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Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

Old Jan 18th 2020, 10:05 pm
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
After 50 years of working in an office in New York, I never found that co-workers got together after work and socialized. It was a rarity when that happened and usually that rarity was during a holiday. I made acquaintances at work and would share the lunchroom with them and we would chat about non-consequential things during that hour but that was the extent of it.

I was always fine with that as I had my own personal network of friends outside of the office that I went places with, had dinner with, went clubbing with, etc.

The only thing I can add is that never wait for someone to say "good morning" first. Make it a habit to say it when you first see someone in the morning. A smile and a word will make the other smile and greet you back.
East Coast vs So. Cal, big difference in things between the coasts, So. California is more relaxed and workplaces tend to be friendly and laid back and people socialize more there, when your environment is cold and isolating it does bad things to your mental health.

I don't wait, I always say hello, 95% of the time people will ignore you. The other times might get a nod or half smile. Vancouver is a cold & unfriendly city. Seattle is similiar, they call it the Seattle freeze there. I hear Portland is friendlier though. Smart phones make it even easier now for people to ignore one another as most have ear buds in listening to music or whatever and don't hear you at all and just look down at their phone screen ignoring life around them.

Your experience doesn't somehow make my experiences less relevant, hence why I said my experience has been, and the OP seems to have a similiar experience to the workplace here vs elsewhere they have worked.



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Old Jan 18th 2020, 10:14 pm
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

Originally Posted by Jsmth321 View Post
East Coast vs West Coast, big difference in things between the coasts, So. California is more relaxed and workplaces tend to be friendly and people socialize more.
I don't buy this. I worked in the Bay area at several companies and people hardly left the building, they were as uptight as people anywhere. By contrast, the people I worked with in Manhattan and, oddly, Jersey City were very social. .If I had to pick the place with the most social workers it would be Cincinnati or Madison WI but that's no help in an east coast/west coast argument. Oh DC was fun too, co-workers took me to see the firefighters getting shot at!
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Old Jan 18th 2020, 10:37 pm
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

Originally Posted by LondonM View Post
Thank you all for your responses, you all seem to be saying similar things. I guess I must try to accept the way/ people are here. But I miss the easy conversations and connections etc I had with people in London. I’m afraid I will be in this state permanently as Siouxie said in this cultural shock stage. I am raising my children here And we have a nice family but here does not feel like home. I just miss the long term relationships I left behind and everything else. I still feel like I’m new here a lot of the time. I still struggle to remember to say the right Canadian words and things (Floor levels and many other things... after 6 years! I think moving to a new county in your 30s is very hard, I just feel I don’t have flexibility to change/ adopt to this new culture etc. But my husband and kids are happy here so I have to be too.
siouxie, Thank you for offering a place for me to come back for a little moan. Sometimes that’s all that is needed to feel better. I try to express this feelings to my friends in london but they say “ just come back” like I can just come back!
I’m in Atlantic Canada, but my experience has been very much the same as yours. Sometimes it’s so quiet in our office you can hear a pin drop. I have always been pleasant, probably on the verge of pushy, on occasion...as I’ve felt more isolated, but it really isn’t easy.
I made office overtures, but they were never reciprocated...so I’ve stopped.

When we first moved here we had all of our neighbours (we are in a cul de sac of 12 houses) to dinner, barbecue or drinks on a fairly regular basis for the first three years, but they never invited us back. The man next told me that ours was the first home he’d been in during the 20 odd years he’s lived here...he has visited us regularly as he’s a widow, even at Christmas, but he’s never invited us back even for a drink. That being said, my mother-in-law was one of the most unfriendly people I’ve ever met, so I should have been warned. I suspect that my husband, if left to his own devices, might have ignored the neighbours I don’t know?

I lived in the Middle-East, Gulf, Africa and France before I came here and am still friends with both local and expatriate friends we met there, but the Canadians just don’t take to me.

I had always dismissed the idea of living somewhere totally culturally different, where I have no hope with the language, but after living in Canada it doesn’t worry me a jot because I haven’t fitted in here at all, so I’m quite excited by where we might move next

Chin up LondonM! It can be upsetting some days, but your kids and family unit are probably doing much better than you might have in the UK...one hopes, even if you soul is withering by degrees.

