I've always prided myself on being tough and low-maintenance; how can I become more demanding?
When I was a kid, the traits that were held up as virtues in my working class family were things like thriftiness, self-reliance, making-do, hardiness and good humour in the face of adversity. Things seen as shameful were waste, fussiness, acting entitled, unrealistically high expectations and shallowness.
All of which served me well when I was living in that environment, but my day to day life is now spent among middle class professionals who were raised with a completely different ruleset which I now need to learn.
I was raised to believe that cheap, plentiful and filling were the criteria for a successful meal. Using this ruleset, I catered a couple of functions with what were mocked as "brown buffets" before working out that other people were judging the food on factors like appearance, choice and nutritional value.
My first instinct on being assigned any project is to put in extra hours and do as much of it myself as possible, so as to keep the budget super-low. This is not always seen as a good thing by my employers. My long hours are seen as poor time-management rather than dedication and my low spending on the project as a sign that I don't value it.
complaining about poor service, it goes against all the values I internalised as a child. I know it's expected of me now, but I am just terrible at it and end up making all sorts of concessions and finding workarounds that create more work for myself rather than just demanding that the person who made the mistake fix it.
I'm very bad at identifying when luxuries are expected or would be appreciated. In this new culture, fresh cut flowers aren't a horrifying waste of money they're a nice little touch that makes a guest-room more pleasant. Buying designer goods isn't a sign you're shallow or gullible, it's a sign you value quality. I never even think about buying this stuff until somebody tells me to. I'm an awful host, because I miss out on all the little touches that other people expect and value.
These are just some of the problems that I know
about. There are a ton of other social expectations that I'm failing on every day because my frame of reference is all wrong. I think it's hurting me, both professionally and socially. Sometimes I think it would be easier if I were foreign, because then these missteps would be attributed to culture differences rather than people assuming that I am weak or lazy. I realise that the only thing that will completely solve the problem is time, but I really need to speed up the process.
Have you made this transition? What stuff used to trip you up? What techniques helped you to assimilate? I've read The Five Stupidest Habits You Develop Growing Up Poor
but would love to be pointed to more comprehensive resources.
If you were raised to have high expectations, what lessons growing up helped to cement that view for you? What stuff do you see people like me doing that makes you wince?
Has anybody managed to maintain these two different mindsets simultaneously? I don't want to learn these new habits and wind up alienating myself from my family. Ideally I need to be ettiquette-bilingual. Is that even possible?
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