work

La Ofi

The_Office_US_logo

Ah, la oficina—the office. So many of my fellow Americans come to Spain, desiring to escape the droll forty-hour workweek. They’re so brave. Or not. I can’t help but feel a bit of disdain for those who travel and blog, urging their readers to “Leave it all behind!”

Americans often idealize the European lifestyle, thinking that they just “get it,” because they work fewer hours, pay higher taxes, and enjoy greater health-insurance benefits. It’s not always true. For the most part, the eight-hour workday is quite common in the United States, and a few more hours aren’t so bad in the end. In Spain, the country of sun and siesta, you would expect fewer hours, more enjoyment, and a somewhat less stressful workplace. You’d be wrong.

I’d like to use a rather personal example. My husband, Mario, works at a fairly typical Spanish office in Madrid. He’s the hardest worker I know, so I don’t expect anything less of him, but he often goes in at 9:30 or 10 a.m. and leaves around 10 p.m. He arrived home at 12 a.m. two weeks ago, though, and he’s arrived at 11 p.m. more than once. It’s not atypical. He doesn’t complain, but there’s no question that this type of schedule is stressful. No matter if your job is easy or not, staying at the office for a full twelve hours isn’t healthy or fun.

NUP_101558_0091

Especially not if these people are your coworkers

Mario is not the exception; he’s the rule. We have another friend, a Spanish woman, who works for a national company. Having worked in another country for many years, she returned to Spain to be a big boss and earn the big bucks. That she does, but she also is under a lot of stress and works more hours than seems humanly possible.

I realize that this is all anecdotal evidence, that I’ve yet to cite proven statistics. But Mario and I, along with other friends, have formed a sort of hypothesis—Spain lacks work, yes. But the work it does have is quite poorly distributed. Those who do have a job work twelve-hour days, while those who don’t spend months and years earning nothing. Maybe they should hire more eight-hour-shift workers. Maybe then the burnout rate would drop dramatically. Who knows?

What about the Spaniards you know (maybe disregarding funcionarios)? Do they work too much?

About these ads

So Sorry, So Boring

Do you still read this blog? It’s okay if you don’t. Except you’d be lying. You’re reading this right now.

I realize my life lately hasn’t been all that exciting, but I wanted to tell you all—exciting things are right around the corner. I know, I know; I wish I could post about them now, too, but it wouldn’t be prudent, and, you see, I’m all about being prudent. Bo-ring.

IMG_0494

My cousin, Bailey, and me

So, here’s a few little life updates for you:

  • My super-smart, fantastic boyfriend received some amazing news that he totally deserves because he worked his you-know-what off for four years to get a very difficult degree. He would go to class from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and then study afterwards. Dedication—it pays off. Good job, amor!
  • My favorite basketball team, the Indiana Hoosiers, are doing super well—and, well, that makes me happy. Go Hoosiers!

Men's Basketball vs. Illinois, 02/09/12_Mike Dickbernd

  • I am studying for the DELE exam, which, for those of you who don’t know, stands for the “Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language.” It’s a diploma issued by the Cervantes Institute in Spain saying you talk real good in Spanish. Okay, it’s not just speaking, it’s also comprehension (reading and listening), and general knowledge of Spanish. I’m going for a tough one and can’t devote a ton of time to it (hello, full-time job!), but I’m going. Slowly. It helps to have Mario quiz me and give me helpful hints. I have my own personal practice examiner!
  • People are getting married: I just attended my cousin’s wedding (congratulations to Bret and  Kelsey) and my brother’s wedding is in September. My “baby” brother. See also: smart, successful, and has a beautiful fiancé! Plus, there are others (who shall not be named)! Also, doesn’t it seem like everyone on Facebook is either heading for holy matrimony or having a kid? When did we get so old?!

I know, lame post, Kaley. But there has been a lot of exciting news lately, not the least of which is that Mario has picked up a new hobby: paddle tennis. This is totally a thing in Spain. Also: he’ll be running a half marathon later this month, most likely (100%) way faster than I could.

¡Vamos Mario!

7635_517294267331_135000033_30735665_197519_n

Behind the Scenes

Behind the scenes of this blog, a lot of stuff is going on. Or, rather, we’re waiting for it to do so.

You see, although having a blog is inherently narcissistic (in that I enjoy getting positive feedback, interacting with other bloggers, and knowing that somewhere out there someone’s reading), I don’t tell you everything. Surprise! Although I may seem like a chronic oversharer, I promise – there are people out there way worse than me.

I’m working a nine-to-five job, balancing work with relationships and trying to not gain forty pounds from my desk job. I’m slowly memorizing the Chicago Manual of Style. I’m learning whether the verb should be lie, lay, laid, or lain. (Yes, it does exist.) I’m trying to keep my apartment clean and my kitten from biting my legs.

IMAG0188

He did this on purpose to look innocent. He is not.

But, if you know me, there are always a million things swirling around in the back of my mind. The future, you see, is still up in the air. We’re waiting on a few things. While we’re waiting, I’m here; he’s there. We talk every day – we Skype, chat, email, text, Facebook…you name it, we use it.

Kelly wrote this great post about technology and study abroad – its pluses and minuses. I could say the same for the Internet and my What Ifs. I get sucked into the vortex of the Internet and emerge, hours later, starving and wondering just how I got started down this series of tubes.

You may now understand my lack of writing. I want to tell you, but I also am afraid of putting myself out there, getting too personal, and – you know – looking like a fool in the end.

So, if you ever want to know more (and I understand that you might), please email me: kalhendr[at]gmail[dot]com. I’m more than willing to dish over Gmail. Or add me on Facebook. You can see all the sappy, lovey dovey photos that you always seem to be searching for.

happy