Hurry! Finally I got my first job in France (after months and months of searching) and so I also got already my few observations about how those French people work…
Because it is my first real job contract in France (still CDD not my ideal CDI but you can not have everything), I pay attention to every little thing that concerns working in France because I want to understand better. So, so far, I figured out few interesting facts about working in France and I shall share them with you. But it would be amazing if you can add your observations, experience or tips for me to fit better in the French company. Thank you in advance and below are my notes…
Things that surprised me about working in a French company:
- It really takes ages to get the job (from the 1st interview up till the job offer). The French prove they are quite slow in taking those decisions but also they follow many formalities and they properly check references to make sure everything is ok. They also seem to read the motivation letter (don’t even think about applying for a job without motivation letter cause it’s not well seen by the French) Anyways, at the end of the day, it is a big decision for a company to choose a good employee so let them take their time yet please let them hire us.
- Two main types of job contract: CDD and CDI. The first one is the job with the end date and the second one is the job offer without the end date. Each type will have a probation period. For CDD, it’s usually one month, for CDI it’s usually 3 months. Of course, it might depend on the company. The thing that surprised me was the fact that after this probation period (if stated in the contract), the employer can extend it…so they test you more and more.
- Job benefits in the typical French company: restaurant vouchers, contribution to transport and mutuelle…i love you France. Also, many big companies offer also built in canteen which serves proper meals and contribute to this.
- The real one hour or even 1.5 hours lunch break seemed so long for me but now I realize it is needed and we should take an example from French who take their time and eat and rest so they are recharged for work. It really surprised me that the employers encourage you to take the real break and eat well rather than a sandwich in front of computer (my London’ experience).
- RTT – what is that? So, normally all French should work 35 hours per week but if the company requires 39 hour week than the employee get a day or two days off per month.
- There are some cakes involved when people have birthdays and this I understand but there is an informal rule that when you join the company you should also bring a cake. And here I was very, very shy to do it as at the beginning you don’t know many people to call: hey guys I made a cake, come and help yourself… smacznego
- The French work hard. I confirm.
- Médecine du travail. I think this exists in many countries that you have to get the confirmation from doctor that there are no health issues for you to work. I understood but I didn’t realize that for the office work you need it as well.
- Good news: taxes! France decided to change the way the people pay taxes. Now, it is the employers who will pay the taxes for their employees…so much easier with (I hope) zero hassle.
- More red tape! When you work in France, you have to have your social security number. If you have never had it, you need to apply for it here. You need to fill the form, gather the requested documents such as a copy of your passport, copy of the contract and the payslip as well as the confirmation that you have been living in France etc
Anything else? I guess other things are quite common and specific to the particular industry and type of work. I tried to share few interesting facts I came across when starting a job in France. How about you? Did you notice anything particular and surprising about French way of working. Please share with me. Bon travail!