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Old 23.07.2015, 14:31
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

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If someone is going to play the victim card for their own self feeling of inferiority, fine.

There are countless stories of people of all sex, ability, colour, age, family decisions becoming extremely successful. Maybe they have to work harder than others to get there, but that's their choice and responsibility (hmm, something along the lines of ambition and motivation I think). The American dream in action!

So some have to work harder than others because of their skin colour, sex... and it is their choice and responsibility. Bloody nightmare, not a dream, in action!
I heard something on similar lines: the unemployed are without a job because they wanted to. Quite a few white collar mates used to think this until they lost their job. Their perspective on "choice and responsibility" was drastically altered.
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Old 23.07.2015, 14:50
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

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So some have to work harder than others because of their skin colour, sex... and it is their choice and responsibility. Bloody nightmare, not a dream, in action!
I heard something on similar lines: the unemployed are without a job because they wanted to. Quite a few white collar mates used to think this until they lost their job. Their perspective on "choice and responsibility" was drastically altered.
So your issue with this analysis is with 'working hard'. Really it comes down to perspective.

Many find that what they consider working hard isn't working hard at all, but positive investment in their future. Some people work year 14 hours a day, 7 days a week to build up their future, I have a good feeling that now they are not worried if they lose their job--and if they did, they wouldn't be as worried to find a new one. A false sense of entitlement will always hinder ones success.
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Old 23.07.2015, 15:00
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

I wonder what an Arabic / Indian / Chinese / Syrian perspective would be on the Swiss work culture. There, having/getting a job itself is a battle, and employees are in no position to negotiate their terms about anything. There're always 10 people waiting in line for the job. There's alternative of cushy government jobs, but those are even harder to get and salaries are 1/5th or 1/10th of those in private sector. And, private sector is deregulated. That means, the boss is pretty much like a Mughal king, except that thankfully, he's less likely to issue a death order. Working in oil & gas sector, in on-field job, is a modern day death order anyway. Talk to a Shell / Schlumberger employee, and he'll tell you more!

In my opinion, different countries have varying level of "spoilt-ness", which they justify by various means. Some are widely acceptable justifications (so perceived as true): work-life balance, maternity / paternity, effect of vacation days on productivity, risk of burnout etc. While others are less popular, e.g. Swiss quality, level of technical advancement, skill-level of job, etc. I say this, because I really fail to see any quality/skill in the Swiss service sector, at an post office or supermarket for instance. Staff often shows abysmal listening skills and extreme laziness. There's hardly any justification for their 30k-50k salaries, when in other countries only the top 5% may have such incomes/wealth.

Slowly, either people will (have to) move, or the jobs that can "move" will move to countries where workers give more bang for the buck. Meanwhile, let's enjoy our farm fresh tomatoes, cheese and other produce, and be thankful for our red passports and permits.
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Old 23.07.2015, 15:50
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

i dont see why its BS? 10 days holidays in the US is fact, no?
lots of articles i have read how being available due to mobile communications
sneaks into private life like answering emails after work or when on holidays whereas one is meant to relax and switch off. and that this becomes a kind of standard, you get frowns if youre not "on". so... a few other observations are her own experience, i dont need her/anyone to point that out to me as i know that. general observations and trends i see happening in the US like she wrote.
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Old 23.07.2015, 15:53
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

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i dont see why its BS? 10 days holidays in the US is fact, no?
lots of articles i have read how being available due to mobile communications
sneaks into private life like answering emails after work or when on holidays whereas one is meant to relax and switch off. and that this becomes a kind of standard, you get frowns if youre not "on". so... a few other observations are her own experience, i dont need her/anyone to point that out to me as i know that. general observations and trends i see happening in the US like she wrote.
Yup. Cos we can see general observations and trends in the working practices of a nation of a third of a billion.

Just like we can generalise about tomatoes in a nation of 8 million...
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Old 23.07.2015, 16:12
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

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Yup. Cos we can see general observations and trends in the working practices of a nation of a third of a billion.

