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
4 months ago

:D

View more comments
#2

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

daytime_ghost Report

James016
Community Member
4 months ago

It's fair

View more comments

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
4 months ago

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

View More Replies...
View more comments
#4

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

satorudo Report

Lola
Community Member
4 months ago

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

View More Replies...
View more comments
#5

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

bugeyedoyle Report

Hans
Community Member
4 months 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.

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
4 months ago

The system isn't broken, it never existed.

Load More Replies...
Andrea von Kebnekaise
Community Member
4 months ago

I'm on (paid) maternity leave for 2 years... not fully paid, of course, but still about 55%. If you only take 1 year you get about 80%. Oh... and the last 12 weeks before giving birth you mustn't work but get 100% salary. Greetings from Austria!

Ivy Ruonakoski
Community Member
4 months ago

I had a year of maternity leave and two years of family leave. Hello from Finland!

Load More Replies...
Martha Meyer
Community Member
4 months ago

This is really atrocious. Even medieval peasant women got more time "off" after giving birth. They were in confinement for 40 days afterwards and would have had people take care of them until they recovered.

Maria
Community Member
4 months ago

This is the best commentary I've seen. When a medieval peasant is doing better than you, you have issues.

Load More Replies...
Legen ( wait for it ) dary
Community Member
4 months ago

That's sad and heart broken. In Germany my friend could stay 3 years with her baby. Not 3 days.

Mart Sermus
Community Member
4 months ago

Paid leave for 3 years is completely normal everywhere in my country

Russell Davison
Community Member
4 months ago

What country?

Load More Replies...
Vanessa Galvan
Community Member
4 months ago

I took unpaid maternity leave and when I had complications for my c-section and couldn't return right at the 6 week mark. I requested an extended leave for the 2 more weeks to heal with all my documentation and drs notes. I was let go. When I complained to the labor board they said it's not illegal in this state. I did however win my unemployment case. My boss lied and said I no call no showed.

Vicky Zar
Community Member
4 months ago

No words

Load More Replies...
Vicky Zar
Community Member
4 months ago

At least in this case you must acknowledge that the US is a horrid country

Arjen I
Community Member
4 months ago

The thing is: not only in a case like this. They can be so much better, but especially repubs & co refuse to...

Load More Replies...
kasa alex
Community Member
4 months ago

In Australia if new moms take less than a year of maternity leave it is considered that they are going back to work 'early'

Vicky Z
Community Member
4 months ago

You laughed but she cried...... so sad

Alethia Nyx
Community Member
4 months ago

That is so sad. How does your body even recover in that time, let alone how do you bond with your baby.

denzoren
Community Member
4 months ago

Where I'm from the mother usually gets 13 weeks and the dad gets a "congratulations".

Nicki
Community Member
4 months ago

where are you from?

Load More Replies...
Mark Kelly
Community Member
4 months ago

Glad I live in Canada.

Isa
Community Member
4 months ago

I got 4 months full paid leave and my job back when I returned to work....

Nicola Roberts
Community Member
4 months ago

The UK isn't brilliant. 90% of full time pay for the first 6 weeks then a statutory payment for the next 31 weeks. It's not much but enough to stop you starving and it would entitle you to further benefits if your household income was too low. You also have to take a mandatory two weeks off, after the birth.

Kt
Community Member
4 months ago

It depends who you work for. Where i work its 9 months full pay and if you want to take the full year, the last 3 months is SMP.

Load More Replies...
Roxy Eastland
Community Member
4 months ago

Sorry, but this is inhuman. Can you imagine any other animal giving birth and it being considered acceptable to take the mother away from her newborns for eight hours a day? It is immediately obvious it would be extremely stressful for both the mother and the babies. Paid maternity and paternity leave ultimately benefits the whole of society by giving babies a more stable start.

Leslie Burleson
Community Member
4 months ago

This is never required in the US . If it's happening , it's either a family owned business or a self owned business

Ashley Dimacali
Community Member
4 months ago

New mom here and I'm glad my job allows 1 year off - just using up all my vacation; Thank God I saved at least 6 months of time off and my husband will be supporting us as well...I have a new respect for moms and feel the empathy when I hear about moms not getting enough maternity or baby bonding time - makes me cry.

స్టీఫెన్ ఆండ్రూ
Community Member
4 months ago

The U.S. truly is a third world country.

namjoonie_ k
Community Member
4 months ago

In Russia women can be on maternity leave for three years, though she`s paid only have of the time, if I`m not mistaken. Some women just keep going from one maternity leave into another.

kjorn
Community Member
4 months ago

my wife is a nurse. we got 3 kids and we lost one. for each of the 3 kids as soon she was pregnant she was put on maternity leaves and get back to work 11 month after the birth. ONE time she wasn't put on maternity leave... guess what? she lost the baby that time. don't tell me this was just a coincidence.

