lunes, 19 de noviembre de 2012
AUSTRALIA: THE LAND OF THE LONG WEEKEND
Australia is often called and recognized in a particular way, a way that the whole world would like to be called: The land of the long weekend. Australians are still thinking that this idea is truth, they still believe that they live in “The land of the long weekend” where it seems Australian people do not work enough, do not work hard, have many holidays, and consequently, they have a reputation for enjoying the good life but, is that assumption truly right? Apparently, in a superficial way may be true; even being more specifically, in social issues. But if we dig the ground, we will find out that this idea is not true at all. Nevertheless, in past times it was real, but the times are changing and people as well.
It is common to hear the expression “the land of the long weekend” when we refer to Australia and it is not strange believe in that assumption for anyone who knows at least a little about the country. Even, Australian people believe in that idea “they are unenthusiastic about hard work and more oriented toward the pursuit of leisure. It often been suggested that the basis of this national identity as a ‘laid back and carefree people’ was the uniquely Australian industrial system.” (Bittman, 1998)
It is interesting and a little bit curious to think -in an industrialized world- that really exists a country where people is, supposedly, more stressed than other nations due to its relax way of life. But, I am afraid that the twenty first century took the control in Australia and now this conception of life changed forever. The industrialization machine took away everything in its path. In work terms, there is no longer the idealistic view of “the land of the long weekend”.
A research from the University of Sydney says that Australian workers are working more than past decades affecting workers’ performance. Dr Brigid van Wanrooy says:
There are studies that show that once employees are working really extended and long hours of work that productivity does definitely diminish […] the average working week in Australia among full time employees is 44 hours. And one in five Australians work more than 50 hours a week. (Knight, 2009)
Richard Dennis says “they work longer hours, have less annual leave and fewer public holidays than workers in most other industrialized countries.” (Horin, 2003) Even, searching deeper, Australia has some of the longest working hours among employees in OCDE nations (Knight, 2009)
Something is failing, and possibly is because of trade unions have been weakened, there are constantly staff cuts and workers are under pressure. In this way, to save labor cost, they extend hours.
Dr Ian Campell from RMIT’s Centre for applied social research says:
You’ve got this kind of pressure, either directly or indirectly where if you don’t have good regulations around the maximum number of work hours per day or week, or the maximum number of hours of overtime, there‘s a free field there for workers to work longer and longer hours. (Knight, 2009)
However, in spite of the long work hours a week, it is curious that the Australians always have time for a vacation, even a little because a part of their life style is fun. They are people who are characterized by have an open nature; they are very smiling and friendly. They love the sea, nature, sports, barbecues and beer, this latter is the reason for they are called the biggest beer consumers in the world and have a great attraction for barbecues. Australians will always have a reason for celebrate and to be gathered with the family enjoying the life.
Like Western countries, they also celebrate almost all these festivals, such as Christmas, New Year and Easter. As December 25 is one of the first days of summer in Australia, Christmas and New Year are celebrations that all Australian families see as the start of their holidays. But it is important to say that although this population consists of diverse dynamics cultures, they result in a mixture of customs and traditions from the native culture with Britain and European tradition and also from the influence of people around the world; with the passing of the time they have been able to create their own culture.
This culture is made up of their own festivities, customs, life styles, etc. Among the typical Australian celebrations are Anzac Day (which is a tribute to all those who died in the wars that included the singing of the National Anthem, a prayer, recitation and moments of silence), Boxing Day, Easter, and January 26 which is the Australia Day and the beginning of their vacations due to it is one of the first days of the summer.
As they live in an island where the most people is located living to 50 kms from the beaches, it is common for them to live a quiet and social life. In a typical weekend it is possible that people have a barbecue with friends, spend time with their families, go to a sporting event or go swimming or surfing, because within the typical characteristics of a good “Aussie” is able to swim.
Coming back to the point that Australia is no more the Land of the long weekend, it is possible that they as a society have not yet realized this. Due to they are very far away from the rest of the world they have had to be more developed that the other countries; they are a step ahead of the rest of the countries on issues of technology, lifestyle, education, etc. and they are so accustomed to live in that way so it is impossible that they could change because are happy with their lives. Because of that one of their favorite expressions is enjoy! Finally, we believe that the Australian government should start take action to regulate working conditions and thus ensure they do not lose the happiness that they project to the world.
Australian Government. (n.d.). australia.gov.au. Retrieved Octubre 3, 2012, from http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/
Australian Government. (n.d.). australia.gov.au. Retrieved Octubre 3, 2012, from http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/convicts-and-the-british-colonies
Bittman, M. (1998, Junio). Trends In Free Time Among Working Age Australian. Retrieved Octubre 23, 2012, from The Land of The Lost Long Weekend?: http://www.sprc.unsw.edu.au/media/File/dp083.pdf
Horin, A. (2003, Julio 5). Whoever said this was the land of the long weekend? Retrieved Octubre 23, 2012, from The Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/07/04/1057179162638.html
Knight, A. (2009, Noviembre 25). A long work hours culture. Retrieved Octubre 23, 2012, from The Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/business/clevel/a-long-work-hours-culture-20091125-jrbw.html