Lynn Visson’s “Wedded Strangers” identifies differences in work ethic between Russians and Americans:
“Americans, with a work ethic, grew up knowing they would have to work hard to get a job. For Russians, under the Soviet system, the government found them a job or they got a job through personal contacts.”
“Under the Soviet system, the idea was to get away with as little work as possible, as there were no pay raises. There was no real threat of getting fired either. Working hard just led to more work.”
“For women in the Soviet Union, the workplace was a place to gossip, sell each other clothes, and exchange tips on where to get consumer goods.”
“To Russians, Americans are time obsessed. To Americans, time is money. To Russians, relationships are more important than time.”
Lynn Visson’s “Wedded Strangers” talks about further distinctions between Russians and Americans:
“The worst thing a Russian can say about you is that you are dry. Meaning that you are cold and logical. Outpourings of emotion in private life are balanced by extreme restraint in public life.”
Russians smile when there is something to smile about – for example, when they are with their family and friends and the vodka is flowing.
Russians have what is best described as a dry sense of humor. They make jokes that are very sharp or witty. They can be also be very sarcastic. They make humorous comments that require intelligence and a keen understanding of a situation to be funny.
The Russian delivers his joke or funny story with a serious expression on his face, while everyone else bursts into laughter. If he laughs with the others, it spoils the joke.
Lynn talks about different perceptions of time:
“Being late is part of the Russian makeup. Being late was a way of showing contempt for the system and of asserting self. To Russians, appointments are guidelines.”
“Americans do one thing at a time. They value short-term relationships and take deadlines seriously. Russians do a variety of things at one time, they value long term relationships, and they are flexible about appointments.”