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Your European Work Ethic

I get work done and enjoy life   11 votes - 61 %
I should work more (but don't - nyah nyah!!)   3 votes - 16 %
The American work style is THE BEST   1 vote - 5 %
Work? What's that?   2 votes - 11 %
Vacation? What's that?   0 votes - 0 %
Sorry, (your name here) is on vacation, leave a message   1 vote - 5 %
18 Total Votes
The irony is that in many jobs most people achieve exactly the same in an eight hour day as in a twelve hour day.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 04:10:35 AM EST
Too true...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 04:12:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Janet Strange (jstrange1925 - that symbol - hotmail, etc.) on Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 12:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When my wife and I have talked about moving to the States, that was always one of the dealbreakers.

And ironically enough, I probably get to visit my family more often living in Europe than I would if I lived in, say, NY.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 05:30:03 AM EST
Share the work, share the leisure:
8/8/2002  timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -

    * Clocking out - Short work hours undercut Europe in economic drive - Culture that values leisure now finds it an obstacle; Jobs are going elsewhere - Taking 9½ weeks of vacation, by Christopher Rhoads, WSJ, front page.
      [Let's take this headline piece by piece -]
      ...Short work hours undercut Europe in economic drive [no, they underpin the European consumer base] -
      Culture that values leisure now finds it an obstacle [no, we're feeling envious];
      Jobs are going elsewhere [like our's aren't?!] -
      Taking 9½ weeks of vacation [eat your hearts out, Americans!]

The above is from an archived article from this site, Timesizing
by ask on Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 10:38:46 AM EST
My European work ethic is simple:

  1. minimise the time for a given job, not maximise the result from working a given time

  2. keep the time saved for yourself (or your blog...), not for your company

  3. get on with life

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 02:03:10 PM EST
of a path toward keeping work in proper perspective.

Impressively, as easily applicable to 'house work' and other 'daily chores' as it is to one's business life.

Jerome -- I often salute the quality of your contributions, this one I salute in terms of its quality combined with brevity ... Bravo!

by BesiegedByBush (BesiegedByBushATyahooDOTcom) on Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 02:43:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The CabinGirl corollary to your work ethic is:  Why spend 40 hours a week doing something you can finish in 25?   Maximize the fun:work ratio.
by CabinGirl on Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 04:20:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My vote - for many reasons
● define "work" - employment, it's my hobby, self-employed, work-aholic
● work contribution depends on organization, efficiency, team effort, colleagues
● my job has been electronic R&D, organization support, labor issues worker's council, medium level high quality product sales for Benelux, financial partner in family business and now self-employed.
● different environments, challenges and requirements for the job
● large dependence on organization, freedom in job fulfillment and self-initiative
● level of unions participating in corporations or industry
● presence of skilled labor, education level and investments
● job flexibility works both ways - positive and negative
● national culture and business history

IMHO - corporate leadership is responsible for failure, company as a whole should be recognized for gains in profitability. Period in sales gave me the insight the profits come after the investment of time, effort and diligence. When your predecessor did a lousy job in business relations, it just takes time to develop the market potential. After a good job, your successor harvests the benefits.

USA WELCOME: Make Yourself Known @BooMan Tribune and add some cheers!

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 03:23:10 PM EST
Come to think of it, I've never held a 40 hour job in Europe. When I was much younger and living in the States, you had to time-stamp your presence on the job.

USA WELCOME: Make Yourself Known @BooMan Tribune and add some cheers!

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 03:27:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What about people who do the same thing on vacation as they do "at work"? Plenty of people over here don't make a distinction between their work and their hobby. The saying is "do the work you enjoy and the money will follow" or something like that...
by asdf on Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 06:51:41 PM EST
I disagree with this statement :"Americans have developed this compulsion to work long hours

No such thing exists. At least not enough to make it a rule.

America is about 15yrs ahead of Europe on the road of uncontrolled capitalism and counsumerism. The save very little IIRC <1% of GDP. The borrow excessively and have no job security ever since they decided that unions are BAD. They live in a credit-card bubble, constantly being afraid that it will burst.

