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 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:


Jacob_M said...

Our pay is related to the value we bring to our employer. Vacation is simply forfitting some of that pay for time off. Time is money and money is time. In other words; yea, we have alot of time off - but would American's be prepared to substitute some of their pay for added vacation? Some would I suppose - but those that read your blog and felt a tad yellous should remember that that is what it comes down to. For most Swedes that's a pretty simple choice. Also; (for Swedes) there is always the option of "selling" their vacation days back to their employer in return for cash.


I think that with this post you proved that you have no Finnish readers of your blog. I grinned from ear to ear just thinking of the prospect of a Finn reading this post. Nokia is a Finnish company - and one which Finns in general are fiercly proud of. There are probably worse insults to Finns than saying that Nokia is a Swedish company. I can't think of one though! Believing that Nokia was an American or Japanese company wouldn't insult a Finn a tenth as much :)

SwedishJenn said...

Thanks for the comment Jacob and for the correction to my HUGE mistake! Fact-checking my blog might be a good idea...oy! Huge apologies for offending the Finns, if any make their way over here. I will edit the post to remove Nokia but leave these comments here as full admission of my horrendous blunder :-).

To answer your rhetorical question: Would Americans be prepared to sacrifice cash for vacation? Seems to be there needs to be a change in mindset and the opportunity. I wonder too...

bathmate said...

This is wonderful posting. Thank you.


Nick Matyas said...

Happy new year.2010
this is outstanding posting for comment,
thank you.