Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Czech work/life balance

In my last post I talked about how a number of my Czech friends are unwilling to consider jobs which require a commute. Indeed when I suggest looking for a better paid job in Ceske Budejovice, less than 30 minutes away from Cesky Krumlov, they look at me askance. What a waste of time they are thinking. The British have the longest average commute in Europe, Londoners spend approximately one month (225 hours) a year commuting. Put like that I am increasingly with the Czechs on this issue.

This attitude is I think part of a wider more relaxed Czech attitude to work and a healthier approach to the work/life balance. Whilst I have met a few Czechs who are driven and devote to their work, I just get the impression that for most Czechs work is not as central to their lives as it is for the Brits. Instead the focus is on the family and the country cottage. They may not be willing to commute for half an hour to get to work, but they will happily pile into their car and drive for hours to and from the cottage every weekend. Whilst there they busy themselves - chopping wood, doing DIY and digging the garden -so that they are exhausted come Monday and so they return to work for a rest.

This can be very frustrating when you are trying to get something done. As a general rule I do not contact Czech offices on Mondays (the workers will be talking about what they did over the weekend) nor on Fridays as they will be getting ready to go. And Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays aren't much better! Not for the Czechs that Anglo Saxon Protestant work ethic they are altogether more Mediterranean in their outlook. Whilst it does make me frustrated at times, I also envy them it and hope that a bit of it rubs off on me over time.

1 comment:

Tanja said...


I just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Tanja and I am Czech living in the US. My blog, together with yours, is on the Global Post website and that is how I found your blog.
I really like it and I will be sure to link to it soon!

Have a good day,


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