Work ethic is a valuable feature that companies look for in their employees. But the devil is in the details.

Yes, an excellent work ethic can get you special projects because you're reliable, dedicated, and disciplined. But at which point does putting your job first start to take a toll on you?

That's exactly what Twitter users are trying to find out in this viral thread. Inspired by Samuel Pollen's humorous tweet about the differences between European and American out-of-offices, people from all over the world are sharing what's expected of them in the workplace.

#1

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

CrabCakesHBrew Report

Hans
Community Member
1 month ago

:D

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#2

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

daytime_ghost Report

James016
Community Member
1 month ago

It's fair

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Pollen's initial tweet, the one that started this discussion, was born out of his own work. "I live and work in the UK, and I have a lot of US clients," he told Bored Panda. "They send emails at all times of day, and never go on holiday. Conversely, our Swedish clients disappear all summer! So it was very much informed by my direct experience."

However, he wouldn't describe its subject matter as work ethic. "You can have a great work ethic and still appreciate the importance of family time, your health, and proper rest and relaxation," Pollen said. "But there are many legal and cultural factors at play. The cliché is that Europeans work to live, and Americans live to work. That elides many different individual experiences, but there’s a great deal of truth in it. Things like having a set number of sick days seem completely absurd to people on this side of the Atlantic!"

#3

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

samuel_pollen Report

Hans
Community Member
1 month ago

Likely fired as did not answer the phone while getting anaesthetics.

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#4

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

satorudo Report

Lola
Community Member
1 month ago

Something definitely wrong with this thinking when you think going on maternity leave is time off.

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#5

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

bugeyedoyle Report

Hans
Community Member
1 month ago

I had paid leave for months. I am the father. That this is not the norm saddens me deeply, and I have sympathy for anyone who suffers from being deprived of taking care of their baby due to broken social systems.

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There are numbers to back up these statements, too. For example, Brits tend to put in fewer work hours than Americans (OECD data places average hours worked per year in the U.K. at 1,538 and in the U.S. at 1,779).

Then there's desk dining—the sad act of having your lunch where you work. A 2015 survey found that only 1 in 5 Americans actually spends their lunch break away from their desks, with most eating their midday meal while they continue to work. Plus, millions of Americans are skipping lunch altogether to continue working.

#6

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

susen366 Report

If I could I would live under water
Community Member
1 month ago

And still get paid

Nubis Knight
Community Member
1 month ago

Of course, that's the point with off work holidays!

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Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

I really don't understand why people cannot get that emails is still working!! I hate this attitude "oh come on its just an email"! It's not just an email it's spending your personal time being again stressed when you should be relaxed at a beach with a cocktail!!!

Maurettis
Community Member
1 month ago

work emails is still working: it's unnecessary stress if you're on vacation!

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Angie Ayres
Community Member
1 month ago

I cannot imagine having four straight weeks off. It would be life-changing.

Max Andersson
Community Member
1 month ago

Four weeks is minimum, many people take five straight weeks

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Sian Edwards
Community Member
1 month ago

And Swedes get great maternity/paternity leave.

Y T
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes, six months of fully paid maternity/paternity leave (six months per parent). If you are single you get twelve months.

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Nathan Pogorzala
Community Member
1 month ago

4 WEEKS STRAIGHT!!!!????

Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

Welcome to Europe

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Nora
Community Member
1 month ago

In Denmark I get 6 weeks paid holiday a year. I can decide myself when I want to take it. Oh and bank holidays too. Maternity leave is one year, paid of course. Don't know how you Americans survive...

A Head
Community Member
1 month ago

My wife and I run a business together, from our home, and we typically take the kids somewhere for the summer. We've done Ireland, Scotland, Pacific Northwest, Maine, and more, for months at a time. We block out time to not work, but I have a magazine client that publishes every two weeks, and I am literally the only person who knows how to put it all together and get it to the printer for distribution. The thought of taking 4 weeks off, with zero work, or client communication, is both wonderful and terrifying. This post brought to you by the USA YOU MUST WORK ALL THE TIME council (USAYMWATT).

Nadine Debard
Community Member
1 month ago

Same in France. There are 5 paid weeks off. In some companies, you can have extra days, sometimes weeks. Most people take 3 weeks off at summer and the 2 other weeks at other times (spring, Xmas).

