Sunday, February 20, 2005

Using Swedish at work

My working scope has changed quite a lot since the boss got back from Thailand. I'm now in charge of the whole thing and have delegated a lot of the more practical things. This also means that I'm involved in making contact with the people from the industry.

Last Friday I was planning to call the General Manager for South East Asia of a large company. I usually try to prepare these calls and write a little script of things I want to have said. Since this company's local office is here in Beijing I asked one of my colleague exactly where it was. A big discussion broke out in the office of what the name of the place was and where it was. That's what you get when you ask someone around here. It wasn't very important and if he didn't know a 'I don't know' would have been fine. Now I had to wait for them to debate where it was. No wonder no one is asking questions around here. Things just gets a hundred times worse. I know that my mistake was that I didn't know this guy very well. If I knew him well he probably would be able tell me that he didn't know, but now he felt obliged to help me out. I just waited it out and said 'thank you' when they had scribbled down a place on my paper.

In the end he saw that I had a phone number written down. I wasn't sure what he was doing, but he dialed a number. I thought that maybe he was calling up the reception to ask for sure where the place was, but pretty soon he handed over the phone to me... He had called up my contact! So I had to stand leaning over his desk, make one of my more important calls in this job so far without any of my notes or even a pen to take notes with. I have no idea what he had been thinking. Did he think that I didn't know how to operate a phone? Did he think he was helping me? Aaargh!

Anyway, it turns out that the guy I reached was Swedish! Imagine my colleagues surprise when I suddenly switched to my mother tongue! After have gotten the contacts I was looking for I put down the phone and noticed that the whole office was looking at me. Guess they never heard a guy speak Swedish before. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

det var som tusan!