Like almost everyone you know, I also spend portions of my evenings curled up on the sofa with my family milling around – on the internet. Scrolling through social media and news articles and the sort fills me with the usual rollercoaster of emotions. There’s the eye roll, prompted by the mundane status updates of people I should’ve unfriended a long time ago, a chuckle at that cat video that keeps popping up, and sadly often that sinking feeling at another tragic news story. But more often than not, my news feeds are filled with lovely reminders of just how similar we are despite our differences.
I’m heading a consultancy that’s taken that idea and made it part of it’s core identity: Cosmopole which is French for ‘set of people from all over the world’. I’m living that reality, as I call the UAE my home and raise my children here. I’ve found myself giggling at little anecdotes or being amused by hot takes. Do we all agree on what it means to be on time? Or perhaps, how to best make a cup of tea? These little parcels of knowledge are things that I’ve come to cherish as a truly global citizen of the world.
Now while the beauty of having a team at work from all over the world isn’t lost on me, I do have to say there’s something, that even the world traveller in me can’t quite reconcile when it comes to work. Now in the grand scheme of things, yes, this may be trivial. No, it’s not the core focus of my work, but something has to be said. It’s about spelling. British vs. American spelling to be exact.
See, I grew up in France and then moved to Australia and have spent the rest of my time working around the world. I’m a strong advocate for placings Us after Os and keeping around an S instead of a Z. I’ve worked with American clients and will always continue to do so, some in my team are even American, but will I change my spellings? Absolutely not. Is it about honour? Or a particularly hard labour? Not necessarily. I recognise the difference and refuse to apologise for my stance. Essentially, I’m just driving home a point.
Noah Webster (think Webster’s dictionary) landed in America and decided that the nation needed to assert its revolution through language. He wanted Americans to spell and sound different, a cultural independence from Britain and apparently the letter U! He may have had is way in the States with shorter words and fewer letters, but I’m going to stick to my 18th century guns.
Now, the beauty of the world and all of its differences is something to be admired, I’ll be the first to stand up and say that we all bleed red and even if we didn’t who cares? I love working with people from different countries; it makes my days interesting and my life more enriched. It truly is an honour.
But I draw the (metre) line at spellings.