You will notice that in the first week of your work, your workmates will tease you a bit and ask you difficult questions on how “good” you are at your new found job.
As a Filipino, I sometimes found it a little bit offensive, up close, and too personal but I learned that this is part of the world-famous Kiwi humour. You will learn to understand that these statements weren’t thrown at you to offend but rather as a means to have fun and find out how you will fit with the team.
Just learn how to get along with it and share a few laughs with them. You will find it quite confusing because they will use “sarcasm” with affection and concern for your wellbeing. This may be confusing but you will learn to embrace it and when you do, you will understand that you shouldn’t take offense. It’s just all part of the humour.
If you have problems settling in and when the teasing gets out of control, you can let the manager step in and help you. In New Zealand, every worker is protected and has rights to freedom from any form of harassment. I’m so glad that I haven’t experienced this but if your manager cannot help you, you can step up and let the New Zealand Commission on Human Rights do the rest.
The Kiwi working day
If you’re in the trades you will commonly work in an 8-hour shift, 5 days a week, with a 60-minute unpaid lunch break and two 15-minute paid morning and afternoon tea breaks – they call a “smoko”. The employer will provide you with coffee or tea and milk – choose whatever suits your taste buds!
Your lunch however is your own responsibility and this may only include a simple sandwich and fruit of your choice. Remember to bring something for the team too when you feel generous. They will really appreciate it when you share. Sooner or later, you will find out that they will do the same for you.
Kia kaha (stay strong)!