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Comment Re:got my masters in Germany (Score 1) 528 528

Funny, just today an intern where I work told me that she wants to go to TU Ilmenau to study electrical engineering. This university has indeed a good reputation.

Otherwise, my story is similar to yours except that when I've started 2002 to study for Dipl.-Inf. (comparable with M.Sc. in computer sciences) there were no tuition costs. They were introduced later, but my university has adopted the approach of charging long-term students only. So I could get a degree with no debt which is nice. After the university I've decided to stay in Germany. Sure, the taxes are somewhat high. I pay them gladly though so anyone willing and capable can get top education like I did regardless of how much money the parents have.

In the US college degree is now what high school was earlier: bare minimum required. The system where you basically force a great swath of your generation to take on a debt to be able to achieve that minimum is utterly broken given that they cannot even default on this debt. I was offered more pay in the US, but I won't be going. I'd rather not be supporting such a system and becoming part of the problem.

Comment Re:If we're all going to take Adderall... (Score 1) 407 407

As for federal holidays: there are 13 of them in our federal country (Bavaria). This year we have 9 of them which are not Saturday or Sunday. Our company also has a policy of "bridge days": if a holiday is on Tuesday then the company's building is closed on Monday. Same with a holiday on Thursday: the "bridge" day is Friday then. You have either to take a vacation or to spend accumulated overtime. This usually leads to an extra vacation week on Christmas. But such rule is not common.

If you absolutely want to work on the weekend or on a holiday, you have to jump over some major hurdles: you can't work alone and you have to notify the security and the management in advance. It is being frowned upon either.

Comment Re:If we're all going to take Adderall... (Score 1) 407 407

The US concept of sick days is pretty alien here in Germany. You can be sick for up to three days in a row without doctor's notice. If you're sick longer than three days in a row, you need a doctor's notice. But there is no limit set: neither the employer nor the employee can really predict how long one will be sick.

It is seen as a better alternative to employees showing up sick and probably contagious because they don't want to lose money. Last winter I had to take medical leave quite often, probably had had any flu virus that was around. No complains from management whatsoever. My superior was worried about the state of my immune system though and has recommended that I make some additional medical tests to be sure.

So my 6 weeks are guaranteed, if I'm sick, I simply call sick. No change to available vacation days.

Comment Re:If we're all going to take Adderall... (Score 5, Informative) 407 407

In the industry I work the unions have enforced contracts to prevent the abuse you are talking about (Germany).

38-hour weeks are an exception here with 35 being the norm. We are basically forbidden to work more than 10 hours a day. It is not forbidden per se, but the law states that you cannot operate a vehicle after more than 10 hours of work and the company is therefore required to pay for the taxi home. So it is being frowned upon and if you work longer than 10 hours your superior is in big trouble.

Vacations are mandatory, 30 days per year (6 weeks in US terms) +1 extra day for Christmas. You have to take them, otherwise your superior is in trouble. Same with overtime: if you have too much of it, you have to take some days off. And you're getting paid extra if you take a mandatory vacation.

Many engineers here are not happy with the rules but they also understand why these are in place.

I was offered a job in the USA once with almost double the payment. But after I have calculated missing vacation days, overtime insurance costs, vacation and Christmas bonuses etc. I found out that per-hour payment is better here.

Comment Re:Here's the deal (Score 1) 215 215

The MooseTick's comparison to the real estate agents is valid. Not everyone is selling crappy houses because there's demand for good ones too. But quantity above quality principle is still valid here. Why risk losing a contract on a salary negotiation trying to make additional $300 when there's $9000 at stake?

Maybe that's just me, but I could secure a better job by myself than anything offered by recruiters. They usually got me offers which have nothing to do with my desired area which is embedded programming. Then again, it's pretty close to full employment amongst software developers in Germany nowadays.

Comment Re:Here's the deal (Score 1) 215 215

> So if you want to look at it another way, given I am paid a % markup, I want you to get paid the most I can negotiate for you.

No, you don't. You want to give your "candidate" a job as soon as possible, any job. Two people with crappy wages will net you more than one high-salaried person for whom you have to spend twice the effort.

Comment Re:Pffft (Score 1) 198 198

You have interesting labour laws in the US. I am (as a software engineer) officially not allowed to work more than 10 hours a day. If I do so, the company is obliged to pay for the taxi home. It's kind of a tough rule especially if you get caught in solving a tricky problem on a regular basis :-) Work on the Weekends and official holidays is not allowed as well: I can't even get into the building without a special permission by the management. And we are basically forced to take vacations, 30 days per year.

It comes at a price, of course: the taxes in Germany are pretty high and the wages are somewhat lower. Still, wouldn't want to swap our system for the US's.

Comment Re:Uneven distribution of talent? (Score 1) 198 198

I've been told once that the managers in the US love to have indebted employees as they will put up with all kind of crap being thrown at them.
You can't really force a dev to show up on the Weekends co clear the mess you've created if such dev is able to quit any time and has enough on his savings account to look for a more fitting job for at least a year without having to change his standards of living. And if a team loses a somewhat important dev in the middle of blowing the deadline then the manager is in trouble himself. So it should be basic logic to treat such a guy well.

On the other hand, someone who has to pay a loan for the house, for the car, for all the other fancy stuff he's leasing and lives from paycheck to paycheck will do anything to keep his job. No need to give him a raise, he'll be working anyway.

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