Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Can I Be Transferred to Europe?

Lately all I can think about are vacations.

I think this is for a few reasons. The first being that I feel like everyone is going on vacations lately - WG1 is taking the week of 4th of July off to go to the Shore, one of my friends just got back from Miami, and another one of my friends is off to Disney World in a few days.

Second, I have my own very exciting vacations coming up. One is a trip in August to go visit my sister who is studying abroad in Spain. My family and I are going to meet her in Venice and then take a cruise to Croatia, Turkey, and Greece (don't let my calm facade surprise you - I can't stop thinking about this trip). AND in addition, WG1 has planned this fantabulous trip for us and all our college friends to go to Vegas at the end of September. Yes, color you jealous.

Third, and finally, one of my bff's just got engaged (eek! yay!) and asked me to be one of her bridesmaids (double eek! double yay!). And even though the wedding isn't going to be until next year, I still have started thinking about how I'll have to take a significant chunk of vacation time to be in the wedding since she's English and will be getting married in England...which translates to me taking like a week off for hen parties and dress fittings and tea parties (haha probably no tea parties, but it's just so English).

Which was the longest introduction ever to let you know that I would like to go live in Europe.

Yes, readers, I need to move there. Mainly, I would like to move there so I can have more vacation. Did you know that the average European gets 6 weeks paid vacation?

According to a commentary piece on ABC News's website, the average British worker gets 28 paid vacation days a year, Germans get 35, the French get 37, and Italians get a whopping 42 days to lay around in the sun (or just a few days off to do laundry if they feel like it).

In contrast, Americans get about 10 paid vacation days off a year and America doesn't have a set vacation policy for the country, unlike some European countries. (Which is most likely why last year at my first real job out of college in NYC, I got 5 paid vacation days, 1 sick day, and 1 floating holiday).

And I have to mention that those 10 paid vacation days are a starting norm for a full-time job. Part-time employees usually don't get any paid vacation at all. And even when people DO get full-time vacations, they can hardly find time to take them with conflicting schedules or they just take their computer/Blackberry with them so they can put in some "weisure" time.

According to the National Survey of the Changing Workface, US employees in 1997 were "working 3.5 more hours a week than they did 20 years earlier". Meaning, Americans work harder, do more overtime, bring more work home, and go on more business trips than ever, yet they still don't have enough time to get things done and still have to take work on vacation with them.

Juliet Schor makes a good point when she says, "American corporations seem downright ungracious about vacations when viewed in this light, or when we consider that they give their European employees the same month to six weeks that European companies do."

Which is so true! WG1 and I have one friend who works for a European company that is based in New York, and she gets the same amount of vacation that their European counterpart does. Why, oh, why can't we make this an American lifestyle change?

It makes sense! Europeans see the value in letting their employees take time to relax, unwind, and recover from working. We Americans like to burn out to the point where we are forced to take vacations - and Juliet Schor points out that even when we are on vacation we use the opportunity of vacation to "consume more" by staying at expensive hotels, spending absurd amounts of money, or going on adventurous treks to exotic locations because we only get one vacation a year so we may as well go big or go home!

In conclusion, I'm moving to England where they work just as hard as Americans but get vacation like Europeans. Sounds like a perfect solution to moi!


Ms. Salti said...

Amen, sister! I'm with you.... take me with you if you move!

Classy in Philadelphia said...

It's so Rome, my professors always tell us how Italians pretty much have all of August off and the city shuts down so they can all go on vacation. It's awesome.

Anonymous said...

I have been trying to convince my husband that we just need to up and move to Europe. He says I am being irrational because neither one of us would have a job over there...such a fun spoiler!

Bayjb said...

The amount of vacation time people from Europe get makes me insane. Last year our European office came to visit and complained they didn't get ENOUGH time off. WTF

Kate Kavanaugh said...

Wow- I'm goin' to Europe this August too! Spain and Switzerland...the day count down has started.

You SHOULD go work abroad-- there aren't enough guides or sites about how to become a successful and efficient expat in europe as an American or Canadian...!!


Marie said...

I'm hoping to head to Italy later on this year. I was also shocked to learn how much time Europeans get off, esp. for maternity/paternity leave. We need to take a page out of their book!

Caitlin said...

Sigh. My first year at my full-time job I got ZERO vacation days. I'm in my second year right now and I get five whole days. It's so awesome feeling burnt out at 24 and knowing my happy ass will be in that desk chair every day (minus 2.5) until October.

