Sunday, October 27, 2013

Workplace Relationships

Here's a list of things that you probably shouldn't do with your coworkers or higher-ups in American culture.
  • Have a romantic relationship
  • Cohabitate temporarily with the Director of Studies (the academic supervisor)
  • Go to a restaurant / bar / dance club and drink with your coworkers and Director of Studies
  • Drink when the Director (the big boss) doesn't
  • Smoke shisha with the Director and the Administrative Manager
  • Watch belly dancers with the Director, Director of Studies, and Administrative Manager
  • Listen to sexually explicit music with the Director, Director of Studies, and Administrative Manager

I'm married to a coworker. Patrick and I let our Director of Studies stay with us for a few days. It was sort of weird to be in my pajamas and such around her. Our first weekend, we went to a restaurant / bar / dance club with fog machines called Petrovich, where I split a bottle of wine with a coworker although I did decline to dance and to try the local spirit that my coworkers were mixing with red wine. Last weekend, the Director took me, Patrick, the Director of Studies, and the Administrative Manager on an excursion to Pyatigorsk. While we were there we did the last four bullets on the list, and let me tell you, it's really awkward to watch belly dancers with your higher-ups. I want to look to show them that I'm interested in the performance and that I appreciate it, but at the same time, it's a little uncomfortable. Regarding the music, the Director didn't realize that it was explicit. I mean, can you imagine trying to understand rap in another language?

Other interesting differences are that I'm paid in cash and that I'm considered a very positive person in the office. Maybe all of that positive framing while I worked at Citizen Schools did make me more positive. Who knows? Also, family members of the Director and my coworkers often swing by the office with food or milk. They sometimes bring their children to the cramped teachers' room--much to my delight.

With all that being said, I really enjoyed the outings and I definitely like my coworkers and higher-ups. Workplace relationships outside the office are just a bit different here, and it'll be interesting to navigate all sorts of interactions.