I’m back in good old Germany! I had a great time in Australia and made a number of intercultural experiences, as you were able hear over my last four episodes. However, now my everyday life has got me back, which is a bit of a shame, and as a consequence our category “absolutely down-under” has come to an end. I hope you enjoyed the stories and that I was able to give you a bit of an insight into cultural matters in Australia.
In different countries people have different ways of balancing their private lives and their work lives. To give you an example, our friend Mohamed in Aswan in Egypt is a very polychronic person and does not separate his private life from his work life at all. When my wife and I walk past the office of our friend on an ordinary work day he will insist that we come in, even if he is in the middle of a meeting and he will interrupt the meeting for half an hour, send out his business partners in order to have a cup of tea and biscuits with us while the others all happily wait until the meeting resumes after we have left. If, however, during this time Mohamed’s wife happens to stroll by with his delightful three-year old nephew this will easily add another half hour to the interruption of the meeting. Everybody in the office, including the business partners, seems to enjoy these social life interruptions in their work time, only my wife and I, both very monochronic, find it terribly hard to accept that important work is interrupted by private life. We cannot even enjoy the hospitality because according to our values and beliefs work comes first and private life has to wait, so we would prefer to meet Mohamed after his work, perhaps in a cafe. Recently, we had some friends from England over and we talked about how much private life and informality would be acceptable in our Northern European work places. I asked Elaine how she makes sure that her work life does not take over her private time.
For some odd reason we almost have a bad conscience when we feel too comfortable at work and fear that if we get too relaxed this would seem inappropriate and unprofessional.
Well, personally I must admit, that I have one factor in my work place that really makes sure that I never feel absolutely comfortable – With shame, I am talking about my overflowing inbox – and in particular the sheer abundance of messages that I need to get through every day. However, I am in good company as many professionals nowadays suffer because of email-related stress. Let us hear what people most dislike about this form of communication which is still relatively new but has quickly risen to the top of the list in work communication, even though everybody seems to complain about it.
The lack of personal touch, the problem with dozens of SPAM mails, long response time, misunderstandings because of short-hand style, no subject lines or missing attachments, a lack of clear structure, or in some cases simply too many messages in your inbox after a short absence. So, as all complain about this phenomenon, in a round-table discussion with Master students we thought about strategies to improve the situation
In our next category I spoke with some students and asked them what they can’t stand receiving an e-mail message. I was surprised to hear about all that can happen if you don`t have a correct e-mail address.
In third category you will hear Sebastian Dorok, an Apple Distinguished Educator and teacher of English and music at a highschool in Germany. Sebastian talks about his own experiences as a teacher and gives concrete insights into his podcasting project with young students.
absolutely correct part 2
In our last category we will return to our students from RheinAhrCampus, who now give us some advice how to write a good e-mail message.
So, the next time you’ll write an e-mail message to your friends, you familiy or to your colleagues, you know what you have to do.
The next show will be hosted by Anne Fox in Denmark on 30. of April
Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!
The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Dino Nogarole
One thought on “absolutely intercultural 107 +++ work-life balance +++ absolutely awful +++ Email advice +++ Sebastian Dorok +++”
Good article. There are so many factors that go into balancing work and normal life.