Germans: rigid, humourless worker bees working their fingers to the bone to produce the finest quality precision engineering in the world, right? Sort of. Since language both creates culture and reflects it, let’s have a look at six common phrases you’d hear in a German workplace and see what we learn.
Literally, bridge days. The average German worker has 30 days of holiday plus 10 public holidays – more if they live in the Catholic states of North-Rhine Westphalia or Bavaria. Many of the public holidays fall on Tuesday or Thursday, in which case it is common to use a vacation day as a bridge to a bank holiday.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
‘Erst die Arbeit, dann das Vergnügen!’
‘First work, then pleasure’ – less a dour rejection of all the delights life has to offer and more the idea of getting what must be done over with as soon as possible, so the good part can start.
One of those gloriously long German compound nouns that, in this case consists of Arbeit (work), Unfähigkeit (impossibility) and Bescheinigung (certificate). All together, it’s the German equivalent of a sick note, which are given out freely and never questioned by your employer. German workers take twice as many sick days as their British counterparts but are significantly more productive.
Business and manufacturing in Germany is dominated by middle-sized, family-owned companies that provide enormous stability to the economy. Nearly 80% of all businesses here qualify as Mittelstand, that is less than 500 employees or €50 million a year in revenue. For employees, it means they retain a lot of power and have a chance negotiate satisfactory conditions for themselves.
Literally ‘meal time’, the phrase Mahlzeit is only ever used at work. Strange looks would abound if you began a Sunday dinner this way. It has a definite working-class solidarity connotation and while not actively thought of in this way, is really about the strict division between company time and personal time. In practice, Mahlzeit can be used to express disgust, or annoyance, as a substitute for ‘Excuse you’ after someone burps or any number of other situations.
Following on from Mahlzeit is Schönen Feierabend, or have a lovely free evening. Feier literally means ‘party’, and it is common to wish your colleagues a Schönen Feierabend on your way out of the office. It is also normal to wish the same to the cashier at the grocery store or post office if it is near the end of the working day. This reinforcing of company and personal time is often even more strongly demarcated with the help of a Feierabendbier. Men drinking a beer on the train on the way home is by no means common, but it is also not at all unusual.
A full 25% of Germans report being unhappy with their job, but it is also true that Germans enjoy some of the highest levels of life satisfaction worldwide. A conundrum it seems, that could best be solved with a Feierabendbier or two.
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