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Old 10th August 2004, 01:30 PM   #11
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I'd love to trade off compensation for vacation, but we'd be out of business if I took off for a three or four week stretch.
Hallo Sy,

Seems to me you (or you and the company) are doing something wrong in that case!...Unless you don't mind not going on holiday that is.


Ps...I started off with 27 days a year (at current company)..... 3 more after 3 years of duty and 1 more after a 4 years 1 more after 5 years...then you have to wait till 10 years.....don't know how many I get then....(However I hardly ever take more than 2 weeks) Altough at the previous company I went on holiday for 6 weeks in one stretch...(too long for a holiday...and after that holiday I reaaally needed a holiday.)

PPS I reckon you should hire me as your backup...that way you can have a holiday now and then.
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Old 10th August 2004, 01:44 PM   #12
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Are you comfortable with your and the average amount of holiday in the US?
Not the real "problem" I think...but rather protection of the employee....IN SOME STATES. Forgive me Hans for hi-jacking your question that was not aimed at me...

I have seen a documentary on TV (therefore it must be true) on labour relations in the USA where a person told how twice (in his working life)....after coming back from holiday he was handed a box with all his personal belongings and told to get lost...someone else had been hired while he was on holiday...
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Old 10th August 2004, 02:32 PM   #13
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Originally posted by Hans L
Are you comfortable with your and the average amount of holiday in the US? Like I mentioned in the other post, I chose to trade part of my salary for extra days off. Can and would you choose the same in your current line of work, or does this immediately backfire? In my view the average amount of holiday your talking about is just not enough to live a 'full life'... whatever that means... you get the idea.
I guess it's all relative, I'm used to it, I grew up that way, my Father before me worked hard all his life into his 70's. I couldn't afford to trade any money for extra time off, like most I live to the edge of my means. Anyway it wouldnít matter, I would not be allowed by my employer to take off so much, if I donít want to work then someone else will, I'm paid for my consistency and experience, if I'm not hear when there is a problem that needs my attention then I'm of no worth to my employer.

In fifteen years Iíve only taken long vacations twice, one week to scuba in Honduras (Rotan Island) and a two week trip with a German girl I met in Honduras to the Southwest region of the US and on to Catalina Island for more scuba, that was in 94, since then Iíve been very busy at work. When the company I work for is busy, Iím here every day if need be. When we are slow I can take some time off, usually a day or two.

My audio habit is a mental vacation everyday when I get home, I'm either listening to music or watching movies or designing and building speakers. During the summer I take my boat to the river and ski (if I can find someone to drive the boat) and camp, that's about it.
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Old 10th August 2004, 03:01 PM   #14
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I grew up that way, my Father before me worked hard all his life into his 70's
Nothing wrong with that. Some people prefer to work...others that are worn out by hard physical labour obviously don't. But like the new CIA boss...who is can be more fun than sitting at home....

What I just find hard to understand it that your companies seem to think that they can't function properly if you are away?? Then again most companies hardly seem to function fully staffed.....;-)

Like you say it is all relative and depends on what you are used to...From a European point of view it appears as if US companies enslave their employees...(not just the holidays but also the working hours) Only 1 in 10 here in the Netherlands work 40 hours...the rest works less!!!
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Old 10th August 2004, 05:53 PM   #15
Hans L is offline Hans L  Netherlands
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Most of my friends work 36 hours at various companies. Officially I work 40 hours, but those are only the hours I can bill to our clients. A meeting here and there in the evenings makes 45 hours per week. Traveling usually costs 1,5-2,5 hours per day, lunch is another half hour. That works out to about 11 hours per day that I'm spending on my work. I wouldn't be happy if it were substantially more than that.

Naming it enslaving is putting it a little harsh. However, if the examples you gave from the documentary are true, the employees aren't being treated fairly.

Labor is where someone sells his mind and/or body and his time to a employer. If all is well, both will strive for optimum results, because both have something to gain from a good performance. Working isn't a privilege for either parties, it's a fair trade! Most americans seem intrinsically motivated to work long and hard. But it should remain an option, not a necessity imo.
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. --- Douglas Adams
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Old 10th August 2004, 06:38 PM   #16
Rob M is offline Rob M  United States
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As U. Utah Phillips tells it:

That's when [Fry Pan Jack] told me - you know, he'd been tramping since 1927 -
he said, "I told myself in '27, if I cannot dictate the conditions of my labor,
I will henceforth cease to work." Hah! You don't have to go to college to
figure these things out, no sir! He said, "I learned when I was young that the
only true life I had was the life of my brain. But if it's true the only real
life I have is the life of my brain, what sense does it make to hand that brain
to somebody for eight hours a day for their particular use on the presumption
that at the end of the day they will give it back in an unmutilated condition?"
Fat chance!
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Old 14th August 2004, 10:48 PM   #17
Faber is offline Faber  Italy
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Great thread!
As my continentals, I'm working for about 40 hours a week, but actually I'm on 4 week vacation and I think I fully deserve it

I have friends working in the SF Bay area that are italians and they told me how different is the US working mindset from here. They accepted that style and they're happy.
I worked in Seattle for a while and normally I found that to achieve results it's not needed to give proper life to work. Normally I get same results as my US colleague in 40 hours compared to almost 50.

