No more siestas for you, Greece

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In Greece, parents have long urged their children to find careers as civil servants. The pay wasn't spectacular, but you got a little respect, a little power and you got to go home for a few hours in the middle of the day, for a traditional siesta (or power nap in the original Greek). Best of all, during August -- the hottest month of the year -- many civil servants are allowed to simply take off ... for the entire month. As a result, much of Greece's government grinds to a halt in the summers.

But that might all be changing, thanks to an efficiency initiative spurred by Greece's can-do interior minister, Prokopis Pavlopoulos. To compete with the rest of Europe, those afternoon naps (and summer vacations) might be trimmed, about which the ever-wry BBC quipped:

Civil servants can be surly creatures at the best of times, but now that their perks have been cut still further, they're unlikely to become more charming.

Of course, siestas aren't native to Greece. They originated in the southern Alentejo region of Portugal, where they were known as sestas, but the tradition has been adopted in many other warm-climated regions like the Middle East, Italy, Spain and China, where it is a guaranteed constitutional right (just about the only one).

Speaking of which (yawn) ...

March 15, 2007 - 12:46pm
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