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英国职场求生的三个小秘诀

Three tips for surviving a British workplace
英国职场求生的三个小秘诀

If you’re an expat working in the UK for the first time, you’ll have to adapt to more than colleagues who have a penchant for tea and use phrases like ‘bank holiday’ and ‘loo’. From how frequently you might want to use words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to when you should really show up for that 10am meeting, nearly every aspect of British work life will differ from what you’re used to – even if you come from the English-speaking US.

如果你是第一次被外派到英国工作,那么除了喜欢喝茶、习惯说英式英语的同事之外,你还要适应更多现象。例如,什么时候需要使用"请"和"谢谢你"这样的敬语,10点的会议你需要几点钟到场等问题——即便你来自同样以英语为母语的美国,英国职场的方方面面仍有可能与你之前的经历截然不同。

Thank you, please

谢谢你,请


As the saying goes, good manners cost nothing. Adding a ‘please’ or a ‘thank you’ to everyday interactions can make things go a lot more smoothly, but how we use these words – and how they’re received – depend on where we’re from.

常言道:有礼貌,好办事。在日常交际用语中加一句"请"或者"谢谢你",可以让事情变得更加顺畅,但究竟如何使用这些敬语,对方又会作何感受,则取决于你身在何处。

Researchers at the University of Sussex and University College London looked at the presence and absence of the word “please” in 1350 requests in British and American corporate emails. They found that Brits used the word more than twice as much as their American counterparts.

萨塞克斯大学和伦敦大学学院的研究人员对英国和美国的1,350封职场邮件进行调查后发现。英国人使用"请"这个敬语的频率达到美国人的两倍多。

This study, due to be published in the Journal of Politeness Research, would seem to back conventional wisdom that Brits are more polite than their ‘brash’ American counterparts – but the answer is not so straightforward.

这项即将发表在《礼貌研究期刊》(Journal of Politeness Research)上的研究似乎也印证了英国人比"无礼的"美国人更懂礼貌的传统认识——但答案似乎并不那么简单。

“What we found is that Americans use please a lot less than the British do, yet they don’t find each other less polite for that,” says Dr Lynne Murphy, a co-author of the study and reader in linguistics at the University of Sussex.

"我们发现,美国人使用'请'的频率远低于英国人,但他们并不认为这么做有失礼貌。"该研究的联合作者琳尼·墨菲(Lynne Murphy)博士说。

In British working culture, it’s important to use the right words in the right situations, she says. “Set phrases that signal that ‘I’m doing this the right, polite way’ are more important in British culture” than in the US, she says. For example, Brits use the phrase ‘please find attached’ at 10 times the rate of Americans.

在英国的职场文化中,在合适的环境中使用合适的词汇是一件非常重要的事情。与美国相比,"在英国文化中,通过语言来表达'我采取了妥当而礼貌的方式'显得更为重要。"她说。例如,英国人使用"请见附件"这句话的频率达到美国人的10倍。

But Murphy found Americans are more likely to say please when they feel there’s a power imbalance – for example, between parents and children. It’s likely to make someone feel like you’re begging or feeling superior, she says. Instead, Americans place more value on saying ‘thank you’.

但墨菲发现,美国人在感觉双方权力不对等的情况下更有可能使用'请'——例如,在父母和子女之间。她表示,这可能让人觉得你在祈求,或者感觉高人一等。相反的是,美国人似乎更加重视"谢谢你"。

“That goes along with the idea that American politeness culture is very solidarity oriented – it’s about making people feel good about themselves and about each other,” she says.

"这符合一种观念:美国人的礼仪文化很重视团结因素——为的是让自己和对方都感觉良好。"她说。

While Brits were similar in this sense, Murphy says it has been more important historically for Brits to acknowledge the distance and the roles between people though, she notes, this has been changing in the 21st Century.” (Though perhaps not as quickly as we might think.)

虽然英国人在这方面与美国人有相似之处,但墨菲表示,承认人与人之间的距离和各自的角色在以往的英国文化中十分重要,不过,进入21世纪之后,这种情况正在逐步发生变化。(虽然变化速度可能并不像我们想象得那么快。)

So what to do as a newcomer? “Be super, super aware that any time that anyone’s doing something that makes you uncomfortable, there’s a very good chance that’s not their intention.

面对这样的情况,初来乍到的人应该如何是好?"一定要充分意识到,无论什么时候,当有人做了什么让你感到不舒服的事情时,他们很有可能并不是故意的。"

“A lot of times, it’s little things about how people communicate.”

"很多时候都是人际沟通方式上的琐事。"

British politeness doesn’t just cover please and thank you – there is also a complicated dance of small talk and conflict resolution that newcomers have to learn to avoid confusion in the office.

英国人的礼貌并不仅仅体现在"请"和"谢谢你"上——为了避免在办公室里感到困惑,初来乍到的人还要学习一套复杂的聊天和冲突解决方式。

The quirks of politeness can even have a price tag. One 2015 survey of 1,000 managers found that over-politeness could be costing British businesses millions, for example, 20% of those polled felt they had not challenged a fraudulent expense claim.

但这些礼仪习惯也并非没有坏处。2015年对1,000名管理者进行的一项调查显示,过分礼貌可能导致英国企业付出数百万美元的成本,例如,有20%的受访者感觉,他们因为对方的彬彬有礼而无法揭穿这些人的虚假报销申请。

Be on time

准时


Those entering the British workforce from countries with a lax approach to meetings and deadlines may be in for a shock.

如果你原来所在的国家对会议时间和截止日期要求不太严格,那么来到英国工作之后,你或许会感受到冲击。

The UK is one of the more punctual nations in the world, according to Erin Meyer, INSEAD professor and author of The Culture Map. Showing up late to a meeting is never a good look – we found perceptions of unpunctual people are almost always negative, no matter the good intentions of the latecomer.

欧洲工商管理学院教授、《文化地图》(The Culture Map)的作者艾琳·梅耶尔(Erin Meyer)表示,从全球来看,英国是较为准时的国家之一。开会迟到永远不是好事——我们发现,无论是否故意迟到,人们对不准时的人几乎总是持有负面看法。

Pints after five

泡酒吧


Boozing has long been a part of Britain’s work culture – so much so that investment market Lloyd’s of London made headlines around the world last month when it banned its staff members from daytime drinking.

泡吧长期以来都是英国职场文化的一部分——以至于伦敦投资市场劳合社(Lloyd's)禁止其成员白天饮酒的消息甚至在上月成了头条新闻。

While daytime drinking is becoming less common for most industries, and while young Brits are drinking less overall than they did a decade ago, if you look in most city pubs during the weekday after 5pm you’re likely to find colleagues wetting their collective whistles.

虽然白天饮酒在多数行业都越来越少见,而英国年轻人的饮酒总量也比10年前有所减少,但如果你在工作日下午5点之后看看城市里的多数酒吧,仍会发现有很多同事在那里推杯换盏。

While beers after work can encourage camaraderie and even help managers and board members get along, there’s a danger in overdoing it – especially for a newcomer not acquainted with the culture of the office.

下班后的小聚可以拉近同事关系,甚至可以帮助管理者与董事会成员和睦相处,但是过犹不及——对尚未熟悉办公室文化的新人来说尤其如此。

It can also alienate people who don’t drink.

对那些不喝酒的人,同事一起去酒吧喝酒这种社交活动也会让不喝酒的人又被疏离的感觉。
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