Why Germans Work Fewer Hours But Product More

If you work, like me, in a large international company and work with colleagues from many other countries, you are regularly confronted with the prejudice that Germans work so few hours and have so many holidays/vacation days.

Well, some of it is simply wrong (like having many public holidays, but thats a separate article), and then … could it be that this is part of why we are so productive? Because we really work, when we work?

Although this article is already from 2014, I just stumbled across it a few days ago when browsing some of the blogs that I follow:

Why Germans Work Fewer Hours But Produce More: A Study In Culture

Reading this takes you about 10 minutes or so … interestingly, the comments section below takes more than 90% of the web-page… some interesting stuff there also and the usual debate about “what is wrong” and “why its right”… didn’t read too much of it…

As I am German, I am by nature sceptical and do not have a tendency to be overly proud of myself or country. But I do think that some of that may be true… isn’t it?

Track Bike

A few weeks ago I was again on the Track in Öschelbronn, after several months, because it rained that Sunday. As always, I rented a bike there… afterwards I resisted the urge to buy such a bike. You can rent it for only 8€, you would have to ride very, very often for that to make commercial sense.

On the other side, you have to get the bike from the Garage each time, mount the pedals, adjust the saddle height and also the saddle doesn’t really fit to your own “back side”. All not really very good reasons to spend money, for a few training rides of 2 hours each, per year.

After 2 years and 3 days, my resistance was broken. My Cinelli Tipo Pista 🙂

Cinelli Tipo Pista, Bahnstadion in Öschelbronn
Cinelli Tipo Pista, Bahnstadion in Öschelbronn

Rad-Saison 2017 finished

My biking season starts on October 1st and lasts until September 30th, hence today’s Friday is the last day of the season, this coming weekend is part of the new season 2018.

It’s time for a summary of this past season…

The Winter-Saison 2017 started with a long break, from beginning of December until end of January. I don’t remember why I did almost no cycling in the first two weeks of December, but then I left for a 5 week vacation in Patagonia, South America. When I came back in January, it snowed for the first time and I only did a few very short trips, as long as it wasn’t too icy, so until almost mid February.

But then it continued obviously quite well, I can see 420km in February in the statistic. The temperature was not very cold, and at the same time there was a lot of wood harvesting going on so that the tracks in the forest were dirty up to level of destroyed. So I used my All-Road bike mostly on paved side ways and smaller roads and only short pieces of dirt-tracks. I have a second pair of wheels for my All-Road with 28mm road-tyres, so I can change quickly. So basically end of February already the road-bike season had started.

Although the cycling form had gone down a bit, due to the long break, I could train quite well … for Mallorca. As the Easter weekend was very late, we went first time already before Easter, end of March. It was a bit cooler, but quite OK for cycling. We had almost no daytime rain, only in the nights, so that we didn’t “have to” do any breaks.

Well, after so many years, should know better … but that actually meant that I did indeed cycle all 15 days, without a real break. The first planned “recovery day” first had 60 slow kilometers to Petra and back… but as there was the Road-Bike Festival, Peter and I went there, and lent two bikes for a test-ride… so the day ended with 95km finally. Not a real break I’d say. The second break-day then was indeed only 60km Petra and back. When I came home I realized what I had done. The first weekend later, 6 days of doing nothing… my legs still felt like pudding, no power, just tired. It took almost 2 weeks to recover from Mallorca … but the training was still effective, the good form was back afterwards.

The sprint time this year passed without catching a cold, a bit unusual for me, I get it every year, normally. But … being too happy about it… it happened finally in July. I did catch quite a bad cold, which caused a set-back. One week of complete break, and two more weekends going just slowly and short. Then we did one somewhat longer tour into the black forest… and that proved a point: not being fit enough to do the long marathon in Magstadt (the one with 250km and 4000m altitude), but we would do the shorter marathon with 200km and 3000m altitude. Good choice, as this tour was then quite fun!

For the seasons ending, I went for a week into the Allgäu, Nesselwang, as almost every year, this year a bit late, early September. It was already a bit cool, but good enough for 4 really, really nice, but quite touch tours. I really like it there (the blog articles might get translated later, not done yet).

Statistics:

  • Road-bike:
    • 8.284,6 km total, 93 counted tours, avg. 89,1km per tour;
      a few less than last year, but 2016 was the record year
    • Total of 320 hours of cycling time; 26,19km/h overall average speed
    • 83.933 m altitude
    • 58 Tours < 100km (Ø 66,2 km; with 578m alt, 26,63 km/h)
    • 35 Tours > 100km (Ø 127,0 km; with 1441m alt, 25,47 km/h)
  • Mountainbike / All-Road:
    • 21 Tours, mostly All-Road
    • 1.173km total
    • 12.810m altitude
    • approx. 56h cycling time
    • 21,7 km/h average speed overall
  • Tacx Trainer
    • 10 Trainings
    • 333 km
    • 12h cycling time
  • Looking at the long vacation break, that’s still a super year
    • 8.285 km Road-bike
    • 9.458 km “outside” with Road-Bike and All-Road
    • 9.791 km total including indoors on Tacx

Now it’s autumn already. The weather was quite mixed this year, changing almost daily, unfortunately this continues into fall right now. I still hope for a “golden October” … let’s see. In any case, everything from now on counts to season 2018.

Link to my biking page

Terry Pratchett’s hard disk destroyed with steam roller

Terry Prachett, April 2005
Terry Prachett, April 2005

Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite authors. He was not only a great author, but also a “original character” himself.

It seems like one of his last wishes was that nobody should “finish” and publish the books he was still working on. Although he could not use a computer anymore himself, he was dictating texts for several books, as long as he was still able to do that, due to his Alzheimer disease.

Now his last wish was fulfilled. The hard disk of his last computer was crushed with a steam roller.

Terry Pratchett’s unfinished novels crushed by a steamroller

What I really like with this story is that despite these modern commercialized times, this last obligation was indeed fulfilled by one of his closest friends.