a word on hard working taiwanese and recent ramblings

Couple of days ago I was chatting with my close friend Abhijit on yahoo messenger. He is working in Stockholm, Sweden nowadays. Rise of India in Software has presented great opportunities to Indian people to travel overseas for work. Many of my friends, classmates and acquaintances are working overseas these days. Generally my chat with them includes discussions about different cultures and living conditions. Working in Taiwan has really opened my eyes to whole new world of different cultures. Meeting and interacting with people from all over the world has been incredible experience so far and I am loving it :)

Coming back to my chat with Abhijit, generally our discussions hovers around work related stuff. Among other things we discussed one thing that I observed is that the work-life balance. According to Abhijit work life balance in Sweden is perfect. Working time for Swedish people is 8 AM to 5 PM. Everyone is out of the office at the stroke of 5 PM. Where as what I have observed in my 2 years of working in Taiwan is that Taiwanese are among the most hard working people in the World [if not the most]. According to this Survey Work Life balance is attributed to Europe not just Sweden.
bq.  "The shorter working week in Europe is reflected in the lowest rise in stress levels worldwide suggesting that European businesses are perhaps leading the world in managing work life balance and quality of life.
Even friends of mine who are working in US have also complained about long hours recently. Its not that I am complaining about the long hours that I have been putting in after coming to Taiwan. Indians are also quite high on “Working hard” scale.  But the point is, general feeling which I get here is that “Hard work means progress”. From my informal discussions with our clients and my colleagues what I gather is, weekend is the only time one can find to chill out. On all the other days they are completely occupied with work and professional issues. For me it doesn’t make much difference. I don’ have many friends here to hang out with on weekdays. I don’t have my relatives here whom I can visit for evening snacks or early morning breakfast. Had it been the case I would have been really vexed. I feel productivity is more important than number of hours one is clocking in.

On the lighter note, I checked Google Earth to see which part of world Abhijit has been living in [My favorite pastime is to check out where my friends have been living from Google Earth] .To my astonishment I observed one thing. Apart from being strikingly dissimilar considering the size [1:13 Taiwan:Sweden], weather and work culture, Taiwan and Sweden still have something in common. Its their shape LOL.

Taiwan and Sweden as seen on Google Earth

Folks please click on the image to see the enlarged view. I had to scale it down to present as much view as possible so it may appear a little skewed.

Anyways on the brighter side this Monday we got a great surprise from our CEO. After watching how exhausted my fellow Taiwanese colleagues were after their crazy weekends for sometime, he declared Monday afternoon 3 to 5 pm as a sports break for everyone. Everyone is entitled to spend this time in the health club to entertain themselves and in turn shake off their weekend hangover. This is uncommon for a Taiwanese company as per my colleagues. Flexibility is the key for next generation companies. We are a start-up with bunch of people and I feel we are moving in the right direction with these kind of little initiatives. No more Monday Blues anymore <:-P

 Among other things I am thinking of starting another blog to post about some technical topics and work related things. I just don’t feel right to mix up technical posts with my Taiwan blog posts. A lot of times I talk about technical/programming stuff with my friends. It would be interesting to have a technology blog of my own. I am already excited about it.

Another interesting thing is that I submitted couple of pictures that I took in Taiwan to be considered for “Taiwan Picture of the Day” widget collection and they have selected one of my picture to appear on the widget on 19th November. I am absolutely delighted.

Published: November 16 2007

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