Shinomi Chan
Community Member
4 months ago

._. This lady is a trooper

Lynne Stankard
Community Member
4 months ago

Terrible.

Wilf
Community Member
4 months ago

UK here- The legal MINIMUM of maternity pay is up to 39 weeks @ 90% for the first 6 weeks, and £150 per week for the remainder. But as most employees have contracts, the average is usually much higher. My wife's company gives her up to a year @ 100% pay for the first 6 months, and 70% for the last 6 months.

Aubrey Oleandereie
Community Member
4 months ago

3 years PAID parental leave in my country

Roody
Community Member
4 months ago

That's actually sad. Unfortunately it's like that not just in the US but in many countries including mine

Megan Flanagan
Community Member
4 months ago

I get paid leave for 3 months in the US. I also plan on having zero kids.

Winx
Community Member
4 months ago

I asked my benefits department what kind of leave was available for new mothers. They said they can use their vacation time until it runs out and then apply for unpaid leave. That's it. So yeah, most mothers come back to work within weeks of their babies being born in the USA.

Sonja
Community Member
4 months ago

that's just sad...

Friday
Community Member
4 months ago

That’s really sad

Panda-riffic
Community Member
4 months ago

6 weeks leave is normal for uncomplicated delivery in the US. However, we do have FMLA which allows up to 12 weeks off unpaid, but you get to keep your job, or similar job. (Family Medical Leave Act).

Wilf
Community Member
4 months ago

wow. That sounds awful. how do employers define "similar job"? In the UK you are guaranteed the right to return to YOUR job. And you are entitled to the same pay rises as everyone else during the period you are off, and you are entitled to retain your paid leave that you would have had if you were at work. My wife got 1 year off- 8 months at full pay, 5 months at 55 percent, and a final 36 days at full pay because she took her whole year's paid leave entitlement in one block.

Load More Replies...
Mewton’s Third Paw
Community Member
4 months ago (edited)

That’s scary. But without a national system in place, good luck getting employers to pay maternity leave. I’m an employer and I have no idea how I could or would even do that. Just quit once you decide you’re keeping the baby, I got nothing for you.

View More Replies...
View more comments

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
4 months ago

And still get paid

View More Replies...
View more comments
#7

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

DAYtheELF Report

Beatrice Multhaupt
Community Member
4 months 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.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#8

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

Mr_John_Oxley Report

Hans
Community Member
4 months ago

Fair enough.

View more comments
#9

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

TheSunShine_ Report

If I could I would live under water
Community Member
4 months 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.

View More Replies...
View more comments

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
4 months ago

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

View more comments
#11

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

IanABray Report

James016
Community Member
4 months 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

View More Replies...
View more comments
#12

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

stmike321 Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
4 months 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.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#13

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

trinioliver Report

rspanther
Community Member
4 months ago

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

View More Replies...
View more comments
#14

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

Aizehinomo Report

James016
Community Member
4 months ago

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

View More Replies...
View more comments
#15

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

ShirBrownTown Report

Lola
Community Member
4 months 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.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#16

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

Orthanc Report

Vicky Zar
Community Member
4 months ago

We shut down for Christmas

View More Replies...
View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#17

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

alisonaglitter Report

Sonja
Community Member
4 months 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.

View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#18

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

Dragon_Age_Fans Report

TrickQuestion
Community Member
4 months 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.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#19

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

T_MECE Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
4 months 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.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#20

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

kjheatherIng Report

rspanther
Community Member
4 months ago

USA needs to do more than catch up.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#21

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

hostrauser Report

Lisa Haag
Community Member
4 months ago

Like she should

View More Replies...
View more comments
#22

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

thatladyyouhate Report

James016
Community Member
4 months ago

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

View More Replies...
View more comments
#23

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

AnaDion94 Report

sturmwesen
Community Member
4 months 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.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#24

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

ANGOmarcello Report

If I could I would live under water
Community Member
4 months ago

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

View More Replies...
View more comments
#25

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

VivaLaBangtan Report

Hugh Cookson
Community Member
4 months ago

Find another job, your current employers are obviously assholes.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#26

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

wriquest Report

Ian Koch
Community Member
4 months ago

LOL.

View more comments
#27

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

arkania_x Report

Marianne
Community Member
4 months 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.)

View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#28

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

elliput Report

doris van natta
Community Member
4 months ago

True.

View more comments
#29

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

lauraewelsh Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
4 months ago

Clear communication is of the essence.

View more comments
#30

Work-Ethic-Different-Countries

SodDribble Report

Jojo Dancer
Community Member
4 months ago

Feeling good Luis!

View More Replies...
View more comments

Note: this post originally had 64 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.