CHARLOTTE – A different mentality

A different mentalityNot every Turk — but the majority — have more of a Middle Eastern mentality than one of Western logic. Sometimes this can be a good thing, but when it comes to wanting to get things done, it can be a disaantage.

To illustrate my point, I will share a recent personal experience: While I was away for a month, the residents of my apartment building had a meeting to choose a new Ynetici (building manager). This person is a volunteer and can only do the tasks that come with the position in hisher free time.

Among some tasks given was a simple one of replacing the burned-out electric outdoor extension cord which is used with the lawnmower In my neighborhood, gardens are usually well kept. Returning from my trip, I was shocked to see the yard had been taken over by tall and wild grass and weeds.

In some places it was almost up to my knees! I asked the KapIcI (building caretaker) nicely why the grass had not been cut and he explained he was waiting for a new electric extension cord to be bought for him I asked him how long it needs to be, and he replied “40 meters.” I thought to myself, with the grass this tall, mice will come, fleas may increase and my dogs will pick up seeds and burrs in their fur I could not help but wonder why no other tenants seem to take pride in the appearance of the yard.

I also could not understand why at least three weeks had passed and it had taken so long for a group of residents in an apartment building to find TL 240 (just over $100) to purchase a new extension cord so the KapIcI could do his job.If you are working in the business world here or are an owner of your home, you will probably be puzzled by a number of things that come up that seem to take forever to get done.

It is as though they are neglected or procrastinated.When you are in a meeting for owners in your apartment block or at the workplace, you will find that in Turkish culture, people generally are hesitant to openly express themselves.

While Westerners tend to have a meeting so that you can brainstorm and exchange ideas and have some open discussion and offer suggestions, often in a meeting with Turks, such free dialogue is not possible. Everyone is too busy thinking about what the person with seniority expects them to say! The idea of having a meeting is not perceived in the same way in Turkish culture.

As I have mentioned, Turks will be hesitant to speak their minds or give suggestions in such a public setting. In Turkish culture, giving a suggestion quite often is perceived as a form of criticism and could even give offense to someone.

Freedom of expression is not similar to that which you may be accustomed.I had a similar experience last year when I decided that rather than talking to the KapIcI and the Ynetici — and then probably having to call a meeting of the owners to discuss the matter during a tenant’s meeting and having nothing happen in the end — I would just purchase with my own money some outdoor carpeting for the front steps of our building to prevent people from slipping.

Within a couple of days, the carpet had been removed. I was told by the Ynetici and KapIcI that because I had laid the carpet but did not put brackets to hold it in place, it was removed.

There was no gratefulness expressed to me for doing this. (That is because Turks never like to feel as though they owe you one.

) Well, the result was we went through the winter months trying to avoid falling because of the slippery steps. A year passed and somebody put non-skid adhesive strips on each step.

This experience was part of my process of learning how things eventually get fixed.You see it’s all a matter of timing.

I’ve learned that patience is a virtue and much needed. You can read in my piece “Getting to the Bottom of Things!” (Oct.

20, 2013) more on this subject.You may be wondering what happened with the lawn and the need for an extension cord.

Having three dogs, I decided that it is cheaper for me to go and buy a 50-meter outdoor extension cord than have veterinarian bills because seeds got in my cocker spaniels’ ears. I instructed our KapIcI that he could use it “on loan from my bookstore” when the yard needed mowing and should give it back to me each time after he finishes cutting the grass.

Later that day, he was happily cutting the grass! Let’s see how long it will be before he has an extension cord.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman

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