Dean Owen

5 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!

La Dolce Vita – Europeans certainly know how to live. They understand the concept of a good work life balance. The Spanish, although less common these days, have their siestas, the Italians their pisolino, a short afternoon nap to reinvigorate the soul. Factories across Southern Europe basically shut down for their two-hour lunches. Gotta love those 30 hour work weeks, and 30 day paid vacation which can be carried forward if you don’t use them. Hey, and look at all those studies that conclude how taking breaks can increase productivity.

Seems the Europeans have it all. I mean, who wouldn’t want that kind of life?

It’s been 8 years since the Global financial crisis. Many European States have yet to recover. Unemployment in Portugal and Italy is above 10%, and in Greece and Spain, North of 20%. Ireland has perhaps escaped being encapsulated in the rather derogatory PIGS acronym, but their labour market has not faired much better with unemployment at 8.4%.

If you are fine with that, then by all means continue your way of life. But apparently many of you are not, and in recent months we have seen industrial strikes from Cyprus to Croatia indicating your discontent.

Welcome to the 21st Century.

The fact of the matter is that the World has changed. 

With globalization comes competition from abroad. For simplicity’s sake, let’s break it down.

If you were a factory owner and had the choice of hiring one person who worked a 30-hour week or one person who worked 40-hour week for less money than the first, the rational decision would be to hire the latter. Well the decisions that your companies are making to outsource to foreign countries are essentially the same decisions. Other countries with more competitive workforces are taking your jobs. Now you might say well hey, we are better educated. But take a stroll through any of the top colleges in the US and you may want to reconsider. MIT, Duke and RICE Universities have over 20% Asian attendance. The Asian business leaders of tomorrow are receiving the finest education in the world. The proliferation of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) will level the playing field even more in the years to come.

You can take arms against a sea of troubles and blame your government for not doing enough on job creation. No doubt, they could do more by tweaking the tax code, offering incentives for small businesses, or imposing tariffs on imported goods. But a trade war will unlikely benefit anyone.

The fact is, with globalization comes competition. Mexicans and Korean are working 40+ hours a week. You now have to compete with a hungry Asian workforce that is willing to do what it takes to succeed.

If you want to continue in your idyllic ways, then fine, go ahead. We all want to work less and play more. But as a European living in Asia, I see first hand the drive and determination abundant across the continent. They want what you have, and in the end it is survival of the fittest. So go ahead, fight for a 4-day work week. I’ll work six. Demand your 2-hour lunch break. I’ll eat at my desk. The Asian workforce will not slow down for you. The Japanese have a saying that in order to compete with the Chinese, they need to wake up at 4am. I just believe in hard work.

So you can keep your siestas and have a crappy economy, or compete fiercely and reclaim your industrial might.

The choice is yours.

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves”

Dean Owen is Co-Founder of Quimojo, a revolutionary new concept in Global Campus Recruitment.

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Dean Owen

5 years ago #32

I get what you are saying @Mohammed A. Jawad, conditions are tough for the Bangladeshi and Indian construction workers and there is not much of a way out for them as they don't have a good education. But as Asia gets more and more educated, with their work ethic, they will dominate sometime this Century.

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #31

We'd love to see you in the lucky country down under, Javier C\u00e1mara Rica 🔆#33

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

5 years ago #30

Firstly, people work for the sake of living, and as wants and greed spiral, there's passion to work hard and earn more. In the land where I live I see a lot of Asians who slog their lives with long extended hours, and compulsive overtime with only one day-off in whole month oozes their energy. But, to live and earn better as a successful expatriate, every workaholic aims high. Poor chaps...their workplace is their prime place, and they go briefly to their homes for a little rest.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #29

Once again CityVP Manjit, if they are happy with their way of life, then great! But they are not, they took to the streets to protest austerity measures, they are unemployed and desperate. They were demonstrating this April. They can, by all means complain, but they must be willing to accept that if they don't work as hard as, and for the same money as people from other countries, their companies will continue to outsource jobs and unemployment will continue to be high.

CityVP Manjit

5 years ago #28

note from Dean. Is there an alternative to the huge success story and the white knight and that alternative is called a way of life. Success as a conception means that just having a concept of it is a limitation. That limitation when it does not deliver requires a white knight to rescue us from that huge success. Now I look past success and ambition, and there is nobody on my coat-tails, no weight of expectations, no alter of judgements - and if no one is looking, I could conquer Mars and be back in time before anyone noticed. Study the background of Napoleon Hill, the guy got people believing in success even when he was personally going belly up and losing relationships. Success needs failure and failure needs success - but turn it into a conception and no one can make the Earth the size of Jupiter. Moreover it's really no fun living on Jupiter.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #27

He is indeed Catalan CityVP Manjit and he is thinking about his dinner. This call for independence flame has grown stronger due to the lingering recession. What Spain needs is a huge success story, and beBee is the white knight!

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #26

I never went to Australia ! I have to go ! It is on my to-do-list in life ! I really think beBee will give me this opportunity !

Dean Owen

5 years ago #25

Is this one still doing the rounds? I don't think Australians need a kick up the backside do they? So long as they are enjoying their lifestyle. I don't see them taking to the streets in protest.

