lesson3 Go Go Americans Go-Go Americans
Alison R. Lanier
1.Americans believe no one stands still.If you are not moving ahead,you are falling behind.This attitude of time results in a nation of people committed to researching,experimenting and exploring.Time is one of the two elments Americans save carefully,the other being labor.
2“We are slaves to nothing but the clock.”it has been said.Time is trated as if it were something almost tangible.We budget it,save it,waste it,steal it,kill it,cut it,account for it,we also charge for it.It is a precious commodity. Many people have a rather accute sence of the shortness of each lifetime.Once the sands have run out of a person's hourglass,they cannot be replaced.We want every minute to count.
3.A foreigner's first impression to the U.S is likely to be that everyone is in a rush——often under pressure.City people appear always to be hurrying to get where they are going,restlessly seeking attention in a store,elbowing others as they try to complete their errands.Racing through daytime meals is considered precious.Others in public eating places are waiting for you to finish so they too can be served and get back to work within the time allowed.Each person hurries to make room for the next person.If you don't waiters will hurry you.
4.You also find drivers will be abrupt and that people will push past you.You will miss smiles,brief conversations,small contacts with strangers.Don't take it personally.This is because people value time highly,and they resent someone else “wasting” it beyond a certain courtesy point.
5.This view of time affects the importance we attach to patience.In the American system of values,patience is not a high priority. Many of us have what might be called“ a short fuse.” We begin to move restlessly about if we feel time is slipping away without some return——be this in terms of pleasure,work value,or rest. Those coming from lands where time is looked upon differenetly may find this matter of pace to be one of their most difficult adjustments in both business and daily life.
6.Many newcomers to the states will miss the opening courtitesies of a business call,for example. They will miss the ritual socializing that goes with a welcoming cup of tea or coffee that may be traditional in their own country. They may miss leisurely business chats in a cafe or coffee house. Normally,Americans don't access their visitors in such relaxed surroundings over prolonged small talk； much less do they take them out for dinner,or around on the golf course while they develop a sense of trust and rapport。Rapport to us is less important then performance.We seek out evidence of
past performance then evalute a business college through social courtesies. Since we generally acess and probe prefessionally rather than socially,we start talking business very quickly.
7.Most Americans live according to time segments laid out in engagement calendars.These calendars may be be devided into intervals as short as fifteen minutes.We often give a person two or three（or more） segments of my calendar,but in the business world we almost always have other appointments following hard on the heels of whatever we are doing now.Time is therefore always ticking in our inner ear.
8.As a result we work hard at the task of saving time.We produce a steady flow of labor-saving devices； we communicate rappidly through telexes,phone calls or memos rather than through personal contacts,which though pleasant,take longer especially given our traffic-filled streets.We therefore save most personal visiting for after work hours or for social weekend gatherings.
9.To us the impersonality of electronic communication has little or no relation to the importance of the matter at hand,In some countries no major business is carried on without eye contact,requiring face to face conversation. In America,too,a final agreement will normally be signed in person.However people are meeting increasingly on television screens,conducting “teleconferences” to setlle problems not only in this country but also——by satellite——internationally.An increasingly high percentage of normal business is being done these days by voice and electronic devide. Mail is slow and uncertain and is growing ever more expensive.
10.The U.S. is defined a telephone country.Almost everyone uses the telephone to conduct business,to chat with friends,to make or break social engagements,to say their“Thank you's.” to shop and to obtaion all kinds of informations.Telephones save your feet and endless amounts of time.This is due partly to the fact that the telephone service is good here,whereas the postal service is less efficient.Furmore,the costs of secretarial labor printing,and stamps are all soaring .The telephone is quick. We like it.We can do our business and get an answer in a matter of moments. Furthermore, several people can confer together without moving from their desks,even in widely scattered locations.In a big country that ,too,is important.
11.Some new arrivals will come from cultures where it is considered impolite to work too quickly.Unless a certain amount of time is allowed to elapse,it seems in their eyes as if the task being considered were insignificant,not worthy of proper respect.Assighments are thus felt to be given added weight by the passage of time. In the U.S.,however itis taken as a sign of competence to solve a problem,or fullfill a job succesfully,with rapideity. Usually,the more important a task is,the more capital,energy,and attention will be poured into it in inorder to “get it moving.”