I've been working with the Europeans and the South American's a lot lately and they all tell us, as Americans, that we work too many hours and too hard. I notice they don't change their demands, and I also notice, they work pretty damn hard too. But the biggest thing I've noticed that is uniquely American is the incremental creep of holiday expansion.
I love the American method of holiday observance. Give us a day and we take a week. Mass exodus from NYC summer weekend traffic? It starts on Wednesday night. Granted, like most Americans I've more than worked my 40 hours by 10 AM Friday morning, but it's interesting to me to see the significant drop off of activity that begins the Thursday afternoon before a Monday holiday. Somehow getting Monday off means Friday is fair game. The Tuesday deadlines are still in place, and many of us will check email or even have a teleconference (10PM Sunday night is already scheduled for me), but as of 10AM Friday morning - we're long gone from official office/desk time.
Unlike our increments, the Europeans and South Americans are all about the CHUNK time. In America we think a 2 week vacation is excessive. He's taking TWO WEEKS???? In a ROW??? Jeez. But in Europe and SA....it's all about "Going on Holiday" for a month. A MONTH! I can't even imagine. That would feel like a total sabbatical to me.
For now...I'll stick to my incremental observance...so signing off from work and blog now, 10:18 AM, see you Tuesday.