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This has to be a joke...

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,248903,00.html

The above story is brought to you by the country with the 35 hour work week and two months vacation a year. I didn't realize they had it so rough over there.
post #2 of 29
no comment, guy in germany who is the IT person i work with gets 12 weeks vaction a year. I have to almost kill someone at my job to get 2 weeks in a row off, Or go have a back operation to get time away.
post #3 of 29
yeesh...naps at work? can we get those here?!
post #4 of 29
Well, there are studies (I don't have the references here, sorry) that suggest that a 20 minute nap in the afternoon rejuvenates you and makes you that much more able to work effectively, so it's not a completely ridiculous idea. In our "go go go" society, we often don't sleep well at night or take care of our own needs, and if we're caught napping at our desks that can be grounds to fire us -- never mind that we stayed at work until 10pm last night, came in again at 6:30am and barely slept in between. Although it can be detrimental to sleep more than 20-30 minutes (you can have a harder time waking up, as you enter deeper sleep, and it may wreck your natural night-time sleep patterns), a quick nap or "forty winks" is good for you, and I personally think it's about time employers take that into consideration. I know for me, personally, that around 2-3pm I'm hit by a wave of exhaustion and it's almost impossible to keep my eyes open, and a quick nap helps to relieve that feeling. Of course, I can't nap at work, so I often have to find other ways to keep myself going, and those ways (excess coffee, excess sugar consumption) are certainly less healthy for me than a brief, refreshing nap.
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
A nap may help but the downside to their work week is that they have a high tax rate and have a low productivity rate as a nation. I don't think that bodes well for an economy.
post #6 of 29
I often wish the american work force would adopt this. Often times we are given vacation time, but we often don't take it at once or in long term.

I know I take a day here and there, but last year was the first time in 5 years that I took more than 2 days off at a time.

Plus I'm all for the napping in the afternoon. By 1 or 2 pm I'm ready to go back to sleep and so I'll fix some coffee. By the time I get home at night, I'm ready to crash.
post #7 of 29
First of all, I think the work ethic that's expected over here is absolutely unreasonable. Even 40 hours a week with 2 weeks vacation is sort of out of control to me. You end up spending half of your waking life and 1/3 of your total life pushing paper. It's therefore absolutely no wonder to me that we have the high rates of things like depression, divorce and alcoholism compared to the rest of the Western World...how can we expect to stay sane when we work ourselves to pieces? Our Puritan/Protestant work ethic does more harm than good...I mean it's the norm now to forgo that vacation time altogether, and on average, people leave work on time ONE time a week, not to mention that we work dozens of extra hours on average.

That said, I think France has it right. People aren't meant to work like this. If it were up to me there'd be a mandatory vacation period and mandatory 40 hour LIMIT on employers. Taking naps and the like are things that keep us healthy mentally and physically. I guess I've just never understood why people would forgo those things for extra cash. The two most important things in my life are my family and my health, which most people would agree with in theory. How many of us actually live that way?