Just like we can generalise about tomatoes in a nation of 8 million...
yep cause its a free country. not so sure about all of africa...
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Old 23.07.2015, 16:57
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

I read her book (30 things...) before coming to Switzerland, and I liked it, she is a very humorous writer.

In regards to produce quality, I personally think normal (not necessarily organic) veggies/fruits here in CH is comparable to US organic ones; so unless you shop organic all the time in US, you'd probably find everything here more tasty. And I have the impression that price difference between organic and normal produce is larger in US than here.

Cannot comment on meat quality though.
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Old 23.07.2015, 17:03
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

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So your issue with this analysis is with 'working hard'. Really it comes down to perspective.

Many find that what they consider working hard isn't working hard at all, but positive investment in their future. Some people work year 14 hours a day, 7 days a week to build up their future, I have a good feeling that now they are not worried if they lose their job--and if they did, they wouldn't be as worried to find a new one. A false sense of entitlement will always hinder ones success.


Have you read anywhere that I had an issue with working hard? I am a bloody hard worker, but shortly after I got married, the U.K. went into a deep recession and like 100s of 1000s others, I lost my job. It took me 6 months to find another one, sending on average 10 applications a day, walking into shops, factories, offices to give out CVs...I was prepared to take on anything for any salary just to get out of the dire situation we were in as a young couple.
What you mistake for "complacency or sniggering at hard working people" is in fact the opposite. I feel well placed to talk from experience. I call it empathy and avoiding to put everyone in the same bag with sweeping statements.
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Old 23.07.2015, 17:37
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

I realize that the blog is simply one person's rather jaded and entirely biased opinion, but...

1. other than my first job out of uni, I have never had a job in the States where I had less than 20 days of vacation in a year. I have also never had a job where I took all of my vacation or was able to avoid work entirely during a vacation, regardless of the country where I was working.

2. yes, Americans are much more likely to work through lunch and to work on weekends (though I never work on Sundays). on the flip side, however, it is very rare for American professionals to work under employment contracts that stipulate their office hours, and so Americans are far more likely to leave work during the middle of the afternoon to attend a school event with their children or to leave the office early on a Friday afternoon to head to the lake. this was actually the hardest part of working in Switzerland for me to adapt to, since I did not have a work contract with required hours and all of my Swiss and EU peers did.

3. the pay at the higher end of just about every professional career position is higher in the States. unfortunately, of course, the pay at the lower to middle end of just about every professional career position is much, much lower in the States.

4. yes, US unemployment benefits are lower than in Switzerland, but legal protection of employees is much, much better in the US and a US employee who loses their job will generally receive a much more attractive severance package than a similarly-placed Swiss employee.

the only real and fundamental difference between working in the US and Switzerland is the undying and overbearing American need for consumption, which drives much of the attitude in the country toward work and money. it is very difficult to manage a proper work-life balance when you are compelled to buy a new home every 5 years, a new car every 2 years, eat out 5 days a week and fly to Europe every summer to see how the other side of the world lives. s'isch halt eifach huere geil, schneller, besser, Amistyle and all that.
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Old 23.07.2015, 18:25
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

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So some have to work harder than others because of their skin colour, sex... and it is their choice and responsibility. Bloody nightmare, not a dream, in action!
I heard something on similar lines: the unemployed are without a job because they wanted to. Quite a few white collar mates used to think this until they lost their job. Their perspective on "choice and responsibility" was drastically altered.
If I can contribute my 2 cents, I don't feel working harder is a nightmare at all. For me, it has been a great source of pride to start from scratch in a country (or multiple countries, in my case) where I had no connections, family, etc. work hard to make a life and be heard as an "outsider" - somehow I always manage to be a foreigner wherever I go, hehe. By the way, this is not just the USA, I think in every country a foreigner needs to work 3x as hard to get to the same place as a native. Unfair, perhaps, but oh the satisfaction of getting there!!! I do think that, perhaps, the USA is best suited than other countries for people like me who have this type of "perpetually hungry" personality.

