Americans desire to be German

08/30/2010

„I think Germany has an enormous amount to teach us,” says Thomas Geoghegan, a labor lawyer in Chicago and author of the Book “Were you born on the wrong Continent?” ”Us” implicates the average American and the teaching part refers basically to a lesson about a reasonable work-life balance.

Americans aren’t able to focus
Americans work almost 9 weeks more per year compared with an average German employee. That’s truly bad news. But it’s getting really worse when it comes to the point that the Germans nevertheless are more productive. Germans “probably working more efficiently than we are, and maybe the fact that they’re taking time off has something to do with that,” is Geoghegan’s conclusion. And he is absolutely right. Germans are much more efficient than Americans. That’s what I am experiencing all day long. And in my opinion the less efficiency comes from a huge lack of concentration. Lots of Americans aren’t able to focus on their work. Lots of them are unable to priories to do’s and, certainly one of the biggest issues, they are not very foresighted. And please don’t get me wrong. We are only talking about job issues so far. At the end of the day all that leads into a big management issue that can only be solved with longer working hours.

President Obama hugs German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Germans don’t have the guts for self-fulfillment

Regardless of the working hour discussion Americans sometimes are joking around about the rigid and structured German mentality. Always with the conclusion that the German society offers no space to live an individual life. And they are right. That’s the price we have to pay for it. A huge crowd in Germany, especially in younger ages, has the same desire for self-fulfillment than Americans. But most of them don’t have the guts to step out of their comfort zone. Social security seems more important than taking chances. And Germans are much more obligated to their jobs than Americans as well. While lots of Americans, primarily on the east and west coast, have a job that pays their bills Germans feel more responsible for their work. Especially for the quality, their co-workers or the brand they are working for. One reason might be again the lack of individualism in Germany. Other than in America Germans don’t have a job and besides them another carrier as artist, producer, journalist or what else. They accept that most part of their life is affected by work and the other part is to recover from it.

That might also explain why there is a minimum of 24 days holiday for each employee. Besides a very detailed and regulated social security of course. “They have six weeks of federally mandated vacation, free university tuition, nursing care, and childcare” is Geoghegan’s outline for this part. But he isn’t quite right on this. The federally mandated vacation is only five weeks. And we don’t have the free university tuition any more. But compared with the college expenses in America the tuition in Germany is definitely very inexpensive. So it still remains the question how Germany became such a great place to work. “The Allies did it” is Geoghegan’s answer for this. And he is as wrong as he possibly could be. The entire German social security system relates back to the efforts of Otto von Bismarck in the middle of the 19th century. No worries Mr. Geoghegan, I know about the concentration thing. There is no reason to blame you. I’m the teacher, you are the scholar. ‘Cause you’ve asked for it. And I promise, I’ll be very thoughtful with your concerns. Yes I am.

If you are intrested to read the entire Interview with Thomas Geoghegan, please stop by here.

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Stairway to Heaven

08/27/2010

You want to be somewhere close to the hatch of heaven?  But you are scared of going skydiving and you don’t have the money for booking a seat at one of Richard Branson’s space shuttles? Ok, the only possibility to solve your desire then is probably waiting for you in the middle of Fun City. And I swear, it’s certainly that exciting as skydiving and regrettably only slightly less expensive as a space shuttle ticket. But it’s breathtaking though.

We are talking about the visit of one of the roof top bars in Manhattan. It’s sometimes a little annoying to get a place there, because it’s sort of an offbeat location and the bouncers are often very snobby. But there are also places where you get a seat very easily. And the view is truly worth the trouble. I experienced the 230 Fifth Ave so far, which got also a reasonable review in an article from the New York Times. It’s kind of funny that the author of the article had the same experience with the security guys. It’s at least good to know that it isn’t only a problem foreigners have to face there.

