cultural learning curve: work talk is a downer

Dinner conversations start off very differently in this city. Back in New York, “What do you do?” is the initial refrain. And definitely in Singapore as well. That question very rarely comes up in Buenos Aires. The people D and I have met are more curious about our interests. The job question comes up pretty late in the evening, or sometimes on the second meeting. Maybe its obvious that we’re giving jobs a break. But I get the sense—that in Buenos Aires—my identity is not tied to what I do for a living. That is a novel concept for me—I’m used to workaholism as a norm. It’s quite impossible to survive without strenuously pushing the limits all for work. And people in BsAs work hard too—some of our new friends put in long hours. But they don’t talk about work very much. It’s nice to not obsess about the source of stress.

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