QUOTE(Aquarelle @ Apr 10 2012, 10:59 AM)
QUOTE(Swell Box @ Apr 10 2012, 08:51 AM)
I spend a lot of time working in Mediterranean countries, and whilst the work ethic there may frustrate those of us in northern Europe, the people there clearly enjoy a better and less stressed quality of life than their counterparts here in the UK, even though they may be less well off.
Sadly, I think far too many people today have become afraid to say when they have more work to do than they can cope with. Similarly, far too many people are afraid to be seen going home before their boss does, or even to take their holiday entitlement, in case anybody should think they don't have enough work to do.
I don't really know whether France counts as a Mediterranean copuntry. The French claim to be a Latin race - even M. Sarkozy claimed that on television a while ago. But geographically France is at the crossroads of the north and south of Europe.
My experience after living here since 1985 is that the French are extremely stressed. The education system is very very competitive and stressful, getting and keeping a job is a challenge and those of us who have jobs are definitely overworked. Suicide rates among the young are high. The administrative system is a nightmare. My feeling is that one can get the impression that southerners are less stressed than northern Europeans but that this is not really the case. The only people I come across who are not at all stressed are those English expatriots who have plenty of money and are either not working at all, or working very little because they don't need to. This is far from the case with all expatriots - I know some , like me, have to work pretty hard to survive.The more I see of this the more I come to think that humankind must radically rethink its values - but I haven't the foggiest idea how that can be done.
Those who have the money have the power and if those who haven't the money start a revolution the result will be ###### and no better in the end. I am not very optimistic today!
To be fair, I work in rather different 'industries' to you, so I probably see a very different picture.
However, I do know friends who run small and medium sized businesses in Mediterranean countries, and those in France in particular complain bitterly about the amount of time they have to spend filling in forms and attending to all kinds of unnecessary bureaucracy just to be allowed to work and pay taxes.
A lot of people suffer stress caused by the need to meet impossible deadlines, (usually in an effort to save time or make money for somebody else), but many more suffer stress caused by relentless form filling, which in most cases I would argue is entirely unnecessary.
Unfortunately, government departments, banks and insurance companies thrive on bureaucracy, and it doesn't help that no two departments ever seem talk to one another, and when they do, they usually get the message wrong!
I would certainly agree that humankind needs to radically rethink its values, but the question is how?
The fact is that much of our current workload, the pollution we create and the natural resources that we use is self inflicted and entirely unnecessary. One of the worst offenders in my view is the 'just in time' philosophy, where nobody makes or buys anything until they know it is needed, whereupon it must be made and delivered to the other side of the world by 9.00 am the next morning! This philosophy clearly has some advantages, but the real cost of transportation for what are often very small devices must be immense.
Perhaps our lives have become rather like certain computer operating systems; unnecessarily bloated and overweight. The obvious answer would be to streamline the way we live and work, but that would leave a lot of bureaucrats without a job, which just wouldn't do.