I worked for an Asian boss in my home country Singapore for five years before moving to Sydney, Australia with my husband. Shortly after, we welcomed our daughter and I stayed at home to look after her for two years before going back to work. I found a job as a part time tuition teacher at a tutoring centre for primary and high school students near my home. This time, I reported to a Western boss.
There are similarities and differences between Asian and Western bosses. I shall elaborate on the latter first.
Most significantly, I had to adjust my accent in order to be understood by my current employer, colleagues and students, most of whom have lived in Sydney for many years and are not from Singapore. Although I spoke mainly English to my former employer, colleagues and students in Singapore, it was generously peppered with Chinese and Malay phrases. Furthermore, I spoke English with a very strong Singaporean accent that outsiders would struggle to comprehend. For example, many Singaporeans, including myself, tend to drop the consonants at the end of words like want (pronounced as “wan”) and price (pronounced as “pry”) and overemphasize the “t” in words like “to”. In addition, Singaporean English tends to be syllable timed due to it being heavily influenced by Chinese languages, while English spoken in Western countries tends to be stress timed. If I continued to speak the same way I used to speak in Singapore, I would definitely stick out like a sore thumb and my boss, colleagues and students would have difficulty understanding me.
Therefore, I strongly believe that it is imperative that Asians with a strong accent when speaking English learn how to speak with a more neutral accent in order to communicate more effectively in Western societies.
On the other hand, I find that both my former Asian employer and current Western employer are both very driven and have high expectations of their employees. Hence, I am constantly kept on my toes, which in turn motivates me to put in my best at work.