Culture Shock – what do people in the charity sector eat for lunch?
So, I’ve just started my six month Pulse assignment with World Child Cancer, based in Vauxhall south London. That’s actually only 30 minutes on the train from where I live, so you wouldn’t expect my culture shock to be as big as it is for the Pulse volunteers who are a long way from home in foreign climes. But in many ways it’s probably worse. Worse I hear you say, how can that be?
Well it’s because there isn’t as much change to expect so my mind and body have pretty much been carrying on as usual, oblivious to the change which my assignment has created. But I keep running into things which are odd or different and I’m simply not ready for them, they sneak up on me.
I know you’ll laugh when you read this, but my biggest dilemma was what to do about lunch on my first day. At GSK House I pretty much always bought my lunch… but I really wasn’t sure if charity workers (is that a good term?) would do that. What if I turned up on my first day with a sandwich from Waitrose (one of our more expensive supermarkets) and everyone else had made their lunch at home, would they think I was odd? It was causing me a lot of angst.
Desperately wanting to fit in, I packed up some healthy snacks and a cheese and pickle sandwich and trotted off to catch the train. At my new office I was eagerly watching to see what everyone would do – guess what, none of them had made their own lunch! They popped out to the local Waitrose or a lovely Italian deli round the corner…
When I voiced my surprise and shared my torment about lunch etiquette they were all very amused. It just shows you, that you need to be open-minded and ready for anything; even if you’re only 30 minutes away from home.