Argovia can become the toughest Canton if you want to become Swiss

Collage of two pictures taken from Wikipedia.

On February 9th, in Switzerland a new referendum, pride of the direct Helvetian democracy, will take place.

Two questions… plus one additional, only in Canton Argovia. The Argovian proposal wants to increase from three to ten years the minimum possible period without receiving benefits from the social assistance (i.e. without unemployment) to be able to apply for the Swiss citizenship.

This strict requirement is even overruling the federal laws which currently accept three years only.

Why? They say that only in that way the possible applicants for the Swiss passport would really prove their “Swissness”. In a country where jobs are quite flexible and the possibility to fire a worker does not require particular justifications, the Argovian statement is quite… disputable!

You can forget it!

Picture: copyright Nike.

A nice slogan by one of the most famous sportwears in the world.
It seems to be a slogan also in Switzerland, for sure in the German speaking Switzerland, where the Confederates speak their “Mundart” (Swiss German dialect).

DAS CHASCH VERGĂ„SSE! (You can forget it!)

The noisy sentence above is quite interesting, especially in the work environment, which is one of the main sources of nice portraits of the most genuine Switzerland.

Whenever a Swiss is cornered by a colleague with a difficult question or a certain activity to complete within a tight due date, he/she starts declaiming the mentioned slogan. Possibly repeating it more than once to chase away any possible doubt!
Are you asking a Swiss something which is slightly outside his/her mindset?
Are you needing something from a Swiss which is not the most common thing he/she was expecting?

New employee in the office

Today, a grey and foggy Swiss day, we suddenly got a temporary employee to help us during this busy Christmas time.
He got a temporary consulting contract for a specific project with a very challenging due date: everything should have been finished by this evening.
He was not so sure whether he should have accepted the offer or not, but he finally agreed.
So he started his task: sitting on the best working place of the office, with a great view on the surrounding landscape: the ideal location for free ideas.
Then, he quickly completed his assignment, and, after a short handover, fled to his next mission.

He actually achieved the agreed objective very successfully: help the people inside the grey office, under today’s grey Swiss sky, to think of something white and free!

Sometimes it happens, even in Switzerland!

Living in the countryside and working in the countryside, my very short trip home-office by bus is my window on Swiss daily routine.
On Swiss buses, when you get a seat, you will never let it go! Why? I do not know.
Even if you see an old person standing next to you, even if carrying heavy bags, or a pregnant woman clearly tired, or a mother with three small kids trying to run the hell away from her… you will continue to sit trying to pretend you do not see anything around you.

That’s why what happened to me last week was really…something.
As soon as I got on the bus after work, a small boy looked at me and politely asked me whether I wanted to sit at his place. I denied, but I was very positively astonished by his behaviour!

Since then I am going on asking myself whether I was looking so terrible after a working day (a Swiss working day!) to evoke the “mercy” of that kid!
By the way, the boy looked exactly as Macaulay Culkin in the movie “Home Alone”!
… or was it all maybe just a fairy tale?

Picture taken from

Feeling like Heidi’s grandpa


Today I even felt like Heidi’s grandpa during my walk to the office.
After a nutritious breakfast with the cows, I had a tight and adult discussion with another cow on different events of these days: election campaign in USA, Zurich as the most sustainable city of the world, global warming of planet Earth.
After a while, unfortunately, I had to leave this session finding again my way to the office…

Foreigners… do it better

Photo from:

Euro 2016. Football (soccer for the American friends) European championship.
Last match of group A: France-Switzerland 0-0. Switzerland??

8 of the 11 players (plus the coach) were not really Swiss, apart from the fact that all of them have the red passport with the white cross!
This is strange. Especially considering the ironies, “comments”, critics which are the daily bread of the Swiss when speaking of foreigners.
So, dear Confederates, please thank your Gods that the rules allow you to play with such “multicultural” national team.

At least it is clear: foreigners play better than real Swiss!

The “foldable” lamp post

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What can you usually fold in a normal world?

Many things, of course.
… A letter, to put it inside an envelope
… Trousers, to pack them in your suitcase
… A piece of paper, to create an origami
… Your arms, to get a comfortable position
… A bicycle, if it is a special one
… Money, to get them better into your wallet
… Towels, to set them into a board
… A dining table, to save some space in your kitchen
… Chairs, to stack them next to a wall
… A shopping bag, to save space
… A flag, when not flying with the wind.

And…and…and…(but only in the Confederation!)…

Lamp posts!
Yes, this is what I observed yesterday during my lunch break.
A worker was folding a lamp post just to clean the lamp and do some maintenance!
Easy and smart! And much safer than doing maintenance at many metres above the ground.

OK, now it’s late and I go and fold my laptop.

“Home” office

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When I arrived in Switzerland 14 years ago, and still now, I am always amazed and a little shocked by a particular habit very widely common in many Swiss offices.
The office “shoes” the people are wearing here!

As in a perfect home, a lot of people use to wear slippers, sandals or whatever cannot be typically defined as “office shoe” in the office itself.

It is important to stay comfortable at work, and for sure there are reports connecting the level of comfort to the productivity…but what about being professional?

I know that the dress, uniform or outfit are not everything, but they sometimes help to…stay focused.
I had meetings with quite authoritarian project managers wearing ties, very knowledgeable colleagues experts of different subjects, heads of department, peers.
All perfect, but if my sight fell by chance on the floor…I was looking at me dealing with a Birkenstock (great sandals, by the way!) professional!
These “office slippers” homey fellows are extremely professional and proud in wearing their office devices and walking with them on the various floors. Sometimes they even dare to keep them and go to a meeting in another office building!

No problem. It is just a matter of comfort and formalities, isn’t it? In a lot of countries which are not confederations, or where they do not speak German, people normally wear shoes (sometimes even expensive, elegant and classical ones!) at work and slippers at home.
Here however it is sometimes the opposite! Informal office dress code? Very good!

After so much time here, not to forget, I have definitely to leave a note on the main door of my house: “Wear your shoes!” (Maybe I will be brave and use this note only in winter…to become a little more Swiss, at least in summer!)

By the way, for any possible need for “office equipment” for Swiss offices, please have a look here:

Super Mario and Toad

Picture taken and adjusted from:
Super Mario and Toad are trademarks by Nintendo Co., Ltd.

Some years ago, the water tap on the terrace suddenly broke and so, half in panic, I managed to close the central valve stopping the leakage.
The next day I called the plumber, who promptly came and fixed the problem.

So what? Are you for sure thinking…

In Switzerland Mr Plumber arrived at my place with a young trainee, who observed all the details and necessary skills needed to fix the matter. Of course he was also extremely helpful, passing all the needed screw wrenches, gaskets, tools to the “main” plumber.
Very nice system to properly execute a perfect “training on the job” for the young guy who would like to become a good plumber as a profession!

The bill was also quite “perfect”!
The time the two workers spent at my place to get my tap repaired was exquisitely multiplied by two (two workers!).

The price (with the exception of a slightly lower fare for the trainee) as well!