French and their funny ways
28 October, 2010
French and their funny ways

Mancho  Ekliani


According to a 2004 OECD survey of 25 industrialized countries, only Norwegian and Dutch employees worked less time each year than the French, who put in an average 1,431 hours. German workers clocked up an average 1,446 hours, while British employees worked 1,673 hours, Americans 1,792 hours and Koreans 2,390 hours.
In Mexico, jobs are so scarce that the employees work as long as their employer tells them to. Recently a young woman has been making news around

the world. The twenty-year-old Marisol Valles Garcia has been given the task of cleaning up one of the deadliest parts of Mexico. She is just a student who accepted a job of police chief. And while the world calls her brave, does anyone really think she will make it to retirement age? But did she picket when she was told about the mortality rate in the region? No, she went to work. And the French are complaining about, what was it again?
But to be fair, Mexico cannot be the only example of a culture difference between working classes of different countries.


Another glaring culture contrast would be with United States. In US the office hours are very much dictated by the employer and not the employee. Americans work on average 12-hour workdays, getting around 60 or more hours a week. The lucky ones get overtime for every hour after 12 hours of work. Most working people around the world, not including Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, cannot even afford the luxury of dreaming of as 35-hour workweek. South Korean’s workday starts at 8am and ends around 10pm. Until 2004, South Koreans had mandatory six-week workday. The French would take the Eiffel tower apart with their hands if anyone even suggested that. Now the country is complaining, and rather passionately, about the retirement age that has changed from 60 to 62. Two measly years added on to what is supposed to be thee golden time of their joie de vivre  (joy of living). But with 35-hour workweek and ridiculously long vacations in the summers, haven’t they been enjoying life already?


Contrast with French and other Europeans, Americans have been living La Vida Loca, and not the fun kind.


The French have the right idea, work less and get paid more, but unless they have decided to be a nation of escorts and work few hours a night to earn what they earn in a week, they are stuck catching up to the rest of the world. If by 2015 they haven’t figured out their economy, then they will definitely have to take the Eiffel tower apart and sell it to a willing buyer. Some Saudi Prince will buy it and stick it in his back yard. What does he care, he doesn’t have to work, he lives on oil. He will probably even pay in oil. Or perhaps not. In any case, Mr. Saudi prince will be the only one truly enjoying his joie de vivre. Until his oil runs out or he kills a male companion in London’s Landmark Hotel, he will be the man who lived La Vida Loca.
And the French will go home, slander the government, and finally and hopefully, get over it and get to work.

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