As someone who used to think working 12 hours a day and then some more on the weekends was pretty normal, I can easily say the one thing that took me the longest to adjust to here was the “work/life balance”. I am a total subscriber to it now, but the passage wasn’t easy and there is still the odd day or two when I send email after email after phone call asking the same question, emphasising the urgency of the situation – until I pester someone into responding. I could not agree more with Andrew Hammel’s advice, which applies not just to Americans moving to Europe, but pretty much anyone not used to working less than 40 hours a week:
I don’t want to quote the whole thing, but heres a brief. But do scoot over to get the real thing.
* Don’t brag to other people about how hard you work. [..]
* Learn your environment. [..]
* Change your standards. [..]
[..]enjoy your free time! [..] spend lots of time with their friends and family, they pursue hobbies much more complex than catching up on all the episodes of Sex & the City, they visit museums, read complex books, drink a whole lot, go to parties, fairs, and circuses, and take lots of vacations.
And I have discovered a wonderful blog – a fellow Duesseldorfer too – boy! its made my day!