Work

Travail

  • admirable, success, dedication
  • career, balance, finance, people, colleagues
  • career, nine-to-five, stress
  • Career, Passion, Earnings
  • career, technology, salary
  • Completion, Execution
  • Devotement, Passion, Teammates
  • diligence, patience
  • Hard, Important, Balance
  • hard, necessary, school
  • important, fun, difficult
  • menial, tiring, rewarding
  • money, fulfillment
  • money, productivity, deadlines
  • office, formal
  • passion, helping others
  • Play, School, Learning
  • problem sets, stress
  • Rewarding, difficult
  • song, hard, dance
  • Tired, Neccessary
  • tiring, hard, neverending
  • argent, accomplissement
  • argent, effort, épanouissement
  • Argent, fatigue, détermination
  • argent, passion
  • argent, responsabilité
  • Argent, études
  • Bureau, Entreprise, Ingénieur
  • but, argent
  • Compétences, service, argent
  • Dangereux,
  • Détente, Week-end, Plage
  • Elevation, Aliénation
  • indépendance, argent, pouvoir
  • nuit blanches, galère, persévérance,
  • Objectif, Mission
  • Obligations, Controle, Survivre
  • Obligation, investissement, épanouissement
  • Obligatoire, épanouissement, argent
  • Possiblité, rémunération, fatigue

Discussion

It seems like work is a more central part of life for Americans, and so there is much more pressure for work to provide fulfillment and for it to be your passion, while the French responses seem to indicate that in France work is a necessary part of life, but not the central feature and goal of life. If this is the case, what other sorts of things are viewed as more central or more important to life than work?

It seems as though work is a more exciting concept for Americans. Americans view work as following through with one’s passion and devoting yourself to something important, even if it is tiring at times. For the French, it seems more of an obligation and a means to an end instead of a grand goal.
The French have less passion driving their career choices and career struggles. They see the obligation behind work and less of the rewards of work, other than that work gives you money which is necessary for life.
While searching for a career, is passion a large part of the decision? What is the driving force behind finding a specific job?

In their responses, the French students seem to concentrate more on the objective/outcome of working (especially money), whereas the Americans seem to concentrate more on the process of working and the difficulties and joys that accompany this process. The Americans also mention money in their responses, but less frequently. In the US, many people think that working, in itself, is very gratifying/satisfying. In France, maybe the main reason to do work is to earn a comfortable living?

My question for the French students would be: what role does work play in your life? Is it one of the most important elements of your life, especially during your student life? What role does it play in your parents’ life? How important is relaxation?

About half of the Americans seem to think that work is a very negative thing whereas the other half seem to find it as something positive by pursuing ones passion. The Americans do not have the same work-life balance that the French do. The Americans often chose a job that they are interested in and let it bleed over into other parts of their lives (such as on the weekends) but the French have a clearer divide for times when a person does their job and times when they can do other things in their life.
Why was the word dangerous included in the French list? Was this referring to a specific job or set of jobs?

There is a lot of variation in the words that Americans use to describe work, but most of the words that the French students used related to money. Perhaps that is because for Americans work plays a central part in one’s life, whereas for the French it has a smaller part and is simply a means to make a living. Perhaps it is because money is a much more important factor in which jobs people aspire to in France. Do you define yourself by your job, or by other factors? Do you think the salary is the most important part of a job?

On peut voir que la réponse la plus fréquente pour les américains est “carrière” tandis que pour nous c’est “argent” et “obligation”. À première vue on pourrait penser que nous voyons le travail uniquement comme un moyen d’obtenir de l’argent et de vivre avec comme on le souhaite tandis qu’aux USA les gens se focalisent plus sur leur carrière qui semble être très important dans votre culture.
Cependant je pense que nous cherchons malgré les apparences à trouver un travail qui nous plaise et qui nous permettent également de vivre comme il faut (comme le disait mhk).
Pour répondre à ta question lnb, je pense que oui, la passion influe énormément dans le choix de notre travail mais s’il ne permet pas de payer notre mode de vie cela peut souvent être rédhibitoire…
Aux États-Unies la carrière semble très importante pour se situer socialement. Préféreriez-vous faire un boulot passion ou avoir une carrière dite exemplaire si dans les deux cas vous pouviez vivre correctement financièrement parlant?