Miss Cris
Community Member
1 month ago

In Spain, too. Don't forget the about ¿ten? ¿twelve? mandatory holidays as December 31st, May 1st, etc

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Monic Krugell
Community Member
1 month ago

how I wish I was Swedish!

Nat Hedley
Community Member
1 month ago

Have two phones. Never give anyone at work your 'personal' phone number and when you go on holiday, leave the work phone locked in your desk.

Miss Cris
Community Member
1 month ago

Make your country a decent one and you wont need this.

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Iggy
Community Member
1 month ago

Sweden in August is definitely on holidays. And quite right too!

Debby Marengo
Community Member
1 month ago

When I took a job as a certified home health aide we did not have any vacation time or sick days. We could only call in if we were vomiting with diarrhea. More then two days we needed a dr.'s note. unpaid! If we had to take time off we were expected to find someone to fill our clients time. Most of us were working 10 hour days just to survive so who can fill in - right. Worse job ever - except some of the special clients.

Nicola Roberts
Community Member
1 month ago

Wow four consecutive weeks!

Šimon Špaček
Community Member
1 month ago

If you are forced to check you emails, you can put it in as overtime.

Jennifer Biness
Community Member
1 month ago

How does that work in a hospital?

Paulina
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Same as everywhere else? It's your employers job to have enough staff and efficient enough planning that people can take vacation and their responsibilities are covered. In civilized countries (not US) it's NOT normal to have enough staff to barely cover businesses needs (or being permanently understaffed). On the contrary - it's more common to hire slightly more people so when someone gets sick or goes on vacation you continue as usual without a glitch 🤷‍♀️ And that's considered responsible business managing.

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Lowie
Community Member
1 month ago

My fiancé has 6 weeks paid holiday every year in Sweden.

Shinomi Chan
Community Member
1 month ago

Sweet

Sandra
Community Member
1 month ago

One question if somebody from Sweden would see this : the 4 weeks of leave are kept only for Summer or you could take it any time of the year? Just curious

Max Andersson
Community Member
1 month ago

You can take it when you want to, but it depends on the company, or employer. I work in healthcare, I have 25 vacation days in a year and I can have five weeks straight if I want to

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David
Community Member
1 month ago

I mean, I get 5 weeks paid vacation every year, here in the US. And if I'm on vacation, phone and laptop get tossed in the laptop bag, in the closet.

David
Community Member
1 month ago

So theoretically, the entire country of Sweden COULD completely shut down for the entire summer with not one citizen working?

Max Andersson
Community Member
1 month ago

Its called the industrial vacation weeks, and actually most part of sweden is shut down during those weeks, except from stores, healthcare, police etc.

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Mark Kelly
Community Member
1 month ago

It's 2 weeks for the first 5 years here in Canada then about 3 over that. Or paid out as 5%-8% of gross pay.

Megan Flanagan
Community Member
1 month ago

Retail worker here, I have 5 and a half weeks paid time off. Many of my full timers have 3 weeks, most 4

S
Community Member
1 month ago

Wow! As a teacher I get summers off...but it's unpaid and I'm not allowed to collect unemployment. I am one of the lucky ones here in America...but I so wish everyone here had what you do - everyone deserves a summer break.

Miss Cris
Community Member
1 month ago

In Europe, trachers get summers off, to... but paid, of course!

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Annamagelic
Community Member
1 month ago

My husband used to work for a (US) company that offered a 4 week sabbatical once every 5 years. It was considered an amazing, nearly unheard of perk.

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#7

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

DAYtheELF Report

Beatrice Multhaupt
Community Member
1 month ago

My German brother in law, working in Germany, once found himself locked out of his office. He hadn't taken a vacation in three years and Personnel decided that this behaviour was bad for his health.

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#8

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

Mr_John_Oxley Report

Hans
Community Member
1 month ago

Fair enough.

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#9

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

TheSunShine_ Report

If I could I would live under water
Community Member
1 month ago

Actually I'm (German) jealous of some Skandinavien work places. They practice 6h per day (instead of 8h) 5b days a week and studies show, that you can accomplish the same amount of work in that time. They get paid full time. And I know for a fact that it is true, I can be as productive in 6 hours (or even more productive) than in 8h.

