Macedonia, the shocking and wonderful mentality

Here I was in Macedonia without a job and not really searching for one either. But couple of months before my visa expired, I started to ask around. As I mentioned in my previous blogs, this Dutch community in Macedonia is small but very, very strong. And right on time I got a job in a Macedonian company with a Dutch director. It was then that I noticed the different mentality of living from the Macedonians.

1. Mentality in work

I can still not believe how much the Dutch working mentality differs from the Macedonian. Or maybe it is more western compared to eastern Europeans, anyway there is a difference. Basically it is like this: the boss tells a Macedonian his task (mostly not more than one) the Macedonian works on it and after he finishes, he waits until his next task is assigned to him. While in the Netherlands you work and when you finish you think about all the other tasks you can do.

But the thing that keeps me amazed and in fact I am jealous of this, they don’t care. No wait, they don’t give a rat’s ass. As long as the boss is paying their salary, Macedonians are satisfied. They get up, go to work, finish tasks and go home. After that they actually enjoy life. Something that is rarely seen in my country.

Just a little explanation why I love living in Macedonia. In the Netherlands there is this pressure. The pressure of getting the right papers for the job, the pressure of making a career as high as possible (more and more people under 40 years are under too much stress and have burn outs) and there is this pressure because people expect you to succeed in life. So getting married, buying a house and having two kids is like a Dutch standard. And to have all of that, you need to have a nice salary, or else it is kind off impossible. Here in Macedonia it is good when you have work, but it is better when you enjoy your life. Getting out in the nature, going on a coffee or getting a drink in a café. Here they live outside of their homes, and I love that.

2. Mentality for sports

Yes, we Dutch people are good in football or were… since we are not playing in 2016 European Cup. But handball or basketball are sports Dutch people are not so good at. Which is weird since we are one of the tallest nations in the world. But in Macedonia it is all about sports. Oh and they love to bet on it as well, everywhere you can find the betting houses and there are always people inside.

One time when I was here in Macedonia, my boyfriend wanted to watch handball. And he was really enthusiastic about it, which I didn’t understand at that time. So there we were in a very crowded café watching handball, and in the end they won and became 5th in the European league. Just so you know, if the Dutch become 5th in any kind of sports, basically no one will care and certainly not go out on the streets to celebrate.

Well here they go out on the streets, they block the main roads in the city center, they go out with drums, they celebrate for being on the 5th place! I was amazed, and of course walking with the crowd. Ever since I’m fascinated by handball and we even got season tickets for the local club Vardar.

3. The way of thinking

From what I have noticed from friends and family here in Macedonia, there is a different way of thinking about life. It seems Macedonians are happy when they can live another day, they appreciate it more than the Dutch that’s for sure. But the downside of that way of living, they don’t think in general that much about the future.

So people here are taking loans for basically everything. For a car, a house or an apartment (ok, I get that) but also for a graduation party?! For that is was a bit shocked. But people are taking loans and later on they will figure out a way to pay it back, they don’t really care if they can pay it back at all.

You can also see this in the government, the only thing that seems to concern them is spending money (a lot of money) and they hope to make Macedonia more attractive for tourists and foreign businesses. But there is this huge problem, which is especially shown in winter, the smog. EU standards everything above 50 PM (Particulate Matter) will cause serious damages to your health. Well here in Skopje it goes up to 300 PM. So instead of investing in filters for factories or making the country run on gas like a lot of other EU countries, or making laws for the old cars (yes, the Yugo is still very common here) the government cares more about tourism than its own people.

“All the people who I have met along the way are one by one wonderful people.”

And even though the mentality of Dutch differs from Macedonians, I never regret moving abroad here in Macedonia. Of course there are downsides, every country has them, but the fact that I’m close to beautiful nature and living in the rough, crowded, divers and smoggy city Skopje, is awesome! And all the people who I have met along the way are one by one wonderful people.

16 thoughts on “Macedonia, the shocking and wonderful mentality

  1. Thanks for writing about Macedonia! I’m glad to see you have no regrets living in Macedonia and you love our people/culture!

    1. I love writing about Macedonia and the life here! Thanks for your comment, it means a lot coming from a Macedonian person!

      1. I’m from Prilep and i’m going to tell you, you need to go in some other city not just Skopje. I live in Skopje as a student and i dont like it here cuz almost every day in the winter its foggy or if its not it smells so much (idk the smell) you need to come to Prilep or Bitola or even better go to Krushevo. Krushevo is the higgest city on the balkan. Berovo as well is a nice small town, the air is clean, the most important thing is that the coffee is cheap hehe. And if you need some help just contact me on facebook. PS: You’re blogs are soo true and nice work, just continue with it 😀

  2. I enjoy your writings, please give us more 🙂
    Also thank you for loving Macedonia and i am glad knowing you are happy here!

