Comment: Welcome to the Czech Republic in the “beta zone”.

You can also listen to the commentary in the audio version.

Last week, economist David Marek gave an excellent lecture at the Congress CFO event, i.e. the conference for Czech finance directors, in a beautiful hall in the CNB building.

The Czech economy does not have the highest real debts, but hidden debts are dangerous and threaten the future. These may not be a big concern for us today, but will result in massive investments to be made in the future. Example: Transport infrastructure.

However, something else caught my attention. In fact, there was a graph with the annual turnover rate in selected developed countries, that is, how often people change jobs, an uncontrolled slide from Mark’s presentation.

Not often in the Czech Republic – we are second from the end, ahead of Greece. The neighborhood with this country indicates that it is not successful. Of course, it depends on the perspective. and on culture. For example, we know that Japan has very low turnover, where it is common for people to work for one employer their entire lives.

It can be seen as a positive. Low turnover indicates loyalty and indicates stability. In this sense, a work relationship is like a partnership or marital cohabitation: loyalty and perseverance are valued, as well as the ability to rise above temporary crises.

With one caveat. A work relationship is not really a marriage. It has nothing to do with him. An employment relationship is not a relationship between two equal entities.

Only a fool can say that the two have something in common.

So back to the employment relationship: working for a company for a long time or a lifetime is not automatically an advantage. Of course, that’s not automatically a loss. If someone has a job that makes them happy and satisfied, there is no reason why they can’t do it for the rest of their lives.

This is very unusual. Czech low turnover is not made up of a satisfied and happy majority of people. In fact, they are perpetually dissatisfied and unfulfilled … but not much.

A well-known and good saying goes: If something works, don’t fix it. It is better to follow it. But at the same time, finding the right balance is difficult. In other words, it might go something like this: pretend something isn’t happening until it actually starts to go wrong.

It was bad, very bad.

My hypothesis is that people don’t stay in a job because they are satisfied, but at the same time they are not too angry. This is what famous American psychologist David Gilbert calls the “beta” zone or area.

You are simply irritated, unsatisfied and out of tune, but still “not over”. Not enough to take any serious action. Try to change your situation for the better. So you say to yourself: “Hey, nothing happened, it could be a lot worse.”

Joseph Slerka told me in a podcast two months ago: “Unfortunately, we live in a country where if you change your career, you’re a volatile person. If you change it twice, you’re a dangerously volatile person. When Karel retires, what a fighter he is. , we applaud him for working for a company all his life. No, Karel is an idiot.”

This is of course a deliberate exaggeration, but ┼álerka describes well how we see people who change places. Unlike those who legitimately seek their happiness, understand that it is difficult to “hit” it the first time. Instead, we see them as nuisances and miscreants who don’t value good housing and think they can find something better.

This is a good observation, but only after David Marek’s lecture did I realize that it can be generalized to the situation in the entire Czech Republic. Because we are a country in the “beta zone”. Since 1989 (actually before) we have become accustomed to the role of supposed victors in post-communist countries.

For thirty years (mainly neighboring Austria, in 1990 we said we would catch up within ten years… for us!), but at the same time we have better “numbers” than the former Eastern countries.

Not because Czechs are more capable or in any way better than Poles, Slovaks or Hungarians. This is due to our history and especially location. In other words, we were lucky.

Nothing prompts us to seriously reconsider our priorities and shift our focus to the things that matter. So, quoting David Mark again, we use EU grants to build cycle lanes, while in Poland they build highways with the same money. Look at the map.

As much as we hear today the thoughts of “Thank God and Vaclav Klaus, we are not on the same level as Slovakia”, it is true that we are much better politically, but worse economically at the moment. Again according to David Mark, citing hidden debts and numbers.

This is the story of the Czech Republic over the past thirty years. We are “pretty” and nothing motivates us to take risks and make important decisions. “It could be worse,” we think, and these are words that could soon be in the Czech national anthem. We are a nation stuck in the “beta zone”.

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