Kevin Drum has a great post today on work in Europe vs. the United States, quoting Andrew Hammel. It makes me want to move back to Germany!
But the most important lesson is: enjoy your free time! Pay attention to the people you are with, and you'll notice that they do things with their free time. They spend lots of time with their friends and family, they pursue hobbies much more complex than catching up on all the episodes of Sex & the City, they visit museums, read complex books, drink a whole lot, go to parties, fairs, and circuses, and take lots of vacations. Imitate them. And then decide whether you'd really give that all up to make $5,000 more a year. If the answer is still "gimme the $5,000," move back to the U.S.
I have to say, as an Academic, I'm pretty fortunate that I'm the master of my time during the summer (and for a good swath of the Academic year). I do think that such privilages should be more widely distributed.