While you may have some ideas about how things get done in the USA, culture is dynamic and we are seeing it change in real time along with workplace norms as a result of globalization. Workplace norms changed at the end of the 20th century more than any time since the Industrial Revolution. As an expat with a family in global transition, you’ll experience those differences. Work is more complex than it was a generation ago too. It’s impacted by factors outside and inside the workplace. Our relationship with our employers has changed and the dimensions of the workplace have become mobile, virtual and globalized. Up to 1980’s work was characterized by an in-house factory or office environment that was a job for life and a life’s work. There were few employee rights, low employee awareness and a foreseeable reliable pension plan.
Today, the dimensions of the workplace are virtual with choices that allow for telecommuting. It’s characterized by a matrix management model that includes outsourcing and off-shoring call centers. It’s unlikely to last more than two years and the notion of a pension is fading if not gone outright. Workplace norms look more bottom up fortified with employee rights and an overall culture of high employee awareness. With online access, globalized employees are more connected through social networking, and the mobile web. Employees demand a work-life balance, they can ask for sabbaticals, and are engaged in lifelong-learning, with a vested interest thanks to an increase in employee ownership.
Overall, the future of work is more flexible, adaptable, and flat. That means you will interact with people who were raised in ways utterly unlike your own. So, international experience such as the type you are gaining in this assignment will make you more marketable and accelerate your career. While there are still plenty of organizations dogged by old systems and attitudes of class and elitism with traditional management structures that foster a greater power and authority distance between leadership and employees, much of this organizational mindset will be forced to change as people are increasingly empowered through education, economics, and employment opportunities. As an expat partner or spouse embarking on an American job, get to know your workplace preferences, tendencies and expectations in the context of an organization with an easy online assessment like RoundPegg to determine your best workplace “fit” but for more information about your career objectives in the USA, email a Globiana Career Coach for a discovery session to get started.