To respond to your question, guillaume, “passion” is a very trendy and cliché term in America. Everyone’s ultimate goal is to earn a comfortable living while doing something that they are “passionate” about. For example, in American universities, students don’t decide what they want to specialize/”major” in until they think they really know what they would love to do. And, it is very possible and common to switch majors – I know someone who switched majors eight times until they found their “passion!” In fact, in America, “following one’s passions and dreams” is, in theory, considered as more important than earning millions of dollars.

Pour répondre à ta question Jessica, le travail ne manque pas d’importance pour les américains que pour les français.
à mon avis personnel, Il y a beaucoup de facteurs qui peuvent définir la personne autre que son travail: ses principes, ses idées, ses compétences, ses expériences …

Personnellement, j’ai toujours reconsidéré mes choix professionnels en fonction de leur rentabilité. Si je n’avais pas besoin de gagner beaucoup d’argent rapidement, j’aurais sans doute choisi une voie complètement différente.

Vous semblez prendre vos décisions professionnelles selon vos affinités. C’est honorable.

Cependant, je suis un peu dur dans le sens où notre situation en France est plus qu’intéressante. Les entreprises recrutent de plus en plus d’ingénieurs, alors que le nombre d’ingénieurs formés par année reste sensiblement le même. Pour illustrer ce confort, une bonne partie de nos offres d’emploi se situe à l’étranger, ce qui nous permet effectivement de choisir un job davantage pour son contenu que pour son apport.

Pour une majorité de français, le travail permet de manger, et manger permet de retourner travailler le lendemain matin. Vous voyez le genre de cercle vicieux.

Est-ce facile de trouver un travail aux USA? Avec/sans diplômes?
En France, c’est pas évident et souvent très laborieux quand on est pas “qualifié”. Il y a une cinquantaine d’années, les gens rentraient dans les bars/restaurants et demandaient du travail pour quelques semaines. Maintenant c’est différent, les gens sont triés, sélectionnés, embauchés pour du long terme… C’est plus compliqué.

Rémi: I don’t have a ton of experience looking for jobs, but from what I’ve gathered, it’s difficult to get full-time jobs without a degree. You hear stories about people dropping out of college to work on start-ups that become wildly popular and successful, but I’d say that’s rare. With a degree, it depends - employers will look at your GPA, what school you went to, and past projects/internships you’ve had, and they will factor all of that into account when hiring, and since competition varies across disciplines, it’s hard to say exactly.

I do think it can be hard to get a summer internship as a college student if you’re trying to find something in the industry, because employers often expect you to already have a lot of experience and knowledge that you might not have if it’s only your first or second year in college.

I know that at least at MIT, people feel like they have to get internships every summer in the field they hope to work in after graduating (i. e. not working at a pizza place or as a lifeguard, etc.), so looking for jobs can get to be very stressful. However, not all schools have that culture. Do French students often get internships before graduating, and if so, how hard is it to get one?

rpertro, I wouldn’t actually call our choices honorable, I personally think more people are doing something similar to what you are doing and are just trying to be realistic. Most people that I’ve met, especially here at MIT, understand what jobs are actually available after graduation (in technology and engineering and similar subjects) and try to find something interesting that will also result in a job when they graduate so they pick a branch of science or engineering that interests them the most. I only know a couple people who genuinely wake up in the morning truly passionate about what they are studying. The rest of us just think it’s interesting and will hopefully continue to be interesting and not boring and actually pay the bills. Students really feel the pressure to land a job right out of college so they do internships like laika said in the hopes of first, actually getting a job and second, for that job to be interesting. I think the fact that we have so few humanities majors here at MIT even though we have some of the best programs in the country and even the ones who do major usually do it as a second major in addition to a more technical one that they actually think will pay the bills. But this might just be my take on it and my classmates might correct me and share how passionate they actually are about their work.

