PDA

View Full Version : Culture Shock - SF perspective?


Pandora
05-15-2004, 21:32
Long/short - with time to reflect - my first trip to Europe was enlightening, wonderful, historically educational and moving. And frustrating on a corporate drone level.

I am further in awe of SF personnel. I can only imagine what you have encountered and the intricacies of managing such experiences in the field with other cultures.

Question: when on AD in the field in a foreign country, do you respond with your GUT, true impressions and beliefs or do you tend to pull a "Colin Powell" - and utter what is the diplomatically correct response to tough questions?


I LOVED Europe and the history, architecture, and education, but I had a real problem with the politics posed as questions or venting by co-workers.

I am heading back soon - guidance very much appreciated. What really works? What carries import and weight? When does one STFU?

Pandora
05-15-2004, 22:19
On further reflection, I will clarify:

I am neither a member of the US military, or a US citizen. Nonetheless, I pose the question as if I was both. Born with PS leanings, geogrphy aside.

I both admired and abhorred the European "17:30 is quitting time" mentality." I can’t recall the last time I quit at the end of the designated work day, but they are right in that the organization doesn't fall apart over night.

The Bush/Kerry external debates annoyed me to no end - I was not exposed to one intelligent discussion on the pro's or cons - WMD -was the focal point - period.


I know how I felt and how I reacted and argued. I am simply curious how experienced military personnel handle similar scenarios.

I am certain I could have done better, i.e. my response generally was, and “The new guy on the radar is scarier!" I am certain my exposure in this environment is not in the slightest comparable to what you face on the ground with "hearts and minds," at stake.


I am counting on the fact that even the leg on the ground is responsible for statesmanship - I am open to instruction before my next foray into the fray.

Solid
05-16-2004, 05:00
JFYI:
In all EU countries you are required to work a 48 hr week. There is little incentive given for over time. This differs in the UK, where many contracts ask for the worker to give over the above right (introduced by Mr. Blair). In these industries, overtime is prevalent, although still not in the same league as America. Having said this, the standard of service differs hugely between Euros and Americans.

Solid

Jack Moroney (RIP)
05-16-2004, 07:58
Originally posted by Pandora
Question: when on AD in the field in a foreign country, do you respond with your GUT, true impressions and beliefs or do you tend to pull a "Colin Powell" - and utter what is the diplomatically correct response to tough questions?




Every SF Group is area oriented which includes both language and cultural training. Area studies for the particular area of concentration exist or are prepared and part of the pre-mission training. Now to answer your question directly, it really depends on the situation at hand but the bottom line here is that whichever choice is made it is made with some sound fundamental background knowledge as to the country, its people, politics, religious bent, and cultural sensitivity. Now this is the preferred goal, however with the OPTEMPO with the GWOT folks that are normally oriented to one area of the world might very well find themselves in any other place both because SF has become the tip of the spear for problem resolution both on the military side and to handle what used to be handled by the feckless State Department . So if you find yourself wandering around Slovenia it might not be unusal to hear some SF troop who has been shifted from his normal area of orientation to a new one to meet someone's contingency plan make a mistake and greet some one by stating, "Buenos Tag".

Jack Moroney

Razor
05-16-2004, 18:48
Originally posted by Solid
JFYI:
In all EU countries you are required to work a 48 hr week.

With how many weeks a year of 'holiday'?

Solid
05-17-2004, 01:47
I'll check for you.
There is no doubt that, legal requirements aside, the American work ethic far surpasses that of Old Europe. Just walk into any restaurant.

Solid

Tetrian
05-17-2004, 02:16
I cant speak for rest of europe, but In denmark weeks are usually at 37 hours(8 hours a day from mon-thursday, 5 on fridays) - depending on the jobs type etc people usually put in alot more.

We have 5 weeks of "payed" vacation(25 days) per year - people usually have a bit more as they can take time off if they work extra hours etc(instead of getting payed overtime).


-Tet

The Reaper
05-17-2004, 06:34
Originally posted by Solid
JFYI:
In all EU countries you are required to work a 48 hr week. Solid

35 in Germany, a couple of German companies just got their employees to work 40 for the same pay to keep them from moving their jobs to Eastern Europe.

TR

Solid
05-17-2004, 06:42
We only briefly touched on this in Economics, so I don't know the specific variations, only that there are many because the EU is such an artificial creation. Germany and France are likely to have shorter work days because of the high level of unionization, whereas employers in the UK can increase the amount of work hours because of Thatcher's deunionization efforts.

I'm still looking into the amount of holiday leave given by the EU statutes, but am having trouble because my IP is being... hesitant.

I'll see if my teacher knows offhand.

Solid