For a long time it was Brexit. But since I gained dual British-Luxembourg nationality in June 2019, I’ve felt a sigh of relief on that front. For the record, that wasn’t the only reason I wanted nationality. But otherwise, right now the future of work worries me a lot. On the one hand there’s a worrying shift to use of short-term and temporary contracts in Luxembourg, which provides zero security for employees.
On the other, I see and have experienced employers become increasingly demanding of their staff; and not just employers, the public have very high expectations of services. The trouble is often companies are not able or willing to invest in sufficient resources so the pressure falls on the employees to give more than is sustainable. The result: disillusionment, burnout from which it can take years to recover and loss of talent. Luxembourg already struggles to find talent, it’s something we hear time and time again from recruiters. I wish decision-makers would wake up to this soon before we lose more good people.
What is reassuring is that attitudes of employees are changing in Luxembourg. I’m seeing more and more young people go part-time to free them up for the things they love doing. Of course this has fiscal implications and could bite them in the bum when they retire. I know the deputy prime minister has talked about reducing the number of hours in the working week. For this to happen, we’d have to severely reduce housing and other costs. I want to be positive and say it’s possible but I’m not holding my breath.
What surprised you about Luxembourg when you moved here?
My first surprise was when I realised from calling press offices at public administration, oftentimes they preferred to speak with me in English over French. I am frequently surprised by the kindness of strangers and the weather and, since moving out of the capital, I’ve surprised myself at how easy it is to survive using mostly public transport.
How have you grown since you came to Luxembourg?
After almost a decade in the country, I’ve learned to better handle certain situations, in particular with regard to sexism and misogyny--at times it feels like mansplaining is the country's fourth national language! I suppose this is partly down to the "melting pot" everyone talks about but also because Luxembourg is quite a conservative country in many respects.
I’ve become more self-aware of my own privelege and how important our job as journalists still is in ensuring a fair and free society. It’s a wonderful job but not an easy one to do here. The small size of the country and efforts by communication teams in large corporations in Luxembourg can make life difficult for journalists. There are constant requests to "review" content before publication. Before you ask, the answer at Delano is "no". Why do we say this? How much would you trust a controversial news story that you knew had been read and reviewed by the press officer of the company the story criticised?