Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi: Working Culture in Italy

Italian workforce seems to be split between the mindset that work is just a means to make profit, and that work is a way to develop personal skills. In Italian culture the Order of St. Benedict was to work and pray. You had the focus of contributing to society and to make a difference for your family. This can be related to the work force in the US, sometimes it feels like a good day’s work is all I need to accomplish for the day. But, work can feel like you’re in a rut if it’s not a job you’re passionate about, or a job you feel is growing your talents in any way.

Il lavoro nobilita l’uomo translates to work ennobles man. Work should be a force that builds up your potential and skills through working with others and challenging the way your brain thinks. Where I work back home I am challenged everyday with new problems that come up regarding the technology we are working with, the communication between our other departments, and the needs of our customers that have questions and are trying to learn how to get around. Interacting with my customers and other employees is what makes the job for me, and this has held true for my internship. Getting to know about the life of my supervisor, getting to talk to visitors about their experiences, and getting to work on projects that make it an even more enjoyable experience for the guests that come in, is what makes it all worth it.

My supervisors are always excited to come to work because they are passionate about the curating work they perform and light up whenever they are talking to guests because they are truly in love with the museum and their work environment. Currently in Italy there is a high scarcity of work, and so you are very lucky when you have a job that not only pays your bills but also fills your soul. A lot of jobs in the historical center of Arezzo are family owned, require good contacts and store fronts, and take the whole family or family friends to run. You have to know someone to get inside a job like that, be born into it, or have a degree that allows you to start your own business. In Italy the job market has been declining as the years have gone by, and it reflects the struggle a lot of modern day countries are running into. It is hard to predict how the job market will either continue to be in a decline of jobs or if it will start to climb back up. These conditions are caused by so many external factors that influence Italy in ways that make it hard to guess when it will start to get better.

There are so many positive aspects to the work environment here that I have seen differ from the United States. Here it is not uncommon for offices or shops to close around lunch time for families to each lunch and take a break, then to return to their offices to open for the rest of the day until dinner. Afternoon espressos are common, and encouraged, and it is important to take sick days if you are not feeling well. Here you have a longer maternity leave regulated by law, and a certain amount of sick days and vacation days for when you need off. This keeps the environment fresh whenever you need a break instead of feeling like it is taking over your life. A job should grow you and inspire you, it should not drag down your spirits.

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