Thai Office Etiquette and Other Need-to-Knows

Yellow is for Monday, Pink is for Tuesday, Green is for Wednesday, Orange is for Thursday, Tradition is for Friday. Unless you’re a teacher, uniform required.

Totally acceptable to walk around the office barefoot.  In fact, it’s rude if you wear your shoes!

Thai offices do not run on Asian time, so don’t be late.

Everytime you travel, you better bring back gifts for the whole office.

Try to speak Thai.  You’ll get almost every word wrong and they probably won’t understand you, but everyone will get a good laugh out of it and it’ll break down barriers.

Politics, cliques and gossip exist.

Yes, they’re talking behind your back in front of your face.  Mai pen rai.

Learn to take a hint.  Most of the time when your boss wants you to do something, you initially won’t even know it.  “It would be nice to have a stronger advocacy strategy” means “By the end of this week, YOU need to have met with the Directors, developed a strategy, created a plan of action and sent me a first draft.

Laughing 😀 is acceptable in any situation. It also helps you make friends.

A 1 hour meeting = A 4 hour meeting

A 10min quick chat = A 30-45min quick chat

Plan accordingly.

Don’t wear fisherman pants – unless you want to look like a tool.

My shirts were always too low. No chest at all should be seen (not talking the bosom, I mean your collar bone, upper chest, shoulders) – cover it all up!

Share your lunch! Always think about others.

Being assertive/direct is not usually the best idea to solve issues. Instead, smile a lot and subtly hint at your disagreement/discontent, then present a mutually beneficial solution in the kindest way possible.

Don’t ask your boss too many questions in a meeting.  Definitely don’t correct your boss in front of anyone. “saving face”

Be Positive!  (no matter where in the world you are)

This is definitely not a comprehensive list and also not to be taken completely seriously.

About redmudstain

An American Expat in Chiang Mai, Thailand ​ Not willing to settle down just yet - I'm only in my mid-twenties after all - I took a leap across the big big pond and fell onto Thai soil. Well, it was a little less spontaneous than that... ​ After a grueling application process, Princeton in Asia bestowed upon me a one-year fellowship with The Life Skills Development Foundation in Chiang Mai. A renowned child rights non-profit foundation in Northern Thailand, TLSDF is giving me the opportunity to research critical social issues, travel across field sites in the nation's upper regions, converse with the international human rights community and of course, learn Thai! ​ This is my life - the beauty, struggle, culture shock and adventure - in the charming city of Chiang Mai. Blog: https://redmudstain.wordpress.com/ UPDATE: Chiang Mai got me for 2 years!

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