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Search - "root observes people"
Working with different nationalities is interesting, and sometimes kind of bewildering. And tiring.
I've been working with an Indian dev for a little while, and while she's a decent dev, interactions with her sometimes leave me a little puzzled. She glazes over serious topics, totally over-sensationalizes unimportant oddities, has yet to say the word "no," and she refers to the senior devs as (quote) "the legends." Also, when asked a question by her boss, like "Are you familiar with this?" Instead of a simple yes/no answer, she shows off a little. Fair, I do this sometimes too, but it's a regular thing with her. Also, like most Indians I've known and/or worked with, she has a very strict class-and-caste view of the world. It honestly makes me a little uncomfortable with how she views people, like certain people belong in certain boxes, how some boxes (and therefore their contents) are inherently better than others, and how it's difficult or simply impossible to move between boxes. My obviously westerner view of things is that you can pick where you want to be and what you want to do, and all it takes to get there is acquiring the proper skills and putting in the required effort. I see no boxes at all, just a sprawling web of trades/specialities. And those legends she talks about? They're good devs with more knowledge than me, but only one, maybe two of them are better devs. I see them as coworkers and leads, not legends. Legends would be the likes of Ada Lovelace, Dennis Ritchie, Yukihuro Matsumoto, and Satoshi Nakamoto. (Among others, obv.). To call a lead dev a legend is just strange to me, unless they're actually deserving, but we don't work with anyone like Wozniak or Carmack.
Since I'm apparently ranting about her a little, let me continue. She's also extremely difficult to understand. Not because of her words or her accent, but I can't ever figure out what she's trying to get across. The words fit together and make valid sentences, but the sentences don't often make sense with one another, and all put together... I'm just totally lost. To be a math nerd, like the two conversations are skew lines: very similar, but can never intersect. What's more, if I say I don't understand and ask for clarification, she refuses and says she doesn't want to confuse me further, and to just do what I think is best. It's incredibly frustrating.
Specifically, we're trying to split up functionality on a ticket -- she's part of a different dev team (accounting), and really should own the accounting portion since she will be responsible for it, but there's no clear boundary in the codebase. Trying to discuss this has been... difficult.
Sometimes other cultures' world views are just puzzling, or even kind of alien. This Irish/Chinese guy stayed at my parents' house for a week. He had red hair, and his facial features were about 3/4 Chinese. He looked strange and really interesting. I can't really explain it, but interacting with him felt like talking to basically any other guy I've known, except sometimes his mannerisms and behavior were just shockingly strange and unexpected, and he occasionally made so little sense to me that I was really taken aback.
This Chinese manager I had valued appearances and percieved honors more than anything else. He cared about punctuality and attire more than productivity. Instead of giving raises for good work or promotions, he would give fancy new titles and maybe allow you to move your desk somewhere with a better view of your coworkers. Not somewhere nicer; somewhere more prominent. How he made connections between concepts was also very strange, like the Chinese/Irish guy earlier. The site templating system was a "bridge?" Idk? He also talked luck with his investors (who were also Chinese), and they would often take the investment money to the casino to see if luck was in the company's favor. Not even kidding.
Also! the Iranian people I've known. They've shown very little emotion, except occasionally anger. If I tried to appease them, they would spurn and insult me, but if I met their anger, they would immediately return to being calm, and always seemed to respect me more afterward. Again, it's a little puzzling. By contrast, meeting an American's anger often makes them dislike you, and exceeding it tends to begin a rivalry.
It's neat seeing how people of different nationalities have different perspectives and world views and think so very differently. but it can also be a little tiring always having to translate and to switch behavior styles, sometimes even between sentences.
It's also frustrating when we simply cannot communicate despite having a language in common.22