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Work Culture, Ethics, Time at work, Importance – India vs. America

Work occupies most of our life, if you think about it…officially you are supposed to work for 8 hrs to be considered full time. But, people work differently in different countries depending on the culture. If you are planning on settling in a country, this is something very serious to think about.  Let me share my thoughts on this…This article is part of the Series: Settle in US or India? Life in USA vs. India? Move back?

Work Culture in US vs. India,  Time at work, Importance of Work ?

As I mentioned in previous article about Work Culture in America, most of the people in America tend to work only 8 hours a day. Typically, they work from 8 AM to 4:30 PM or early. It is common to take 30 min lunch break. Some eat at desk and some just grab a quick lunch.  When it comes to importance of work, people consider work as just work and not LIFE.  With few exceptions, they do not worry about work after they go home or even work on weekends doing work. It is just way the culture is…Work is just part of life and NOT life…As per ethics, most people tend to have good work ethic, they work when supposed to work and get their job done on time. Deadlines are critical part, you should never miss any deadlines…being on time is important.

Unlike in India as I talk to my cousins,  friends, juniors working in IT, they go to work at 9 AM or so and come home at 9 PM. Most of them stay at work for 12 hrs. It is not necessarily working for 12hrs…there is a difference…people take long lunches, tea breaks, other breaks….The reality is, because most of the software engineers are single, they tend to stay at work….but as life progresses and you become senior and become manager, you may come home a little early… People work late hours, they sometime work on weekends…Unfortunately, Work is viewed as the thing in Life trying to succeed and get promotion or anything like that…There is nothing wrong with it…it is just the culture that shapes the environment….work ethic is more relaxed, you just work long hours and spread it over….deadlines are important, but people tend to negotiate with boss, being on time is important, but not strictly followed….These are just some differences and constantly changing as east is adopting west.

Decision about work life for Settling in US vs. India

Lets do math here, 1/3rd ( 8 hrs) of your life is tied to work and if you are young and living in India and working in IT, then your life is tied more than that it is almost 50% more  ( 8 + 4 hrs)  than what you would spend in US.  Although, east is embracing west and we are trying to adapt many things, still the differences remain.  Unless you are in a big managerial role and be able to work flexible hours, India is a questionable choice in this aspect…think about it logically, so much of your productive time in productive years of your life (22 – 32 or so) is just spent at work or doing work….I personally think you can do so may creative things and have fun in life if you live in US during these years. Unless you get flexible hours and have an option to work only 8 hrs a day, it is not a great choice to move to India from work perspective …. I hope that things will change in India as time progresses …but for now, this is how it looks.

What do you think about just this aspect of work Culture  ?

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  1. This article is so misleading. In high tech in the USA, particularly in Silicon Valley you have no life and are expected to work 10-14 hr days. It is a badge of honor to work around the clock. Throw in, working with teams in India and you really don’t get any sleep. This is his if has been for the 30 years I have worked in Software development. Long before the pandemic.

    I would love it if I started as late as 8am and could knock off at 4:30pm after which just forget about work.

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