Archive | Lifestyle

Jobs in Switzerland Demand Longer Commuting Time

Posted on 05 September 2008 by Mr Bureau

The lives of businessmen at work in Switzerland are no longer as simple as they once were. Between rushing to the airport, plane travel, long taxi rides, endless meetings and business lunches, career executives and businessmen in Switzerland must increasingly hunt for time to accomplish their basic daily tasks like reading their email, making phone calls and negotiating contracts.

According to analysts, the number of nomadic workers traveling internationally will rise from 800,000,000 currently to over a billion in 2011.

Switzerland has not escaped the trend toward increasing travel requirements in the workplace: the number of workers in Switzerland taking flights from Swiss airports has gone up roughly 10% between 2006 and 2007 to reach almost 16 million travelers. While a part of this traffic is simple tourism, the large part is comprised of business travelers.

The phenomenon of increasingly travel as a component of work in Switzerland has resulted in a greater levels of stress among the executives and professionals working in Switzerland. Specialized centers are cropping up to cater to the need among traveling workers to release this accumulated stress.

The Worldwide rent-an-office chain Regus has noted that businessmen are increasingly pressed to accomplish their tasks in increasingly unfavorable conditions. One common sign of this is the businessman with his laptop computer posed on his knees in the middle of an airport departure lounge or frenetic telephone calls made from rushing taxis.

The employment market in Switzerland is international, with Zurich, Geneva, Basel, and Lausanne home to many large multinational companies. Cities such as Geneva have been chosen as European or occasionally world headquarters by many Fortune 500 companies.

Despite the turmoil on global financial markets and the slowdown in the European economies, with the resulting increase in joblessness, Switzerland’s has economy has so far remained robust with very low unemployment and booming luxury industries, private banking, and technology sectors.

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Itinerant Work in Switzerland: Expansion of Prostitution to ‘Occasionals’

Posted on 04 April 2007 by LegalBeagle

the woman next door may be for hireA new market is developing in Switzerland among the clientele for call-girls, escorts, and prostitutes (the difference resides largely in the pricing), creating a whole new type of employment in Switzerland in the murkey world of the sex industry.

An increasing number of young women 20-30 years old are working occasionally – once or twice a week—as prostitutes to pay their debts or to afford luxuries that are normally beyond their reach. These women often work during the week at low paying jobs.

Their freshness, naivete, and amateurism is highly prized by a clientele largely composed of
switzerland romantic meetingsdoctors, lawyers, judges, portfolio managers and the like. These clients usually don’t want to deal with a professional. Often they think about finding a soulmate in which to confide and are not thinking only about sex.

In Geneva, agencies are opening to act as intermediary between the clients and the girls. One such agency, Essential Escort Service –which was opened by a single mother with a checkered past as a prostitute—is flourishing after only 8 months of operation. switzerland romantic evenings exchangeThe agency proposes only non-professional women, referred to as ‘occasionals’ because they prostitute themselves now and then to make ends meet. “I knew there was a niche for this kind of service,” remarked Linda, the manager of the agency. “And I wasn’t mistaken because business is booming. It’s a social phenomenon.” Linda, an attractive woman in her thirties, worked for several years in the sex business, attracted by the easy money and the desire to move in the circles of high society and luxury.

It is precisely the attraction to the rarefied world of luxury and wealth that attracts working girls to enter the oldest trade in the world. They may be secretaries, the assistants of a portfolio manager or an accountant, a journalism student or a travel agent – they all share the characteristic that their salaries cannot offer them the lifestyle to which they aspire.

According to Essential Escort Service, the milieu is flourishing and one can see the enormous quantity of ads in the press and on the internet. With the integration of Switzerland into the European labor market, the competition has become rude. In Geneva, the Brigade des Moeurs (the part of the Police that oversees prostitution, which is legal in Switzerland) notes the presence of roughly 2000 registered prostitutes. Most women working as prostitutes or escorts obviously don’t bother to register. The Agency claims that there are even single mothers on unemployment that take assignments.

The profile of the occasional prostitute is an attractive woman in her 20’s, thin, well-groomed, feminine, and with a good education. “In a few words,” resumes an agency manager, “they look good.”

Since the business involves amateurs, there is part of the agency’s work that involves screening customers to insure that the romantic meeting goes off well and there are no bad experiences. The escort agencies for these occasional courtisans screen the potential clients for courteous men of a certain standing and lifestyle –also checking out their addresses and telephone numbers. “The objective,” says Essential Escort Service, is to avoid a bad experience.

The part-time prostitutes usually want to remain anonymous and customer base of well-off men in high finance, law or business are themselves looking for discretion.

The girls earn about $400 /hour to $1200 /night versus the professionals who earn almost double that. The agencies take on average a 30% cut.

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Life in Switzerland

Posted on 04 March 2007 by PCT

Some general observations on life in Switzerland which may be news to North Americans and Britons:

In Switzerland, people take their dogs everywhere including into restaurants. You may see them sitting under restaurant tables or on chairs. It is common to see dogs on trains and buses. Some people have succeeded in making it a condition of their work contract to be allowed to keep dogs in their office.

