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Venturing 'out' and 'about' the work / life balance

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The Canadian accent is more than slightly different to their American counterparts. Part of the charm of the people is that the Scottish influence is heard in the pronunciation of the vowels ooout and aboout. In packing for my short term assignment to Canada, one would think that the thoughts that would be floating around my head would be work orientated, such as how am I going to design a portfolio framework for 600+ projects?! However, the other personal and subtle considerations perhaps are at the foremost of my thoughts. Work has been packaged in the back of my mind whilst I muse over the culture, sense of humour, different accents, social scene, and how to fill my personal time how not to be lonely indeed.

Why? Because when I arrive I will step into a neatly packaged life, furnished apartment, have a car provided and will go to work the next day. What I do not know, is that which causes the musings. Building a social world and life, fitting in and being accepted is part of any consultants work with a new project but the anxiety increases when having no fall-back of getting home to family and friends to share the experiences with.

Often our anxiety about work manifests in the smaller elements around the periphery that should not be ignored as the personal elements are often those that we have less control over rather than the professional, where we know how to approach a project and apply a structure.

So with anxiety and excitement I will have a Canadian summer and intend to maximise absorbing and being in the new environment, culture and social scene. Oh, and I am going to make sure I do a good job too!


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  1. Claire Purser
    Claire Purser 30 July 2012, 07:30 PM

    Shelina,Absolutely its a learning experience - I have already learnt in the last month that I cannot naturally expect people to understand me as I expect them to! Although we speak the same language the cultural expressions are different - one example being the business the phrases we use - I have to keep checking that they are understood in the presentations I am giving.  Examples being we talk about 'big handfalls', being 'flummoxed' and 'starter for ten' - these are some of the phrases that have been met with bafflement!I have to say my resilience has definately been boosted by the levels of interest and welcome given when it is known you are working abroad away from home; the openess and kindness here has been incredibly motivating. 

  2. Sheilina Somani
    Sheilina Somani 27 July 2012, 12:35 PM

    Claire, I like the openess with which you approach this exciting opportunity.  You're absolutely right a mixture of trepidation and enthusiasm pervades any new environment for many people. I'd add that this musing is a form of risk management - helping each of us to actively manage our expectations and perceptions, whilst considering our role in this new context. As someone who's moved amongst a wide number of assignments and organisations, my resilience to each move has been balanced by optimism.  I consider each an opportunity learn as much about myself as the host culture.