Work-Life Imbalance

Traditionally, American companies have talked about a need for “work/life balance,” although most seem to do the opposite of what they say. Jeff Bezos in fact is famously quoted that “work/life balance is a debilitating phrase” and instead the goal should be “work/life harmony” — whatever that in fact entails. The cynical might interpret that as meaning that your family can cope with your 80-hour work week and frequent absences from home for business travel. Whatever.

Some nations actually care about workers.

  • Brazil, Comoros, Djibouti, France, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kuwait, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Spain, and Togo all require that workers receive 30 days of paid vacation each year. It’s 28 days in UK.
  • Other countries control the length of the work week.
    • In Denmark, the average work week is 37.2 hours; only 2.3% of workers work more than 50 hours in a week, and the average annual wage for a person employed full time is $55,253.
    • In The Netherlands, the average work week is 37.3 hours; only 0.4% of workers work more than 50 hours per week, and the age is $54,262.
    • The results are similar in other European countries, but in larger countries such as France, income declines toward the US average.

There’s a reason why a lot of Americans have left the US to live elsewhere. For the first time this fall, the US State Department published an estimate of 9 million US citizens living permanently outside the US. That figure excludes government/military personnel stationed outside the country, as well as Americans who have renounced US citizenship. And the figure is probably understated.

As reported in Business Insider, Internations conducted a survey in 2017 among people living outside the borders of their native country. The top 15 countries at that time for overall quality of life were:

  1. Taiwan
  2. Austria
  3. Japan
  4. Spain
  5. Costa Rica
  6. Malta
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Singapore
  9. Germany
  10. Switzerland
  11. South Korea
  12. Canada
  13. New Zealand
  14. Portugal
  15. France

Notably Costa Rica and Portugal remain recommended domiciles for US retirees, as one can live in those places comfortably on Social Security — which isn’t possible in most of the US.

Singapore ranks as the #3 richest country in the world, after Qatar and the Macao SAR (China). Singapore is alone among the richest countries in making the list above. The US ranks 11th in terms of wealth.

Where is your life going to take you? Think about the languages you want to know when you get there.



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