Work Ethic and Productivity in the United Kingdom

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Studying abroad for more than seven weeks and now being more than halfway through my course, I have thoroughly observed the work ethic and productivity level of the United Kingdom. Before arriving, I knew that I would be enveloped in a fast-paced large city, however, I did not think that this would translate to work ethic and productivity levels as well.

London’s work ethic is incredibly unique to the city. While in the United States of America, we have a relatively strong work ethic, London builds upon our principles creating a crescendo of hard work and dedication. Observing my new city, I became aware immediately that most Londoners are always in a rush or hurry to complete tasks, work, hobbies, duties, etcetera. There is always this feeling in the air of nervousness, excitement, and anticipation. These feelings extend directly to the work ethic of Londoners. Interacting with my British peers, I often hear experiences of students working at such a high intensity to keep up with coursework, extracurriculars, and their jobs. Moreover, I even often hear my instructors describe the muscularity of their work ethic and tenacity. Work ethic in London, rather than existing in one particular industry or position, is prevalent through every Londoner’s experience, and through this informs the daily lives of every citizen.

Similarly to work ethic, London’s productivity level is at an all-time high! Speaking with other students at my institution, most of them produce mass quantities of work weekly to keep up with coursework. In my experience, it is almost an achievement in London to complete a large volume of work in such a short period. In some instances, productivity is valued more than work ethic. I believe that success here is more measured by what you produce rather than how much time and effort you put into it. Everyone cannot see your endless hours of working, planning, and strategizing but can see the many thoughtful and intelligent ideas or insights you offer. London’s productivity reflects the frenetic energy of the city.

Adapting to London’s work ethic and productivity levels has been a struggle for me as I move through my new country. Working rigorously on my homework assignments, class projects, and play analyses have pushed me into a mind frame where I am constantly in a panicked state of completing a large quantity of work in short periods to adjust to my new schooling environment. For instance, whereas other students in my institution are used to juggling complex material, that is heavy coursework with short time frames, I am, in a sense, trying to catch up as much as possible. In some instances, I have had to cut down time where I would normally spend more time learning and analyzing the work and jump straight into completing a project. However, as more time passes, I have learned to portion my course load into manageable tasks and chunks that will not lead to overwhelming or burnout as I complete the second half of the course.