Very best rest of luck
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Old Jan 18th 2020, 11:15 pm
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

I think I must have moved to another country to the rest of you on this thread. The office I worked in in Toronto when we arrived had regular social events in the evenings, a couple of guys ran gym classes at lunchtime and the co workers were so friendly I ended up going to help one pick out an engagement ring, and got a lovely thank you note from his fiancee.
I am still in touch with our neighbour from our previous house, meeting for lunch every couple of months and the neighbours that we have now delivered meals to us when I broke my ankle and couldn't cook.
In the summer I locked myself in one of our sheds and texted 4 of the neighbours in the hope that one of them was home. All 4 responded within 15 mins, one drove over a km to get me out and the closest neighbors bought me a present as an apology for not being faster to check their phones.
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Old Jan 19th 2020, 12:21 am
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

My primary ex left Canada a little less than ten years ago after being here from 1981. At our daughter's wedding a couple of years ago there was a Canadian, the neighbour from 1985 until the ex left. I asked the ex then if she was still in touch with anyone else from here and she named a friend who is now in France (her country of origin). That's it, 30 or so years in Canada and no lasting contacts made with the locals. I expect that will be true for me as well; some facebook banter with another ex but otherwise no lasting contact. Still, I don't suppose the daughter has lasting contacts in the C.A.R, Iraq or Afghanistan, despite years in each. One can work in a country happily enough without being personally engaged with the people of that country,
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Old Jan 19th 2020, 1:18 am
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

Originally Posted by HGerchikov View Post
I think I must have moved to another country to the rest of you on this thread. ............
I'm like you.

The place I worked was really friendly. There were indoor and outdoor workers, but we all knew each other. There were usually 2 evening pot-luck get togethers, with spouses and partners, and everyone would attend, especially the Christmas party.

We had a lunch room in the main building, and although the outdoor workers ate lunch earlier than the indoor ones, because of very different start hours, we all knew that we could go in there and chit chat.

I'd walk through the main office building every morning saying hello and having a short chat with everyone who was in, and the same before I left at night. So would the other people.

Some people were closer outside work hours that others. There were 2 co-workers who I considered among my best friends. One died much too soon, the other now lives in Mexico but we're in contact and usually see each other when he returns to Canada.

This was part of a university, and OH was a faculty member in another department, that behaved exactly the same way. Like myself, he has some close friends from the department that he still sees regularly, plus others from the wider university circle.

We lived in an apartment block for just over 4 years before buying a house, were usually friendly with 1 or 2 people in there although everyone would smile and say hello when meeting in the elevator or hallway. We've now lived in the same house since 1972, are friendly with several neighbours, used to have bbqs, teas, etc but those have tailed off as we've all got older. Our immediate next door neighbour (son of the original owners who bought the house the same year that we bought ours) has a key to the house for when we go away, so has the neighbour 2 doors away from him who we have known since 1972.

We all help each other when we can ........ shovelling snow, etc etc

As far as walking and greeting people, I used to walk the neighbourhood a lot, I always smiled and nodded or said hello at people and would get a response. OH complains that he gets few responses these days ........... I've suggested to him that that is because he is a man and many women now are so scared that they would not acknowledge.

Plus, of course many are from different cultures.

One thing about apartments is that you actually have little privacy ...... walls and ceilings can be so thin that you can hear almost everything that goes on. Keeping apart is one way to protect your privacy. I've been told it's very similar to culture in Japan.

The work I did at the university was the closest I ever came to working in an office ........... I was a research technician with my own office, but I could be called on to replace the Receptionist if necessary. I knew how to answer the telephone, learnt how to transfer calls with few mistakes, and could take messages!
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Old Jan 19th 2020, 1:48 am
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

Originally Posted by dbd33 View Post
I don't buy this. I worked in the Bay area at several companies and people hardly left the building, they were as uptight as people anywhere. By contrast, the people I worked with in Manhattan and, oddly, Jersey City were very social. .If I had to pick the place with the most social workers it would be Cincinnati or Madison WI but that's no help in an east coast/west coast argument. Oh DC was fun too, co-workers took me to see the firefighters getting shot at!
I changed it So.California its very laid back there and nothing like No. California, may as well be 2 states really considering the differences between North and South. And doesn't matter anyway, different people experience different things in the same place, one poster here loves Vancouver where I hate the place and literally see nothing good about this city, its just a high cost city with little to offer, doesn't change anything, we just experience things differently.


