In a follow-up to my latest post From Canada to Europe. Reflections of an expat, I wanted to share an anecdote about a cultural experience. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you weren’t sure how to act? Living in Spain, I’ve witnessed that Spanish people appreciate time spent with friends. It’s appreciated even more when you’re a foreigner and you try to include yourself in social gatherings. It shows that you care about getting to know them. In my case it hasn’t been any different. I work at a job in Spain where my co-workers appreciate it when I spend my coffee break with them, especially if they invite me. It’s almost a rule of thumb to not refuse an offer like that. “Coffee break” isn’t limited to coffee only. It’s more about drinking something or having a snack with them. To me this means that the Spanish value “people” time. Coffee breaks also provide a space for building and strengthening relationships. I’m all for that. However, I’ve come to face a small dilemma: I’m a busy body and have recently been working on several projects simultaneously (and I enjoy all of them), and so I like to take advantage of the little free time I have and work on them during my breaks. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like spending time with my co-workers; it just means that I like to be efficient. This is a difference I’ve noticed between the Canadian/American culture and the Spanish culture. I’m aware that my co-workers may notice when I´m not around during our breaks, so I thought a temporary solution would be to divide my free time or coffee breaks between my co-workers and my projects. I also thought of getting more data so that I could be around my co-workers while working on my cell phone instead of having to use a computer in a separate office. I wouldn’t want to push anyone’s sensitive button! Is there anyone out there who feels like there could be a better solution? Do you agree with me? Your opinions are welcome!

Singing off –

Shamim Sobhani

 

The featured image is courtesy of Daria Nepriakhina.

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2 thoughts on “A Discourse on Coffee Break

  1. Cultural sensitivity can be very tricky! It’s about finding a balance without coming across as a snob – good luck! And thanks so much for the follow. I find the blogosphere so fascinating – the poeple, the names. the stories – wonderful !

    Liked by 1 person

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