A bit on diversity

Today, I was once again exchanging emails with a brazilian friend in the States about life in Brazil. His hypothesis was that as a foreigner, with an MBA and a diverse background, I should have plenty of opportunities here. I must say that I find it quite different here in my all- brazilian company, whereas being a foreigner makes some people shine away from us as they feel intimidated by our experience, ability to speak English, way of dressing, communicating, or whatever else. While some find this new experience refreshing, those people are normally a minority that lived abroad or worked with foreigners before. The majority views us as some sort of aliens, I think. Aliens that are always doing something wrong.

An illustrative example: yesterday, some of my colleagues were complaining that our department has too many gringos because in the meeting the day before, the colombian girl was speaking portunhol, the canadian was not understanding when the british boss addressed him in Portuguese, and I was speaking half Portuguese half English. My suggestion to have the meetings in English, the international language of business in which all team members are fluent, was immediately declined without any further thinking, as “the executive board speaks portuguese anyways, so why bother?”. Today, our 20 year old intern started laughing after imitating something I said because I sounded too American when speaking Portuguese. Not that I cared, but if i did something like this to a Brazilian, they would have put me on their hate list forever.

Some day I will elaborate more about how does it feel like to be working in the circus.