Thursday, June 14, 2007

Czech Business Culture

I have to vent about something that really irks me here at the office. I realize that all I ever write about seems to be travelling but I DO actually have a job here as well...surprise, surprise.

OK so here it goes. Two things mainly. One is that whenever I make a phone call or receive a phone call, I generally start with "hello how are you" or in many cases "please stop talking I don't speak Czech." In any case, people are really taken aback when I simply ask how are you. More often than not I hear a snicker on the other end of the line or they just skip past my attempt at pleasantries and get to the point. Maybe its just me and I'm used to manners of this kind but it really bugs me when people skip past the "how are yous."

The other thing I really miss from Canadian corporate culture, is the water cooler chats! Nobody and I mean nobody does that here. Perhaps its cuz I don't speak the language but I don't even see Czech people doing it. I was telling my other Canadian co-worker about this and we decided to go and have an impromptu water cooler chat just for the hell of it (it felt very unnatural though). I used to love doing that at my office in Calgary, best way to kill half an hour in the morning when really you're not productive anyways so you get to know your co-workers.

Finally, turns out there is actually three things that bug me (or at least that I want to vent about online) almost every Czech company has a system for tracking employee hours. Basically you're given an ID card that you punch in when you arrive and when you leave to make sure you put in your 8 hours. Now my company has even introduced the necessity to punch in and out during lunch time as well. As to why, its really beyond me because you're generally only allowed a half an hour lunch anyway. After a couple months I'm still not used to this. So many times I punch out for lunch and then realize 3 hours later that I forgot to punch back in. As for taking a sick day, well you better have a doctors note to prove it. Am I the only one that realizes that if I'm sick, the last thing I wanna do is get out of bed and go see a doctor for the common cold. I just get the general sense that employers don't trust employees and vice verse which is really too bad because it just seems to create this vicious cycle of mistrust.

Its not all bad though, I do enjoy the flex hours even though I rarely get to use them with my position. Plus the automatic 4 week holiday is great!


At 10:26 AM, Blogger Chorgs said...

thanks for the comment. I had no idea you had a blog!

I can't comment on business culture in Prague (or really in Canada, either), but it sounds to me like the Czech Rep. still hasn't quite lost that Communist mentality when it comes to making sure that everyone has the same amount of work hours etc. And that might never change.

Also, your recount of Dresden was interesting. I had debated going there, but heard from a lot of people that it was pretty boring and people weren't that friendly, so I skipped it. After reading your blog, I'm still not sure whether I want to go...haha.

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Blanka said...

No don't say that Colin! Dresden is a nice city and you would love it cuz of all of the history there. I just had some other circumstances that prevented me from totally enjoying it!

At 1:35 AM, Blogger Layial said...

Hey hey,
Just catching up on your blog...I must say you need more updates :) hope things are going well...

At 10:01 AM, Blogger kent said...

Happy Canada Day!

See ya in a few days...


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