With the experiences of working the United States, and now in Italy, I have an idea of the day to day life that people endure while in a working environment. Back home I work in the summers in the customer service field, and in Italy I have had an internship for a museum, and both jobs are very different in nature. With this being said, in both positions, I haven’t seen the full benefits of a working life; these benefits include: working schedules, days off, lunch breaks, and maternity leave.
With some research done, I can compare the two working environments of the United States and Italy. On average Italians have more working days off (whether is be for sick days or vacation days) than those who work in the United States. This could be attributed the more relaxed work structure here in Italy, and the importance of mental health that has been attributed to a positive work environment and having time to yourself. Italy also has a longer maternity leave than the United States on average. Also, the structure of time is different in some respects. Italian companies usually have similar working times to United States companies, but may have a longer lunch break. The main differences occur in smaller shops or family owned restaurants.
In the US most places are open from 9:00- 17:00 as a business day, with stores and shops open closer to 9:00- 21:00. Most Italian stores and restaurants open later and close earlier and have a mid-day closing time that lasts an hour or two. This allows for a longer lunch, time to restock merchandise, or time to run home. The United States does not have a longer period like this in the day. Also, smaller family owned places are less common in the city centers in the United States, as that is where major companies take place. The “historic centers” of cities are usually not in the center of the city like they are in Italy, they instead surround the more industrial part of the city. This is the opposite of Italy, where the historic center is in the middle of the city, surrounded by industries and companies.
My work experience has been very eye opening and has taught me the most about how to work with others, and how to treat customers in a working environment. In the United States I work with countless customers each day that may have complaints, issues with our location, or need assistance learning about our products, and I am always the one they go to. This has taught me to think quickly, problem solve efficiently, and train my employees in a way that is conducive to the morals of my work environment. This mindset is similar to the working mindset I have here in Italy regarding my internship. I often have to answer questions, build my own ideas on what I want to accomplish, and work with customers who I value highly and who I want to make sure have enjoyed their experience to the fullest.
There have been work situations, such as holidays off, maternity leave, and a scheduled working time (I work in shifts that change every day and differ week by week) that I have not had to experience yet. While the working conditions in Italy are more favorable if given the option, there is a larger unemployment rate in Italy than there currently is in the United States. While there are pros and cons to both working environments, and while there are multiple differences, I believe their similarities are more substantial. Both countries focus on working well with customers, and focus on creating a positive working environment for the employees that are present. I have been very grateful to have working experience in both fields, and the experiences that I have learned in both I will carry with me in my working field in the future.