2 responses to “Knowing Your Norms”

  1. Sabena Stone

    After working as a mechanical engineer in different industries, I can attest that norms are different across various industries and between certain groups. For instance, working in a refinery plant is different than working in a central engineering department. For example, norms change even for different jobs in a refinery plant. To be in a project group meant basically having a set of hours to work, but being a maintenance engineer at the same plant meant working unconventional hours because of turnarounds and emergency shutdowns.

    Working in one refinery plant group meant you knew how to play bridge or another meant you were expected to shoot skeet. The norm was determined by the person in charge or group leader.

    Norms for working in the US is quite different from working in Saudi Arabia or anywhere overseas. Customs play a large role overseas.

  2. Miss Outlier

    One “norm” in particular that I’ve been noticing recently is in eating lunch routines. It used to be a couple years ago that all the grad students in my lab would eat lunch sociably – some would bring lunch and some would buy it, but we’d all sit down and gossip around the table while we ate. I really enjoyed it, and I felt like it built community.

    But the new crop of students – apparently – never eat. We older students keep inviting them to lunch, and they never want to eat with us. I don’t know what they do for lunch.

    But in general, I totally agree – knowing the norms is important. In new situations I try to just observe for a while and copy others to make sure I figure out the new norms before I try breaking them. :)