Chris Guillebeau is the opposite of me. He’s a risk taker, I’m cautious. I just want to earn a living, he’s after World Domination. And where I thought going to London for four months was living dangerously, Chris has traveled to every country in the world – sleeping in airports and meeting people from all walks of life. Because I believe we can learn the most from those with different perspectives, I interviewed Chris about crossing cultures and breaking down barriers.
Alex: In your travels, what cross-cultural similarities did you notice about the world of work?
Chris: There are certainly lots of differences. Some countries take long siestas through the afternoon and others value every minute as money earned or lost. But the main similarity is that we all want our work to count for something. It’s not just something we have to do in order to achieve another goal like paying the mortgage. We want our lives (which usually include a lot of work time) to matter!
Alex: When it comes to work, what tends to set the U.S. apart? What can U.S. leaders learn from those in other countries?
Generally speaking, it’s fair to say that the U.S. has a spirit of optimism and independence that isn’t as present elsewhere. A lot of the American mythology about “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” and “rising above the ever-present challenge” has helped us become who we are.
At the same time, though, I don’t think entrepreneurship is intrinsically American. I once lived in Sierra Leone, where almost everyone outside the main cities hustles and most people make an independent living of some kind. People can be resourceful anywhere.
For the rest of Chris' interview, head over to Intuit's Fast Track blog.