rpertro: I think that we are in a similar situation in the US, where we pick a field of study that we think will result in a job in the future. For example, I am very passionate about painting and drawing and if I could really choose what I wanted to do with no qualms, I might’ve chosen to go to an art school. However, because of what I was told as a child and what I saw from society, I believed that going to art school would result essentially in me becoming a starving artist. Instead, I chose to apply to “real schools” such as MIT and other more traditional 4-year colleges, and ended up studying something that bridged both my technical side and my artistic side. While I enjoyed what I studied, I am now applying for jobs that are not really within my major - which is kind of ironic.

@Rémi, I think that it depends on what job you’re looking for. There are definitely jobs that don’t require a diploma, some only need certificates, and others you just need to have graduated high school. However, these jobs will probably only pay minimum wage, and are probably quite boring and not challenging. If you are searching for a good paying job in an industry, I would venture to say it’s impossible to get a job without a degree. rpetro mentioned that a lot of French engineers are finding work outside of France. Have you guys heard of any difficulties adapting to the different work cultures? I’ve heard from several people that did internships in France that it was a little bit of a shock how different the usual work schedule was. Is it more common for French people to end up working in other countries in Europe if they work outside of France? Or in other places such as the Americas or Asia?

Rémi: I think it is often difficult for a lot of people to find work in the United States, especially without a degree. I think a lot of people that I know have found trouble because the area of work they are interested in is highly competitive. In general, most jobs just really look for experience in the field. Therefore, you can imagine that finding that first job in the field is a difficult step. How do students in France gain experience before entering their field of interests? Are internships common during the summer or is there other methods? Do students often find internships in other countries?

Remi you asked about how difficult it was to get a job in the US without a diploma, and I agree with redchip123 that most jobs that you can get without a diploma probably don’t pay much above minimum wage. I know that in France, there are generally more social programs and “safety nets” in place. For instance, France has universal healthcare which did not happen in the US until very recently and is still quite controversial. In America, it is extremely hard to make ends meet while earning minimum wage, especially if you are trying to raise a family. How does that compare to minimum wage jobs in France. Can people raise a family and make ends meet on a minimum wage salary, or is it very difficult? What do people there think about the minimum wage?

@guillame I would very much prefer to have a passion for what I’m working on, the social significance of having a “good career” is not that important to me; however, at MIT there are soo many things that one can study passionately, that also turns out to be considered “a good academic career”. I think we are very lucky in that sense. We don’t have to choose.

I think we’re, as MIT students, very biased when it comes to the debate of working for pay or for passion. If you had the same debate with liberal arts students, you might get entirely different answers.

I agree completely with elemcy and with PhysicsMajor. MIT students are biased, and we don’t really have to choose between what we like and what will earn us good money as a career. When I talk to old high school friends who study at liberal arts institutions, they all say “I know I’m not going to get a job,” (this is not necessarily true, by the way) “but I love doing what I do.” At MIT, most students love STEM, so they like what they study… and they’re likely to get a good job upon graduation.

However, our tiny percentage of humanities students… despite the fact that we have fantastic humanities departments… makes me wonder sometimes whether some MIT students are suffering from the STEM-dominated culture and whether they would actually rather study something else!

@PhysicsMajor, @elemcy et @mhk : Il est vrai que les réponses concernant le travail ne sont pas les mêmes qui nous viennent à l’esprit à nous non plus en tant que futurs ingénieurs. En France aussi, des étudiants en arts ou en lettre auraient certainement eus des réponses un peu plus négatives…

The French believe that individualism is bad and restrictive.
The Americans believe individualism is lonely but it also provides independence.
I think the French in general have had bad experiences historically with the government. They believe the government officials are individualists.
Why do you associate the government with individualism? Is it because you believe the government officials only work for their benefit?

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