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Old 12-30-2010, 09:46 PM
 
137 posts, read 584,547 times
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I live in a large metro area, but am now working in a small town outside of the city. Everyone else I work with lives in the small town. I'm not used to the small town atmosphere and don't know what to expect, being the outsider ; new at work and not from their town.
What should I expect and what can I do to make it easier on myself?
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:08 PM
 
Location: Middle America
37,131 posts, read 43,052,244 times
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Before you make any sort of comment about anybody that could in any way even vaguely be construed as trash talk, gossip, or even slight criticism, make damned sure that it's not the person you're talking to's brother-in-law, cousin, hairdresser's dog walker's kid, etc. In fact, do a lot more listening than talking, and spend some time absorbing the general culture before jumping into the deep end. And don't condescend. And make at least one local ally right away.

What's your field?
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:35 AM
 
6,501 posts, read 5,588,143 times
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Tabula's post is dead on. Keep your "nose clean" and your mouth shut as much as possible. I am a transplant to this area and worked for ten years at a small four generational law firm in our small town and never did quite overcome being the "outsider". The senior partner and my boss all grew up in the area and graduated from the local high school, as did the senior partner's secretary. The senior partner really valued local connections, and I was at a disadvantage because I had no family history or background in the area. The other secretary had some relationship with every client that came through the door - went to school with them, church, or was related somehow. After the clients left, she and the boss would proceed to gossip about them and their respective family skeletons.
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Old 12-31-2010, 09:03 AM
 
Location: SW France
14,445 posts, read 14,356,928 times
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Good advice there, and do not assume, infer or anything that people in a small town are in any way inferior to people from the big city, not that you would.
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:04 AM
 
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Listen and pay attention. If they are not related they likely know each other and have for years. Take your time and be positive. In time you discover what the others have known for years.
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:34 AM
 
6,501 posts, read 5,588,143 times
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Also, DON'T GOSSIP, about anything or anyone. Keep conversations to the weather. When my boss's wife left him, I got 5 to 10 calls every day from people wanting to know if he was "okay", but really pumping for dirt. I just stated the truth - I didn't know. He never confided in me about it, and I didn't ask.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Washington State
130 posts, read 307,190 times
Reputation: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by grubbyhubby View Post
I live in a large metro area, but am now working in a small town outside of the city. Everyone else I work with lives in the small town. I'm not used to the small town atmosphere and don't know what to expect, being the outsider ; new at work and not from their town.
What should I expect and what can I do to make it easier on myself?
From my experience, be prepared to answers a ton of questions. People will want to know about you. Don't take it as them prying, just recognize that everybody knows everything about everybody and you're new to the mix. The are curious. Give all the info about yourself that you're comfortable with. This goes a long way into making friends and allies.

Also, be ready to sit back and listen. You will hear tales about the person before you, the person before that, etc. You can gain a lot of knowlegde about what your coworkers liked or didn't like about the people in your position. This is the kind of information you would kill for in a large company, use it wisely.

Also try not to look at the receptionist cross eyed when you over hear her telling who ever is calling all the the details about you that she knows. This will soon stop.

Lastly, and most importantly, be prepared to have the most loyal and loving coworkers you've ever dealt with.
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