a golden pot at the end of the rainbow...

Posted by Analyse at 6:10 PM

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

I'm just overwhelmed by the way people react to one's actions and achievements, to different situations, etc. Different folks with different strokes. In a conversation, especially in heated topics such as politics, work environment, work attitude, and the likes, everybody here is interested to know my opinion as I'm a product of a different country, thus a different culture and different views. Before I stress out my opinion though, I warn them that I might step on their feet and hit their sensitive egos. It's a pity that French people, especially those who haven't travelled yet or those who stay firm on what they believe in, see France, their country, differently as I do.

There are so many things here that they could be proud of, not counting their superb patrimony, their fascinating history and their rich culture. Their social security is the best in Europe. But of course, for that to function well, they have to pay a lot - which of course doesn't please to most. But hey, at least they know and see where their money goes. Everything here is accessible to all class of society, be it in education, medical benefits, etc.

Here are some facts:

- Each opening of the school year, every family receives a certain amount destined to buy school stuffs for the kids.
- The government gives financial allocations to families, in pro rata of their total monthly income. If they've got no income, the government is there to help.
- If you need a nanny for your baby, the government helps.
- Education is almost free. They just have to pay a very cheap entrance / miscellaneous fee and they're in. in addition to that, there are a lot of scholarship grants available for everybody. Plus the fact that the government, generous as it is, gives a lodging allowance for students.
- Almost all of the medical and dental expenses are reimbursable.
- The company where they work gives a share on your taxes..(this, on the other hand weighs too heavy on the shoulder of the companies that most of them tends to delocalise their production in countries where manpower is less expensive)
- And a lot more...

Of course, in return, they have to slash down their salary to almost 35% (for singles) for the government plus an exorbitant 19.6% VAT for each purchase (5.5% for basic necessities such as food, etc).

Talking about work cultures, few personal experiences have shaken me which made me realize how different my culture is compared to my adoptive country. As I'm currently working in the same company where I worked when I was in the Philippines and now that I'm here in France, I could blatantly check certain differences.

Situation 1: Philippines. I was the fourth person in our department to be hired, the only mademoiselle in the group. My first contact with my workplace is in a layout. It was actually under construction when I arrived so all I could visit is the drawing of the workshop. I was one of the pioneers, I wrote the first procedures, established work methods, set up the process, created a working culture. After a month of survival in a workshop that doesn't exist and trying to negotiate with all the suppliers all around the globe to have everything in place on time: my Filipino boss told me 'you lack initiative'! Wow, what a comment.

Situation 2: France. I actually started here as a trainee, in line with my post-graduate study. After 5 months, they called me up proposing a permanent position in the company. Who am I to decline such proposal considering that it's my dream job? What do you expect, I of course hastily grab the opportunity. Barely after 4 months, my H+4 (4th level hierarchy) requested to meet me to personally welcome me in the group and convey his complements for a job well done. Wow, what a complement. After 7 months of working with them, here again my immediate boss asking for a rendez-vous. He wants to meet me for my annual interview with an exceptional objective: to raise my salary! Would you believe that?

I can't help myself but smile. I work just the same but I get totally opposing feedbacks. Of course I did get a raise in the phils - coming from my French bosses. I'm not the kind who generalizes things, so ill just say that I unluckily had a one-of-a-kind boss who dealt with people in a very stiff manner. Let's just say, I was under Martial Law :)...anyway, im out of it now and enjoying what life could offer...