Work in the United States can be both exciting and intimidating.

With its high income and low cost of living, the American economy presents many opportunities. For those used to tight hierarchies, the American emphasis on efficiency and meritocracy feels positively liberating and has propelled innovation to new heights. However, foreign nationals who work in the United States must navigate a workplace environment that sometimes seems contradictory.

The informal mood in many American workplaces conceals the fact that American put in more effort than most other industrialised countries. This entails working longer hours, taking fewer holidays, and feeling like you’re always “on call.” If you provide an honest response to the frequently asked question “How are you?” American who talk in meetings with almost shocking directness will raise an eyebrow. Below, in all its seeming inconsistencies and unwritten conventions, we’ve outlined the key knowledge on understanding American corporate etiquette and culture.

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Workplace Culture


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The American conviction in equality is reflected in the fact that American business culture is often less formal and less hierarchical than that of other nations. Employees frequently use first names, enjoy easier access to supervisors, and adopt a relaxed attitude toward appearance and communication.

Formality is valued differently in different disciplines. Those who work in finance, accounting, or sales typically speak and dress more formally than those who work in academia, the media, or technology. Workplace norms may also be influenced by region: In general, East Coast residents, such as those in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, are known for putting in more hours and having a “Work hard, play hard” attitude, whereas residents of West Coast or Southern cities, such as San Francisco and Atlanta, are more likely to value work-life balance or a “live to work” philosophy in american. Until you have a feel of the culture of your workplace, err on the side of formality. American value openness, directness, effectiveness, optimism, and a “can-do” mentality.

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American follow It’s courteous to stand when greeting a coworker or client and provide a quick, strong handshake while maintaining eye contact and a smile. No of a person’s age, gender, or level of seniority, this is universally suitable. The initial name of superiors is frequently used instead of the last name. When in doubt, you can either err on the side of formality or ask your superior how they like to be addressed.

Additionally, the usual greeting “How are you?” frequently baffles foreigners. Despite their true feelings, American prioritise “putting on a pleasant face,” therefore they almost always respond in a positive way. The right response is, “Fine thanks, how are you?”


Body Language

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American prefer coworkers who are personable and cheerful and smile more frequently than people from other cultures. However, American also value having a “bubble” of personal space because they are a “non-contact culture.” When chatting, be careful not to stand too near and avoid making too much physical contact. Outside of a handshake, touching is uncommon, and hugging is typically viewed as inappropriate in the office.


Working Hours

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Compared to most other industrialised countries, American work longer hours and take fewer vacation days. According to a 2016 study, Americans work 20% longer hours than their European counterparts (the equivalent of an extra day per week) yet vacation less frequently. The typical work week runs from Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm, however plan on being flexible with your schedule.

Many salaried employees are expected to work longer hours or be available for after-hours meetings because the U.S., unlike many other countries, does not have legislation limiting the amount of hours worked per week. There might be significant disparities between working in, instance, New York State and California because the United States establishes employment rules at both the national and state levels. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Labor in your state to learn more about the rules governing things like working hours, overtime, holiday compensation, workplace safety, and “at-will” employment.

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American communication is straightforward and direct. Some people might find this to be too direct, but American value honesty and efficiency. Direct criticism won’t be welcomed despite that. The ideal way to express disagreement is non-confrontationally (“I see your point, but…”). When disagreeing with coworkers, try to find a “win-win” solution.

In American businesses, casual conversation about finances, age, politics, and religion is typically frowned upon. It’s advisable to avoid bringing up these subjects with coworkers or expressing strong opinions. Choose neutral subjects instead, such as hobbies, entertainment, sports, or other pastimes.

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Even if they already have your resume on file, you must bring a hard copy with you to any in-person interviews. If there is a chance of a team interview, bring extra copies.

Know when to bring up compensation: It’s customary to ask about the wage range when the interview process is just getting started. Salary discussions, however, shouldn’t start until much later in the interview process, ideally after an offer has been made.It’s also courteous to send your interviewer a thank-you message, whether it’s written by hand or sent by email.

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Meals and Tipping

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Typically, the american host or most senior employee would foot the bill for a business meal, but just in case, be ready to foot the bill yourself. Junior employees typically refrain from ordering alcohol at team meals unless their bosses specifically invite them to do so. Tipping is customary; for excellent service, offer a tip of 15% to 25% of your bill.

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American has many different dress rules, and just a few professions still demand formal attire like a suit and tie. Workplace dress codes will vary depending on your company culture, field, degree of seniority, and even your city’s environment. Since there are numerous factors at play, it’s advisable to inquire about dress rules from HR while interviewing. Keep in mind that it’s always preferable to be slightly overdressed for a job interview, your first day of work, or a crucial meeting than underdressed.

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