Someone recently told me how during his b-school admissions interview he unintentionally insulted the interviewer when he said one of the reasons he wants to live in Milan is because Italians have a good work-life balance. Usually having a good work-life balance is seen as a positive thing; that you recognize the importance of and are able to give the proper time to the priorities in your life outside of work. I know that in New York there are far too many workaholics who feel the need to put their career at the forefront. However, if you ask most people working in Milan they will tell you that they work a lot harder than people living in other cities in Italy and that Milan is a different beast. Maybe they are tired of the Italian stereotypes (what, they DON’T just sit and drink espressos all day?)
Well I for one can admit that I am having one hell of a time managing my own business school work-life balance. With 8 hours of class everyday followed by the intermittent economist presentation, virtual informational meeting for recruiting or school club event, its hard to find time for anything non-related to “work” at the moment. Oh, and that doesn’t include the socializing that I need to force myself to do so I can get to know my classmates better even when all I want to do is crawl into bed and stream HBO. But from my own research with blogs from past b-school students, this seems to be the norm. Like today I had hoped to go to Lake Como for the day to explore, but instead here I am at school studying. Err, well I was studying at least, and plan to return to it shortly. I suppose I should be used to this fast-paced environment though – even though I haven’t been a student in over 6 years I at least am comfortable with the Go Go Go routine (I have New York to thank for that.) The thing is, while school and my future career is my #1 priority right now there are other priorities I have with being here as well. Like being able to learn more about life in Italy and and keep up with this blog for example. And visiting as many new areas as possible so I can increase my travel knowledge. Not to mention making time for the important relationships in my life. Finding time for all of the above may prove to be a little tricky, but hey it can be done right? I’m in Milan, I’ll just have to work hard during the day and find time for the aperitivos at night like everyone else!
Today’s Tip: Eating Etiquette in the Workplace
In New York, everyone is so slammed with work (or make themselves appear slammed at least) that its quite normal to work through your lunch break by eating at your desk. However, it came up in class that in Italy its not really accepted and would look bad if you ate in your workspace (those of you that are from here please correct me if I’m wrong.) Even eating in the classroom is frowned upon, which a few of us Americans found out as we pulled out sandwiches between classes. This is a huge change for those of us coming from the finance world (or actually, most fast-paced industries) in the US, but I kind of like that it forces people to get up and get a change of scenery for a bit and recharge.