The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. I’ve recently been abroad to the Old World and I must say that there are some things that America could learn from Europe about work. It was enough to almost make me not get on that plane back to the States. So, what was so great about it? I suppose the major point is the fact that the hours seem to be better. Now, granted, this is a statement about the places I explored while in Europe. I know not every country in Europe is the same. So take this info with a grain of salt.
Nearly every single store seems to close no later than 7pm. Not only that but a lot of stores (that
aren’t bakeries) don’t even open until 9am.
I know a lot of coworkers who wouldn’t mind getting out by 7pm on a
Friday night. I can’t tell you how many
family gatherings that would’ve allowed me to catch the last few hours of, at
the very least. And when you think
about it, what store – other than pharmacies or convenience stores – need to be
open past 7pm, anyway? If you can’t buy
your 50” TV by 7pm then maybe it wasn’t meant to be. If your washer broke down just take your clothes to a
Laundromat. If your cellphone died on
you then enjoy the silence and pick up a book.
forget about finding anything open on a Sunday. Good GOD! Forget the
point if you’re religious or not but if God could rest on the 7th
day, why can’t retail workers?
you know what people in Europe do on Sundays?
They spend the day relaxing and enjoying the world around them. Novel concept, I know. Parks were filled with people. Cafés were bustling with friends catching up
with one another. Streets were more
jam-packed with bicyclists than motorists.
People. Just. Slowed. Down. If
they had a 40” TV, they don’t seem to need to rush right out when the 60”
version comes out three months later.
seems like everyone is in such a rush in the States to go from 1 store to the
other and by the end of the day, how many of you actually feel like you’ve
accomplished a lot for the time you spent running around? I’ve said it before but whenever I hear
customers say that they’re just shopping around and plan to go to 4-5 other
stores on their Sunday, I just think, “Why?”
In the day and age of the Internet, just go home, sit out in the
backyard, enjoy a cup of lemonade, and look up what you want to buy
online. Even if you don’t want to buy
it online and insist on going into a store, at least you know what’s out there
before you go out. This way, instead of
going to five million stores, you can just go to 1-2. Plus, nowadays, it seems like every store is so desperate for
your business that they’ll offer price-match guarantees on their items so even
if you don’t think you got the best deal, you can still go in after you buy it
and get the difference back if it goes down.
never want to spend a whole day at stores.
If a store has what I want and I know it’s within what I want to spend,
I get it. I’m not going to spend my
time and gasoline on trying to save $10.
Life’s too short for that bullshit.
bonus of working in Europe – and I know this has its drawbacks, too – is the
amount of vacations one can get at many places of employment. You hear it in jokes on late night comedy
talk shows about how they get 6 months vacation out of the year and how even
the slightest hint of taking away 1 day from their vacation times will insight
massive riots throughout Europe. But
what I want to know is, when life IS so short and when most people work
themselves to death and have to deal with mounds of bullshit in their everyday
life, why NOT have 6 weeks – HELL, even 4 weeks – of vacation time?
need to unwind and 2-3 weeks vacation time and a few personal days spattered
throughout the year isn’t always enough.
Especially if you work in retail.
Imagine what you can see and do with 4-6 weeks of vacation time! However, this goes hand-in-hand with
pay. People in retail jobs in the
States need to be paid a living wage and not the bullshit most hourly
workers get in order to do something useful with those vacation hours. I hear a lot of stories from people who just
take vacation hours to sit around the house.
But why?? Even if it’s just to
go into the city or visit family in the next state, that’s still being able to
get out and explore the world. Or at least
do something useful with your time at home (like start a blog! Ha).
are a lot of things wrong with Europe – as there is with any place on the globe
– but recognizing people need time to get away from work isn’t one of
them. And for those who say that
despite the fact many jobs pay more than their U.S. counterparts they get taxed
more, I say, “So what?” They might get
taxed more but, generally speaking, those taxes go toward universal health coverage
in many countries (look out, it’s “socialism”!). It goes towards better roads and other infrastructure projects
(without being labeled wasted government jobs.
Yeah, I hate driving on smooth roads and having bridges not collapse). It goes towards renewable energy sources (“Oh,
look at those UGLY windmills! I’d
rather have those power plants that churn out the billowing smoke in my
backyard.” – some random U.S. politician).
I shall leave it there for now. I will
probably pick back up on this topic when I have more time to delve deeper. I just needed to get out of my writing
slump. Hey look, I’m up to 1750 page
views! Thanks to everyone reading this
rambling mess. Hope you’ve found it
amusing. Tell your friends and family!
More soon from the frontlines...