture, gender or age group? Did you learn to step over it in professional life? Are there other cultural factors that made a difference for you professionally?

    Natalya Sokolovskaya P.E.,M.ASCE
    Wynnewood PA

  • 2.  RE: Does you cultural background effect your career?

    Posted 07-18-2019 11:52 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 07-18-2019 11:51 PM
    You ask a very good question.  I believe your life experiences form who you are, for me the examples of my parents influenced me greatly.  My parents were both 6 generation Canadian, but the examples of how I should live my life did not prepare me well for my life in private industry as I believe you may be finding.  However,  you have to find a career that you are comfortable with.  For me as with most people there were good and bad times.  What I discovered in my life, is while I may not be a "not as successful as I could have been"  the quality of your work is recognized over a period of time.  I am also much happier living my life following rules of what I was taught how on how to live life.  I found I was not happy if I felt I compromised my values at work. Those jobs were not suitable me

    When I interview for staff; I always look for references to evaluate past performance,  I try to get a feel for for flexibility of mind, I look for the love of structural engineering  and I check for basic knowledge. I do not ask why I should hire that person.

    David Thompson P.E.,M.ASCE
    KTA Structural Engineers Ltd.
    Calgary AB
    (403) 246-8827

  • 3.  RE: Does you cultural background effect your career?

    Posted 07-19-2019 10:21 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 07-19-2019 10:20 AM
    It is true and culture does affect your career. It happens in both ways. 

    1. Impact on employer
    2. Impact on employee

    Impact on employer - process and system that following by employees might be different as per their culture. If the organization with multi nationalities, employers should take extra effort to get all the employees in to the company system. However, some behavior based issues might be there. If employees will be able to adopt the common system, there won't be issues.

    Impact on employee - some people, bosses (not all) may be treating employees differently as per the culture of employees. That is not ethical but practically it happens, but not often.

    Rohana Dasanayake M.ASCE
    Assistant Construction Manager