Diversity in the Workforce
By Stephen Bucaro
Getting along with your co-workers is critical to your happiness and success at work.
You may find yourself spending more time with your co-workers than with your spouse and family.
Each individual in an organization is just a small cog in a big wheel. Without the assistance
of co-workers, you will find your assignments much more difficult.
You may think an individual with a different race or national origin has peculiar or
has strange habits. For example, while Americans love nothing more than a nice juicy steak
or hamburger, India's 900 million Hindus revere the cow. It's considered good luck to give
one a snack, a bit of bread, or fruit. A citizen of India can be sent to jail for injuring a cow.
You might think that's strange, but even though I'm an American of Italian decent, I
don't eat cows or pigs either. It has nothing to do with religion, It's because research has
shown that eating red meat is associated with several health problems.
Another example is in Japan, people greet each other by bowing. Japanese also bow to
express thanks, or to apologize. An informal bow might be a small head nod, but when bowing
to someone of higher social status, a bow might be a 90 degree bend at the waist. In America
we greet each other by shaking hands. When Japanese come to America, they observe the hand
shaking custom. In fact, when Americans visit Japan, Japanese observe the hand shaking custom
with Americans. Shouldn't Americans bow when in Japan?
One reason Americans don't bow is because of our Revolutionary War and the Declaration
of Independence where Thomas Jefferson wrote "all men are created equal". What he meant was,
Americans bow to no king. But they still have a monarchy in the United Kingdom. At this time,
Elizabeth II is the Queen, and upon her death, Prince Charles, her son, will become the King.
As an American, I would like to express my opinion of having a monarchy, but most British
are very sensitive about the subject. In fact most British love and worship their queen and
the royal family and are probably mad at me right now for not referring to Elizabeth II as
"Her Royal Majesty". The really weird thing is that millions of Americans are totally mesmerized
by anything the Royal Family does.
I find that all people, regardless of race, national origin, gender, or age, want the
same things. All people want a safe place to live and employment that gives them the ability
to provide for themselves and their family. What a boring world this would be if we all dressed
the same, acted the same, and had the same ideas.
The first step toward getting the cooperation and assistance of your co-workers you need
to succeed at work is to accept others uniqueness and idiosyncrasies. People come from many
different national origins, races, genders, and ages. Corporate America calls this "diversity".
Rather than judge people by the idiosyncrasies of their race, national origin, gender, or age,
judge people by whether they're honest, hard working, friendly, highly skilled or have great
Your happiness and success at work requires you to accept and embrace the uniqueness
of other individuals. You need to form good relationships with any co-worker whose cooperation
you need in order to perform your tasks. The best way to do that is to care about them. Engage
in small talk and learn what their interests are and what motivates them. Approach them with
an optimistic attitude, praise, and compliments. People gravitate towards other people who
make them feel good.