Cigna International Health Insurance

New Zealand Expat Forum

Culture Shock in the Workplace

Topic Closed thread is now closed  
Post New Topic Newest First
AngieSloboda
10/1/2019 03:52 EST

Hello everyone,
My husband, son, and I have been here (in Wellington) for just over a year. My husband has a job, but is finding it hard to acclimate to the job environment. We come from the USA where things are very competitive, striving for excellence, working harder and longer hours than those around you to prove your worth. While we did move here to enjoy a better work/life balance, my husband still struggles with things like 'island time', 'tall poppy syndrome', and just the more laid back lifestyle in his work environment. I was curious if anyone has any resources, tips, or helpful advice for how to get used to things in his workplace.
Many thanks!

This topic has been closed. Please post a new topic.

horsenut2000
1/11/2020 11:02 EST

I am currently in the U.S. and looking at New Zealand as a possible place to move. I have skills that are listed on their "hot" skills list, so I suspect I could find something.

But, I can understand your husbands challenges. Could you explain what 'island syndrome' or 'poppy time' means?

This topic has been closed. Please post a new topic.

allianz international health insurance

For expats in New Zealand, choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision. Get a quote from our partner, Allianz Care. Their plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz Care's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget.

Get a Quote

CliffNZ
1/20/2020 19:15 EST

The tall poppy syndrome describes aspects of a culture where people of high status are resented, attacked, cut down, strung up or criticized because they have been classified as superior to their peers.

This topic has been closed. Please post a new topic.

Coral84
1/21/2020 22:34 EST

"Tall poppy syndrome" is also in the UK and Australia, it's as the previous reply mentions, it's where people cut-down people if they grow too high above everyone else, aka they're boastful, arrogant or overly confident. This is why people in the UK, New Zealand and Australia are more self-deprecating to show you aren't a tall poppy who thinks they're better than everyone else.

"Island time" is where everyone is just more laid back about timings i.e. if a party is due to start at 6pm you don't turn up til at least 7pm. Meetings etc might also not be exactly on time. It's just a more laid back way of living.

I'm a British expat living in Hawaii, used to live in Wellington, NZ and married an American. So I get where you're coming from and understand these concepts very well. Below I put down a few thoughts about both culture types (US vs NZ/UK/AUS), I see strengths and weaknesses in both, and find the differences fascinating. Please don't take any offence to what I write as none is meant.

So after living in the US for nearly 10 years, as a British person I can now appreciate being able to be confident in my abilities without thinking I'm big headed. In the UK we can view Americans as cocky, arrogant, overly confident, and willing to do anything to get ahead. Whereas in the UK/NZ I'd say you show you're good at your job by just doing it and not by vocalizing how good you are, or expecting any thanks. Also if you do well i.e. get an award etc, you want to down play it and not make a fuss about it. You can see how tiring that can be, and maybe it limits peoples full capabilities, but I think it's to make sure people don't get too cocky, they stay grounded and have humility. I'm not saying either approach is better I'm just stating what I think are the cultural differences between these countries to give you a better idea of where people are coming from.

Now after living in the US for a few years and marrying one I see American confidence is often just being comfortable to be confident about your abilities and people are just more optimistic that they can achieve their goals if they think positively and confidently and go for it. Again this can be perceived as an "every man for himself" mentality and that it doesn't matter how many people you stand on to make your way to the top, this is not appreciated or admired in the UK/NZ, It doesn't mean kiwis don't want to achieve great things, they do, but you don't boast about it. You're part of a team/group so they appreciate team players. As a counter I'd say Americans are way better at communicating ideas more directly, which is so much easier than in the UK/NZ. I used to say things like "If it isn't too much trouble, if you don't mind, could you possibly"...do x,y, or z for me, whereas in the US you just say "Can you help me out with x,y, or z", so much easier!

Self deprecation, is a large part of UK/NZ sense of humour/humor too, which is far less PC than in the US. Also a sense of humour itself is important, don't be afraid to laugh at/mock yourself (aka self deprecation). If you want to fit in in NZ you may want to try being more laid back, and if you haven't already watch Flight of the Conchords and anything directed my Taika Waititi. Also British comedies might help. You can be confident, but not overly confident and don't boast about your achievements (not saying you do any of these things). New Zealand is my favourite/favorite country in the world and I love their laid back, family friendly attitude so I hope you can work through your difficulties and come to appreciate the gem of a country it is. I hope this rambling response helps in at least some way.

This topic has been closed. Please post a new topic.

Expatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in New Zealand.

International Moving Companies

Moving to New Zealand? Get a moving quote.


Mail Forwarding to New Zealand

Mail Forwarding to New Zealand.


Expat Tax

Expat Tax Preparation, Expat Tax Professionals

Join Today (free)

Join Expat Exchange to meet expats in your area or get advice before your move. It's FREE and takes 1 minute!

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in New Zealand from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

5-Expats-Talk-About-What-Its-Really-Like-Living-in-New-Zealand5 Expats Talk About What It's Really Like Living in New Zealand

Expats in New Zealand talk about deciding where to live, the family-oriented culture, enrolling in the public school system, meeting people and more.
Expats in New Zealand talk about deciding where to live, the family-oriented culture, enrolling in the public school system, meeting people and more. ...

Expats-in-New-ZealandMoving to New Zealand

Expats share tips for people moving to New Zealand from housing to banking, healthcare to what to bring.

Expats share tips for people moving to New Zealand from housing to banking, healthcare to what to bring....

Expat-New-Zealand10 Tips for Living in New Zealand

Expats are drawn to New Zealand's astoundingly beautiful scenery, laid back lifestyle, safe cities and towns and low cost healthcare. For some, life in New Zealand is a dream come true. Other expats find that living in New Zealand, like many other places, has its pros and cons.

Expats are drawn to New Zealand's astoundingly beautiful scenery, laid back lifestyle, safe cities and towns and low cost healthcare. For some, life in New Zealand is a dream come true. Other expats...

Copyright 1997-2021 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal