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pierrecardin
04-05-2009, 03:20 AM
Hello guys,

Anyone here lived in both the US and France? What do you think about the 2 countries? Which is better? I am actually thinking of finding a job in France since I studied Management in university and minored in French. I hope to learn more about the French working atmosphere. Is it true it is much relaxed vs the US?

Harriet
04-18-2009, 12:47 PM
I wanted to write to you to share some ideas. I work as a career counselor and maybe these thoughts will help you with your decision-making. I have lived in France and the U.S. and I have worked as a consultant to firms employing French staff.

Employers everywhere want staff who are energetic and committed to advancing organizational goals. They seek candidates who have the experiences and skills to help them solve their everyday problems. When you prepare a resume and cover letter, when you interview your task is to persuade the hiring manager that you have the skills and attitude to be successful in their workplace. While some period of transition and orientation or training is expected, employers like to hire staff who are ready to "hit the ground running."

If you are feeling stressed in your current work environment, you might be working in the wrong job for the right employer, have a difficult boss or team of co-workers, be in the wrong company or wrong sector. You might want to consider fine-tuning your goals.

The shift of living AND working from one country to another is not for someone who is looking for less stress. The transition would take lots of research, networking and then more investigation and networking! Given the global economy and perhaps laws and unions, you might also encounter very stiff competition for a few jobs. Unless your language skills are extremely advanced, your pronunciation and syntax nearly flawless, you will have a more difficult time. If you are a genius in some technical area, this might help over-ride the language difficulties.

I work with some students who went to French medium schools who are now enrolled in American colleges. Their French is excellent. When we discuss their choice to work in Francophone countries, the advice is the same -- not an easy transition, requires immense readiness to research, investigate and network.

Maybe someone else has a different take on this question. I hope that some of these ideas might be helpful to you as you consider your options.

David
04-18-2009, 11:25 PM
Harriet,

Very good reply, it looks like you have a lot of experience in this area.
I agree with you that the transition can be very tough. I also think that in addition to more stress, it is also harder to climb the corporate ladders in a different culture. That is why a lot of immigrants start their own business so that they are not limited by the language and cultural barriers. The typical business would be to provide service to its own community. For example: providing a service for the French community in US or American community in France etc.

Harriet
04-19-2009, 12:37 AM
Thanks David -- this is all true, what you say. Also being flexible and having great humility. Sometimes people take part-time jobs or jobs using secondary skills, just to make a living until they can gain entry in their specialty area. It is always helpful to go to school in the target country so that skills are certified there and professors can write references and help swing doors open.
Sliding easily from one culture to another, one country to another, at the same salary level may not be a realistic expectation in most career fields. There are exceptions, of course, but for MOST people, the transition would take great planning and perseverance.

David
04-19-2009, 08:21 PM
Good point. In this economy, finding a job is really hard. I would imagine those who are bi-lingual would have some advantages. However the Americans have the images of French being lazy, always on strike, enjoy more vacations etc, which could be negative for them to secure a job in US. Any advice?

Harriet
04-25-2009, 12:17 AM
David,
You are right that marginally aware Americans might have very misleading stereotypes about expectations for workers in France. I know many French professionals and they are exceedingly skilled and conscientious workers who put in many hours per week. Vacations are handled differently and due to tradition, French workers do get more vacation than most Americans. And, there are strikes, this cannot be denied. But to extrapolate from those facts to believe that the workplace is laid back would be completely false. And too, different industries and sectors have different expectations.
In general, before moving to a country to embark on a career or long-term job change, a long visit of many weeks/months or a year of study would be helpful. If language skills are limited, job opportunities are likely to be very limited unless there is a family connection, genius or some other unusual circumstance.
There are so many differences in the way business is conducted that unless there is some period of cultural adjustment, the issues would be quite complex.
And where is our inquirer???

alfredidornDory
04-24-2010, 10:44 AM
Well we live in the Charente region of France, I think I know why nobody has seen flies elsewhere in france, its because they are all here in the Charente, we have a terrrible problem with them.
Nina

Nathaliemb
01-19-2011, 11:58 PM
David,
You are right that marginally aware Americans might have very misleading stereotypes about expectations for workers in France. I know many French professionals and they are exceedingly skilled and conscientious workers who put in many hours per week. Vacations are handled differently and due to tradition, French workers do get more vacation than most Americans. And, there are strikes, this cannot be denied. But to extrapolate from those facts to believe that the workplace is laid back would be completely false. And too, different industries and sectors have different expectations.
In general, before moving to a country to embark on a career or long-term job change, a long visit of many weeks/months or a year of study would be helpful. If language skills are limited, job opportunities are likely to be very limited unless there is a family connection, genius or some other unusual circumstance.
There are so many differences in the way business is conducted that unless there is some period of cultural adjustment, the issues would be quite complex.
And where is our inquirer???
Hello!
My husband and I both French naturalized Americans wrote
essays on deep cultural pattern between the French and the Americans
both our essays are free of charge downloadable from:
www.pbaudry.com
hope you may find some guidelines through your investigating
cultural differences!
Enjoy!
NMB