Ok, end rambly rant. I'm an artist..what do I know?
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
First of all, I think the work ethic that's expected over here is absolutely unreasonable. Even 40 hours a week with 2 weeks vacation is sort of out of control to me. You end up spending half of your waking life and 1/3 of your total life pushing paper. It's therefore absolutely no wonder to me that we have the high rates of things like depression, divorce and alcoholism compared to the rest of the Western World...how can we expect to stay sane when we work ourselves to pieces? Our Puritan/Protestant work ethic does more harm than good...I mean it's the norm now to forgo that vacation time altogether, and on average, people leave work on time ONE time a week, not to mention that we work dozens of extra hours on average.
Exactly! At the place where I used to work, I was considered a slacker by some because I chose not to stay after hours or work on the weekends. I decided that to do so would be unhealthy for me -- I could see how stressed out everyone who worked that much was -- and I value my health over my employment. (Well, obviously. I'm unemployed now! ) I think it's ridiculous to expect people to work more than they're required to work, and to call those of us who choose to put our health and sanity ahead of our jobs "slackers" or "lazy." I wouldn't mind working longer hours if I was allowed to take a 20-30 minute nap sometime during the workday.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
First of all, I think the work ethic that's expected over here is absolutely unreasonable. Even 40 hours a week with 2 weeks vacation is sort of out of control to me.
that is what itta says also, and is one of the reasons she does not want to stay in the states.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
that is what itta says also, and is one of the reasons she does not want to stay in the states.
If I get the job I've been tentatively offered :crosses fingers and knocks on all the wood she can find: If this works out, I'd be working about 30 hours a week, not including rehearsals or practicing. I'l basically work 2PM or so until 8PM or so, 5 days a week. That, to me, seems reasonable. It'll leave me time to spend with my FH and my kitties, and to be primarily in charge of our humble abode, which is something I find a lot of pride, peace and enjoyment in. It'll also give me time to give back to my community in the form of volunteership. To me, it's very important that my family and their needs come before a job, ALWAYS. It's also very important that I devote time to making my community a better place. I'm also kind of a sleep-diva...I'll call in sick to work or class if I've had a touch of insomnia.

I work for people who work 11 hour days 5 days a week and travel on top of that. I just don't get it. Why even have kids or a spouse or a nice house if you're not going to be able to enoy them? And how much do you think that trashes their bodies? How can one excercise and eat healthfully and get enough sleep?

I guess I'll never get it. Self-employment is definitely the way to go for me, if I'm employed at all. I just thank my lucky stars that I found a partner who is highly employable in the field he loves and that I can make it work with a secondary income.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
Self-employment is definitely the way to go for me,.
I went that way, i swear i work harder, then the people that really work here. I know i spend way more hours in the office then they do.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
I went that way, i swear i work harder, then the people that really work here. I know i spend way more hours in the office then they do.
I've often heard that from Restaraunt owners and owners of small shops. They are LITERALLY living, breathing their work. Since its something that they now depend on as an income, they see themselves as needing to be there. Often times they are, especially when it first opens up until you well established enough (if you ever are) to hire a site manager to run the business.

Even the owner where i currently work recently began to take time off. Apparently he was here all the time about a year or two before I came on. He personally would approve or disapprove of all the projects that the engineers would design for customers (even if it was customer specifications).

Now he lives out in CA most of the time and is only in the office maybe 2-4 times a year. But it took him 25 years to get to that point.
post #13 of 29
I can't complain too much. I work at a University and am salaried. We are GIVEN paid sick days based on how long you've worked (your first year, you get two business weeks, second year you get a full business month, third year you get two business months, and beyond you get three business months).

Vacation is even more ridiculous. Your first year, you get 15 vacation days, but after that you accrue 22 days, and you can carry over 44 each month (if you have 44 days accrued, you should take a vacation day or two that month, so you don't forfeit any of them).

As far as working 40 hours a week? I can't even tell you how many I work because it's usually less than due to the nature of my work.


Now I don't feel so weird about my low salary, lol. Oh, and we don't "get" naps, but I could sneak one in if I wanted to.
post #14 of 29
Oh man i don't even want to hear it! It's not uncommon for me to work 6-7 days straight in a row all day long! I stay exhausted! They work me to death. I'm lucky if i get on or two days a week off- and they are almost never in a row. I had to fight them to get off work tomorrow for my doctors appointment! Those people over there in France who are upset about "how bad they have it" have no clue how hard our work force is over here. I have no benifits, no vacation time, and i am often stuck working 6-7 days a week. Some days i don't even get breaks because we are so busy. It's rediculious! Today i was at work 8 1/2 hours- about an hour before i left i tried to go take a break - i had worked non-stop all that day....7 minutes into my break i got a call- i never got to go back to my break and i spent the next several hours (i had to stay late) working late. When I start my own busniess in the near future and get my own shop- i just know i'm gonna be "living" there So when other countries who have easy work weeks and generous vacation times complaine about their work- i simply get annoyed. By the way- i don't even get a chair- i'm on my feet all day long... so yea.... the thought of people being able to sleep at their desks while i'm on my feet all day working myself silly- it's a bit annoying. I would LOVE a nap- heck, i would love a proper break without getting interruped, better yet- i would LOVE a vacation Is any of that going to happen for me right now? I highly doubt that. Yet another reason i'm getting another job and saving up for my own flower shop- so i can make my own hours, be my own boss and do what is best for me and my future employees.

