Although I don’t move to Paris until after new year’s, my boss sent me on a trip this week to meet the team and move my projects forward. This is the best business trip I’ve been on in terms of professional and personal development. (Plus I got to bring mom along for the ride!)
Our team in Paris operates more like a start-up, with monthly sprints and open floor seating (not to mention a view of the Eiffel Tower). It’s GREAT. People are much more collaborative, though it can probably get distracting at times (a nerf gun war broke out one morning). My previous team in Redmond was pretty close, but only a few of us put effort in organizing social events.The French are naturally more social at work. When the clock strikes 12, everyone (everyone.) heads down to the cafeteria together to eat as a team. (Also: creme brulee, baguettes, cheese, and organina every day whaaaat.) After lunch, we head up to the cafe for a cappuccino and more chatter.
With every new person I met in the Paris office, each one asked me the following:
- Why Paris? (I’ve got this down to an elevator pitch now.)
- Do you speak French? (“un petit peu”)
- Where are you living? (Apparently the 5th was a good choice, as I received many winks of approval on my neighborhood.)
This job doesn’t require me to speak French (all business is written and spoken in English), but I feel that in order to really be part of the team, you need to try. Luckily, my 4 years of high school French came back pretty easily and I was able to give a short presentation and survive an entire holiday party(!) en français. After breaking that barrier, I felt like I could really see myself being part of this Paris family. It’s incredible how one week abroad has already forced me to put myself out there and be vulnerable. This is exactly the adventure and challenge I was looking for.