New York working culture shocks #3: What’s the hustle?

Moving across the Atlantic from Hamburg (Germany) to New York City (USA) in June 2019 was an adventure all in itself. After living here for about 1 year and 4 months now, it feels right to look back and record some of my experiences. One of the biggest changes has been: Working in New York City.


Disclaimer
This is my personal experience relating to my specific company in New York. I am not trying to make any generalizations or criticize New York or even the US in general. Instead of thinking in the terms of better or worse, I like to think of things being different without putting any connotation to it.

What’s the hustle?

Another thing that startled me was the perceived difference in attitude towards work. I had heard about the New York hustle and “Live to Work” mentality and was excepting to find colleagues who were driven and passionate about their job. Instead, I observed most people doing work by the book or “Dienst nach Vorschrift” (Work-to-rule). Unless somebody assigned them a specific task, they would stick to their general routine in their usual pace and start at 9:00 am and finish at 6:00 pm on the dot.

An attempt to understand the work mentality

Of course, there is nothing wrong with sticking to assigned tasks, but not thinking outside the box or being willing to go an extra mile of your own accord might eventually make you inefficient, It might even leave your work and yourself feeling mediocre, maybe even boring and meaningless.

I believe that there are a couple of things at play here. For one, to a lot of people in the New York office, the job was just that: A job. Their passions lay somewhere else. And that is okay.

Additionally, it is hard to keep up or develop passion and drive for a job, if the people around you don’t demonstrate it. Sooner or later, we adapt to our environment.


This is my personal experience relating to my specific company in New York. I am not trying to make any generalizations or criticize New York or even the US in general. Instead of thinking in the terms of better or worse, I like to think of things being different without putting any connotation to it.

I truly believe that it is a privilege to have the opportunity to dive into a culture and learn more about how things are done in another country then my own. No country or culture is perfect. And by experiencing others, we get to learn and analyze what we personally admire, cherish and want to incorporate into our own way of life. So if you stay open to it, there is so much potential for growth hidden right in front of you.

How about you?
Did you ever transfer to a different work culture? How did you experience the work mentality in your host country?

Cover picture was taken in Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn, New York (USA) in May 2018

Missing the beginning of this story?
New York working culture shocks #1: How did I get here

2 thoughts on “New York working culture shocks #3: What’s the hustle?

Add yours

  1. When I moved abroad to France for work, I quickly learned about the “work to live” ethic, which really resonated with me. Although I’ve since returned to the US, I still continue to stick to that particular work ethic, as I’ve found my life more fruitful and meaningful when I can balance my job with life outside of it. Many Americans “live to work,” which is just their culture, but having had insight to my life abroad, I prefer the opposite. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have noticed something very simple comparing U.S. to German work culture. There has been a growing emphasis on finding a good work-life-balance in Germany over the last decade or so, and I hope that, in time, US company incorporate it more as well.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: