Monday, January 24, 2011

Lithuanian national character: hardworking nation

What are your first thoughts when you hear the word “Lithuanians”? I am really interested, so please post comment about this. I can guess that you think that we are poor , harsh and dangerous people who ride horse-drawn vehicles in bumpy roads of Lithuania. It’s not true! But foreign media often creates such image of Lithuanians. Mel Gibson once said something about sharp teeth Lithuanians armed with baseball bats, Stephen Colbert made fun of our country saying that “you smell like Lithuanian” is a huge compliment to a woman. The media in European countries, which are popular among Lithuanian emigrants, sometimes publish news about someone killed or robbed by Lithuanians. So it’s not strange that we have really bad image in the world.
But the truth is different.  Media does not talk about thousands of hardworking Lithuanian emigrants, just about a few criminals…
Yes, we are hardworking people. It’s our national feature. Especially in older generation of Lithuanians. People work hard because wages are low in Lithuania, so they have to work overtime to earn extra money. But the truth is that most people do not get overtime pay. They are afraid to say “no” because it’s very easy to lose job in Lithuania and very hard to find a new one… Do you think Lithuanians have free time on weekends? Usually they don’t, because it is still popular even among those who live in the cities to have a parcel of land somewhere in the country and to grow vegetables. And of course they must help relatives, who live in the country, to plant potatoes, weed potatoes, dig potatoes etc.

The strange thing about Lithuanians is that it seems that they are proud to work hard and to complain how badly paid they are. I remember I visited my relatives when I was a kid and it seemed to me that everyone was competing who are the poorest. Though nobody was dying of hunger...

The younger generation (25-35 years old) are different from their parents because we grew up in a free country and can hardly remember the times of the Soviet Union. But young Lithuanians are hardworking too. We usually find our first jobs when we are still studying. When I recall my last year in university, it seems that more than a half of my classmates had full time jobs and almost never attended classes. Many of them now are successful, but they also have no personal life and work really long hours. The only wish they have is not to work at nights and to have a good long sleep. I don’t understand them... Maybe it is a reason why I’m a looser still living with my parents J But is work the purpose of life..?

So Lithuanians are hardworking nation… But why is labour productivity in Lithuania lower than in developed countries? I’m not a specialist on that, but I can tell my opinion. Because we are unhappy, tired and we feel that employers are not fair with us. So we have no motivation to try harder… Another reason for low productivity probably is our habit to… work hard. Smart people searches for ways to make things easier and to do work more efficiently, Lithuanians are proud to work hard.


Anonymous said...
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Leonel said...

When I hear the word "Lithuanians" I don't thik that you are harsh or dangerous, rather I think that you are hmmm cold, pessimistic or something like that. Of course this is an stereotype created by the media, the movies and stuff like that; I do not mean that you are that way. I think that most of the people don't assume Lituania as an individual culture, instead they they generalize as an Eastern Europe culture.

I've always been attracted the distant cultures, specially the Baltic countries. When I think in Lituania i imagine their landscapes like those of the movies of The Lord of the Rings, Narnia, or something (i mean the geography and weather not dragons and wizards). The distant cultures are so exotic and amazing. I said exotic because they are far from my contry, México; maybe you find strange and exotic countries like Mexico or Brazil, jejeje.

Anyway, i hope to visit your contry someday. Good Blog.

Greetings from México.

Excuse my poor english.