Thursday, 24 January 2013

The First Six Months: Gruppe-Arbeit

6 years ago, I met a Chinese girl. She went by the name Ha (real name). We were in a Group together at school, with a Scottish guy. She never contributed to work- at all. And at the end of it, the Scottish guy bemused, asked her, if it was the problem with the language or her understanding of the project itself. Ha said both. We went on with it. Finished it. And the younger, less aware me took this as 'Chinese' attitude. It didn't help when a British boss of mine concluded additionally that Chinese people had no shame for copying and did not care about 'originality'. It's another thing now, if one had to consider the luxury markets in China.

I work with a Chinese girl again now. And she has the exact same work ethic like me. We slog and go to Panda to celebrate our success. We work together. There are 1 billion + Chinese people. I let myself see the merits of not generalising.

From here found on Google images
In India, at work, sometimes my least favourite part was to team up with people who didn't share the same work ethics as me. Spoke more and worked far less. Now that I'm outside of the country, I hear a lot of people talk about how "Indians" lack the ability to do quality work. Indians in my class are mostly spoilt. In their definition of group work, you save people- even if they don't really work. They claim it is cultural. Like jugaad. I just think there are a billion people.

I'm not going to dwell on what happened in my Indian-Indian-Chinese group project, you can take a guess. But given my utter frustration of feeling irritated with attitudes last year, I needed to solve for it. And not passively on emails. But in person. Let people know I don't really appreciate slackness, and they must realise the consequences of not contributing equally. I did that today. Spoke and said, I was not going to lie, cover up and compromise. I was going to call the person out. And stick by it. It allowed me this weird sense of positiveness. Perhaps the reason I had to experience it again was just to practice this. Stand up and say, I do not support mediocrity. Even if I am called harsh, proud, difficult. I choose to be honest. And not die with it inside, but say it. It's not good enough to just have ethics, expressing them is just as big a deal. We didn't help the cause by not telling Ha how unhappy we were.

PS: Deutsch is not my stress language yet. Notice how today, I almost used no fancy words, but oh well Hol' die Tassen! ;-)

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