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Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

Old Mar 14th 2012, 2:31 am
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Default Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

I don't mean from an actual work perspective. I believe in working hard and not slacking off. I have simply found that working here in the US has been too bitter of a pill to swallow. These are my reasons, some may sound odd, but I wanted to put this "out there" to see if I'm either bonkers or if others feel the same way:

- Corporate people here are generally very uptight and talk about nothing but work (I was actually openly reprimanded for discussing the Vikings!). My humour also has never gone down too well and I miss the banter of British offices and the broader mix of people.
- Living to work, not working to live.
- Less team work, more "throw you under the bus" and CYA than the average UK office environment.
- Sheer bloody incompetence everywhere.
- The harder you work, the more you get taken advantage of.
- I hate cubicles and prefer the open office layout where I don't have to IM my boss or rely on email too much.
- Lots of backstabbing.
- Managers who act beyond unprofessionally.
- Too many silly corporate functions, no "hey let's go down the pub after work and grab a couple of pints".
- College degrees required to work $12 an hour menial jobs that a trained chimp could do blindfolded.
- Too many snappy overachievers.
- Cruelty galore.
- Awful dress code, particularly women, some of whom come to work dressed like streetwalkers. Dress down doesn't mean dress like a ho'.
- Few employee rights mean that employers can get away with treating employees like crap, engagin in behaviour that's borderline harassment (as is the case with my wife, who could go to ACAS or CAB back home to lodge a complaint).

I have worked for 4 different companies here, one medium sized, one small, one nonprofit and one large. All the same, you're very much thrown to the wolves and left to sink or swim.

Last edited by Ethelred_the_Unready; Mar 14th 2012 at 2:36 am.
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Old Mar 14th 2012, 2:57 am
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Default Re: Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

Sorry to hear that but it hasn't been my experience though I know it can be hard adjusting from the UK work ethic to here.
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Old Mar 14th 2012, 7:29 am
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Default Re: Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

My wife is American & after having worked in the UK for over 2 years got a job as a Special Ed Teacher in a Middle School. Was thrown straight in with no back up, training or support & constantly has to find out meetings/training has been changed or cancelled by turning up & finding out that as usual she had been left of the email that had been sent round!

And from looking at the many jobs out there you are right college degrees are expected for even the most menial of low paid jobs.
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Old Mar 14th 2012, 7:59 am
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Default Re: Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

Originally Posted by Ethelred_the_Unready View Post
- Corporate people here are generally very uptight and talk about nothing but work (I was actually openly reprimanded for discussing the Vikings!). My humour also has never gone down too well and I miss the banter of British offices and the broader mix of people.
That's the one thing I would miss more than anything - banter and taking the piss. At least here in Oz they are up for that.
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Old Mar 14th 2012, 11:03 am
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Default Re: Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

I didn't find much of that to be true at all. In fact, I think I was treated better in the States than I was in the UK (ie more like an adult(!), Less clock watching etc).

I'm sure it's down to the individuals and I was very lucky to have a great office. That said, working in a lower paid job in the States would be horrible - my ex-gf worked in a retail environment and got treated like rubbish with seemingly no rights/perks whatsoever.

I dunno... I think to an extent work is what you make it, and I certainly found others who liked a bit of banter / Vikings chat (they were Bears / Packers fans so the Vikings chat was all led by me of course...). As I say, in a professional environment I think it's about the individuals but at the lower end then the culture seems to be less in favour of a nice working environment.
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Old Mar 14th 2012, 11:13 am
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Default Re: Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

I wanted to add to this thread that I'm more concerned about my wife. She had a massive panic attack yesterday because her attorney boss screamed at her and berated her for something she didn't do wrong. It's not the first time it's happened either. She's too terrified to go back today.

I tried to get advice on this in an employment forum. No one had any good advice, two replied "this is not the UK", one made a stupid remark about socialism, one told her to "suck it up and grow a thicker skin", the only helpful response was one suggesting she got laid off and may be able to collect UI.

