Living to work, working to live. These are the two flip sides of earning your income. In my homeland of the US, I know far too many people who live to work. I saw way too many people in the office at the end of the year with days and weeks of vacation left, even though most only had a miserly two-week total in the first place. Meanwhile in my adopted land, the entire country takes off for four, five or six weeks at the same time in July. And that doesn’t stop people from taking additional holidays during the year.
As a big fan of taking as many vacations as possible, I am happy to adapt to the Swedish system. That said, the American work ethic side of me often wonders how any work gets done here. And while that American in me may be a tad unhealthy, it does mean that I tend to get the job done even with all the holidays – working the evenings and weekends is no problem.
Given all this, I was completely amused by the release of a Europen Union report that found that Swedes get the longest holidays of any country in Europe. On the average, Swedes have 33 days of annual leave while the average in Europe is 25.2. Going one step further, Swedes also have one of the shortest working weeks in Europe, averaging out at a 37.5 hour work week.
Obviously, it’s good to live and work in Sweden. Now I just need to lose that demon work ethic in me so I can more fully enjoy my holidays.