In Spain there is tremendous unemployment right now, it has gone up from 7% to 26%, so when I interview there I find a great deal of people looking for something to do. But surprisingly as I have started interviewing in the USA I find that here also everyone seems to be looking for something to do. But this is not because they are not doing anything, but because Americans are always looking for something better to do. The good news about this behavior is that it makes for a more efficient labor market. The bad news is that it also accounts for a lot of unhappiness, both at work and in other realms of life. People here wonder not only if they could have a better job but also if they could be eating at a better restaurant, or hanging out with better people, or having a better boyfriend/girlfriend, or a better spouse, or sadly sometimes even better children. The grass is always greener takes a new dimension in the USA. Americans think that Europeans are laid back but having lived as much time in Europe as in America I can also say that sometimes it is good to be content. The American quest for excellence, for self improvement, for always wanting to do better or having something better to do, can take a high emotional toll. Change is good, improvement is good, competition is good, but being happy with what you have is better.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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