I mentioned in previous articles that growing up in America and hearing about my native land, that people here have much less fun than Italians. In fact, studies have shown that Americans take much less time of work than Italians, and in some cities in Italy, there are places that force workers to take vacation time. I was astonished to hear this because in America, it is all about working hard and getting rich.
That is not how the Italians think. In fact, they know that in order for people to stay happy and healthy, that they need some time off work. Not to fret about their job, but to truly enjoy themselves. They work hard, they have earned time off, and should be able to spend time with family and friends far removed from work. I’m not sure if this is true in Italy, but in some countries, employers are not even allowed to contact employees who are on vacation.
The results of this Italian practice is as the above headline would suggest, are astonishing. Employers found that not only were employees happier with their situation, but that productivity increased significantly and profits soared. Italy has something right when it comes to having fun, they are a country that is largely of the idea that people need to have fun in order to be truly happy.
Perhaps American companies can adopt this strategy only to find that giving people time off is a great way to make more money.
There is something about Italy that makes it different than the rest of the world. As state before, growing up in America, I grew up with American culture. In fact, American culture has permeated much of the world, McDonalds on every corner worldwide, Coca Cola being sold on every street corner in every industrialized nation. And while there is nothing wrong with this, there is something to be said about Italy and its resistance to change.
Perhaps resistant to change is the wrong choice of words, perhaps it is the heritage that Italy holds so dear that makes it a gem of a European city. Think about the sights and sounds of Italy and try to compare it to the rest of the world, especially those saturated with American culture. Italy is just different in many ways.
The ways in which it is different
Italy is different not only because it is not as saturated with American culture, but that it has so much history that it is up there as far as worldwide cultural influence. The food, wine, style, and ideals of Italy have spread far and wide, not only due to the Roman empire, but because of how unique and alluring it is as a whole.
The language, people, dress, pretty much everything one associates with Italy is that of refinement and style. A romanced culture that is second to none and needs not be subject to the cultural whims of other countries. Italy is perhaps the most noticeable culture worldwide, second only perhaps to the US, and with good reason.
Growing up, I was often confused as to what it meant to be from Italy. I, myself was born in the United States, and as a third generation Italian, I had only heard stories about my native country. Growing up as an Italian in the United States was much different, in that people had their own preconceived notions about the country from which my grandparents came.
I heard a lot of jokes about wine, mafia, spaghetti, and so on, but none of them really bothered me. What did bother me was the rich culture that I never got the chance to experience growing up in the states, and that spans thousands of years, for better and worse.
What I learned
As I got older, I learned from my family that Italy is about family and bettering the world around us. We, as Catholics, believed that the bonds forged by family was more important than anything else, and that part of what made us so close was our Italian heritage. I learned that all of the jokes made about me at school were the same jokes made to my grandparents when they arrived, that things had not changed at all.
I learned to become proud of my heritage, one that shared a stage with some of the most powerful countries and empires in the history of the world. And now in our civilized society, Italy shines as bright as ever, giving the world a culture, food, and a way of living that any country would be envious of.