Mankind's only alternative 9   DEC.   22  
Mankind's only alternative
Welcome
MAIN  RUSSIA  WAR NERD   [SIC!]  BAR-DAK  THE VAULT  ABOUT US  RSS
 
 
EXILE BLOGS

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

Ofis Space May 18, 2007
 
Politics Inside the Russian Ofis
By Nancy Deal Browse author
 
 

So you've been working in a Russian office for some time now. It's not so bad that you'd consider quitting (yet), but you're getting sick and tired of some of the bullshit. You always seem to get passed overeven though you're doing more work than anyone else. No one listens to your ideas and no one ate the cookies you brought in as your post-vacation duties demanded. Is this because of discrimination against rotten, know-nothing foreigners? Well, yes. A little. After all, the way you wear different outfits to work every day of the week and compulsively turn off the air conditioner all the time really freaks out some of your Russian coworkers. But mostly it's because you probably don't fully understand the dynamics of power at the Russian workplacethe office politics, if you will. This involves a complex set of unspoken rules that, much like Russian federal legislation may seem nonsensical.

You may have thought that you were cooperating uniquely and effectively, but sometimes that's just not enough. There are certain cultural mores that you, as an ignorant foreigner, simply have no way of grasping. These primarily involve status, and the ways in which you should behave in order to get what you want. For all foreigners, this involves (usually) faking some Russian behavior. For most expats, it means getting ready to grovel.

As we all know, Mother Russia and her Soviet predecessor were and are amazingly progressive when it comes to equality of the sexes and feminism. At the workplace, that is. Women may be high-performance shockworkers, but they are still the weaker sex and fragile little creatures that require sheltering and belittling. This is why the only way for a woman to negotiate anything with superiors in the office is to feign fragility and stupidity, up to and including the shedding of tears. This may seem beneath some Western women who are not used to having to resort to baby talk in order to get a coworker to do something. This is, however, the way things get done. You may as well just get used to it. Use a very high voice, flutter your eyelashes and act coquettishly. Giggle and coo at nothing. Or, depending on the situation, you may opt to make yourself look grey and fatigued, as though approaching your boss is absolutely the last resort. You have davleniye. You've tried everything else, but, poor flower, you couldn't do it yourself, so can your boss please get someone else to do it? Pretty please? It doesn't matter if your intended target is a man or a womanyou may be surprised how effective this is when you finally try it.

The situation for men is somewhat different. Russian men generally apply the Three B's: boast, bullshit and bluff, occasionally combined with some stomping and/or strutting. This involves speaking authoritatively about something you know absolutely nothing about, in an attempt to impress everyone within earshot. Subjects range from nationalistic sentiment (Russians invented mayonnaise, and the dollar is going to crash any day now), folk science facts (did you know that viruses die in extreme cold?), and the real reason why water is shut off for three weeks in the summer. International affairs will also sometimes be covered, especially anti-Western news stories. Be aware that this is a very time-consuming, risky method. Arguing is a national sport in Russia and no Russian can resist a debate. Starting a discussion is akin to whipping out your white duel glove, and whether you are correct or misguided about whatever topic you decide to bullshit about, someone will either call your bluff or put out their own. You will then have to argue it to the end, nonstop, which may requires several days and numerous bottles of vodka. In the end, no one wins. But now you have some status in the workplace.

Foreigners can use the Three B's, but there are two other approaches for expat males, most of which involve proactive, preemptive status-building measures. Similar to what women are subjected tobut much more manlythe first option involves a lot of acting. You'll have to make it clear that you have a deep admiration for everything Russian. Quote 20-year-old movies and wow your coworkers with a few key slang phrases and words. You'll get major brownie points if you can work in obscure references to Kin-dza-dza, the one Russian movie that is pretty much completely inaccessible to foreigners. You'll also want to voice as much anti-American sentiment as possible. I mean, after all, you're in Russia because everything here is so superior, right? Such smooth and level sidewalks, such outstanding customer service, such excellent snow removal services in the wintertime, such refreshing cold water for three weeks in the summer. So make sure they know you understand that Russia really is going to regain its superpower status, no matter where the U.S. puts its missile defense systems. Listen intently and wide-eyed when they speak of the myth that is the Russian soul, and never, ever point out that the lines at McDonald's are much, much longer in Moscow than they are anywhere in the U.S.


SHARE:  Del.icio.us  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit

Browse author
 
 
FROM THE VAULT

Punish the Pundits! :

Separated At Bug-eye? :
Moscow Office Manager
Field Guide To Moscow: Brevis Capillus :

Russian Protests: The Deleted Scenes :
 

 
 
 
LATEST ARTICLES

Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
Editorial
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
[SIC!]
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
[SIC!]
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...

 
 
 

    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442
E-mail: office@exile.ru