You just accepted a job offer in Mexico: here are a few tips to help overcome cultural obstacles and achieve a successful integration. A local contract means extremely long hours from a European perspective. Holidays are scarce: 6 days a year for the first two years. But rest assured, there are many public holidays and you can negotiate everything. Mexicans remain “cool” towards that extenuating work pace; daily breaks are vital and numerous. The day always starts by greeting colleagues. A little time is spent with each one talking about after work activities of the previous day. A particular relationship to time Mexicans aren’t generally stressed out because they do not (or so rarely) plan ahead. “No pasa nada” (no worries), will they say if a deadline isn’t met or is forgotten. Tomorrow is another day, and they plan on living it. So they take their time to do what they have to do. Undeniable flexibility! The positive flip side of the lack of time management in Mexico is flexibility and adaptability under any circumstances. At midnight or over the weekend, a Mexican employee will complete a task if asked by a superior. It makes them feel important in their boss’ eyes (where most of us foreigners would feel exploited!). When a new project is dropped on them unexpectedly, it becomes a priority because requested from their superior. Managers manage with their teams with the authority of a family head while establishing kindhearted friendships. They take the time to listen to each member of the team, and take into consideration their susceptibilities. The team members take comfort in that. Mexicans show true devotion to their superiors. They do everything possible to please and flatter their boss. They stay at work as late as he or she does. They need to physically be around to be well seen; appearance is key. Getting in the tropical mode Everything is cause for celebration in Mexico, even in the office. Attending meals organized at the start and end of each year will tremendously help your integration. Throughout the year, you will be invited to baby showers, birthdays (of anyone in the office), farewell dinners etc. Do not dismiss these opportunities to meet new people. Push past your habits: open up, speak about yourself, and take the time to have conversations with your colleagues, even about non-professional issues. When Mexicans ask colleagues for assistance, they always start up the conversation with a personal question about their family, their children’s school etc. Only then do they get to the matter at hand. Go about it the same way, show them concern and help them get to know your private life a little. You will earn their respect. Taking the time to do that does not necessarily come naturally but it is essential for a good integration to the team and obtaining results. Are you seeking to quickly understand your Mexican team by avoiding cultural pitfalls? Expat2work.com gives you the keys to readily achieve your professional objectives. Expat2work and Lepetitjournal.com/mexico are working together to shed new light on the working world as an expat. Published in Lepetitjournal.com/mexico on January 20th, 2014. Translated by Florence Razé
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