Monday, January 29, 2007

Profiles of Expats - Executives

This is the first in a series on Profiles of Expats. I hope to show the good, the bad and the ugly side of expat personalities. You may know them, you may have seen them or you might be one yourself.

Disclaimer: I have lived as an American Expatriate for more than 10 years in several locations and come across numerous “characters” in my travels. However, this is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

First Personality:
Wears suits: Americans from Jos. A Bank, Brits from Marks and Spencer. Expat Executives are usually referred to as the Chief Representative or Country Representative.

American Executives are usually members of school boards and are very influential regarding policy. Try to make the school run like a lean mean corporate machine. American executives, particularly those from the South, can be extremely religious. Their children might just instantaneously pray in class, out of guilt. Does not like any criticism of school – takes it as a personal affront. Uses influence over administration and teaching staff to get results needed, such as “A’s” for his own children, dismissal for families he does not approve of, firings for teachers he does not agree with and policies that are detrimental to school atmosphere. Examples include: Cutting down on recess and lunch periods, making school hours longer, making Arab students shower in stalls lacking curtains and requiring students to wear socks with sandals in a very humid, sandy and hot climate. American Executives will micromanage all things regardless of importance. Their fingerprints are all over school procedures - paint color in the cafeteria all the way to board policy. Can have a very aggressive ruthlessness towards policy reforms. Believes civil liberties are an idea, not a right. Has minimal staff and yes oversees a very lean mean money making machine.
Favorite sport: Golf.
Favorite saying:“There are good families and there are bad families. We are a good family”

British Executives send their kids off to boarding school sometimes as early as 8 but usually at 11. Will not hire anyone whose child is in a better boarding school than his (class consciousness). He has company drivers carry his visiting kids all over town, at all hours of the night to party, so they can return home, destroy the villa and themselves. Can be prissy in attitude. Has a stick up his ass labeled “Remember King George and 1776” and sneers when he says "Americans." British Executive is a micromanager of all things irrelevant. Has signs posted in stairwells that read, “take one step at a time, do not talk on mobile while using stairs, hold on to the handrail at all times, walk, don’t run.” Sends out advisories such as: “do not use the local taxis”, “do not take the local train.” Pretends to be green, but isn’t. Is all show, with no heart. Taught his wife how to be exclusive and will shut out those who present alternatives to his ever more clever ideas. Has superfluous staff, many of who should be on gardening leave, but are disgruntled hangers on, hanging out in their boats on the Arabian or Caspian Sea. Sees his function as the lord of his little empire (and yes, he can get medieval on you.) Best talent is kissing up and shitting down.
Favorite sport: Bullying subordinates.
Employees start acting like Uriah Heep or Gollum. By the way, most employees have already morphed into one of these characters and you may not have noticed. Beware and watch your back.

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