In my life, I succeeded and I failed, and when I failed, I picked myself up, not always without scars or pain. It's always good and well to recall the war stories years later, but the taste of rice and beans never goes away, and it's a good thing, because if you've tasted rice and beans ad nauseam, you gain a whole new appreciation for that bloody hard-earned caviar.

We all try our best, I am not better or worse than your average Jane - I do think I have been very lucky to have been born in a blue collar, hard-working, penny-pinching family who taught me the value of work and savings. I have lived unemployment and underemployment in my family and circle of friends, and it can be soul-crushing if you let it. It is hard to keep the motivation up, especially because most of the times it's not at all the person's fault that they lost their job.

However, Chemmie is right in saying that where there is willpower, there is a way. I see a lot of people who are motivated to do better, but I also see a lot of people who are comfortable where they are, they want no more - fair enough. It was hard at first for me to understand, but I have since learned that not everyone is driven by the same drivers, if that makes sense. I had an interesting discussion with a colleague a couple of months ago, who said I am crazy because, at my professional level, I spent the last year or so studying full time, while working full time, so that I can sit for an exam that allows me to gain a very valuable professional license. He could not understand why I would "need" do that, at this point in my career. I tried to tell him that I am perfectly conscious that I don't "need" to do that, but my job is just a "job" which could vanish at any minute (he laughed), but I am a professional, and that demands continuous investment (money, time...) in my future - he gave me the "whatever", roll-eye look. Fair enough, to each their own.
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Old 23.07.2015, 18:31
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

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Have you read anywhere that I had an issue with working hard? I am a bloody hard worker, but shortly after I got married, the U.K. went into a deep recession and like 100s of 1000s others, I lost my job. It took me 6 months to find another one, sending on average 10 applications a day, walking into shops, factories, offices to give out CVs...I was prepared to take on anything for any salary just to get out of the dire situation we were in as a young couple.
What you mistake for "complacency or sniggering at hard working people" is in fact the opposite. I feel well placed to talk from experience. I call it empathy and avoiding to put everyone in the same bag with sweeping statements.

Ouch, bitter much.

Of course sweeping statements are used, it's a semi-anonomous internet forum with a few thousand members. If one was to do an analysis, they would be pretty terrible at it if they were considering every little outlier. Beyond that, you are just refering to your personal situation on a topic about millions of people, a bit egocentric I think. If you wanted empathetic advice on you situation, you could start a new thread and EF members would gladly analyze your situation and point out what you did wrong, could had done differently.

I'm sure everyone here has experienced hiccups in their life plan, but expecting empathy from one's life decisions is a bit self-centered IMHO
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Old 23.07.2015, 18:46
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

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If someone is going to play the victim card for their own self feeling of inferiority, fine.

There are countless stories of people of all sex, ability, colour, age, family decisions becoming extremely successful. Maybe they have to work harder than others to get there, but that's their choice and responsibility (hmm, something along the lines of ambition and motivation I think). The American dream in action!
i hear some even get to be president :P
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Old 23.07.2015, 19:19
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

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but legal protection of employees is much, much better in the US and a US employee who loses their job will generally receive a much more attractive severance package than a similarly-placed Swiss employee.
That's highly dependent on state and employer, actually. I'm also not convinced that the wage disparity you mentioned (where the rich get a bigger share, but the poor get a smaller) is a good thing, but that's partially dependent on what your career trajectory is, I guess. And to counter your anecdote, I had 15 days vacation in the states and most of my friends and neighbors were very jealous - not that I ever actually took it.
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Old 23.07.2015, 20:32
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

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you forgot haircolor, eyecolor, height, weight, beauty, voice, sociability, sleep, mood, luck, place, time, dropped-on-head-as-kid.

