Katie' Pau Life En France

Ma vie En France

WSU Blog Squad Post 3 March 4, 2010

Filed under: Pau,Random Story — katiespaulife @ 9:24 am

#3     Lens Shifting & Comparative Thinking

Now that you have been abroad for some time, pick an aspect of your life
in your host culture and compare it to that same aspect in the U.S.  Some
examples of possible topics might include daily transportation, dining
out, relating to one’s instructors, communicating with family members,
playing sports, and so on.
Even with globalization, and even in other cultures in which English is
the official language, there are cultural differences. Obvious differences
might be dress and food. More nuanced differences might be things such as
gender relationships, attitudes toward work or family, attitudes about
time, or methods of worship.
Describe a more nuanced cultural difference that stands out for you, and
then write about what you think this difference might represent in terms
of values and beliefs.



One difference which I really despise is the French work ethic. I’ve noticed in the service industry especially that people here are downright rude. They seem to have these rules of politeness they follow, but leave it to the French to be as polite as their social rules dictate and a complete jerk at the same time. When you enter a store you will always be greeted with a “Bonjour” or “Bon Soir” and when you leave, always an “Au Revoir,” but in the meantime they will often ignore or treat you like crap. This of course is not true for every store and restaurant, but the overall attitude towards making the customer happy is much less ambitious than the US. I think that job is viewed as more of a necessary evil in France and not something that contributes to the balance of life as  in America.


In fact, in class the other day we had a discussion about the max of 35 hours for a work week in France. I was surprised to learn my other classmates Cooper and Kim are against it. Personally I find 35 hours much more agreeable, but to each his own. I think the most I’ve ever worked in one week was 55 – 60 hours, which I loved or despised depending on my job.  Anyway I suppose the French don’t value service as much as Americans, but I kind of miss the approachable staff you find in the US =(



For more cultural differences see the “culture shock” tab on the blog. It lists all the differences I’ve noticed.


2 Responses to “WSU Blog Squad Post 3”

  1. Dad Says:


    You note a lack of work ethic in France but agree with a mandated maximum 35 hours work week? I’m afraid I don’t understand.

    Anyway, thats a better cultural issue to discuss than the fact they eat snails and we don’t!


    • I’m fine with working less hours, but not fine with slacking on the job or giving bad customer service.

      I really shouldn’t have said the French lack work ethic though (I‘m guessing I said that from your comment, but I actually typed this a week ago so I don‘t remember and am too lazy to go look). Having never worked in France I only see the customer service side of the industry – which sucks.. It is more likely that they work hard, but just value other aspects of their job aside from helping the customer.

      I’m content with a 40 hour work week, but I’d like to think I work hard and if I had to work diligently 35 hours a week instead of 40 before getting paid overtime, that would be alright by me =) It doesn’t mean I would give crappy service though or slack off on the job.

      In other words I believe the hours one works in a week don’t directly correlate with the effort. Does that make sense? Do I still sound hypocritical?

      P.S. I did notice the postal workers slack, but I think everyone knows how French government workers are…

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