AMA: “Do you work fewer hours per day in France than you did in the US?”

I briefly mention this in my interview on Our Paris Stories; the hours per day turn out to be pretty similar, but the work day is shifted a few hours later given that I take calls with colleagues in the Seattle office at night (their morning time).

After my first year at Microsoft (where work used to completely = my life), I made a commitment to controlling my time and rarely brought work home. Now it’s a little bit harder (I once had to give a presentation to 200 people over Skype at 11PM my time), but it’s manageable as long as I set and communicate my boundaries (and still get everything done of course).

However, if you calculate in the French vacation allowance (7 weeks) compared to the US one (3 weeks), France certainly wins 🙂

One thing I really appreciate about working here is that people truly value work-life balance. I have friends who work at start-ups in SF with “unlimited PTO”, but in reality the culture promotes everyone to work like crazy 24/7 and there is value placed on the perception of being constantly “busy”. In France, this would kind of be laughed upon. There is a strong expectation that you take your full vacation and do not check email while doing so. It’s common in the office to hear just after 2 months after returning to work, “Hasn’t it been a while since you’ve been OOF (out of facility)? When are your next travel plans?”


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