The CEO of our company is English, and he likes to remind me (jokingly) that there was a long time when the sun never set on the English empire. I will jokingly remind him that one country has set foot on the moon.
One of the things that has changed me in the last decade is travel. I’ve been lucky enough to visit many countries around the world for work, and a few more for personal trips. In this time, I’ve often engaged with local people and tried to experience life a bit from their perspective, rather than be a tourist and just look at a thing or place as an outsider. I’ve often read a bit or researched an area to learn some history or get some context.
That’s changed my view, and helped me understand how different the world can be. While I do find most people are similar around the world in many ways, cultures vary, and the emphasis placed on one thing vs. another can be much different.
I also see how the wealth and privilege in the US makes many things quite easy compared to other parts of the world.
This is something I am think about often as I try to restart SQL Saturday and think about events in different parts of the world. It’s something I think about as I deal with customers in other countries as well, understanding that their database problems are the same, but the way they work and interact can vary.
Stepping outside my own US-centric view also helps me think about my past and how I may not have respected or treated others equally when their culture was very different from my own. Growing up involves learning more than you already know. In my mind, it also involves some empathy, appreciation, and respect for just how different the world can be for others. Something I am trying to do more and more often, especially with those outside the US/UK/ANZ world.