To add to that- there have been quite a few times where i'm two differnt jobs and going to school full time. All i do is eat, sleep, go to school, go to work when that happens. Right now i'm working full time where i'm at running the floral dpt/ cahsiering - i just found out this week that i might have the new job i applied for- so i'm going to try and work both to save up money. I'm going back to school this summer- there's no way i can not work and go to school- so it's without a doubt that i will be working fulltime and going to school fulltime- it's not uncommon for me to have two jobs and do that -so when i hear people complaining in other countries about their work/vacation which is much better than ours when i have no benifits/vacation/sick leave whatsoever- it really irks me
post #15 of 29
I think a siesta in the middle of the day is a good idea. Lack of sleep is a serious problem for a lot of people which affects productivity and can increase accidents at work - I think it's good that the french govt is looking at ways of dealing with that. The number of hours worked isn't always related to productivity - I know myself that when I work a long day (I work flexi time) I don't always get more done than on shorter days as my attention wanders and I can't maintain the work rate. I have colleagues who regularly work through their lunch time or take a very short lunch break and I'm not convinced they get more done than me just because they're at their desk for longer.
post #16 of 29
I get 6 weeks leave and have until the end of March to take three weeks- I don't see why they can't just pay me for it
post #17 of 29
Well of course, a lot of you will know that the Spanish are famous for the afternoon naps -siesta It works very well, but of course, they´ve done it for years, so its well engrained into the culture & habit. The common opening hours are 10am-2pm then 5pm 9pm. There are difference for manual workers, they start 8am, but still stop for a breakfast break at about 10am(ish) and of course the normal siesta time at 2pm. Spain is very relaxed and clock-watching is not the norm -of course I cant comment on what happens in big cities such as Madrid, but its all very chilled here at the coast
However, it is changing and more and more shops, particularly shopping malls now stay open all day, great for shopping, but of course, this effects the working conditions of the employee ! In a large city near me, the Mayor & the Tourist Minsiter is trying deperately to encourage more local shops to stay open during the siesta period. Its bring more money etc, etc........but like any well cherished habits, they are very hard to change.

I´d forgotton US employees in the majority only seem to get 2 weeks annual leave - god that would have killed me. I was like SilentNate and started off with 4 weeks then progressed up to 6 weeks, plus of course all the national 'bank holidays' as the Brits call them But you have to - "use em or loose em " as they often chanted at us !
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooficat View Post
I´d forgotton US employees in the mjority only seem to get 2 weeks annual leave - god that would have killed me. I was like SilentNate and started off with 4 weeks then progressed up to 6 weeks, plus of course all the national 'bank holidays' as the Brits call them But you have to - "use em or loose em " as they often chanted at us !
Issue at most workplaces is that the moment the sun comes out everyone books leave and its just not possible to give it to everybody
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryEyedTiGeR
Those people over there in France who are upset about "how bad they have it" have no clue how hard our work force is over here. I have no benifits, no vacation time, and i am often stuck working 6-7 days a week. Some days i don't even get breaks because we are so busy. It's rediculious! Today i was at work 8 1/2 hours- about an hour before i left i tried to go take a break - i had worked non-stop all that day....7 minutes into my break i got a call- i never got to go back to my break and i spent the next several hours (i had to stay late) working late.
Which is why I'm so glad I belong to a union and that I don't live in a country that consistantly voted in right-wing governments that prevented unions have any strength of negotiation
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by silentNate View Post
Issue at most workplaces is that the moment the sun comes out everyone books leave and its just not possible to give it to everybody