I'm seriously done with America. The UK is nowhere near perfect, but I know we would both be happier there.
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Old Mar 14th 2012, 11:37 am
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Default Re: Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

Sorry to hear about your wife's problems at work, no-one deserves to be screamed at. My American friends here have some difficult bosses but just seem to accept it or look for other work. I'm certainly not saying that this is right but maybe it's just the way things are done here. I work at a Montessori school and in this past year have seen 4 people get dismissed for no apparant reason - something that wouldn't happen in the UK without prior meetings with the employee etc. But having said that my husband's boss is from the UK and based back there and he is the most depressing, incompetent, unmotivating person that my husband has ever worked for. I'm sure there are people out there in jobs that they really shouldn't be in but sadly I don't think this is ever going to change. Is your wife in a position where she can change jobs? Maybe she just needs to put this behind her and move on to something new.
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Old Mar 14th 2012, 12:18 pm
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Default Re: Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

Originally Posted by janicedean164 View Post
My wife is American & after having worked in the UK for over 2 years got a job as a Special Ed Teacher in a Middle School. Was thrown straight in with no back up, training or support & constantly has to find out meetings/training has been changed or cancelled by turning up & finding out that as usual she had been left of the email that had been sent round!

And from looking at the many jobs out there you are right college degrees are expected for even the most menial of low paid jobs.
I'm sorry to hear that. I've experienced that too; little or no training, poor levels of communication, too much reliance on email.

It's been almost a decade since I lived and worked in the UK. I wonder if times have changed there too and it's become more "corporate"? If that's the case, I need a career change.
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Old Mar 14th 2012, 12:19 pm
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Default Re: Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

Originally Posted by Ethelred_the_Unready View Post
- Sheer bloody incompetence everywhere
I tend to agree but I'm not sure you can single out the USA here.

Originally Posted by Ethelred_the_Unready View Post
- Awful dress code, particularly women, some of whom come to work dressed like streetwalkers. Dress down doesn't mean dress like a ho'.
Where is it you work again?
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Old Mar 14th 2012, 12:23 pm
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Default Re: Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

Originally Posted by denzil75 View Post
Sorry to hear about your wife's problems at work, no-one deserves to be screamed at. My American friends here have some difficult bosses but just seem to accept it or look for other work. I'm certainly not saying that this is right but maybe it's just the way things are done here. I work at a Montessori school and in this past year have seen 4 people get dismissed for no apparant reason - something that wouldn't happen in the UK without prior meetings with the employee etc. But having said that my husband's boss is from the UK and based back there and he is the most depressing, incompetent, unmotivating person that my husband has ever worked for. I'm sure there are people out there in jobs that they really shouldn't be in but sadly I don't think this is ever going to change. Is your wife in a position where she can change jobs? Maybe she just needs to put this behind her and move on to something new.
Accepting it is not something I can do. She's too terrified to go in today for fear of being berated by them. I can't tell her to suck it up and go in. It worries me though because we are struggling a bit.

She has been applying for other jobs, as have I. No luck yet. She only has an Associates Degree, I don't even have a degree. It's a truly shitty state of affairs that someone can get away with this. These two men have been bullying her and berating her for a while. Nothing pleases them.

I am only human. If someone hurts someone I love, that person is going to end up on my bad side. I really don't give a rat's arse if I'm deported. If they cause her to have a panic attack again, one of them will end up in hospital...that's just how I roll and damn me to hell for saying it. I'm not American and won't lie down and take this.
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Old Mar 14th 2012, 12:49 pm
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Default Re: Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

Sorry to hear about your wife's situation.

The only words of advice I can offer is that she WRITE everything down. dates, who, what was said and keep it factual.
Go to HR with facts and evidence.
Find out what the company policy is on harrasment. ( hint they have to have one)...

nothing in this world is going to change the behaviour of these chaps, but she has to protect herself. ( yes this is the CYA you mentioned....it's not always a bad thing to do and you should never be concerned to do so)

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Old Mar 14th 2012, 2:14 pm
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Default Re: Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

If she is so upset about working where she is why doesn't she just up and quit? If she can't be transferred to another attorney within the same law firm, then it is time to leave their employment. An AD is not much in the way of a degree but is far better than none at all.

If she is not a USC or not as I didn't bother to look up your or her status. If she is not one, but she has experience within the legal field as an assistant, then she should have no problem finding new employment.

Yes, the workplace in the US is completely different than that of the UK. There are no safety nets for workers but still harassment can be reported to both HR and then if not rectified it can be taken to the federal agency overseeing employment issues. Sorry, I don't recall the name of it at the moment.

