Irish Times

25 01 2011

OK…so I have now been in Dublin for nearly 4 months, and what is one of the main factors which has surprised me here? TIME! It seems that the Irish did not take anything from their British neighbours? Everyone is always late and taking breaks and not available. For example, trying to find someone available is always a hassle.

Rant 1: Break taking

People at the University work from 9am to 5pm. That’s the theory at least. But everyone (and I do mean everyone) takes a 30minute coffee break at about 10am and a 1hour lunch break at around 1pm. Another coffee break at 3pm is not surprising either. That means that from an 8hour working day, people only work for around 6hours. And this is not having a coffee/lunch on the sly. Oh no no. This is approved and accepted by all. You see notices on most doors…this office is unavailable between 10-10:30 and 1-2pm or something of the sort.

So what does this mean to me? Generally whenever you want to talk to someone they either away at coffee or at lunch. Then there are the myriad other people who work either mornings only or evenings only or 3 days a week and a million other options. So you can never really know when you can talk to them. And what’s with the 6hour work day? People in Malta also work with the 8hour day…but that is 8hours of WORK…i.e. you would work from 8-5, with 1 hour of break in the middle.

Rant 2: Timeliness

OK, I come from Malta, we are Mediterranean, and we are not the most time conscious people. And I have worked in a company, where having a meeting postponed continuously and happening the next day is the order of the day. But people here in Ireland take it to a whole new level. Last week I was at the Graduate training, and students actually just stroll into the lab whenever. Coming 20mins late?…no prob…come right in and start with your work. No I am sorry or anything. After lunch, everyone is also late again. On the first day I decided to go down to the lab 5minutes early…only 1 British guy was already there…otherwise NO ONE…they either come on the dot or later.

Oh Well…will get used to it!

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