oh yeah, thats a real problem, same when the 'proper' summer hols come and everyone scrabbles for the same weeks. I dont have kids and it always seemed the ones with kids got favoured over the non-mums - thats a whole other thread though Oh and Christmas was always a mega fight to get the leave you wanted .......umm.......maybe 2 weeks is a lot easier then.. ooppss oops sorry NO WAY, 6 weeks when ever you can take it is just brill
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryEyedTiGeR View Post
Oh man i don't even want to hear it! It's not uncommon for me to work 6-7 days straight in a row all day long! I stay exhausted! They work me to death. I'm lucky if i get on or two days a week off- and they are almost never in a row. I had to fight them to get off work tomorrow for my doctors appointment! Those people over there in France who are upset about "how bad they have it" have no clue how hard our work force is over here. I have no benifits, no vacation time, and i am often stuck working 6-7 days a week. Some days i don't even get breaks because we are so busy. It's rediculious! Today i was at work 8 1/2 hours- about an hour before i left i tried to go take a break - i had worked non-stop all that day....7 minutes into my break i got a call- i never got to go back to my break and i spent the next several hours (i had to stay late) working late. When I start my own busniess in the near future and get my own shop- i just know i'm gonna be "living" there So when other countries who have easy work weeks and generous vacation times complaine about their work- i simply get annoyed. By the way- i don't even get a chair- i'm on my feet all day long... so yea.... the thought of people being able to sleep at their desks while i'm on my feet all day working myself silly- it's a bit annoying. I would LOVE a nap- heck, i would love a proper break without getting interruped, better yet- i would LOVE a vacation Is any of that going to happen for me right now? I highly doubt that. Yet another reason i'm getting another job and saving up for my own flower shop- so i can make my own hours, be my own boss and do what is best for me and my future employees.

To add to that- there have been quite a few times where i'm two differnt jobs and going to school full time. All i do is eat, sleep, go to school, go to work when that happens. Right now i'm working full time where i'm at running the floral dpt/ cahsiering - i just found out this week that i might have the new job i applied for- so i'm going to try and work both to save up money. I'm going back to school this summer- there's no way i can not work and go to school- so it's without a doubt that i will be working fulltime and going to school fulltime- it's not uncommon for me to have two jobs and do that -so when i hear people complaining in other countries about their work/vacation which is much better than ours when i have no benifits/vacation/sick leave whatsoever- it really irks me
It's interesting, then, that you tend to vote for more conservative candidates. Typically, they are the ones who insist on the "Protestant work Ethic" as part of the American Dream and work to block the Unions that seek to make our work weeks make a little more sense and provide benefits to as many as possible.
post #21 of 29
Funny that coming from a country with an unemployment rate of almost 10%, as compared to the US with about 1/2 that. http://www.globalcareernews.com/publish/article_6.shtml

Could that be based on the strength of the economy, perhaps? Basic economics say that if you're paying people to do less work (35 hour work weeks, plus naps, plus excessive (IMO) paid time off), the company will not make enough of a profit to hire additional workers and increase productivity overall.

Do we as Americans work TOO much? Yes, I would agree that this is the trend. It is almost expected that you will work more than 40 hours/week, especially if you are salaried and get benefits. The work week has increased for most people. The biggest problem, though, that I see is the idea that one should work even when ill, and this is encouraged by employers. My brain all but shuts down when I'm sick and people coming in and spreading the illness to everyone else isn't going to help matters of productivity! I'm very thankful that the company I work for understands this and gives us 40 hours of sick leave in addition to 2 weeks vacation to *start* with.

