Slow Europeans and Annoying Americans

A friend of mine working for an American company was complaining to me about how slow Europeans are. He was losing his mind because he had these multi-million dollar deals and his European colleagues weren’t as responsive as he expects them to be in comparison to the Americans and the Middle Easterns.

I had this conversation multiple times. This is one big difference between where I am coming from and Europe. I was trying to explain to him that there are multiple reasons for this and he has to understand where people are coming from.

First, the incentive is not there. If you work in Europe, you don’t have significant jumps in compensation between companies or titles. I tried explaining to him that because of the high taxes and the thick middle class, a 10% increase, which is high by standards, won’t lead to much increase in net cash. This makes it harder to motivate people to go the extra mile, because the next step isn’t far different from the current one.

Second, if the incentive is there, the desire is not there. This is a bigger cultural difference between the Middle East/US and Europe. Here people don’t tie their self worth to their job. It is totally normal to see people stopping work to take long sabbaticals, or to change from a high paying job to some artistic gig. There is no European or German dream. There is no dream for a big family, house, and land ownership.

All this also makes me understand the anti-immigrants sentiment. Immigrants are risk takers by the mere fact they already took the risk and immigrated. They are more driven to establish themselves. And if they are from a culture where work is tied to self worth, they will do whatever it takes to increase this self worth. Next time you see a successful Syrian or Turkish business man/woman, take this into consideration.

Of course there is no right or wrong, and there are enormous benefits in the European way of doing things especially when it comes to things like healthcare and social welfare. You just need to understand where people are coming from, and find a way to get what you are trying to achieve.