On 25th of August I left Riga to go to Albena, Bulgaria for a Social Science and Arts conference SGEM.
READ NOW: First – shortly about my topic and presentation, but then how the travel was itself (for pictures also scroll-down).
This time I presented my very small idea that labour market flexibility depends on the national culture. Meaning that individuals from open (indulgent) societies with higher preference towards leisure time will more often engage in part-time employment contracts than individuals in restraint societies, where positive emotions are less freely expressed and leisure time is not well appreciated.
There is interesting pattern in European Union, that in societies with higher part-time employment, the involuntary part-time share is lower, but in Eastern Europe, where only around 10% of employees work part-time, up to 40 – 60% of them would be willing to work full-time, but they could not find full-time job (therefore, they work part-time involuntary).
Part-time employment share, %
Involuntary part-time employment share, %
Are we in Eastern Europe victims of our lives? From researches about the dimensions of national cultures the indulgence (existing in Nordic Countries) as a cultural value tends towards a perception of personal life control, while restraint (existing in Eastern European Countries) as a cultural value tends towards a perception of helplessness and that what happens in one’s life is beyond his/her own control.
This was a regular case some time ago that a person works for one company for 20 years and more, nowadays I think this perception changes and we are more often willing to try out new things, including new working experiences. Though the average level of society feeling free to express their happiness is low.
My results of the paper suggest that increase in labour market flexibility can be reached by promoting changes in people perceptions of importance of work-life balance. But older people could still ask – why do we need work-life balance, why do we need flexibility? And I have no other answer than just for being happy, I would say. Are you happy? Or maybe you work too much?
I work full time, so I am not example of work-life balance through part-time employment, though in 2014 my target was to spend my free time on Solo-travelling, which was balancing my work and life, my existence in society and being alone with myself.
I went to Albena by 2 planes and a bus – flying Riga-Istanbul, Istanbul-Varna and driving to Albena. The fun started the first night. I arrived in Istanbul late evening after 7pm and my next flight was the day after, so I thought Turkish airlines will provide me with the hotel and I went to the Hotel Desk, where I found out that there will be no hotel for me, because there is closer connection flight during the night. So what to do, here I am in the airport having no flight for more than 12 hours, no hotel and no idea what to do, cause this time I wanted to follow the flow and I even didn’t google “what to see in Istanbul”. After feeling lost, chatted with the service man, asked whether I cannot stay with his friends, but not. :) Though he bought me a coffee and we sitted and talked.
Men at airpot were very helpful, my flight was changed to the closest connection flight for free so I don’t have to stay in airport the whole night. But then what – I arrive in Varna at 2 am and I still have no hotel or place to stay over, and I am still spending my time in airport. So I had to wait for the first bus for almost 4 hours. Didn’t like the idea of sleeping, so I waxed my legs in the toilet, read a book, walked from one side to other and waited. The first bus took me to the beach by the Black sea and there it was – the sunrise. It is other way around as in Latvia, where we see the sunsets in the sea, in Bulgaria by Black sea you see how sun is bringing the light above water for a new day to come. Empty streets, 6:30am, few bikes, few runners, few errant dogs and a lot of birds.
I took a selfie with the University of Economics, had a small walk through old town and went to busstation to go to my final destination inspired by the light of the sun brought nicely for this new day. What will this day bring to me, that started already 24hours ago and I haven’t slept yet?
Arrived in Albena, which is super small village that you can feel from the very first spot in busstation. Thought the view from my hotel room was nice.
Except my presentation in one of the days, I spent my time reading or walking by the beach to other villages.
I have to be honest, this Bulgaria trip I didn’t enjoy on my fullest. Though beach and sea was nice, I had a lot of free time, but there was nowhere to go (except, if you don’t want to buy some tour guides, which is not my style really). Really, such a borring country?
But the essence of my trip was the last night, when I again arrived in Istanbul and had to stay over-night. I had found a couch surfer Turkish boy and the fun part started. He took my to the Asian side of Istanbul and I can now confirm since then that I have been in Asia continent in my life. The Istanbul is amazing city!!! We had a tour with the best views, traditional tea, coffee, ice-cream and meat food. The city in night looks amazing and it is sad I stayed there only for few hours. One day I will come back for sure, and will spend my time exploring.
So what is the thing I have took from this trip?
- The culture matters if you want to increase the overall employment and encourage the economics to be more dynamic. In Latvia we don’t have that culture yet, but the question is, whether we are ready to change from conservative to flexible?
- I love nature and parks are my favorit thing in cities, but in Bulgaria even the nature is little too borring to catch my attention and make me wish to come back.
- Istanbul is a MUST VISIT CITY!!!!
Stay cool and upgraded!