Trick with apartments to get quiet is to make sure to avoid wood frame buildings, and go for concrete ones, they tend to be quiet. Our building is low rise concrete and you can't hear anyone from the other units, so at least there is quiet, but no real privacy and your neighbor can flood you out or cause significant damage through something they do in their apartment, one dirty unit can bring in mice and pests and impossible to deal with etc, really no upside to apartment living, just downsides.



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Old Jan 19th 2020, 2:23 am
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

Originally Posted by Jsmth321 View Post
I changed it So.California its very laid back there and nothing like No. California, may as well be 2 states really considering the differences between North and South. And doesn't matter anyway, different people experience different things in the same place, one poster here loves Vancouver where I hate the place and literally see nothing good about this city, its just a high cost city with little to offer, doesn't change anything, we just experience things differently.


Trick with apartments to get quiet is to make sure to avoid wood frame buildings, and go for concrete ones, they tend to be quiet. Our building is low rise concrete and you can't hear anyone from the other units, so at least there is quiet, but no real privacy and your neighbor can flood you out or cause significant damage through something they do in their apartment, one dirty unit can bring in mice and pests and impossible to deal with etc, really no upside to apartment living, just downsides.
I worked in San Diego and in LA. I was in LA for the Rodney King riots. When the riot broke out a colleague said "I have a friend who lives near there I'm going to see if he's ok. Are you coming?" I had to say "yes" because he'd let me drive his, rented, muscle car on Mulholland Drive. So, sociable, yes, but also redneck lunatic. San Diego was more chilled, agreed, but the job there led me to driving across the country with bricks of hydroponic weed in the car and a super toked cat on the dashboard, not everyone's idea of the correct level of workplace socialisation. Still, I laugh now because, approaching Canada, we still had a whole brick. Not wanting to waste it we mailed it. Weed to Canada is like coals to Newcastle. Back to the point, yes, I met people in So Cal who were friendly and not work obsessed, in No Cal, not so much.



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Old Jan 19th 2020, 4:14 am
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

Originally Posted by Jsmth321 View Post
I changed it So.California its very laid back there and nothing like No. California, may as well be 2 states really considering the differences between North and South. And doesn't matter anyway, different people experience different things in the same place, one poster here loves Vancouver where I hate the place and literally see nothing good about this city, its just a high cost city with little to offer, doesn't change anything, we just experience things differently.


Trick with apartments to get quiet is to make sure to avoid wood frame buildings, and go for concrete ones, they tend to be quiet. Our building is low rise concrete and you can't hear anyone from the other units, so at least there is quiet, but no real privacy and your neighbor can flood you out or cause significant damage through something they do in their apartment, one dirty unit can bring in mice and pests and impossible to deal with etc, really no upside to apartment living, just downsides.
We were in a 7 storey concrete building. We could still hear shoes dropped on the floor in the apartment above, and neighbours slamming doors.

The only other experience of apartments that I had was in a 2 storey walk-up in Texas, where there was a staircase from outside leading up to 2 apartments. We shared a small landing with the next apartment. In my 10 months living in that place, we had 4 different neighbours across the landing, almost all of them would leave the light on outside their door. As there was no door to the outside at the bottom, we were always inundated with moths and other creepy crawlers. We had to clean and then fumigate our apartment every Saturday morning before going out shopping, or else we would get cockroaches and spiders inside. Thank heavens, no scorpions!

And this was considered a "good" place!

That was also a place where few people talked to one another at work. No lunch room, no coffee break .......... if you wanted coffee you took in your own little kettle and made it at your desk. I talked to the janitor responsible for our floor, to the departmental electrician, and to the technician who shared the lab with me. That's it.
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Old Jan 19th 2020, 5:25 am
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

I worked at my companies H/O for a couple of weeks in Nov/Dec time last year. I had already been warned it was eerily quiet but it was that bad I asked to be moved back to a residential house (I work in Mental health housing).

People were friendly but there was def no banter and I was extremely bored with upper management not giving me any significant client focused work to do.