Now. An average middle-class American family that has no savings, is in deep debt and buys junk on credit using their 20% (or more) interest rate credit cards, has no choice but to work, and work, and work.
This is a society that cannot afford to try living on less. A day missed needs five to make up for it.

by Euroliberal on Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 08:45:00 PM EST
I'm probably overstating it when I say "compulsion", but to quote you:

Now. An average middle-class American family that has no savings, is in deep debt and buys junk on credit using their 20% (or more) interest rate credit cards, has no choice but to work, and work, and work.

...unfortunately, there are a lot of people that fall into this description. And with down-sizings, if you have a job, you work more...that's a fact. Maybe "compelled" is a better word...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Wed Jul 6th, 2005 at 12:51:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Australia unfortunately rates as the second hardest working OECD nation, behind only the USA, and many Australians are working 40-60 hour weeks.

My first job was for a majaor national (now international) engineering & environmental consultancy, where the working week was officially 40 hours. Unofficially, if you couldn't bill enough of your hours to job nunbers, you were 'unproductive', no matter how many hours you worked. I worked one contract where I averaged just under 90 hours a week for 6 months without a day off. It was a joke that I should sleep in the office. Once that contract finished, because I had had no time to tender for other contracts, I had too little 'productive' (ie job time) on my books, so I ended up working 70 hours a week for over a year. I put up with it until I had saved enough to take a 2 year break, but the cost was my mind- I reached the point where basic tasks were extremely difficult and stressful.

My story is far from uncommon here, and most professional Australians are at the point of feeling guilty if they aren't working full hours, or staying at work at least one night a week to squeeze out that extra profitability. I now work in the Federal public service with vastly better conditions inclduing a 73.5 hour fortnight, but even amongst a culture famous for people clocking in at 3 past 9 and clocking out at 4.33 on the dot, vast numbers in our department are working long hours.

I hope Europe resists this madness and educates the rest of us. Myself, I learnt my lesson, and despite being at 'executive level' have a public policy of minimising my overtime, and do. The result is I get to arrive at work and go home at decent hours, rarely if ever work weekends, take time of in lieu after extensive travel, and have the same outstanding performance rating as my colleagues who all work overtime.

"This can't possibly get more disturbing!" - Willow

by myriad (imogenk at wildmail dot com) on Wed Jul 6th, 2005 at 01:47:09 AM EST
Myself, I don't begrudge the extra hours per se.  I am a programmer and I like my work.  I often work on programs which are not work related in my non-working hours.  I I find it very satisfying to make something actually work, both in work and non-work hours.  What I hate about the US system is the feeling that, despite all my work and all that I do, I am just a few paychecks from sleeping under a bridge, and that my childrens' futures are hostage to the vagaries of some fortune I can neither control nor predict.  It's not the leisure I crave, it's some sense of security.
by guleblanc on Wed Jul 6th, 2005 at 03:12:15 PM EST
was it half of all US personal bankruptcies that were due to a medical emergency?  I forget the figure...

oh yeah there it is ... what would I do without google...

and many of these are middle class people with (alleged) health insurance.

my biggest fears as a US worker are serious illness, or being laid off before the earliest retirement (pension available) age... either one could mean having to sell my home...  I do have HMO health insurance through the employer but it has deductibles and gotchas and is sometimes slow to reimburse etc.  only pays half of dental fees, blah blah.

and I always keep 6 months to a year of survival money in the bank, and seldom carry credit card debt over a month boundary.  even those who try to live w/in their means and avoid debt can be afraid of suddenly losing most or all of their prosperity through medical expenses or litigation.  it is all very Victorian somehow...

it must always be an unpleasant shock to lose a job or have a sudden medical crisis, no matter where you live... but in the US it brings a  particular dread.  Ehrenreich wrote a book about this fear at the heart of the middle class, Fear of Falling.  I never actually read it but the reviews were fairly good.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Wed Jul 6th, 2005 at 08:41:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks.  I'll look up the Ehrenreich book.  What would we do without Barbara to tell us the obvious.
by guleblanc on Thu Jul 7th, 2005 at 09:18:05 AM EST
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