Caz said...

Yep, Europe would be awesome. Australia's pretty good though, we have a 38 hour full-time working week and mandatory 4-weeks holiday a year. But it still never feels like enough!

Suz said...

I agree! and really vacation time can me you work harder and smarter along with boosting morale. Why can't Americans see this?

I just got laid off from a job that had essentially 27 paid days off (holidays + PTO) and now I am taking a job with only 5 paid days off. period. Shoot me now.

Let me know if you need a buddy to move with because I might just do it too!

Kasia said...

True, true, I get 30 days plus 9 public holidays and also am on flexi time, meaning nobody even blinks when I'm late :) And also meaning that I'm not allowed to complain when I have to stay after hours ;)

To be honest though there's no way I can use up my 30 days, not for holidays with my other half anyway - he's self employed, and although it means he's his own boss, it also means he doesn't really earn any money when he's off.

~Mary said...

I get 6 weeks paid vacation, and I'm only part time!!!
The joy of living in the UK!

miss*H said...

The 28 days british holidays is usually 8 days public bank holidays and then 20 days for you to use when you wish. Britain has the least paid holidays in Europe + the least bank holidays.I assumed American holidays were much more than us?

Mrs. C said...

OK I'm so moving too! We are worked to the point of exhaustion. I have a mini vaca this weekend and I'm going to the Dominican Republic in 13 days. To say I'm ecstatic is a severe understatement. I want 6 weeks off.....

smidge said...

In the UK Government employees get flexi time, 2-30 days annual holiday and here in Scotland we get 10 days public holidays.

Whats brilliant is that from next year most of the 'public holidays' will be added to our annual holidays, so ill get 5.5 weeks to take when i like.

Ive been considering moving abroad to work, but reading this we Brits do have it best!

E said...

I am so jealous! Hope you have fab time! And yes Europe is starting to sound pretty good :)

live, love, music said...

That might possibly one of the reasons why I moved. Living in Switzerland now and getting 5 weeks of vacay... wooohooo :-)

Marcia said...

To add some more ... Here in Holland, a full time employee (40 hours a week) gets 24 paid vacationdays plus 7 days which the company can fill in when it wants. Also there are some religious holidays like Christmas and Easter of which we have 2 days (1st Easterday on Sunday and 2nd Easterday on Monday).
It also doesn't matter if you've just started working at a company, you just get the ratio of the months you have to go until the end of the year (if you start in June, you get 12 vacationdays working 40hrs a week).

Oh, if you get sick, you are also paid, even if you're home for 3 weeks with a crazy flu.

If you don't use up your vacationdays by the end of December, you just add the left over days to the vacationdays of the next year :)

Oh, do you want to know that we get vacationmoney as well? Each year with the salaryslip of May. It's a percentage of your yearly income and it's not bad either :-D
My American friends hate me for that.

(looking forward now to my 2nd vacation of this year: 1 week Iceland and in November 2 weeks to Long Island/New Jersey)

spanky* said...

Oh man... this is so true. we need more vacation!

It's not even July yet & i've already taken an extended weekend (TO VEGAS!) & i had a blast, but i feel like the summer hadn't even started & my memorial day vacation was it for me. i almost feel like the summer is over & it technically has just begun. no one should feel that way BEFORE celebrating independence day with beer, hot dogs & fireworks.

I was turned on to your blog by my bestie jennifer (the Novelista Barista). she said that i'd like your writing & she was right! You sound a lot like me! I too am cashing in a whopping 8 days of my measly 10 vacation days for a childhood friends wedding (where i will be a bridesmaid!)

oh the things we do for old friends and weddings... 80% of my vacation, untouched until november... ::tear::

i will absolutely continue to read about your adventures. i look forward to reading about Greece (i'm DYING to go there!) & your take on the real American Girls life...

i'd love to see you around my Social Network i think that you may get a kick out of it. You may also enjoy reading my blog entry on my trip to Vegas (might give you a few ideas on what to catch & what to miss)

Nice to "meet" you!

luv spanky*

travel social media said...

Surely, it would be a great idea to move to Europe. It's been an ideal travel destination for us. Primarily because it has the richest culture in the world. This continent has been at the center of historical transitions: monarchies, empires and etc.

Also, the fact that they value longer vacations there is not a bad idea either. That way, the average employee would be able to unwind and work efficiently.

Good luck!

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