One year – the other side of the world

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Time flies. It has been a year since i arrived in Mexico.

Wrapping up my life in Japan in April 2017, i ventured upon the second big adventure of my life. It was a lot easier than the first one, study abroad in Japan, because this time i would be going as an expat.

Things were a lot easier when there were a whole team to help you through the move.

The real challenge for me was how to find my place here. Until now, the expats were sent here as instructors with authorities or titles but for me it was a total different story. My boss in Japan granted my wish for the transfer and saw it as part of my professional skill development plan. I arrived without title or a clean image of what my role would be. The situation was equally difficult for my Mexican colleagues i suppose, to figure out how i fit into the team.

Hierarchy is important in Mexico in professional situations. I did find that in daily life the hierarchy based on seniority or social status is not as rigid as Japan or Korea. However, it really matters at work. My coworkers kept asking how long i have been in the company and upon realizing that there were not much difference between us, i felt a certain amount of dismissal regarding my comments or proposals.

It was hard to earn their respect professionally. Although frankly i had had the same feeling when i was in Japan, where i was ignored because i was younger and a foreigner. I always hated office politics and felt disgust if i have to go around pleasing people to gain favor so that was not an option.

It was a bumpy year.

Trying to correct the crippled system and got rejected. Got into arguments with my boss. Getting very confused with the restlessness between my coworkers. Having communication difficulties with my boss in Japan. Feeling isolated by both local staffs and expat community….

To be honest i am not feeling 100% now, a little depressed. I try my best to look back on how far i have come and the progresses that i have made with the local staffs. Running two multidisciplinary teams at work kind of earn you some degree of respect. Once you have the respect of the people from other department, your coworkers are more likely to change their opinion of you i guess.

For better or for worse, i have survived. Finger crossed for the next!

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