In Switzerland, people do not have checkbooks because personal checks are rarely used.

When you work in Switzerland, Swiss employers expect to find certain information on your curiculum vitae that is usually considered illegal to request in the United States or England, such as date and place of birth, maritial status, number of children. In Switzerland, this information is used for allocations for child support and pension.

In Switzerland, you can can be fined for not properly maintaining your real-estate or your car.

Living in Switzerland is also getting used to movies having a 20-minute intermission in the middle of the film.

Many stores are closed for lunch.

When you live in Switzerland, if you own any radios or tv’s capable of receiving broadcasts, you are required to pay a monthly tax ($5/month for the radio, $25/month television) which supports the state run stations. If you don’t pay and they catch you, the penalty can be in the thousands of dollars. The unsurprising result is that the televisions produce nothing themselves of sufficient quality to be of substantial interest elsewhere and largely fill their programming with American series. Budget $30 month for the Swiss Government Media tax.

The roads have photo radars on them. If your car is captured on film, the police mail you a ticket. They will not send you the incriminating photo. If you protest and demand the photo, it better be a mistake. If the license plate is yours, the fine will be much larger. Fines can run into the thousands of Swiss francs.

When you live in Switzerland, you get used to the bagging your own groceries, with thin easy-rip plastic bags designed for a few small articles. If you want a real hefty paper or plastic bag that is actually useful for a load of groceries, you have to pay for it.

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Living in Switzerland – Parking and Traffic Fines

Posted on 26 February 2007 by LegalBeagle

To live in Switzerland or to work in Switzerland is to get used to the greater organization and structure of Swiss life. The Swiss are serious about order. Nowhere is this more visible on a daily basis than in parking regulations. In France or in Italy, few people take parking tickets seriously. In Switzerland, the probability is substantial that if you park illegally you will get a ticket. If you are parking illegally in cities such as Geneva or Zurich, you will amlost certainly get a ticket, as these municipalities draw substantial income from parking tickets. In Geneva, CHF 20 million of fines traffic fines are assessed each year.

Ignoring your traffic fines can get very expensive. If the amount owed is substantial, the authorities come to look for you and put you in jail.


The local papers relate the mishaps of those who ignore their fines. Even if you live in neighboring France, the police eventually catch you when you drive across the border. Then you get the choice of prison time (each day equals CHF30 off your debt —

not a very enticing conversion factor unless you’re homeless) or paying your accumulated fines, plus interest, plus administrative penalties. However, by law the maximum amount of time one can be imprisoned for traffic fines is 3 months.

En 2006, the prosecutor’s office in Geneva converted more than 2500 fines into jail terms. The Swiss authorities do this when the perpetrator cannot pay the fines or when the individual is domiciled outside of Switzerland and has refused to settle the fines (and has been caught at the borders or within Switzerland). About 10 days ago a prisoner incarcerated at Champ-Dollon prison for traffic fines committed suicide (the reasons have not been determined).

When you work in Switzerland in urban centers such as Zurich, Lausanne, Lugano, or Geneva, finding parking at or near your work can be challenging (Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich are the worst parking-wise).

Paying parking lots charge on average CHF 20-25 /day and renting a permanent parking place in Zurich or Geneva (which is often necessary if you live in the city center and own a car) costs on average CHF 250/month.

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Living in Basel

Posted on 18 February 2007 by ThomasP

Basel is the third-largest city in Switzerland. It is located on the Rhine just at the intersection of the French and German borders. Basel is the capital of ‘Basel-Stadt.’ and borders the French Vosges, the Swiss Jura Mountains and the Black Forest of Germany. The two parts of Basel are connected by numerous bridges, as well as several ferries. The Mittlere brucke stands on the spot where the first bridge across the Rhine was built in 1225.

view of mittlere brucke basel switzerland

the marktplatz in Basel Switzerland

Basel is home to pharmaceutical fortunes Novartis and Roche which both have their headquarters there; the city has many job opportunities, as well as wide cultural offerings, restaurants and night spots. The job market in Basel pulls a substantial amount of labor from neighboring France and Germany where unemployment is much higher. The photograph below shows the Marktplatz (the 16th century red Rathaus is behind the photographer), one can see the Universal Job recruitment agency in the building on the right, and the famous Schiessel Tea Room and Pastry Shop on the left. Adecco and other well-known agencies also have offices in the city.

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Life in Zurich

Posted on 14 February 2007 by Papessa

The Scene in Switzerland has come a long way from the days of yodelling. For those of you considering making Zurich your new home, here are some addresses. I invite colleagues and readers to leave cool addresses and things to check-out in comments to this posting. The moderator will put interesting ones up as posts in their own right.

The Adagio Nightclub at the Gotthardstrasse 5, 8002 Zürich/ZH 044 206 36 66 is a popular spot and attracts a well-dressed conservative crowd over 35. The club has dress standards for its clientele and its own staff wear amusing ancient costumes. The club is decorated like a church, with candles and flowers, and its often packed on the weekends. The music is ballroom dance style.