CityVP Manjit

5 years ago #24

Do you see the picture that Dean Owen supplied of that man in the photo resting? Is he truly taking a siesta or is he even Spanish. Maybe he is Catalan, maybe he is Basque, maybe he is Welsh or maybe he is Scottish and then I don't think he is resting but thinking about a future that could one day be four independent nations, of which at least three still have their own native languages excluding Scottish Gaelic. So work at the level of meaning that Javier C\u00e1mara Rica is envisioning is a powerful vision and so life is about movement, transformation, energy, but work-life balance is a discussion for the imbalanced. It is the same kind of discussion as figuring out if there is such a thing as the "Third Generation Curse". The Work Life Balance is an interesting discussion in dinner with the Hepburns, The question here is whether we are one of the Hepburns or are we a Howard Hughes. Hughes of course got consumed by his success, but he also worked hard for it - it is when we are the chief beneficiaries of inheritance that work-life balance should then become a real hard look in the mirror.

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #23

Great wake up call, Dean Owen. Australia needs to take your advice also. Can I have you provide an early 22nd century call to our federal government in Canberra for some time soon? Would you add some unions, also, if I give you a list? ⏰

Dean Owen

5 years ago #22

No fires here . I just want Europe to get their act together and start being competitive, but it all starts with hard work. I can imagine you are an extremely hard worker because you are passionate about everything you do.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #21

Totally on point Kevin Pashuk, and if you don't enjoy working hard, you are in the wrong job!

Dean Owen

5 years ago #20

Paul-sensei wears crocs to cook! So funny. That whole comment is the funniest thing I read today!

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #19

, if you are a workaholic because you love what you do, and it makes you happy , let's do it ! I AM ! :-)

Mamen 🐝 Delgado

5 years ago #18

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life", Confucious said 2.500 years ago. And I agree. 😉

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #17

When I ran my own company, I used to say it was better to work 70 hours a week for yourself than 40 for someone else. You've highlighted the challenge of a global economy Dean Owen. We are not competing just with the shop down the block that works to the same rules as we do. There are many cultures that do not take breaks and can quickly overshadow us in effort. At the same time, (and this is easier said than done) we have to find a way to keep sanity in our lives - obtain the balance we need to stay healthy. Work hard, play hard, pray hard, rest well.

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #16

Paul \, I am also a worker bee , and I feel fine like this. I can't imagine my life without enjoying while I am working !

Paul Walters

5 years ago #15

Gosh the word work was mentioned several times in this post. I've almost forgotten what that word actually means. I'll blame that on Bali. Nicely structured piece as always Mr Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #14

Too true and great point Gert Scholtz. Another reason for the domestic workforce to get off their backsides, work harder, and expect less. They have been spoilt for too many years. They need to adjust to the new normal.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #13

I think one cannot blame big corp for making rational business decisions much as it may be noble to support the local economy. You choose the best worker for the job. So I just feel the European workforce need to understand local companies are not obliged to hire locally, and will outsource to a cheaper more productive labour force offshore. So it is the workforce that needs to raise their game and prove to big corp that there is no need to outsource. Just my opinion.

Gert Scholtz

5 years ago #12

Dean Owen Is Europe and the UK not also in-sourcing to a great deal? Over the last two decades immigrants, who are willing to work longer and for less, have taken over many of the jobs of Europeans in their own countries.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #11

thanks Javier C\u00e1mara Rica, I hope I don't sound critical of Spain. Critical of Spanish cars perhap! 😬. But I do care that unemployment in Spain is a major problem still as you know, with youth unemployment at 49%. There is no easy solution. The government cannot perform miracles. The Spanish will have to work harder, innovate faster, and compete on the Global stage. You and Juan and Team beBee are proof it can be done, with hard work.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #10

I totally get what you are saying James McElearney. My main point is that Europe is outsourcing their own jobs to foreign countries with competitive labour forces. They are not outsourcing to Sweden, or Germany, both with a short work week and high cost of labour. They outsource to China, Vietnam, India etc with a long work week and low labour costs. If Europe wants to keep their jobs, they can't expect to work less hard than Asians and earn more money. And on your point - In manufacturing, it is simple maths, the more hours worked, the more product is built.

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #9

I agree ,,, they will never work for beBee ! :-)

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #8

Dean OwenWe do not jump to the neck because we do like you guy. You are a super bee, we accept your jokes and your critics :-) we can play fairly .... thanks I love your buzz- It charged my batteries to the top !!! :-)

Dean Owen

5 years ago #7

I think you Javier are the epitome of "Work Hard Play Hard". And on siestas, 16.2% of Spaniards claim they still take an afternoon sleep.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #6

Thanks Dean Carlton, I was actually hoping for some disagreement.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #5

Thanks Laurent. I was hoping to provoke!

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #4

Now , I am not joking, I can say We work more than 50 hours per week, which is fine if you love your job, but it should be a hell if you do not. The best thing you can do to reach best performance is loving your job ! :-)

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #3

exactly James McElearney, you need time to enjoy beBee !! hahahahahah

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #2

hahahaha excellent Dean Owen !!! I prefer WORK HARD PLAY HARD , not WORK LESS PLAY HARD :-) .... the best thing we are keeping is having lunch is our main meal. We enjoy it and we talk about business while we are eating. About the rest of things I fully agree. Anyway I can tell you It is already a legend that the spaniards sleep after having lunch . It is only possible on weekends.

Laurent Boscherini

5 years ago #1

Thank you Dean Owen for sharing your insightful and provoking thoughts. This taste for making an effort, for progress in seeking the good, the true, the beautiful and the well-being, is very much dependent on the richness of social contexts, interpersonal communications and cultural approaches. Every society joins historically in cycles of peak and perigee.

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