As in life, the key to living a joyful and productive Accion Ambassadorship is mostly based upon the relationships that you build around you. However the difference between an Accion Ambassadorship and other experiences is that you only have a short amount of life to win over the hearts, minds and respect of your peers. (I, for example, moved regions every month).
There is no other relationship more important to the success of your Accion Ambassadorship than the one your foster with your host MFI (microfinance institution). If you win them over, the details and bumps along the way will work themselves out.
I can’t lie and say that I wasn’t a little intimated at first by the challenge of how I (tall, white and gangly) was going to integrate myself with a tight knit group of inspired Guatemalans who depend upon each other to realize their work. There’s also the fact that my Spanish is not 100% fluent (like when I said “ox butt soup” instead of “ox tail soup”) and that my Q’eqchi is pretty abysmal. But after almost 3 months of working with Genesis in Petén, Izabal, Alta and Baja Vera Paz, I think that I can safely say that despite cultural obstacles, I am a member of the Genesis team.
How? I am going to share with your my secrets in the form of 6 tips. These 6 pieces of advice will help you adapt in your Accion Ambassadorship, your new job, or even score a first date.
1. Follow their Work Routine
On office days, I have worked from 8 am to when the guys leave work since the beginning. Take your tostada breaks and lunch breaks at the hours that they do. Half the battle is just showing up and being present. If you establish yourself in their routine, they will treat you less like a temporary visitor and more like a part of their team.
Going to the beat of your own clock can really back fire. For example, one capacity trainer recounted me about his shaky experience starting to work for Genesis. He was the first capacity trainer to join a team of credit officers in a regional office. Unlike credit officers who arrive at the office at 8 am and leave at around 5:30-6:00 pm every day, capacity trainers are free to create their own schedule as long they achieve their work goals.
So he decided to work on weekends and didn’t work other weekdays, or would work one week and take off another. But the credit officers felt like he was never in the office because they didn’t see him at the same time and so they called the central office for an investigation of whether or not he was actually working. Despite the fact that the central office did not find any errors, the credit officers still want him to resign. The point of this true life fable is that if you want to gain someone’s confidence, you have to be present. Continue reading