Few decades ago, people from different places of the world started coming to America, well known as the land of opportunity – the promised land for several reasons: search of employment opportunities, to leave poverty behind, cost of living but most importantly the dream of better future. Nowadays, if walking by the streets of the famous city of the U.S it will be easy to find people from different cultures such as Hispanics, Indians, Europeans, African Americans who have been living in this country for years and already have a career, their own house and children who has been born and raised here.
Due to the diversity of cultures in America, managers and professionals must be aware that in order to be respected, we must respect first. Also they should understand that each country possesses customs, beliefs and values that remain in each individual no matter what. In order to create a peaceful environment at work, managers should promote meetings about how to understand diversity. Two common words that come into place at a work setting are prejudice and ethnocentrism. For instance, when I used to work at a nursing home two years ago, I witnessed how this two concepts can affect the way you do your work. By that time, I was a certified nursing assistant and ninety percent of the nursing staff was formed by Philippine people. At first, I did not have any problem with that because I respect everybody’s cultures and beliefs. As days were passing, I started feeling excluded because the nurses talked in their own language in front of me.
At the same time, I was assigned to do the “dirty job” while the others were sitting in the conference room drinking coffee. I started getting tired of this situation, I felt they thought they were in a higher level than me. One day I asked the supervisor if there was any reason why they seemed hesitant to accept someone from other culture into their group. She only said, “They think they are better than anybody, that’s it”. My final decision was just to do my job but I ended up realizing that it was not enough to put effort into my job because I was missing one of the main important things when it comes to jobs: teamwork. After two weeks, I quitted. Working together in a friendly environment is the base of a successful job, managers and professionals must be aware of the staff’s concerns and keep in mind that cultural differences can be a factor that may decrease someone’s performance at the workplace.
On the other hand, I am currently working at a clinic where the general manager has emphasized since day one the importance of respecting each other. In this place, the staff is formed by people from everywhere, of course I hear people talking in their foreign language but once someone else starts talking to them, they change the language to English. Every two weeks we have a meeting and prior to that, the secretary ask each one of us what we would like to eat because my Indian coworker only eat veggies, my south American coworker does not eat spicy at all. It is going to be my second year working there and one of the main reasons I am comfortable working here is that I feel respected and that my customs are taken into consideration at any moment. The experiment of the ping pong ball and the sock over it was really helpful because I got to understand that most of the things in this world are for right handed people and for that reason it is thought that lefties are on a disadvantage.
Mostly everything has been set up in a way that right handed individuals won’t have any problem with their daily activities. I am left handed and due to the fact I’ve had to deal with this condition my whole life, I am able to manage both hands without any problem. The experiment has left me a message: we have to understand that not everybody is the same or have identical abilities. Especially in the workplace, manager and professionals should make certain changes in a way that workplace is set not only for one group of people but for every group including respect for each other’s values and beliefs. World should not spin around only a certain group, instead we should adapt the world to understand that each one of us differs from the other one but have the right to be treated in the same manner.