Sunday, July 19, 2009
Off for 6 weeks...
I wish! Seems everyone else in this country is though. Inspired by a fellow Swedish expat blogger, A Swedish American in Sweden (sorry but it won't let me link for some reason), I decided to post on this "issue". For all those unfamiliar, every Swedish citizen is entitled to between 5 and 8 weeks paid vacation per year. GASP! You read it right. And it gets better. You're also entitled to take 3 consecutive weeks during the summer months. It doesn't matter if you're working at the local supermarket or leading the country.
Now for us North Americans, unless you're fortunate enough to work for the federal government, expecting or taking that kind of vacation time will leave you with a pretty pink slip on your desk.
So one wonders...how on earth does the country survive and business thrive with so many empty desks during the months of July and August? Beats me. The birthplace of Sony Ericsson, Skype, Volvo, Scania and so many of the world's leading brands and inventors, Sweden somehow manages and manages well.
So what am I doing with my 3 consecutive weeks of vacation this summer? Well, not only did we just arrive here in January but we work for a small start-up and leaving for 3 weeks would likely kill the company. Not being naive or egotistical, just stating a fact. And here I sit blogging and green with envy as I watch the middle class jet off to country homes, hot European destinations and even expensive trips to North America.
To add insult to injury, Sweden also has 13 public holidays per year, called "red days" (by comparison Canada has 5 national holidays). Oh and the day before each of these public holidays is either treated with a "defacto" extra half or full day off.
So some say the Swedes are lazy. But I think these naysayers are jealous (I sure am!). In my humble opinion, Swedes know something we don't know. They work to live. They turn off their phones, take their vacation and enjoy their time away, guilt-free. They know their jobs will be waiting for them when they return and that the next holiday is just around the corner.
Nice eh?image credit: swedish-flag.com