Advent Calendah 2019 – “Proworks”


Ey yo what’s up bros,

welcome back to yet another door of our epic German learning Advent Calendah. Are you bored yet? I hope not, because there’s still some cool stuff coming up :).
And you know what’s also coming up?  Another work week. Horray!!
It’s that sweet sweet Monday again and the perfect day for a couple of really nice

Proverbs about Work

And actually, for the first one, let’s make a little quiz out of it :).
Here’s the first one:

“Erst die Arbeit, dann ____.”

Clearly, the proverb says that work comes first; before something else. But what is it that has to wait till work is accomplished?

  1. der Lohn (the salary/the reward)
  2. das Vergnügen (the enjoyment)
  3. mehr Arbeit (more work)
  4. das Bier (the beer)

The all would fit very well, but the correct answer is…. number two, das Vergnügen.
It’s a pretty common proverb and you might hear it at work sooner or later. Like, imagine you and your colleagues are in the kitchen talking about the upcoming Christmas party and how cool it’s going to be – that might be a situation where your boss walks in and says “Ok Leute, erst die Arbeit, dann das Vergnügen.”
And if that triggers you, the perfect reply then is to address the implication that the work actually isn’t enjoyable and what your boss intends to do about that. That’ll be a really productive discussion.
But anyway, let’s move on to the second proverb, which is a actually more about not working than it is about working…

“Freitag nach eins macht jeder seins.”

Literally translated, this means:

“Friday after one, everyone is doing their thing.”

and if you now think “Wait, that implies that work ends at one of clock on Fridays.” then you’re spot on.
The origin of it is the former East German Democratic Republic. Many things were kind of hard to come by and often people would knock off work early on Friday to get some shopping done before everything was sold.
And it’s been a staple in German bureaucracy for as long as I can think that governmental offices close at one on Friday. Or even twelve. And that might be why the proverb has survived the fall of the wall and is still around today and it’s pretty much a magic spell by now. Like… if your boss catches you watching Youtube or reading this blog on 2 o’clock on a Friday, just say this proverb and it’ll be okay.
Nah… of course I’m kidding. That’s not how it works. But you can try, at least :).

And now, let’s get to the last proverb.

“Warum ist die Arbeit die beste Art, sein Leben zu genießen?
Weil sie beschwerliche (an sich unangenehme und nur durch den Erfolg ergötzende) Beschäftigung ist
und die Ruhe, durch das bloße Verschwinden einer langen Beschwerde, zur fühlbaren Last, dem Frohsinn wird,
da sie sonst nichts Genießbares sein würde.”

And if you’re now like “That doesn’t look very proverb-y to me.” then you’re of course right. This isn’t a proverb. It’s actually a quote of the phisulph… philloph… great thinker Immanuel Kant about work. I thought it would be nice to have something like this here, too.
As usual, Kant makes it very easy for the reader to follow his train of thought  (#irony) but I think the message is something like this:

“Work is the best way to a fulfilled life, because it sucks and
without that sucking, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy your days off.”

I’d love to know if Kant hated writing books. And if not, why he didn’t take up a job as a smith or peasant, for some more enjoyment.
I’m really not so sure if I agree with Kant’s statement. Do you? Let’s wax philosophical in the comments! Or just let me know how you liked the proverbs and if you have nice ones in your languages :).
Einen schönen Tag euch, und bis morgen!

for members :)

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“German learning Advent __Calendah__” Germeanising words since the 70s ;). I cannot really think of work proverb in my mothertongue other than the one that means ” don’t leave today’s work to tommorw”(litreal). Anyway, nice proverbs. We better get some idioms soon ;)

Romina Turcan
Romina Turcan

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”


Hey yo!
Let’s improve your street cred first, with the above greeting and “hooray”!
“reading this blog at 2 o’clock”

Does that looooooooong phrase by Kant actually translate to just that? Or did you add it just to put us off our hard work learning German? :)

I do agree (to an extent) that we actually enjoy time off more if we have something to compare it to (that being work). That said, too much work can bring you down so much you become completely unable to enjoy anything, which leads us to the best known (to my knowledge) work-related proverb in English:
“All work and no play makes Jack a (very) dull boy” (or, since I’m not a boy and in line with gender equality and #mewantstohaveagoodtimetoo, “All work and no play makes Elsa a very dull girl!”), to which Jack’s boss might actually answer “All play and no work makes Jack an unemployed boy!”

Ich hoffe, es hat dir gefallen und bis morgen!


The English translation of the German shown below has the acronym “POET’S Day (for Friday)
“Pxxx Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday”

In German “Verpiss dich früh, morgen ist Samstag.” VDF, MIS ?

I think you will find this somewhere in Kant’s writing ;-)


“”Flat out like a lizard drinking”. Australian saying. It means one is very busy doing something

Francesca Greenoak
Francesca Greenoak

I was just going to a lunchtime party with really nice people and I saw Advent 16 had arrived. For a long moment, I really thought – Um, I’d rather do the German.
Happy Christmas and a great new Year to you all.

Ahmad Mazaheri
Ahmad Mazaheri

Ach eine Überraschung hinter der Tür ! Wegweisender der Aufklärung und Vernunft . Willkommen sogar im 21. Jahrhundert .
Eine französischer Sprichwort : C’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron . Übersetzt etwa: die Übung macht Meister .
Bis Morgen


Wirklich? Germans stop working at 1 PM on Fridays? You just broke my little stereotype bubble.


Frühes Ende ist wichtig, für die Abendfeier. :-)


In Russian, there is a pretty similar proverb to the first one, but I was surprised to know, that a long long time ago the undertone was different: not “do you work first and then have fun”, but “there is time to work AND there is time for a good party” :-)


hallo!! I m so thankful to Sir Emanuel For letting me access this online course. Thank you also to his team as they helping someone like me to reach our dreams without limiting our goals. This is a huge help for me to study German Language as a working mother.

May our dear Lord continue to bless and guide you for you to be able to help others.
Thank you sssooo much team Spirit!!!



I don’t know; I’ve been retired off and on now (mostly off) for 15 years and so far the lack of work to compare die Ruhe with has not in the least impaired my enjoyment of it.


I think I actually meant mostly on, not off, i.e. most of that time I’ve not had to work. Dah.