A good job ...

Un bon emploi ...

allows the workers to have fun while working productively.

compensates both financially and personally.

is enjoyable and able to sustain you monetarily for all your needs.

is fulfilling and exciting; allows you to maintain a personal life; pays well

is interesting. is challenging. is fun.

Is not the same every day, is challenging but enjoyable, and pays relatively well for the work being done.

is one that you enjoy going to every day and provides an environment for self improvement.

is one you enjoy

is something I want to have in life. I hope I get to have a job I love and that supports me and my family.

is something you enjoy doing, can make a living off of and adds purpose to your life.

Makes you want to go to work every day, is fun, and interesting.

pays a lot and makes you happy

pays well and provides the necessary benefits while allowing for growth and further learning.

pays well,
is interesting to the employee,
challenges the employee.

provides a sense of safety and self-accomplishment while, at the same time, is always challenging.

stands out.
achieves a goal.

stimulates you intellectually

aborde un sujet qui nous intéresse, il nous laisse assez de temps pour nos loisirs et la famille

apporte le salaire permettant d'avoir un bon niveau de vie, ne déteriore pas la condition physique (et mentale) de l'employé, est intéressant et stimulant

bien payé

est bien rémunéré, intéressant et enrichissant.

est intéressant, épanouissant, et bien payé

est intéressant.
paye décemment.
se trouve à proximité du logement.

est passionnant et permet de vivre agréablement.

est stable (pas de risque de se faire renvoyer du jour au lendemain).

procure du plaisir à ses employés.

induit une bonne situation financière.

est stable et donne de quoi vivre

est un emploi dans lequel on peut s'épanouir

est un emploi que j'apprécie

est un emploi sûr, pour lequel on est correctement rémunéré selon le travail qu'on effectue.

est un emploie stable, que j'aime, facilités d'horaire

permet de garder une bonne vie sociale,
est correctement payé,
ne conduit pas à la dépression

permet de vivre confortablement tout en faisant ce qu'on aime.

qui rapporte un bon salaire, est intéressant et est proche de chez soi.

se garde,
est bien payé,
nous plaît


Both the American and French responses are about money and whether the work is interesting or not, but only the French ones talked about how far the job is from home and how much free time they had to be home or go on vacation. Do you think this is because the Americains are more willing to put in more hours and travel for their job? Why? Do many French people have to commute a long distance to work in general? 

One thing that the French mentioned often was stability. How important is that in deciding on a career? And when do people stop trying to earn more money? i.e. when do they decide they've reached a point which they are satisfied with?

Je pense que nous n'avons pas la même approche du travail, en effet nous voulons pouvoir rentrer après le travail auprès de notre famille ou de nos amis le plus vite possible, ne pas être trop stréssés et avoir des vacances pour respirer de temps en temps.

De plus nous n'avons pas encore le regard anglo-saxon sur le travail, en effet les anglo-saxons trouvent normal de changer plusieurs fois de métiers au cours de sa vie, tandis que nous pensons encore que l'on peut garder un métier toute sa vie. Néanmoins cette vision tend à changer, car la société évolue.

Le point à partir duquel on ne veut plus évoluer dépend des personnes, je ne pourrais pas donner de réponse générale...

Et aux USA, comment abordez vous le travail ? La séparation entre la vie privée et votre emploi ? Une belle carrière, qu'est ce que c'est pour vous, est ce rester dans une entreprise et y évoluer jusqu'à la fin ou justement changer d'entreprise, de métier tout au long de sa carrière ?

I agree with Madeleine on the general feelings towards work and how the french responses resonated more with stability and close to home as opposed to the american responses.


To respond to Emmanuel, I feel that work is an interesting subject here. While most people would like a fulfilling and well-paying job, it is difficult to get both in the same deal. A successful career is largely connotated with a great salary as opposed to fulfillment. People often change jobs looking for promotions and better pay. I've done that myself, actually. 

Pour répondre au sujet, je confirme la vision francaise du travail. On voit encore trop souvent dans les mentalités la difficulté à se dire qu'on pourrait être ammené à changer de métier.

Cette idée va plus loin avec bien souvent pas mal de soucis rien qu'à se dire de changer de poste sans forcément quitter une filière.

Après, un autre facteur est le métier considéré, il y a évidemment plus de facilités dans les métiers de service au niveau de la mobilité.


Je pense aussi qu'en France, la place des loisirs et à côtés du travail sont plus important dans les mentalités.

Est-ce qu'il est facile aux US de changer de poste? Changer de filière et qu'en est-il dans les secteurs comme l'industrie?

I agree with the general observations about French responses emphasizing things like stability and closer distance to home, and I think that by comparing these responses with the French's association with words like "family" and "individualism," and phrases like "The French are obsessed with..." a clearer trend begins to emerge, where the French seem to put a lot of emphasis on family ties and personal relationships, whereas Americans value individualism and independence more.

I don't know if maybe this difference is not only attributable to cultural differences, but also economic differences - Kevin and Emmanuel have written about a typical French employee's reluctance to switch jobs, but is this also reflected in the attitudes of French employers? Are French companies/universities less likely to hire someone who has moved around more?

In the US, I think it's both common and relatively easy to change jobs. Just by looking at the career paths of professors in my department (Biological Engineering), it's clear that many professors have held several different positions at different schools or companies, even switching back and forth between academia and industry, two very different environments. I think that while Americans still do value stability, especially given the current economic climate, Americans tend to see changing jobs as also an opportunity to learn more and broaden your network and skill set.

