I reach the office quite early, as usual Germans do. The schedule is quite flexible and even full time employees enjoy some freedom that is seldom allowed to freelancers in other countries.
Like that I have just left behind me, where scarce consideration exists for those who do not work under the protection of some labour union. Qualified personnel is on the contrary regarded with the rank of the best professionals and entitled of the same privileges.
Nevertheless the dark side that each nordic population share, that sense of common responsibility that sometimes tends to socialism, and even worse, compels most of my new colleagues to regularly start at 8 o'clock in the morning and leave at 16:30 after a brief and well ordered lunchbreak. To ignore such not written rules would be felt as an outrage, quite as much as an apostasy in the most conservative islamic areas. According to the law I am a well protected worker, entitled to a certain amount of privileges that should save me from being exploited, abused, humiliated, harassed and eventually enslaved. According to the management I am a sort of permanent freelancer, who deserves some flexibility with time and duties.
According to a consistent minority of colleagues I am a fordist chain line worker, who should fully cooperate with his own comrades. At least according to what I perceive.
After a while, perhaps a first screening to understand whether my ideas or behaviour would not make me a socially dangerous individual, I am invited, at regular time, to join a cup of tea around the coffee machine. The tee comes from home and I am sincerely appreciate whether it comes from some fair trade network, while the company provides the hot water. Given the peak reached by energy prices it would be welcome if my rent wouldn't include the whole
maintenance costs of the apartment. The brief conversation is also conducted with astonishing order. The tone is politically correct, as well as the subjects, although, differently from the atmosphere of a totalitarian regime, unaligned thoughts are fully tolerated. I just have got to pay
attention not to upset such well conforming minds. I have also developed the idea that full time employees, independently from role, incomes, education, cultural background and ethnicity, share the same tendency to standard believes based on minimization of risk, demand of social and mutual protection, refusal if not hatred of luxuries. Also ambition should be carefully concealed under some hypocritical mask of modesty and humility.
Like members of the clergy, obeying the holy writings, worshipping the Pope and assuming to be somehow enlightened, the social democratic workforce enjoys the advantages of the capitalist world, whose true inconveniences are left to the C-Rooms and the small and medium size business owners. Permanents have entrenched herself on a well protected socialist island surrounded by the unharnessed waves of the free market.
I still enjoy freedom, since a general respect of privacy and self determination, coming from the official intentions of the Republic, allows me to maintain and cultivate my opinions, perhaps even to share them under a really loose control by the public opinion.