Top 7 Aspects of Living and Working in Spain

Posted by The Expatriator

The top 7 aspects of living and working in Spain are all about how your lifestyle and your work life meet in harmony in the land of the bull.

So you’ve been offered a job in Spain and you’re afraid you’ll miss your family. Or you’re not sure if it’s worth trying to find a job teaching English in Spain when there are more opportunities in China and better money in Saudi Arabia. You’re wondering if wading through the notrious Spanish bureaucracy to start a business is really worth it. The expat lifestyle in Spain can be great, but if you’re spending all your time working, are you going to be able to enjoy yourself? Am I going to be happy living and working in Spain?

Read on my friend, maybe this will convince you.

  1. Don’t pay taxes? If you’re working under the table (in the black) then you may be able to get away without paying taxes, both here in Spain and back home. In fact, if you’re working for an international company you might be able to get away without paying taxes too… And we all hate paying taxes right? (We do not condone this behaviour of course)
  2. Getting up at 8am instead of 6am. And that’s if you work regular business hours. If you’re a teacher or working independently, that might be 10am, or even later… which of course can be necessary when you’ve been out on the town till 4am on a work night.
  3. Siestas. ‘Nuff said, or almost. As of February 2006 (I believe), the public sector has begun adjusting to a normal European work schedule (9am - 5pm), meaning your siesta is non-existent (thus also affecting the above noted point). But hey, the vast majority of positions still offer you the 2-3 hour lunch/drink/sleep break from 2-5pm. Know, however, that your shopping schedule must also work around this, sometimes bothersome, siesta. The point here may be to make sure you’re not moving to live in Spain because you want a siesta; it’s time may be coming to an end.
  4. Great benefits if you get canned. Yes, if you’ve read our bit about working in Spain then you’ll have read about the office zombies who seem to inhabit most work places these days. As I understand, a company is obligated to pay out 2 months of salary for every year of working employment. This makes it obviously quite difficult to get rid of unnecessary labour and will need to change in order for Spanish companies to have the flexibility to compete with other Western countries, but in the mean time get yourself a job and live it up!
  5. Potentially low taxes. If you’re an expat living and working in Spain, then you may qualify for a special tax rate of only 25% (see our page about taxes in Spain). Clearly this may be lower than what you’re paying back home.
  6. It’s okay to be late. Well… not always, but once you’re living in Spain you’ll know how it works. Most people are late - for everything, in business and in life. Meeting up with friends, getting to work on time, etc., living late is part of living in Spain. If you’re naturally a late person and it’s dogged you your whole life (like it has mine) then you’ll do just fine here.
  7. Just living here in Spain is great. Get home from work, kick up your feet, suck down a sangria, munch down your paella with family and friends, go to the beach during your siesta, explore the locals-only bars that no one knows about, get a great tan, sail and surf the med, smoke the cheapest tobacco around, get lost in the bureaucracy… life in Spain rocks.

Last updated 02 05 2006

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