  3. Hello there, a Macedonian here that lives abroad as well ( in USA), first of I would like to thank you for writing about Macedonia in general but let me tell you little bit more about it since u can only see the good parts about it. People don’t enjoy their jobs there, they enjoy only the last half an hour cuz they get really exited about going home. 2nd how can u be exited to go to work and get paid like 200 euros a month(that includes working holidays, weekends, 3rd shifts (and yes that’s comes in the 200euro package deal, it’s not paid extra like in any other normal country)) but u are 100% right people do get loans for everything and complain about how they are poor but yet again they always find a way to go to the caffe or use their money for gambling. Not to mention that the govermant is going to leave a debt that is little bigger than 4.5 billion dollars, which is 2 times bigger than the Annual budget of the country. Now u see why I have moved far away from home(its been 3 years almost) even tho I’m coming from a wealthy family.
    Thank you once again and have a great day 🙂

    1. Hello Ogi,
      I’am sorry I didn’t reply fast enough. I have to say I do see a lot of good parts in Macedonia, because I can be very optimistic. And I do want you to know that I have worked in a textile company were they make 200-250 euro a month and I also worked holidays and weekends, but these people were happy to even have work! Of course it is a very low payment and of course they are also struggling. And I am writing from my own experience and don’t want to offend anyone. Also in other posts of mine I wrote that I am very aware of what this government is doing to its own people now.
      Thank you for your feedback and have nice day!

    2. Види, другар. Потполни со во право, и за состојбите и ситуацијата во Македонија никој не може да ни кажува, тоа е факт, особено не мене, бидејќи цел живот сум во Македонија и… веќе и сам знаеш што уренебес е државава, така што нема што многу да се зборува околу тоа. Катастрофа! Најискрено, при прва прилика и јас би прифатил можност како твојата и би заминал оттука. Но, очигледно, девојкава убаво се снашла во Македонија па и’ е добро, особено со оглед на тоа што работи во холаднска фирма, а и искрено каде-каде можностите и целокупната состојба во Скопје е подобра во споредба со останатите градови. Велам генерално, не дека сите во Скопје работат за 1000 евра плата. Можеби и мажот и е финански добар (штом толку шетал по Европа 🙂 ), па така едноствано и’ се допаѓа тука а и е доста оптимистички настроена со оглед на тоа што е само година ипол во Македонија, а и нејзинита “подолога” и начин на живот се европски. Тоа е, бате. Иако за повеќето од нас нејзинава приказна е чудна, таа очигледно добро се снашла.
      Биди ми поздравен.

  4. Hi
    First of all I’m very glad to see that someone took up their time to write about my beautiful home. Macedonia with all negative sides its still a wonderfull country. Im glad you are having a positive experience, there should be more people like you that see the good sides of Macedonia. Keep it up. I would love to read about your perspective on the many weirds things about Macedonian people. Have a nice day !

    1. Hi Viktorija, yes I agree with you that Macedonia also has negative sides, just like every other country.
      But for me it’s an awesome experience and that’s why I’m probably more positive about Macedonia than most Macedonians.
      Hope you will enjoy my posts and have a nice day!

  5. You are right on spot when it comes to Macedonia at; lets say everything.. keep up the good work, and thank you so much for writing about Macedonia. Македонија те сака

    1. It is my pleasure to write about Macedonia and its people!
      Glad you enjoy my blog!
      фала многу за коментарот

  6. I met a Macedonian lady in Canada. Her talks about Macedonia made me do some search about the country. It seems what she said was true, macedonians are beautiful, straight forward, and dedicated. And above all, mostly cheerful.

  7. 1. its micro management. and its very bad. prettymuch no one employed cares about his work. that means they postpone the work if they can. that means passing work to others if they can. not doing it at all or doing it very very badly. if there is not a strict and constant supervision. all that costs a LOT. in terms of paid personnel, work not done, and must-have paid supervision for the employees.
    in example, i was in hospital the other day. the medic tried all the possible ways to turn me back – probably he didn’t want to work. So he told me, in a pretty rude manner, i should come the next day when his colleague will be there. from the administration told me afterwards he should have visited me, but even they advised me to come the next day (so i lose another day..)
    this “mentality” costs a lot.
    2. sports. its like we are a shithole in Europe, so a 5th place is the best we will get, so we celebrate it like crazy.
    3. loans and not caring how to repay. very bad recipe.

    The thing is all this is not “mentality” or a cultural trait.
    It is very bad destructive corrupt system, fruit of long years of poverty and political transition. It should be changed asap.

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