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At the time of writing the tweet, Pollen thought he was exaggerating things for comic effect but as you can see, the replies tell a different story. "There was the woman who gave birth on a Thursday and was back at her desk the next Monday. There was the person whose colleague literally had a heart attack in the office, and they sent paperwork to the emergency room for him to sign. And there were people from other countries – India, Israel – who described a work culture just as bad."

"My favorite story was from someone who visited Italy, and spotted a sign on a sandwich shop: 'It was a nice day so we went out.' That's a sentiment I can get behind," Pollen recalled.

"If you’ve been working through this pandemic you better believe you deserve a break," he added. "I hope you all get one!"

#10

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

chimediaguy Report

James016
Community Member
1 month ago

People need a healthy work/life balance. I would go mad if every hour was just work.

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#11

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

IanABray Report

James016
Community Member
1 month ago

When my son was born I took 1 week off as paternity. It was not worth taking the second week off as it would have cost me too much in lost wages and there was no shared parental leave at the time. I booked the week after as paid holiday instead

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#12

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

stmike321 Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
1 month ago

And you'll still need that second and possibly third job so you don't have to sell your food stamps to pay the rent.

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#13

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

trinioliver Report

rspanther
Community Member
1 month ago

I remember when I had that much vacation, I had a union job and had worked there for 20 years.

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#14

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

Aizehinomo Report

James016
Community Member
1 month ago

A saying I have picked up is "Your query is not my emergency"

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#15

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

ShirBrownTown Report

Lola
Community Member
1 month ago

My boss said we had to give him a vaccine schedule 1-2 weeks in advance just in case you might have to be out. He also suggested to tough it out if you don’t feel well right after.

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#16

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

Orthanc Report

Vicky Zar
Community Member
1 month ago

We shut down for Christmas

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#17

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

alisonaglitter Report

Sonja
Community Member
1 month ago

yeah, it is mostly like that. We don't want you to call us on our holiday. If you do and we pick up, you have to be prepared for the fact that we are on holidays, not IN the OFFICE.

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#18

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

Dragon_Age_Fans Report

TrickQuestion
Community Member
1 month ago

Trust me, we'd LOVE more time off. We're just not offered the chance. Workers here are considered replaceable at any time. If we're taking time off we can be fired. We have to have our days off approved most of the time. It's very very frustrating to worry about your job if you want to go to things at your kids school or appointments or have to leave early to take care of an emergency. If you don't have any time off left you're in real danger of disciplinary action.And we don't get much time off.

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#19

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

T_MECE Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
1 month ago

Only people who think that they are indispensable do that. The majority will tell you that you shouldn't even dare to consider contacting them during their holidays.

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#20

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

kjheatherIng Report

rspanther
Community Member
1 month ago

USA needs to do more than catch up.

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#21

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

hostrauser Report

Lisa Haag
Community Member
1 month ago

Like she should

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#22

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

thatladyyouhate Report

James016
Community Member
1 month ago

Or get lunch, or stretch your legs......

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#23

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

AnaDion94 Report

sturmwesen
Community Member
1 month ago

I do this. Call me before a) we lose a customer b) i have to do damage controll afterwards. It works well if your team knows what an emergency is.

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#24

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

ANGOmarcello Report

If I could I would live under water
Community Member
1 month ago

Well, usually there's someone listed who can be contacted if necessary, but that's only for emergencies.

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#25

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

VivaLaBangtan Report

Hugh Cookson
Community Member
1 month ago

Find another job, your current employers are obviously assholes.

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#26

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

wriquest Report

Ian Koch
Community Member
1 month ago

LOL.

#27

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

arkania_x Report

Marianne
Community Member
1 month ago

Also unlimited sick days. (I was so bewildered to learn that some countries limit them. As if you can decide if you get sick.)

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#28

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

elliput Report

doris van natta
Community Member
1 month ago

True.

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#29

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

lauraewelsh Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
1 month ago

Clear communication is of the essence.

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#30

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

SodDribble Report

Jojo Dancer
Community Member
1 month ago

Feeling good Luis!

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