Written by: Mengjia Li
Ok. I’ve been typing and deleting my openning for half an hour already. So I decide to stop wasting time and just jump into my topic: the difference between irish business environment and the States.
1. Irish Business tends to be smaller.
People might argue with me becasue there are also plenty of small businesses in Columbus. BUT, I have to say it’s different. Like I mentioned, I worked in a mutinational company Intertrust Group, but the Ireland local office only has six people, including me. Basically, all the people have their title related to some sort of manager but they might have no person except themselves to manage. My friend, who works as a recruiter at a human resource company, showed me her firm the other day. Her firm is in a tiny building on the scond floor and the first floor is a laundry store. And the sign of her firm is literally the size of notebook and there’s no doubt it’s really hard to find.
At least 80% of the stundents who joined EUSA program interned in a small company with five or six people and there’s a high chance that you would be on a two person team (the other person in the team is your supervisor). I’m not talking about the students only from our school. I’m counting the students from Kansas University, Utah University, University of Tennessee, and other schools as well. Do you think this is the smallest size of company it could be? There are lots of companies in Ireland that hardly have any employees at all. Can you imagine? The firm I interned for has several companies with no employees and what the companies do is to hire companies like us to help them with administrative and corporate service work. For some legal issues, we might even use our network to help them solve the problems and disburse the money back to us later.
2. Irish Business Environment is more casual
How casual could it be? Well, Irish co-workers tend to be friends with each other, like to know each other’s personal lifes, stories and they tend to hang out with each other more often than any other countries.
The second day I got to Dublin, I had an interview arranged with my supervisor and she invited me to the annual Taste of Dublin event and the ticket is paid by the Intertrust Group. What makes me feel so different is because they asked me to join them even before I interned in the company.
Moreover, when I got there, I met with other co-workers and some employees who would join us in the middle of July. They were all relaxed and talked to each other very casually. I felt no pressure among them and most of the topics were what happened to them recently. We would drink sparkling wine together and no one was trying to pressure each other to drink fast like what Chinese do for afterwork dinner get-togethers. It was more like a different casual lifestyle. It’s not a different platform to present yourself like when you have an evening event with potential employers. It was more like being yourself.
Like I mentioned, Irish co-workers tend to be more interested about your story. I had been asked a lot of my experience and talked them about the Irish weather, what’s fasinating in Ireland and etc. My Polan co-worker announced her news about getting married. And the other future co-workers talked about her experience in cooking competition on TV. How fasinating! Recently I started interacting with two of my co-workers every day and sometimes we even eat at a nearby park. I have noticed many co-workers in different companies have big group to eat together as well.
I have to say there’s a lot more to make you feel more casual. Because of Irish bad traffic(Irish always say that but I feel like it’s not quite that bad as in China.lol), people tend to be more loose about timekeeping. It’s usual for your co-workers to come in 15 minutes late for work. And trust me! His/ her boss won’t judge her or think she’s lazy because of it. Because of my wired bus time, to be honest, I’m always or almost always the first one in the office. My boss has been late four times I think.
3. Irish companies tend to be connected with nearby companies more often
Like I mentioned, there are tons of small companies in Ireland. I feel the companies who are in the same building or nearby blocks tend to work and do projects together more often. They tend to trust the company they know nearby so the courier and other fees would not be so bad. And it’s easier to meet up whenever they want.
My advice for today: Know different business environments in different countries, explore your options, then make a decision where you want to work. For some people, you might decide to stay at the places where you live for your whole life, which is fine. You have to remember, no matter what final decision you make, you’ve improved your cross-cultural communication skills, which is appreciated by many employers.