US workers do not necessarily live to work. This is very untrue and while it might pertain to upper management to a degree, it is most certainly not true of the middle workers. Yes, there is not the going out to drink after working hours culture in the US. If they do so, it is with friends, not with colleagues from the workplace. In the US I have always been told and have found that you keep your personal life separate from your professional life.

Going out on the limb here, but I would say that America is not a drinking culture such as you will find in the UK or in most of Europe. None of the Americans I know will have a drink at night or every day. And that includes a bottle of beer. I see on the train at night that the Irish immigrants will always come on the train with two or more cans of beer and consume them all within the 25 minute train ride to their stop. Definitely not an American action.

I fully understand your unhappiness with our work situation. If you are a foreigner worker, it is definitely not what you are use to. Not being mean spirited here, but I think it is time for you to go back to where you can be happy and content.
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Old Mar 14th 2012, 2:31 pm
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Default Re: Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

Originally Posted by bilbos92 View Post
Sorry to hear about your wife's situation.

The only words of advice I can offer is that she WRITE everything down. dates, who, what was said and keep it factual.
Go to HR with facts and evidence.
Find out what the company policy is on harrasment. ( hint they have to have one)...

nothing in this world is going to change the behaviour of these chaps, but she has to protect herself. ( yes this is the CYA you mentioned....it's not always a bad thing to do and you should never be concerned to do so)

Ax
I've convinced her to do just that...put it all in writing. I'm thinking that it will at least help cover her arse if they fire her and she might need it as evidence to collect unemployment. None of this is her fault, so it would also help her keep her previously good reputation intact.
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Old Mar 14th 2012, 2:40 pm
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Default Re: Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
If she is so upset about working where she is why doesn't she just up and quit? If she can't be transferred to another attorney within the same law firm, then it is time to leave their employment. An AD is not much in the way of a degree but is far better than none at all.

If she is not a USC or not as I didn't bother to look up your or her status. If she is not one, but she has experience within the legal field as an assistant, then she should have no problem finding new employment.

Yes, the workplace in the US is completely different than that of the UK. There are no safety nets for workers but still harassment can be reported to both HR and then if not rectified it can be taken to the federal agency overseeing employment issues. Sorry, I don't recall the name of it at the moment.

US workers do not necessarily live to work. This is very untrue and while it might pertain to upper management to a degree, it is most certainly not true of the middle workers. Yes, there is not the going out to drink after working hours culture in the US. If they do so, it is with friends, not with colleagues from the workplace. In the US I have always been told and have found that you keep your personal life separate from your professional life.

Going out on the limb here, but I would say that America is not a drinking culture such as you will find in the UK or in most of Europe. None of the Americans I know will have a drink at night or every day. And that includes a bottle of beer. I see on the train at night that the Irish immigrants will always come on the train with two or more cans of beer and consume them all within the 25 minute train ride to their stop. Definitely not an American action.

I fully understand your unhappiness with our work situation. If you are a foreigner worker, it is definitely not what you are use to. Not being mean spirited here, but I think it is time for you to go back to where you can be happy and content.
You cannot collect unemployment if you just quit. I think the best outcome would be that they just let her go. If she quits, what if it takes months to find a job? We only have limited savings.

I don't hate the US, but you are right. I am a bad fit here. It just wasn't meant to be. The only problem is my wife's reluctance to leave the country because of her ailing mother. I can't really force the issue...it's not fair on her, even though I know she'd be happier in the UK.

I do believe in work & personal life being separate, but there needs to be some level of banter and laugh. I sit in a cubicle all day and often don't speak to anyone. All people seem to talk about is work....I mean, come on. I miss the more informal open office layout and having colleagues that I gelled with, u had their backs and they had mine. All offices no matter where have jerks, but to not click with anyone...that's lonely for a place that I spend 40 hours of my life at every week.
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Old Mar 14th 2012, 2:46 pm
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Default Re: Anyone else finding working in the US too tough?

While my experience overall is not negative, there are of course a few negative aspects.

For me, the holiday situation is the worst - and the lack of paternity leave. I took three days off when my son was born, and that come from my ten days of holiday leave.

Also, I dislike that health insurance has to be a consideration when looking for work.
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