From G’day mate to Dobrý Deň to Grüß Gott

So, I’m not from Europe. Basically, I’m from the land down under, full of snakes, spiders, sharks, jellyfish, etc.

No, I do not look like Chris Hemsworth. Yes, I know where he lives. Yes, I do know people who know him. No, I can’t arrange a date with him.


While the reasoning behind moving to Europe is a story for another day, I wanted to talk about the different working environments and styles across the countries I’ve worked in. I won’t speak about the cost of living, you can find that out anywhere. Please take all my experience as a grain of salt and all of these as generalizations.


I like to call Australia “American 2.0” from the British Empire. We have all the good things that America protests about (Freedom), but we take everything far less seriously than our version 1.0 parts.

I think it’s part of the environment. When you have beautiful beaches where you can basically be alone, when everything wants to kill you, when you lose a war with Emus, and lose a Prime Minister to swimming, everything unimportant is not so interesting anymore.

Working Mode:

Australians are two things in business. 1. To the point. 2. Laid-back.

We don’t have time for crap. Yes, there is bureaucracy, but you don’t know bureaucracy until you have worked for the European Union.

We don’t like unnecessary chatter, and we like to stick to regular working hours.

Let’s get stuff done. Let’s make it happen. (Until 5 pm and we go for a beer).

Next morning we will be like 3-5 minutes late.

Feedback mechanisms:

We expect and we get positive and negative feedback on a regular basis. This is part of our normal working mode. You are expected to take it quite well and learn from it.


Australians are generally very friendly people. However, we like to stick to our groups - our friends, families, work colleagues, etc. I wouldn’t call us as accommodating as Slovaks for example, but we are still are very welcoming.

Conversational topics with your boss:

We talk about the weather, the TV shows we watch. We go to the beach semi-regularly.

Oh, I forgot. SPORT SPORT SPORT. We like to talk about Aussies rules (Australian rules football, where you don’t use your foot 90% of the time).

What not to do:

Don’t call us Americans, New Zealanders, British.

Don’t ask us to point to individual European countries on a map.

Don’t put in extra bureaucracy.

Don’t make us work on the weekend.


Beautiful, picturesque, a little raw, this is Slovakia in a nutshell. While you will never truly learn the language, especially when Slovaks don’t know how to teach it, the culture is really quite nice.

I spent the majority of time abroad working in Slovak companies.

Working Mode:

Relaxed, more emotionally driven than the Austrians or Australians, but less so than Americans.

Less bureaucracy than the Austrians, but more than Australians.

The Slovak Friday-leave after 3 pm.

Get stuff done, in exceptional world-class quality, but complain about it.

May or may not be drinking at 8 am to celebrate a software release.

Next morning we will be like 5-10 minutes late.

Feedback mechanisms:

You will get positive and negative feedback, but in general, when giving it - positive is taken quite well, but negative or constructive criticism needs to be communicated carefully.


Incredibly welcoming country of people. You can really feel good here with even random people. I’ve had conversations with people I’ve met for a few seconds about a whole range of personal topics.

Conversational topics with your boss:

Alcohol. Holidays. How it used to be back in the old days.

Some lake that no one has found yet.

Women usually in some form.

Cars. Regular guy things really.

Tax tricks.

What not to do:

They are not Czechs. Do not call them Czechs. Totally whole different thing.

Refuse soup. Their Chicken soup will solve everything.

Speak positively about politics - everyone rags on it.


Cultured, beautiful, majestic. Austria is really a wonderful place to be and work.

Working Mode:

Similar to Germans but with more pasaż, the working mode is rather rigid. We come to meetings on time, we do things by a certain date. But there is a little bit more freedom - for example, they have this god awful thing, the Jour Fixe (basically a regular meeting).

The Jour Fixe is meant so you can have a 10 minute discussion on nothing, and then get to business. As an Australian at heart, this kills me slowly. I have been told repeatedly to stop getting to the point and wait for this ‘polite discussion’.

And while the rigidness is there for deliveries and for meeting times, they have more of a ‘follow-up’ culture than perhaps the Australians do.

“Should we do it now imperfectly, or tomorrow perfectly? “(they will likely choose the later)

Next morning we will be like 1-2 minutes late.

Conversational topics with your boss:

SKIING. SKIING. SKIING. every-single-*******-time-skiing. Between like November and April, never ask your Austrian boss what they did on the weekend. They will tell you - skiing. And heaven forbid if you don’t ski, or you don’t learn to ski.

Where they are going on holiday outside of skiing.

Their sport regimen.



Austrians are family-focused, and group-focused - more so than even the Australians for example. They keep to the groups they know and love.

While welcoming - they are not Slovak levels of welcoming and accommodating.

Feedback mechanisms:

You may not get any feedback at all. Or some feedback but not structured. In general, at least in my experience, the focus on feedback and your experience was not wholly done. And to expect feedback from your boss or others was not forthcoming.

What not to do:

They are not Germans. Do not say they are Germans. I repeat, they are not remotely like Germans, and please don’t make even an oblique reference that they speak the same language (they don’t).

Don’t ask too many personal questions at the beginning - they are quite guarded regarding their families and personal situation.

So to sum up my highly opinionated view:

Bureaucracy from lowest to highest: Australia, Slovakia, Austria

Promptness from lowest to highest: Slovakia, Australia, Austria

Feedback mechanisms from lowest to highest: Austria, Slovakia, Australia

As I didn’t write too much - and this could be an entire essay, this was just a small amount of information. If you want to know more, feel free to comment.

NB: I want to note that again this is a generalization.

From G’day mate to Dobrý Deň to Grüß Gott was originally published in ableneo People on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.