But I also don't think that going to the other extreme, like France, is the way to keep our economy going. If it works for you and you can support yourself on less than 40 hours a week - good for you! But it doesn't work that way for most people. I don't think that damaging the economy as a whole in order to make people feel better about working is the answer.

BTW, I do work to live, not live to work.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb View Post

Do we as Americans work TOO much? Yes, I would agree that this is the trend. It is almost expected that you will work more than 40 hours/week, especially if you are salaried and get benefits. The work week has increased for most people. The biggest problem, though, that I see is the idea that one should work even when ill, and this is encouraged by employers. My brain all but shuts down when I'm sick and people coming in and spreading the illness to everyone else isn't going to help matters of productivity! I'm very thankful that the company I work for understands this and gives us 40 hours of sick leave in addition to 2 weeks vacation to *start* with.
It's interesting...I just had my grad check with the career counselor for the conservatory. As a musician, teaching full time generally refers to working 20-25 hours and you generally make about 40K a year after taxes (of course, you're self employed and have no benefits). However, one interview for a "part time job" wanted 35 hours! How is that part time?!

Of course, the only reason my field is even a minor player in the economy is because we have very good Unions (you cannot work in music and not be a part of the union. period.) It's not because we put in a ton of hours...although, it's generally accepted that those hours not on the clock will be spent practicing.

I just cannot. imagine. doing what the people I babysit for do. Cannot even fathom devoting that many of my waking hours to a being in an office. THe idea makes me want to and the idea that Ian wants to have a similar job just baffles me (though, it's his dream so I'll support him in it). But this is why I went into the arts!
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
Of course, the only reason my field is even a minor player in the economy is because we have very good Unions (you cannot work in music and not be a part of the union. period.) It's not because we put in a ton of hours...although, it's generally accepted that those hours not on the clock will be spent practicing.
So, once you figure in practicing in, how many hours a week do you think you'll spend doing your "job"? (I'm not being facetious, I really don't know. ) There's that old saying, "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life" and I do think that applies to your situation more than most in the extra time outside of teaching that you would spend honing your art. You're obviously very passionate about music.

I also see that for teachers too. Some people look at them as having an "easy job" because they get all the school vacations. Having been there, done that, and failed miserably...I can tell you that teachers deserve to have the amount of time off that they get! They put in WAY more than 40 hours a week when they are teaching, and it is a lot more stressful than any "office" job I have ever seen! People's futures are in your hands - what you do as a teacher can affect them for the rest of their lives.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooficat View Post
I´d forgotton US employees in the majority only seem to get 2 weeks annual leave - god that would have killed me.
Me too! Esp after university when you have 3 months off in the summer! I started out in my current job with 24 days, gained a day when I got a promotion and gained a further 5 after being there for 5 years so now have 30 days annual leave per year. I get statutory days in addition to that (ie bank holidays) plus up to 13 flexi days per year, but obviously I work those hours first before I can take them off. I don't know how people manage with much less tbh (excluding the flexi days) as I think being able to take a week or 2 off at a time now and again to go on holiday or spend time with your family is essential to recharge the batteries. As I stated earlier, I don't think people are necessarily more productive just because they are at their workplace for more hours. Sometimes it's quality over quantity. I think I'm lucky in that I get a total of 43 days leave per year if I include the flexi days, and then bank holidays on top. I'm also usually able to take time off at short notice (sometimes I even ring in on the morning of the day I want off and say I've decided to take the day off). The down side of it is that I probably earn less than I could with my qualifications and experience but I accept that I've traded that for security of employment (I work for local govt and have the nearest thing to a job for life you can get these days), good working hours, pension, sick pay etc.

I like the idea of a siesta in principle but I think in practice I'd prefer to work through and go home earlier. I currently start work at about 7.45am and finish at 4pm and I wouldn't be keen on taking an hour long siesta then working til 5pm.
post #25 of 29
Honestly, I think it's a matter of what you're used to and what you expect. I was thrilled when I was hired at my current job and got 6 holidays (bank holidays), 2 weeks of vacation, and 1 week of sick leave. Any sick leave not used can be carried over indefinitely. Since I've been here 5 years, the vacation is kicked up to 3 weeks. I also love that we work 4-9 hour days, and then have a 4 hour Friday.

