In the Czech Republic success seems to be defined similarly to the United States in terms of professional life. Success seems to be measured by the type of promotions you are able to achieve, the level of comfortability that you can live at, and the overall satisfaction you have with your job. However, in the Czech Republic attaining that level of success seems to be a lot more difficult than in the States. The standard of living in the Czech Republic is much lower than at home and it is reflected in almost everything. My initial reaction to my first week here where I was buying something to eat or drink was “wow everything is so cheap,” and compared to home it is. Most meals out will only cost you around ten dollars or around 230 Czech crowns. Before I really looked into what people typically earn here I was kind of baffled at how it could all be this inexpensive, but after some further reading, I realized how “low” the typical wage is here. Even in positions that are at the top of many companies, the salary is almost comparable to someone two to three years out of college in the United States. Since everything is relative to how much people make, living here on those kinds of salaries is completely normal, but completely caught me by surprise. But to attain levels of success and comfortability that we typically think of in the States, the Czech people typically need to be in a very high ranking position in a company, which takes more work to typically get to.
Where I think the definition of success is different for the Czech Republic than at home is that they also use traveling as a measure of success. Traveling around Europe once you are here is super easy and can be done by train, plane, or bus at different levels of affordability and dependent on destination. But, on a Czech salary, travel is a little more difficult. Their low standard of living doesn’t necessarily translate to most of the countries around them and can make traveling for a Czech citizen very expensive. So, if you can afford to travel out of the country at least once a year you are definitely viewed as someone who is enjoying some professional success.
In terms of the behaviors of successful employees, I think there are a few differences between the Czech Republic and the United States. In the Czech Republic, most employees seem to be on a much stricter schedule than at home, at least in my company everyone is clocked in and at their desk by the same time every day and are immediately focused on what work they need to get done that day. I feel like at home the work culture can be a little more relaxed than that, arriving on time is typically expected but usually, there would be a conversation between employees or a little socialization before heading into the work you need to do for the day. I also think some of the most successful employees here leave all of their work at the office, which is part of why they are so focused when they are here. They would much rather get all of the work done in the 8.5 hours they are here each day than have to bring any of it home. I don’t think most people at home wish to bring their work home, but I feel like it happens much more frequently, which may be a result of not as focused of an attitude at work.
This past week was most of my friends last week in the Czech Republic because their program ended on Saturday, so most of the week was spent doing all the last activities on everyone’s list. I really enjoyed going out in the city every night and definitely got to explore some parts I hadn’t been to yet. On Thursday two of my best friends from home got here and are staying for the week! It will be nice to have some company and to get to be a tour guide to Prague again. I showed them around the classic sites throughout the weekend like the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, and Manifesto Market. It seems like forever ago that I was shown all of these by a tour guide when we first arrived and it feels crazy that I’m leaving it all in only seven days. This summer really has flown by and I’m looking forward to my last few days here exploring with my friends!