After another two month stint in the US, I am flying home to take up my role in London. In 2014 I had the good fortune to work for six months in New York and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, this time it was Chicago in my new CRO role for Performics. I have found myself analysing the country more than I did in NY, I guess the second time around was more critical than the first and I seemed to soak up more of normal life this time.
A few things have struck me this time, small often, some big but just areas of difference between US and UK, work and otherwise.
- They love DOGS. Holy shit, they love them, every shape, size, colour. I thought the UK was a nation of animal lovers but its on another scale here, every apartment block has them pouring out in droves.
- US offices are so much quieter than UK. There are arguments pro and con but on balance the life that exists in UK offices outweighs the sometimes oppressive silence of US offices. I would be tearing down the cubicles as fast as I could.
- I am left dumbfounded by the level of waste of food and lack of recycling. Restaurant portions seem to me gluttonous to the point of not really understanding who eats it. It perhaps creates a sharing culture as people don’t order dishes each, but mainly I just see waste.
- How much more friendly and relaxed Chicago is to NY. A totally different experience, people are so friendly and helpful and makes for such a nice pace of life vs NY.
- You have to work here to get the scale. Europeans who moan about the US, need to understand more about the US before passing judgment. The numbers, the opportunities, are immense.
- Love – taxis taking cards as a matter of course, yet at the other end the card payment processes seem really behind with limited Chip and Pin, let alone contactless.
- Eating and drinking in the US is interesting. Service is great generally, some restaurants wont let you sit until your other dining partner arrives which frustrates me. The dropping of the ‘check’ on the table when you have barely finished is both irritating and fantastic, one pushing you out, on the other hand, you don’t have that frustrated process of catching waiter’s eye to get the check.
- Stop spilling iced water all over the table. Please.
- I still find that there is too much hierarchy in US businesses, I would prefer to see much less focus on titles and seniority and more on great and accountable relationships with the teams.
- So kid friendly. playgrounds around every corner, children’s menus, museums etc, Chicago but also NY have been fantastic for kids and I love the place for that.
I hope to get the chance to come back here again, America is a great country and from a work perspective it is a must and would recommend to anyone. I have enjoyed a wonderful time here with the Performics team, a great team and look forward to what the future holds!
Thanks windy city, its been a blast!