While this doesn't sound like much to those used to 6 weeks of vacation, it's fine for me, and I think it's a pretty good amount of time off overall. They don't have to find a replacement for me when I do go on vacation, but if I had 6 weeks they probably would.

Government, bank and some other businesses do have more paid holidays. I interviewed with one law firm that had 13 paid holidays, and 1 floating holiday (meant for your birthday, but could be used any time), in addition to vacation and sick leave. My father has worked for the same company for over 20 years and has about 6 weeks of vacation now.
post #26 of 29
It's very serious. it's a recent study that suggested that employers would have better employees if they let them take a small nap in the afternoons. Hay... sounds good to me!!!!
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
It's interesting...I just had my grad check with the career counselor for the conservatory. As a musician, teaching full time generally refers to working 20-25 hours and you generally make about 40K a year after taxes (of course, you're self employed and have no benefits). However, one interview for a "part time job" wanted 35 hours! How is that part time?!
Yea, my job is "part time" and is at least 30 hours a week. To me that seems a lot more like full time that they don't want to give any benefits to... no paid anything, no insurance, no anything but you work there as long as they feel like letting you... Oh minimum wage... It is really hard when you are taking a full grad-level course load. I don't recommend it, but what else are you supposed to do? People often see college students as lazy. My day lasts from 8 am to 10.30 pm, and then I come home and do homework until 1 or 2, and then try to get some sleep. And the whole time getting more and more in debt.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb View Post
So, once you figure in practicing in, how many hours a week do you think you'll spend doing your "job"? (I'm not being facetious, I really don't know. ) There's that old saying, "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life" and I do think that applies to your situation more than most in the extra time outside of teaching that you would spend honing your art. You're obviously very passionate about music.

I also see that for teachers too. Some people look at them as having an "easy job" because they get all the school vacations. Having been there, done that, and failed miserably...I can tell you that teachers deserve to have the amount of time off that they get! They put in WAY more than 40 hours a week when they are teaching, and it is a lot more stressful than any "office" job I have ever seen! People's futures are in your hands - what you do as a teacher can affect them for the rest of their lives.
I practice between 3 and 5 hours a day....more or less depending on my health/busy-ness with other issues/impending concerts or recitals, etc. I absolutely love practicing...do you have anything that you get really involved in mentally to the point where it's meditative and refreshing? It's my alone-time and my happy place. It's cool that I essentially get "paid" to do it...for an hour wedding, for example, I charge $200, plus another $75 for the rehearsal. That basically works out to be a little over $100 an hour and I'm 21. But the thing is, is that I'm being reimbursed for the work I did on "my" time.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
It's interesting, then, that you tend to vote for more conservative candidates. Typically, they are the ones who insist on the "Protestant work Ethic" as part of the American Dream and work to block the Unions that seek to make our work weeks make a little more sense and provide benefits to as many as possible.
True- but that is not the only issue i vote on- i also look at other things as well. And while i do vote for some conservative canidates- i also vote for others as well I tend to look at the individual, RESEARCH the issues (i'm big on researching because i will not vote until i know what the candiate stands for), and also see how their morals match mine and things of that nature. I'm somewhat of a libertarian/conservative if that is possible I don't necessarily care about the candiates political party so much- i care more about the issues/topics at hand. There are tons of conservative people i disagree with and there are some i like- same way with more liberal ones / Also - as a florist, to my knowledge there is no work union type thing for us unfortunately. Thankfully though- i'm pretty definite i have my new job so that i WILL have some benifits/ breaks and things like that. I agree though- it is definitely messed up that people like you and i work our butts off non-stop only to have not much to show for it or enough of a break to really recoop.
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