Former actress Sharon Au experienced quite the culture shock when she moved from Singapore to France in 2018, mostly in terms of work habits and ethics. In an interview with a Chinese radio station, she shares the different instances wherein she was actually penalized for working after hours.
When she first started at her new position with an international private equity firm in Paris, she wasn’t as aware yet of the importance of work-life balance to the French. She soon learned of the comprehensive labor protections in place in France by a somewhat trial-and-error method.
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The beginning of Fall is magic. Leaves turn yellow, the crunching sound of your shoes stepping on fallen leaves, and crisp autumn breeze reminding you that things fall apart but life begins all over again. Telling myself I will bloom again. Don’t give up. I was very touched when my bff texted me “Anyway 可以就可以 不可以就搬回来住” . Thank you Michelle. Meant a lot to me.
The first instance took place during her first week at work. Sharon had sent out a work email past 8p.m., violating the right of employees to “disconnect” from emails outside office hours. Her French co-worker reported her by sending a screenshot to Human Resources (HR). A minor warning was given for the incident.
Another time, Sharon privately messaged her co-worker at 11p.m. a simple reminder for an early morning meeting the following day. While it did not merit any warnings, both HR and her co-workers were concerned that she was lonely with no life outside work. So they offered her counselling sessions, meal invites, movie tickets, and yoga classes.
While Sharon laughingly recalled these instances she makes it clear that she appreciates the genuine concern shown for her mental well-being. The obvious difference between Asian and European work cultures makes you wonder if one is preferable over the other and why.
Do you think we should implement these laws in the Philippines?
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