Oh, and I should probably mention that the visit of a rooftop bar mostly isn’t about delightful cocktails. It’s more about the joy of an outside event.  So try to get drunk from the amazing view rather from the poorly mixed long drinks. And for those of you who want to combine this outside event with a skydiving experience: Maybe you can use your parachute when you leave. But in the sake of God, please pull the cord quickly.

NYC ROOFTOP BARS AT A GLANCE

DHOTEL ON RIVINGTON Between Essex and Ludlow Streets, Lower East Side; (212) 475-2600; hotelonrivington.com; cash only.

MAD46 At the Roosevelt Hotel, Madison Avenue at 46th Street; dress code; reservations recommended for large groups: (212) 885-6095; mad46.com.

GRAMERCY PARK HOTEL 2 Lexington Avenue, at 21st Street; reservations recommended: (212) 920-3300; gramercyparkhotel.com.

SALON DE NING Peninsula Hotel, 700 Fifth Avenue, at 55th Street, (212) 903-3097; peninsula.com.

TOP OF THE STRAND 33 West 37th Street; (212) 448-1024; thestrandnyc.com.

PLUNGE BAR AND LOUNGE Gansevoort Hotel, 18 Ninth Avenue, at 13th Street, meatpacking district; (212) 206-6700; hotelgansevoort.com.

HUDSON TERRACE 621 West 46th Street; (212) 315-9400; hudsonterracenyc.com.

PRESS At Ink48, 653 11th Avenue, at West 48th Street; (212) 757-0088; ink48.com.

230 FIFTH 230 Fifth Avenue, at 29th Street; (212) 725-4300;
230-fifth.com.

Shelburne Murray Hill, 303 Lexington Ave., at 37th St.
212-481-1999; Tue-Sat, 4:30pm-midnight, weather permitting

More reviews about the countless sky bars in NYC can be found here too: http://nymag.com


NYC in love with the German Culture

08/23/2010

They are all over the place. And it seems that each week a new one is coming up. Beer Gardens are the new fancy thing in most New Yorker’s social live. I’ve already reported about “Zum Schneider” who has been celebrating his 10th anniversary last Thursday. But there are some cute other places which will be worth to check it out.

The New York Times was mentioning some of them in an article lately. There are a few in it that I’ve already checked out. Like the Biergarten at the Standard Hotel. And I agree on this one with the NYT-writer. The Beer Garden doesn’t really fit into the very rough neighborhood of the meatpacking district. But it’s a cozy place anyway. I definitely can’t judge the review of “Loreley” in the NYT-article. But, as far as I was told, the place should be really relaxed. I don’t know if it’s the best interpretation of a traditional German Beer Garden as the article claims it. But I’ll check it out soon and let you know about. So long – Prost!


A free wifi-run or: Run for a free wifi

08/20/2010

New York is spearheading everything. That’s what I was told before I moved from Munich – a small little village compared with the east coast melting pot – to New York City. As an internet addicted I was curious to experience how it feels, when you hop form one free wifi-run to the other. Regrettably I have to admit, that this kind of drunk wifi hopping never happened. And the problem isn’t the missing wifi-spots. But New Yorker wifi-owner seems very reserved when it comes to the point of sharing their internet spots though. It’s almost impossible to catch up with an open wifi spot while walking around the city. And I don’t refer to districts outside in the wilderness of Queens or Staten Island. We are talking about Midtown Manhattan, where almost everything seems possible. Except free internet access.

Meanwhile Starbuck’s has changed their requirements for the internet access in their shops. Since July 1st the coffee dictator is offering free spots in any shop. That’s great because as you know, Starbuck is all over the place here. The good news is that Starbucks also plans to offer free access to paid websites such as The Wall Street Journal or the The New York Times. They also want to surprise their customers with free iTunes downloads every once in a while. Yeah, I think that sounds like spearheading again. Nevertheless I have to wait to access Starbucks’ wifi spot until late October. Because that will be the time, when you can use your keyboard without gloves again. #hard-core-air-conditioning-until-the-next-blackout-is-coming-up!