Q.2 WE HAVE A NEW EMPLOYEE who is causing dissention in our coffee break room because she is so culturally different from all of us. We aren't prejudiced, but her ideas are so different from ours-some are dietary, some moral, and I wonder how we bridge that gap. We do have to work together.
A. THE BEAUTY OF AMERICA is that most of us are individuals and even if we belong to a group we can take pride in being different from anyone else. We expect that difference to be respected, if not admired, so you must get to work doing that. You may ask respectful questions, explain your own customs and even bring in food samples and readings to share, encouraging your new employee to do the same. Thinking you can't reach agreement with someone who comes from a different culture is a great misconception, according to Mark Pastin, CEO of the Council of Ethical Organizations, who stresses most of us work with people from different generations, countries, races, ethnicities, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds. If we treat that as an educational benefit all of us benefit.