We tend to think of time as a pretty universal concept. Most of us know it’s pretty human-made, the way that we use the hours on the clock, and that some countries or regions use daylight savings and some don’t, that military time versus am/pm is a factor, and that where you are in the world will make a difference in what time it is; our phones today even have the option to tell us what time it is at home AND what part of the day it is for our best friend who lives in Spain. Well, today you’ll learn a little something about how even time itself–the way it’s calculated, not just the way it’s spent–can vary dramatically when you enter into another culture. Even for an international businessman, it can be confusing:
“Kemal Oznoyan was baffled.
He helped open a factory in Addis Ababa for the Turkish textile company, Ayka, seven years ago… “When we organize meeting, they were talking about Ethiopian time, but we were talking about European time,” he recalls.
Once, for example, he and his colleagues set up a meeting for 6 o’clock. Oznoyan thought, “6 p.m., no problem.” But a bit after noon he got a call from the guy he was meeting. “He calls, ‘Where are you? I’m waiting in the downstairs.’” Oznayan says. “[I ask him] ‘Why?’”
It turns out, Oznayan’s colleague meant 6:00 in Ethiopian time, which is noon by Oznoyan’s clock.”
I would love to operate on Ethiopian time. How would you adjust? Comment below.