Sunday's Picture and a Song - Buridane, the Fête de la Musique and "Work-Life Balance"

Buridane at the Fête de la Musique at the Palais Royal.

Even though people in France have a lot of compulsory vacation days compared with those in other countries, the concept of "Work-Life Balance" is a hot topic because French workers are among the most dissatisfied in Europe. As part of an ongoing effort to keep their employees content, the human resource department at the company where Stéphane works sent out the following general email on Thursday:

... 21 June, already? Hey, that's the Fête de la Musique! OK, so perhaps you've got a few things to finish off, but that's no reason to work late when everybody else is out partying! Tonight you should make some time for yourself. Turn off the computer and drop in on your colleagues to rally some support. Alternatively, you can arrange to hook up with your better half and little darlings. Whatever you do, tonight is about enjoying yourself! And you can be sure that there's something for everyone!...

...We've dreamed up the perfect programme:

6pm: lights out at the office— just for once! Destination Café Français on the place Corentin Celton, for a jazzy hour of warm-up with the New Farmers. 7pm already? Off to the place Madaule for acoustic concerts until 9pm. All right, so acoustic is not your thing... In that case, Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, for the latest vibes. And if you're looking for classical, forget all the above! See you at 8.30pm at the Chapelle du séminaire de Saint-Sulpice for the annual concert of the Neidermeyer Conservatoire.


I'm pleased to report that Stéphane followed their advice, turned off his computer at 6:30 p.m. and enjoyed a "night off" at the annual Fête de la Musique with me.


Buridane rehearsing and getting ready for the crowd.

Comments

  1. Surely the email wasn't in English?

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was - British English nonetheless judging by the spelling of "programme"! I checked with Stephane and he said that all general emails are sent in French and English. He also said that most of the internal meetings are in English. I guess that it's to be expected since it's the world headquarters and there are people of different nationalities working there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PS. Just wanted to add that I'm not the only one who wonders "What will Joseph think of this?!" Take a look at Mlle Ella's comment below.

      Delete
  3. Good for both of you! I wish I could have experienced La Fete! It sounds like it was a great time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you starting to miss Paris, Kate? As for me, I wouldn't mind a blast of Texas heat after all of these grey days.

      Delete
  4. That sounds like a fun program.

    Wow, the French workforce sure have it good, in my opinion. I can't ever imagine my husband getting an email from his company advising him to forget about the office and take in a cultural event. It boggles the mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They really do have it good in France. One of the other statistics that I saw showed that Americans and Japanese are the least likely to use all of their vacation days - and that's saying something since Americans don't usually have that many days to begin with. Whenever I try to explain the North American work ethic to Europeans, it's hard for them to understand the fear that many Americans have about losing their jobs if they're not always at their desks.

      Having said that, I had to laugh that the email from the HR dept said that they should turn their computers off at 6 - just for once!

      Delete
  5. So funny! Joseph! I was thinking the same exact thing and before opening the comments page, I had a hunch that you were going to comment on the strange e-mail as well. lol!

    It doesn't surprise me that the French are the least satisfied workers in Europe. When I first came here and living right outside of La Motte-Picquet metro station, I was shocked by how busy and packed with commuters the station was long after 6pm.

    Seb also works American-style. He leaves the house at 8:30 and is home by 8 and sometimes even midnight. Good to know should we decide to ever move back to NYC!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seb must be one of the first people to arrive at his office in the morning! I tease Stephane that he works Swiss/French hours because he arrives early, like the Swiss, and leaves late, like the French.

      The other night, we were surprised to see two fruit and vegetables stores open at midnight. Just as we were discussing who would go shopping so late, we saw people in business clothes coming out of the store. Maybe it was Seb picking up some bananas on his way home from work!

      As for working in NYC, I would have a hard time adjusting to 2-3 weeks of vacation per year.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts