Moving to a new city somewhere else in the country is a scary prospect, especially when we jump into a new job at the same time. But what about going to a whole new country, perhaps half way round the world, for a job? What are the kinds of barriers you might expect to face?
Of course there are many benefits to doing this, otherwise nobody would, and in fact a lot of people love to do exactly this. Travelling to a new country is always exciting and provides a lot of opportunities you would otherwise have never had access to. However, we can safely say that for almost anyone this is going to be a learning curve and you might come across some difficulties as a result of the culture you’re used to.
Coming from America to work in the UK, for example, you would most likely notice some crucial differences in the way our cultures compare. For one thing, many people might be taking this path because they are part of a work experience or internship scheme. In the US, this is a relatively common thing to do, while in the UK it isn’t so much. People in a British workplace may have more trouble adjusting to your presence if you’re an intern.
To some extent, you may find that work is a more serious place in the UK and there is a greater focus on concentrating and getting the job done. US employees, by comparison, seem more likely to be chatty and open at work. However, this stereotype is slowly changing as businesses become more global and adaptable, so it really depends on the type of firm and the decisions of individual managers regarding how they want to run their workplace.
A key point of comparison regarding working culture in these two countries is that of work versus life balance. Especially in recent years, UK companies have placed an increasing emphasis on the need to keep employees happy and fulfilled. This includes monitoring the balance they can maintain between the stresses of work and time they can spend relaxing and having fun.
In America it is more common to encounter a classic “workaholic” atmosphere and company structures which reward the most hard-working and competitive staff systematically. There is an argument to be made that in the long run, having to incentivise all productivity and strictly control employees to get the maximum amount of working hours out of them can actually be detrimental to productivity in the long run, so it will be interesting to see how these cultures change in the future.