20 Days of Chill - Win or Lose


Welcome to Day 4 of 20 Days of Chill! Today it's all about winning or losing!

Growing up in Switzerland I associated "win" with "sports", and since I sucked at it, I never considered myself to be a winner type. Until today the only way to get a medal or a trophy is to be a quick runner, a skilled soccer player or a fearless downhill skier.

Even talented piano players and artsy painters get to (dis)play at exhibitions and concerts.

Never have I seen - and again, I'm only speaking for my country - award ceremonies for a great essay, a perfect math score or a flawless translation, and there wasn't any applause for picking up other kids' trash or helping somebody out with their homework. 

Not much has changed as I entered the workforce. You get paid to do your job, if you want feedback you'll have to wait for the annual performance review. What you're usually getting is some watered down "you're generally doing great", not much to live off or work at. Also it's really hard to get promoted within an organisation, usually they hire supervisors from outside as if the grass were greener on the other side.

What does this have to do with win or lose? 

I feel that us Swiss folks as a culture don't put much of an emphasis on pushing and improving ourselves. The proverbial rags-to-riches careers don't exist, we don't have the American dream.

While I'm not saying this is bad, I feel we lack the winner mentality, the you can be anything you want if you are seriously hard working to get there, and we lack the tools and the attitude of cheering on others and supporting them. 

We seem to think that if we "admit" that somebody is doing a great job, their head will explode and they'll expect a pay increase or something. 

What a world of difference did I experience in my job within the Starbucks' Human Resources Organization! It was all there! A structured training and development concept, tools and opportunities to recognise and reward hard (team) work and outstanding customer service, a culture of giving both positive and constructive feedback, a performance review based on the soft and management skills that matter the most within the company, the list goes on and on.

Sometimes I'd catch myself applying those techniques and tools on my family and friends or people who were helping me in retail or gastronomy, and some would look at me funny, but others just appreciated a genuine compliment.

Back to being Swiss, maybe our no win (and therefore no risk of losing) mentality has something to do with us being a natural country?

I have a couple of expat friends , and some - and I can't blame them - feel the average Swiss person is a bit bland. Distant at first, loyal as they get to know you, very rule and safety oriented, and "content", let's call it humble. 

Nobody working at the cash register or driving the bus aspires to run the company one day. Once a register person, always a register person - I have literally grown up meeting the same ladies over the years. Recently one after the other retired. Again, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. It just sets the tone.

We expect to "be discovered" if we're really good at something, but we'd rather not put ourselves out there, promoting ourselves. Under promise, over deliver. Swissness.

Of course this has its advantages. Everyone knows their place, less backstabbing within organizations and less enviousness of other people's success. They must have been doing really good in school. 

PS: I don't think I have ever won anything in a sweepstake. Until I submitted a Christmas wish for the hubby. I won a couple of vouchers for hotdogs!!!

How do you feel about winning and losing? (Does it drive you crazy, too, if people - the same who randomly use their, they're, there and the like - spell it "loosing"?) English is not my first language, but please, it's not so hard:




Before you leave don't forget to check out my fellow winners' posts.

Tomorrow it's all about #hashtag, I haven't written a word yet. Tough.