Don't know why this difference was born, but I prefer to have a high work/private life ratio, US people seems to be able to afford a lower ratio, but this is matter of taste.

finalizing, seems that in US I will ALWAYS find an open shop, in Europe I have to know if the period permits to find an open shop

Have a nice time!
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Old 18th August 2004, 11:39 PM   #18
RHosch is offline RHosch  United States
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I suppose that relative to many other US employees I have a fairly "light" work schedule. 40 hour official weeks that typically range from 35 (no kidding) to 45 hours, with an occasional marathon of one or two weeks in a row where as many as 80 hours per week are worked. Happens perhaps twice a year. Other than that, an occasional Saturday or long (12 hour +) day. 9 holidays and three weeks vacation per year... no sick days. Week long vacations are fine... two weeks in a row aren't that uncommon in our company.

As for getting to keep 77% of your income... man you are lucky (or misinformed ). When I look at things the picture isn't so pretty.

Adding up the following taxes:

Federal Income
State Income
Social Security

it is quite common for a U.S. worker to lose 50% or more of his income to the government. Those that think we are taxed less heavily than Europeans need to take a closer look. I personally feel a complete revamping of our tax system is needed, and completely understand that due to our political system this will likely never happen.

BTW, when you calculate your Social Security tax liability, don't forget that Uncle Sam is only taking half of that money "from you" and the other half comes from your employer. However, since your empoloyer's bottom line is his bottom line, and his required profit margin is his required profit margin, it is safe to conclude that his Social Security liability for his employees is money that could/would otherwise be used to increase their salaries.

I'd love a nationwide sales tax, and that's it. Like any system it isn't perfect, and you can find cases and examples where some other system is "better" (whatever that may mean), but on the whole it seems to do the most things right and have the least serious problems.
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Old 26th August 2004, 04:06 PM   #19
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In the Los Angeles area I take home about 55% of my pay. SUre, the government only takes about 23% but I lose another 15% because of the inadequate pension system here and another 9% to medical insurance because of the stupid medical non-system they have here. Then sundry other amounts for state disability insurance and other private insurance schemes because of the lack of government schemes. The bottom line is that to get the same sort of benefits Europeans get, in the US, you still end up losing as much off your pay. The only difference is that here, you have the right to decline all these things that other countries consider part of a civilized life.

However, I would have to decline them if I were not making a decent salery. In the US, it is easier to do well, to really get ahead, if you fail, you can descend further as well. I came here from Canada but if things screwed up for me, I'd go back. I'm here for the interesting work and the great weather.

As for hours, yes. americans work longer hours, but so do Canadians. We make up for it by letting the stores stay open whatever hours they like. There are lots of 24 hour super markets and even most Wal Marts are open to 10PM, sometimes midnight, every day of the week.

Besides working longer just means that much less time to spend money.
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Old 25th September 2004, 06:02 AM   #20
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Government employees get quite a bit of vacation time over a year. I earn 4 hours of paid Anual leave (vacation) and 4 hours paid sick leave every 2 weeks (pay period). That doesn't count being off for federal hollidays (or working and getting paid double). I earn about 12 days off a year for the first year. It goes up from there, but I'm not sure how much. I only work that job in the summer (Lifeguard on an AFB), so I don't get to see the real benefits that come with seniority. I know the Active Duity Military guys and girls earn 3 weeks a year (maybe more, can't remember off the top of my head, it might even be 6) that can be taken a little at a time or all at once.

Over the summer I work 53 hrs a week (full time Lifeguard, 40 hrs, and weekends at my IT job). I have one day off a week. When college starts back up I work 40 hrs until Lifeguarding is over, then it's down to 25-30/week on top of full time College (Electrical Engineering). I don't have a lot of vacation time, but my vacation is in the garage. I take a break from the rest of the world and go out in the garage and build and tune my car stereo or mod/tune the motor. Music, and building the best means of reproduction, is my creative outlet and my mental vacation when the workload bears down.

It will all be worth it in 4 years when I graduate college and go on to active duity in the Air Force (hopefully in an airplane, not on the ground). I'll be set there for the next 20 years, retire and get another job somewhere. I'm sure an Electrical Engineer with a double minor in Aerospace Studdies and Math with 20 years A/F experience (and what every work experience I get on my specific assignments) will be a pretty high commodity when the time comes. Hell, everyone needs to bust their *** while they're young anyway, that's why all us young dumb kids have all the energy, right?
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