One of the housing Managers would often go for walks and have chats and talk about his past career working at an airport (he was friendly and always said good morning) and one of the other admin people talked a little bit but that was it.

Completely different to my experience when I worked for the local council’s training dept. 10 years ago in the UK

I’m glad with my temporary location right as the full time staff at my level are friendly and have a good sense of humour




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Old Jan 19th 2020, 6:09 am
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

Originally Posted by scilly View Post
We were in a 7 storey concrete building. We could still hear shoes dropped on the floor in the apartment above, and neighbours slamming doors.

The only other experience of apartments that I had was in a 2 storey walk-up in Texas, where there was a staircase from outside leading up to 2 apartments. We shared a small landing with the next apartment. In my 10 months living in that place, we had 4 different neighbours across the landing, almost all of them would leave the light on outside their door. As there was no door to the outside at the bottom, we were always inundated with moths and other creepy crawlers. We had to clean and then fumigate our apartment every Saturday morning before going out shopping, or else we would get cockroaches and spiders inside. Thank heavens, no scorpions!

And this was considered a "good" place!

That was also a place where few people talked to one another at work. No lunch room, no coffee break .......... if you wanted coffee you took in your own little kettle and made it at your desk. I talked to the janitor responsible for our floor, to the departmental electrician, and to the technician who shared the lab with me. That's it.
But what year are you talking about?

Noise proofing has come a long way over the years, modern concrete buildings should be pretty quiet if built well.
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Old Jan 19th 2020, 6:13 am
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

Originally Posted by beckiwoo View Post
I worked at my companies H/O for a couple of weeks in Nov/Dec time last year. I had already been warned it was eerily quiet but it was that bad I asked to be moved back to a residential house (I work in Mental health housing).

People were friendly but there was def no banter and I was extremely bored with upper management not giving me any significant client focused work to do.

One of the housing Managers would often go for walks and have chats and talk about his past career working at an airport (he was friendly and always said good morning) and one of the other admin people talked a little bit but that was it.

Completely different to my experience when I worked for the local council’s training dept. 10 years ago in the UK

I’m glad with my temporary location right as the full time staff at my level are friendly and have a good sense of humour
Sounds like an interesting job you have, if I were more educated and smart enough, something in mental health would have been my choice of career.



As for workplaces my wife had an awful experience in Chilliwack, other then my wife everyone else in the office was from the same church and they basically shunned my wife since she was not from their church, got so bad she quit. Even the labor board got involved because it was so unprofessional and so bad, it was literal borderline abuse. She for one will never live in the Fraser Valley again, that experience in 2016 left her with such a bad impression of the Fraser Valley she refuses to ever live there again, add in the horrible mental health services she received she doubly hates it out there.
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Old Jan 19th 2020, 9:00 pm
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

Originally Posted by Jsmth321 View Post
Sounds like an interesting job you have, if I were more educated and smart enough, something in mental health would have been my choice of career.
I don’t have a degree in what I do, I have a vocational diploma (NVQ) from the UK and 7 years experience. It can be tough at times especially when a client is very unwell. After 7 years I would prefer a Case Management role but I don’t have my BSW/MSW and the chances of getting this is slim
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Old Jan 19th 2020, 10:23 pm
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

Originally Posted by beckiwoo View Post
I don’t have a degree in what I do, I have a vocational diploma (NVQ) from the UK and 7 years experience. It can be tough at times especially when a client is very unwell. After 7 years I would prefer a Case Management role but I don’t have my BSW/MSW and the chances of getting this is slim
Education doesn't necessarily have to lead to a degree, a diploma is an achievement and an education in itself. I would certainly rank many diploma programs above degrees in being more useful.

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Old Jan 20th 2020, 1:41 am
  #30  
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Default Re: Office etiquette in Canada particularly Vancouver

Sorry to say that I think your experience is pretty common for Canada. If you've got friendly neighbours then you're pretty lucky.
Where I've worked people haven''t been overly friendly. If you say good morning, they'll reply but they don't offer any greeting. In meetings if you arrive before they start people tend to study the table, and at home time it's a dash for the door so no opportunity for after hours socialising. Totally different to experience in the UK where you socialised with everyone you worked with, and everyone was friendly.
Hopefully there are enough positives to counteract the work environment.

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