By Charles Crumpley
The Los Angeles Business Journal
Donna Lee, a human resources expert at accounting firm Ernst & Young, did a lot of kissing during her recent business trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. But it isn’t what you think.
As part of Ernst & Young’s Corporate Responsibility Fellows Program, the 30-year-old spent three months working with Argentine video game company Three Melons on its human resources strategy. Her services were offered free of charge. But kissing was part of the job.
That’s because in Argentina it is traditional to greet co-workers and business people with a kiss on the left cheek. It wasn’t just the first day on the job – but every day she was there – that Lee obliged. And there were about 50 employees at Three Melons.
“It took a little while to get used to because naturally in the United States, we extend a hand when we greet anyone in the corporate setting. However, over there they would just naturally lean in and kiss you,” she said.
Lee loved the trip – she took Spanish lessons and ate a lot of that famous Argentinean steak. She got back from the trip at the end of December and had to re-train herself to life in an American office.
“One thing I had to learn coming back in the U.S. was: remember not to kiss because being in a human resources role that would be awkward,” she said.