Do French people consider their jobs as learning opportunities, or more as positions where you use what you already know to earn money/get promotions/etc.? Maybe the tendency to look for stability and continuity is related to the fact that French students decide their career paths earlier? (specialization starts to happen as early as high school, right?)

Pour moi en France il y a 3 types de comportements vis à vis du travail : 

1- Ceux qui ne cherchent pas forcement de reconnaissance au travail, pour qui c'est une obligation dont ils se passeraient bien, qui font leurs heures et pas plus : le travail doit être stable, régulier, et on doit pouvoir se dégager du temps et suffisément d'argent pour passer du temps en famille. Ils cherchent souvent à améliorer leur conditions de travail. En France les fonctionnaires sont souvent la cible de ce genre de caricatures. Pour illustrer voici quelques blagues sur les fonctionnaires :

Quelle est la différence entre un fonctionnaire et un chômeur ?
Le chômeur a déjà travaillé.

C'est quoi un fonctionnaire qui travaille 1 heure par jour ?
Un hyperactif.

2- Ceux qui attendent beaucoup de leur travail, qui s'investissent à fond et qui attendent beaucoup de reconnaissance. Ces personnes sont capable de laisser de côté leur vie de famille pour leur carrière. C'est souvent le cas de jeunes, très motivés


3- La catégorie intermédiaire : ceux qui attendent de leur travail, s'y investissent, mais ne sont pas prêt à sacrifier trop d'heures ni leur vie de famille.


Je pense qu'il n'est pas possible de ranger les gens dans des catégories, d'autant plus qu'au fur à mesure du temps ça évolue beaucoup. Il est normal quand on a des enfants de vouloir passer plus de temps à la maison, et de rechercher de la stabilité.


Thank you Jonathan for the joke! It seems like civil servants have the same stereotypes everywhere. 

From what I have seen at MIT, stability is seen as a dead end. People often want more, not necessarily just money, but also position and success. People work harder and harder to achieve higher standing and success. 

How much does personal interest play a role in choosing a carrer as opposed to parents' suggestions or social pressure?

Emmanuel --


Until about 15 years ago, it was not uncommon for American workers to stay at a company their entire careers or perhaps move two or three times. Now employers have no loyalty to workers and vice versa. Employers used to reward workers for staying a long time, partly because it is expensive to train replacements. Personally, in the more job mobile world we are living in, I think it can be dangerous to stay with one employer too long. You can get lazy, stop learning new "tricks" and find yourself being seen by your employer as old meat (i.e., if you are so good, why do you stay here?).

I agree with John, most people view having a single job for a long time as a bad thing, unless you have managed to find your dream job. Would it be considered good or bad in France to change jobs relatively frequently? If the job is getting better each time? 

Is it common to move around because of job reasons? My family  has moved around three times in the last four years because of my dad's job. In the case that the job has been relocated to another region, would the French rather find another job or move to continue working in the same company?

Madeeine mentioned the idea of a "dream job."  There is an idea here that your job should be a source of personal fulfillment, not just something you do for money.  Do you have this in France?

Here at MIT, it sometimes seems like everyone else is out to change the world in big way.  The school pressures its students to be extraordinary, and most of us aren't really that extraordinary.  This might be one reason so many of us talked about finding a good/fulfilling job in the "my greatest fear" section.  I don't think it's all about the money; it's also about not disappointing MIT, our families, and ourselves.

As students at a top engineering school, do you feel like people expect you to solve the world's problems?  Does this affect what you want to do after you graduate?

I agree with Laura that it's important to keep in mind that the responses about a "good job" are very much tied to our school, and also our age (relatively young). 

I'm wondering if the responses are tied to the fundamental differences in jobs between the two countries - for example, it might be that the American responses focus a lot on personal fulfillment and money because the American workplace does not provide the same security that perhaps the French one does (in terms of unemployment, disability/health insurance, maternity leave, vacation time, etc.). So Americans might demand more from their jobs as compensation. 

What are some of the job benefits that the French seek in a job?

Laura puts forth an interesting point. Do french students at their top engineering schools feel pressured as the next generation to solve some of the crises of their country or the world. I definitely feel a push at MIT for the gravity of issues such as efficiency of devices, energy as an issue of national security, and impacts of climate change from today's lifestyles. This may be because the US is a big player in world affairs, but it would be interesting to know what is the french's attitude.

With respect to jobs and the job market, there have been a huge growth and popularization of 'start-ups' even though statistics are clearly against it, as 90% of them fail within the first year of going into business. Is there a recent surge for start-ups in France or Europe now? and if so, what is the statistic for success like?


Je pense que nous avons beaucoup moins de pression que vous sur nos épaules. Nous sommes dans une bonne école, et nous sommes supposés trouver un emploi interressant et valorisant. Par contre on n'est pas considéré comme l'élite de l'élite, et nous ne sommes pas non plus dans une école de super-héros, on ne nous demandera pas de sauver le monde !


Je pense que la réalité et que à la sortie des études nous choisissons un emploi qui nous plait, et nous apporte de l'argent, mais la motivation est très individualiste, et je pense que beaucoup ne sont pas prêts à sacrifier confort de vie et confort financier pour aider son pays/les autres. Heuresement, il y a des excepttions, mais globalement il y a beaucoup d'interêt personnel.