In this post, I want to share with you the results of my very own survey I did with about 200 expat partners around the world. I have asked them about their job situation, work permit situation and how they are evaluating their career after moving abroad. In the following, I will share my top 5 learnings as well as an infographic with more details.
The value of vacation around the globe
The value of vacation around the globe
Let's start with europe
The daimler work-life balance approach
In my experience, especially career-oriented and younger professionals are struggling with balancing work life and private life. It is just so easy to read and answer some emails when it is so reachable. In the end, it all comes back to your personality. However, the interference with work in your leisure time is by far lower than in the States.
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DO GERMANS STILL EXPLORE THE WORLD WHEN HAVING KIDS?
Biene shared her idea of a perfect vacation with me on instagram. I love that exploring the world never stops - even with kids. You just have to prepare:-)
What about the value of vacation in the US
Gary, marketing associate for a political party in the US
While writing these lines at a nice spot along the Chicago River I was approached by Gary who is doing some promotion for a local election campaign. I used this chance and asked him about how he values vacation. He said it is most of all time to spend with loved ones. He was shocked to see that we have so many days off in Germany and that our economy is still working. However, he said, he should not be surprised as he heard the rumor that in France everything is shut down for a whole month in summer. He said he is, of course, writing emails during vacation and calls his colleagues regularly. He only stops, when his wife starts to grumble about him being absent. In this case, he said he tries to limit it to a couple of hours a day for the sake of the family’s peace.
How Americans perceive the European Lifestyle
Back in our apartment, I talked to Charlene, Arnett, and Bruno. All three are living in Chicago and we had our talk next to the pool while the sun was shining. A truly recreational atmosphere. They told me that the amount of vacation differs each year. They spend roughly 2 weeks each year on vacation, spread throughout the year. They have heard that Europeans have much more days off and Arnett’s comment was: “Europeans know how to appreciate life!”
The Phenomenon of not taking vacation at all
Using the holidays to unplug is not at all common and more seen as something very spiritual and modern. I also recently talked to a woman who went on her first real vacation within the last 15 years and it was a life changing experience for her. She said this was the first time she actually valued the holidays as something purposeful. She perceived it as being lazy before but now she realized she actually MIGHT do it again :-).
I also talked to my new favorite hairdresser about this topic. Her name is Jo, and she is (as most hairdressers in the US) self-employed but working together with other colleagues in a studio. She never in her life had a vacation yet. When she was 9, she went to Disneyland in Anaheim and can’t wait to go back there as a grown up. For her the decision whether to take a vacation is a simple business case:
“Each day I am not working I am not earning money.”
However, she is dreaming of a great vacation within the next two years. Her expectations are so high that she can’t decide yet on a destination. Maybe she will leave the US for the first time in her life.
“I might go to Santorini in Greece one day! I loved the scenery!”
My dear Jo, I wish you see the world someday!
Asia: The value of vacation in taiwan
To include an example from Asia I remembered my time in Taiwan. I recently traveled back for a quick short trip of 2 days of traveling back and forth and 2 days of actually staying in Taipeh to visit my old friends. I know this might sound crazy to some of you but sometimes I just have this urge to discover the world so I just booked in last minute and while it was, of course, exhausting, it was totally worth it. I had two of my best days in Taipeh! Most of all thanks to my dear Taiwanese friends who took a 2-days vacation without telling me and driving me around the island, showing me places and spending such nice quality time with me.
Little did I know back then that you have on average 7 days of vacation in Taiwan and that my dear friends just took a huge part out of it to spend time with me and to fulfill the typical Taiwanese hospitality. For Taiwanese people, vacation is also a lot about family and most of all, vacation days are spend for Chinese New Year and the celebration with the family.
career or happiness?
I also remember clearly a train ride with one of my Taiwanese friends. We just graduated university all our professional career was ahead of us. She looked out of the window while we were passing lush green landscape. She turned to me and asked:
“What should I do? Enter an ambitious career path, work long days and no rest or should I aim to be happy?” I looked at her and said: “Can’t you have both?”
Often when I observe tired people in public transport coming back from work, I remind myself of this conversation and wonder whether for some of us it is indeed a decision of either work or happiness.
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