IT specialist Aleš Jeník: I have not had a holiday in ten years

Aleš Jeník, photo: Michaela Danelová / Czech Radio

An in-depth survey commissioned by Czech Radio suggests that Czech society is divided into six social classes that differ in terms of resources and status. The study defines two types of upper middle class, the wealthy and emerging cosmopolitan, three types of lower middle class and an impoverished class. Czech Radio found a typical representative of each social class. Aleš Jeník is a member of the emerging cosmopolitan class.

Aleš Jeník, photo: Michaela Danelová / Czech Radio

The emerging cosmopolitan class is the country’s future elite. Its members are young people, born after the fall of communism, who made the best of the opportunities that life in the free world presented. They work long hours, travel, speak foreign languages, have a high or above-average income and excel in the area of new competences. Most work in IT or financing and, like Aleš Jenik, are constantly on the phone.

Aleš Jeník, photo: Michaela Danelová / Czech Radio
Aleš is on his mobile phone and laptop all day long and often long into the night. He works as an IT specialist and heads his own small company and NGO. Originally he studied pedagogics and history, but in view of the financial opportunities and opportunities for growth that opened up in the IT business he turned his hobby into a successful career. He says it means being on call 24 hours a day.

“At home they say I work 24/7. Given the fact that some of our clients are in the United States, I often work in the evening or long into the night. During the day I work from one of my favourite cafes. My closest work associates are in Germany and Great Britain, so it makes little difference where I am.”

While most Czechs work 40 hours a day, Aleš works non-stop and says he has not had a holiday in ten years. Having come close to burn-out, he says he now feels the need to slow down a little.

Aleš Jeník, photo: Michaela Danelová / Czech Radio
“My wife was threatening to divorce me if I didn’t spend more time with her and the kids. And also I was beginning to feel the effects of burn-out, when work is no longer a pleasure and when it starts piling up and getting out of hand, you know something is wrong.”

Aleš has three children, two boys and a girl, aged 6, 8 and 10. He says that any money that is saved will go towards financing their education and building a house that will be a nice home for the family in Prague. Although he says he has no plans to live abroad permanently he and his wife want to spend some time abroad because of their children.

“We are considering spending a year abroad – for instance in Germany – because of the children, so that they will improve their foreign language skills.”