Tutorial Transcript

Salut YouTube! So today I have a special guest with me my friend Isabel where are you coming from? Austria. Austria! So we're here today because we've got some stories to share about our culture shocks when it comes to working in France so between us we've been working in France for how many years? Um so three years for me and four years for me some things have become sort of normal now and others less so we want to talk to you about big culture shocks that we had in the French workplace and of course we're talking about the kind of corporate business world because that's all that we know the kind of things that happen in meetings the kind of things that happen when your boss is giving you performance feedback and these kinds of stories so without further ado let's jump into it! As Rosie mentioned meetings is like a big topic and when you come working in France it's definitely a big part of the French culture and how to work in corporations here it's completely different to what I've experienced in in Austria and in other countries and let's see more the anglo-saxon way meetings are very different so it's a big exchange let's say of ideas it's not like an agenda you stick to where you say okay I'm gonna do this this and this, this is the outcome like super kind of tangible thing but it's much more about okay so let's exchange this idea let's talk about it like so that French love of discussion and debate and challenging each other intellectually and when you first arrive you're kind of there like what is happening? Like are we ever going to talk about what we're meant to be here for? Firstly I find that you have a lot of meetings secondly they often run late or start late and run late so there's also another point the France is a time of flexible culture which means then they aren't as uptight about timing as some other cultures I'm not sure how it is in Austria if it's more the German way? It's definitely the German way the German way want to be on time it's not like that here so don't feel disrespected if you know you turn up to a meeting on time and no one's there and or if you've called a meeting and if everyone walks in ten minutes late it's nothing against you and then yeah when you're actually in the meeting itself you're gonna be trying to sort of converge the crowd and get them to talk about specific points and try and get them to stay on track and it's just not gonna happen as you already said don't take it personally so I remember myself so when I started working here I was I saw some exchanges of French people about an idea and I was like wow why are they fighting? Why do they hate eachother? Afterwards I understand it's not at all personal it's really about the challenging the idea and having an exchange it can be a bit even emotional and kind of like rough and then afterwards to be like okay let's go to lunch! Yeah exactly! They'll really be there like I don't like that idea I do not agree I don't understand where you've got your numbers from and then they'll be like you know walking out the door so how are the kids? You see two different faces you've got the personal side and the professional side and the professional side that's business only don't take it personally don't be surprised if the meeting doesn't seem to have a natural end. What they say for Americans is that it's a good meeting if a decision has been made in the meeting for French it's a good meeting if ideas have been discussed so you might find at the end of the meeting it just ends with "et voilà" - like what's that supposed to mean? Exactly like no action points no to-do lists no delegation of responsibilities everyone's just meant to know. Speaking of meetings actually so it actually relates directly to our next point which is feedback although you wouldn't imagine it for the French personally it can be quite direct can be quite like say rough so for example the feedback you would get like you would never get okay Wow really good was excellent you know it was something that I'm surprised innovative you're gonna get "pas mal" which means actually translated like really good yeah that's true I think because the French have sort of grown up in this French education system which is quite harsh how it works is that you get graded out of 20 but no one gets 20 out of 20 like it's literally impossible and almost no one gets 18 or 19 either like it's it's never perfect it can always be better and that definitely translates into the workplace as well so you'll prepare and deliver something what you think is very well done very solid they'll always be things that you can improve upon and that goes for your performance in general. There are obviously always upsides and downsides of different things and I saw that although it's not the most rewarding kind of lets say culture in the sense that they will say okay pas mal and you will be like okay wow is it really that bad yeah at the same time there's this culture of excellence that makes France so great also so you know you have products and things like I mean look at the patisserie here like everything is like tiny and perfect and like ooh wow. If they weren't constantly striving to be better and be more excellent I mean we wouldn't have the booming French luxury industry the perfumes the patisserie so there's definitely good sides and bad so on one hand if you feel a bit deflated like oh it's never good enough I can never deliver something that they're happy with on the other hand you deliver things that you didn't even know were possible like that you push yourself to be the best professional you can be as well yeah another point that was quite surprising for us was that in France the separation of the professional life and personal life is quite strong so you would not necessarily share many things from your personal life at work I was never invited for example to a colleagues house that's like a neutral ground I mean unless like for interns maybe it works like very young people but every colleague that say is not like 20 it doesn't work at all and that's kind of surprising especially if you're new here and you're like would be nice to go to a French house exactly I'm kind of used to like meeting a lot of people and meeting friends and and building friendships at work and here it's so different I mean there's definitely a line between your personal and professional life because you know to be able to establish a friendship you kind of need to share things like a boyfriend about you know like things that you're interested in and you know you've got to keep a conversation very neutral people don't really have photos of their family and their children up on their desk which is something that people have everywhere in New Zealand I mean when I first arrived I was dying to know if my french manager I don't know was married had children I don't know she was at the age where she could have had children so I was curious to get to know her but I didn't dare ask I mean you just don't you can feel that it wouldn't be appropriate to ask and you know finally I found out maybe three four months into working with her that kind of information it's not something that they share upfront which is totally fine but it does mean that you know you've got to be careful about what you talk about definitely and you've got to be careful what you ask people and you also can't expect to make best friends forever straight away at work it's just not going to work like that exactly and lastly what's really important what we feel is really important in France too in the workplace is the relationship let's say it's a very relationship based culture so you will see lunch breaks coffee breaks smoke breaks if you do smoke our super important so I mean Austria actually how we do it is we come to work obviously we also buy coffee and food it's still you know we come to work we are our time we have half an hour lunch break and then we continue and here like easily I can have one and a half hour lunch break so now it's really about getting to know the other person if you don't know them or spending like a really nice amount of time with the person you know and connecting various issues learning what they do and so on and really creating this kind of network that's super important here that was a big shock for me like your lunch break is work actually because you're investing time into a colleague and that's key here because you can only get things done through your network through your relationships and in France that's the kind of culture where if they don't know you they may not respond to your email or if you're not introduced by your manager by someone that they know they may not reply because knowing each other and that one-to-one connection is so important and you just can't get your job done without it I think sometimes it can be a little bit depressing because you just want to get in put your head down do a good job and you think that that will open all the doors but it doesn't work like that here you need to do the networking relationship thing it's very human based their workplace here all right cool guys I hope you enjoyed that one though culture shocks about the French workplace they're actually a lot more so if you'd like to see a part two if you'd like us to explore some other ones please let me know down in the comments I must say that overall I very much enjoy working in France it's definitely stretched me in ways that I haven't even been able to imagine and I definitely think that the stereotype that French people are lazy is super unfounded very hard workers and I've had I've got lots of amazing colleagues around me so overall a super positive experience anyway we'll leave the video here for this time and we'll see you in the next one, à bientôt!