The Palais X-tra, on Limmatsrasse 118, phone 01/448-15-00 is a huge cavernous nightclub, with an extremely long bar and high ceilings. Also an outdoor terrace and restaurant facilities which are not as popular as the bar and rock-and-roll club that keep the place packed. The live acts and DJ nights draw a counterculture crowd. This is a trendy address for a clientele mainly in their 20′s.

The Nightclub Indochine, on Limmastrasse 275, Telephone: 0041 (0)1 448 11 11 is a ‘Paris in the Orient’ theme club on two floors that’s been around for many years. Highly styled, this club tries to project ‘Attitude’ and look like the kind of exclusive place where celebrities may be lurking. But it’s mainly just a well-decorated place for the affluent. The crowd tends to be older cigar-smoking beyond-the-hill yuppies and corporate finance types patting their gelled hair and discussing mergers and acquisitions. A more exclusive crowd congregates at the moment at Club Diagonal General-Guisan-Quai 8, 8002 Zürich/ZH 044 201 24 10.

There are a variety of small DJ clubs and venues like Saeulenhalle, Z33, Katakombe, Ex-It/Flamingo, D-Lite, Picante, Cubik, Sunshine, Halloween Party, Riverside, and Star Club.

Also, for the English expatriate community, there are several places to find used english books: Caritas Kunst & Krempel, Birmensdorferstrasse 53, 8004 Zurich is a small charity shop with a few shelves of english books at the back of the shop, but with a quick turnover and the books about a £1 each Buecher Brocky, Bederstrasse 4 (entrance via Gutenbergstasse.) is an enormous second hand bookshop, with a whole aisle of English books, also about £1 – £2 per book. Another place for english books is the main Zurich Brockenhaus behind the HB (Neugasse 11). On the second floor, and there’s a whole shelf of english books (more expensive here than the Bruecker Brocky, but the quality is better). The Pestalozzi Library has a good selection of English books & DVDs Works by annual membership (£15 / £10 student) or you can just borrow for a month for CHF 10. Take ID with you. They also have occassional booksales. The Pestalozzi library is on Zähringerstrasse 17. Lastly, for perusing, there is the ZentralBibliothek -the combined Zurich and University library. There’s no cost to join and it’s got a cool cafeteria and lots of working spaces.

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Workplace Sexual Harassment

Posted on 09 February 2007 by LegalBeagle

Switzerland is moving into the modern age of workplace legislation and enforcement.

Much less litigious than the United States, Switzerland does not have big-money tort cases and, as a rule, corporate entities get away with a lot.

A sign of the changing times is the recent judgement in the Geneva courts–first of its kind– for sexual harassment brought by a married male executive against his female director. The middle-age executive, who had accepted an executive role at a courrier company, arrived to discover his lady boss was was recently divorced and excessively attentive.

Over the ensuing six months, she became more and more attentive. The executive was definitively not interested. His boss’s response was to fire him.

In the first case of its kind — a male to claim workplace sexual harassment by a female superior– the executive was awarded slightly less than $100,000.

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Observations on Work and Life in Switzerland

Posted on 08 February 2007 by PCT

The For people coming from the majority of countries, Switzerland will be a culture shock. Even those moving here from other European countries will discover it is better to be prepared for some hassles.

When you arrive, you first of all get your work permit from your employer — your ‘permit’ is your official permission to work in Switzerland. Within a given period of time you then have to register with the local town hall so that you get your ‘Auslanderausweis’ ID Card that you must keep with you at all times.

There will be a whole raft of bureaucracy that has to be dealt with in the first few months. It pissed me off big time at first, but most of it is one time only so you can survive it.

Things run on time in Switzerland! I have now become as bad as the locals complaining if a train is two minutes late. It only takes a quick trip back to the UK and the disaster that is British Rail to put everything back into perspective.

I personally expected to be here only two years. I have been here eight and counting. I suppose that Switzerland grows on you and its central position within Europe makes it a wonderful base for visiting the rest of the continent.

Switzerland is clean safe but also very expensive. Am I maybe stating the obvious here? You generally get what you pay for although do not expect things to be done too quickly.

Do not expect to be able to rent a penthouse apartment in the centere of Zürich. Prices are akin to those in central London and only drop of slightly as you move out of town.

I would rate the Swiss quite conservative and they generally keep to themselves. If you are expecting to party every weekend don’t expect it at the local Swiss ‘Kneibe’. However, with an estimated 20% – 25% foreign population rhere are a multitude of places to go and meet other foreigners in the same position who are out to enjoy themselves.

Lesser-known sports such as cricket (and for our American friends: baseball) are still catered for in Switzerland. The clubs may be hard to find, but they are out there.

From a standard of living point of view, expect your move to Switzerland it to be an increase compared to most places in Europe. Although prices are high, most remuneration packages are such that you should be better off.

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