10 Nov 2009

Because first impressions last

Lindsay Holmwood moved to Sweden and started working at CJG a month ago. Previously, she was an editor on the Asia Desk for The Associated Press in Bangkok, Thailand.

Is this a joke? You’re giving me six weeks of vacation, subsidized massages, a free phone, free computer, flex time to take an afternoon off, and money toward a gym membership? Would it be inappropriate to squeal right now? Yeah ok, I’ll be cool.

Oh America, how wrong you have it. Sweden is the land of opportunity and personal freedom, a place where the government and your employer make you feel as if you are swaddled in warm flannel, whilst sitting on a plush divan and being handfed Swiss chocolates. Ok, mild exaggeration. But the fact still remains that the perks of living in Sweden easily astound a 27-year-old American who paid higher taxes in New York City and could only boast of garbage collection as the biggest benefit.

But listen Sweden, don’t blush and turn away with a coy smile with all of this flattery. You’re kind of a freak too. Banana-flavored caviar in a tube, hard bread that more closely resembles cardboard, and inhabitants with an ability to drink that exceeds college frat boys and frightens a hepatologist (that’s a liver doctor in case you’re still drunk). Sure every country has its quirks. After working in Thailand for 15 months, I’ve pretty much seen it all. But you let your freak flag fly with the best of them. And there is one particular occasion I’ve experienced when you let it allll hang out.

The Swedish business conference.

To anyone who doesn’t live in Sweden, this looks like a typo. Surely a business conference is a time for meetings, brainstorming, putting your best foot forward and showing you are a leader. Oh … it’s not. It’s about what? Dolphin shows? You’re shitting me …

To an American whose biggest office perk in the past was birthday cake for Bob in sports, you are out of your gourd to spend all that money to make us all feel like contestants on the Amazing Race, let us giggle like 3rd graders watching Flipper and drink our body weight in red wine (I, of course, am not talking about myself. I, of impeccable behavior and early bedtimes, was referring to the other lushes). Unless that was all a ploy to bring us closer together as a group, unite us behind a new vision, and send us back to work energized and motivated.

Jaha, I see.

Sneaky guys, sneaky.


Foto: Jon Åslund

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's nice to be reminded what this country looks like from an outsider.