but that's about it.
it's called 'Karma': http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/karma.htm
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Old 23.07.2015, 21:08
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

interesting connection

the inequality of mankind is in part purely accidental and in part influenced by your actions in the 'past' (but not in the reincarnation sense of course )

its all dice rolling. for everyone.
that's why i don't like how people look at some statistic that's not positive about a subpopulation, then identify with that group and start demanding reparations. all the other factors are easily forgotten.
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Old 23.07.2015, 21:41
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

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4. yes, US unemployment benefits are lower than in Switzerland, but legal protection of employees is much, much better in the US and a US employee who loses their job will generally receive a much more attractive severance package than a similarly-placed Swiss employee.
You are talking legal protection, not individual contractual arrangements, that has me doubt what you say. Do low-end jobs come with any kind of severance at all, especially the part-time kind? Many employers are even reducing already-reduced work hours to avoid paying the new health insurance, don't they? Isn't it still the case that you can be fired with one or just a few weeks notice, without particular reason, and that's it? If so, how is there any legal protection worth speaking of? (I'm not talking about the top 2% or top 5%).

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Old 23.07.2015, 21:49
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

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You are talking legal protection, not individual contractual arrangements, that has me doubt what you say. Do low-end jobs come with any kind of severance at all, especially the part-time kind? Many employers are even reducing already-reduced work hours to avoid paying the new health insurance, don't they?
there is actually very little statutory legal protection of employees, the protection comes from the threat of litigation. it's less true severance and more settlement. this is also somewhat true in Switzerland but less so.

as for part-time work, it's hard to say since the US market offers very little by way of part-time work other than the fast food, minimum wage variety. this is a real weakness in the US market, of course, as is the ridiculous wage disparity.
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Old 23.07.2015, 23:21
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!

The man with the plan.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mLeAXR0yp0w
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Old 24.07.2015, 09:20
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

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Ouch, bitter much.

Of course sweeping statements are used, it's a semi-anonomous internet forum with a few thousand members. If one was to do an analysis, they would be pretty terrible at it if they were considering every little outlier. Beyond that, you are just refering to your personal situation on a topic about millions of people, a bit egocentric I think. If you wanted empathetic advice on you situation, you could start a new thread and EF members would gladly analyze your situation and point out what you did wrong, could had done differently.

I'm sure everyone here has experienced hiccups in their life plan, but expecting empathy from one's life decisions is a bit self-centered IMHO

I don't expect any empathy for me, and certainly not from you! You misinterpret everything I write to suit your self-assured entitlement and success. I'm just going to go and enjoy a very leisurely day yodelling in the Gruyeres region because there is more to life than 24/7 work and EF!
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Old 24.07.2015, 11:23
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Re: Working in Switzerland: An American perspective

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I don't expect any empathy for me, and certainly not from you! You misinterpret everything I write to suit your self-assured entitlement and success. I'm just going to go and enjoy a very leisurely day yodelling in the Gruyeres region because there is more to life than 24/7 work and EF!
If you think I'm misinterpreting your writing I will work on my reading comprehension---self betterment is always key! I'm here to learn and broaden my mind. I was just a bit confused on how your logical thought train was going---Disagreeing with my point promoting hard work and motivation by first citing general minorities, then your friend who lost his job, then yourself losing your job.

Again, maybe my comprehension is a bit poor, but it does read like more like excuses and the victim train.

As for entitlement, personally I'm pretty far from that, and success is relative. I do consider myself successful, but I think compared to the general population in Switzerland (or North America for that matter), I'm extremely poor. But I'm a lot better off than I was growing up 30 years ago and I'd like to think that was due to good planning for the future. (And yes, I have spend almost 2 years unemployed in CH, but I never looked for sympathy or empathy, or even took unemployment benefits.)
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Last edited by Chemmie; 24.07.2015 at 11:31. Reason: typo
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