balance, achievement
boss, job, salary
construction, designing, practicing
cubicle, office, computer
cubicle, problem sets
dedication, responsibility
Desk, office, paper
Difficult, Endless
duty, focus, success
duty, paycheck
education, friendship
effort, time
fulfillment, paycheck, success
hard, time
job, boring, money
long hours, office, coffee
no fun, boring, dull
sacrifice, analyzing, decision-making
safety, diligence, play
tedious, mind-numbing
tedious, necessary
time between vacations, calling in life
time, busy

argent, carrière, passion,
argent, passion, retraite
assiduité, argent, passion
emploi, réussite
famille, patrie
important, gagner de l'argent
laborieux ennuyeux
le fruit de nos educations , responsabilité
métier, intérêt
nécessaire, vie professionnelle
obligation, utile
obligatoire responsabilisant
trop dur
valeur, courage


Première constatation, le mot agent revient beaucoup pour les français.
Puis le mot passion et enfin le mot nécessité. Concernant les réponses
des américains, je suis étonnée de constater que le premier mot qu’ils
associent est le mot Ťcubicle ť (espace de travail cloisonné). En
France, nous préférons avoir un espace de travail ouvert. Les mots se
rapprochant : ennuyeux/ long hour/tedious

I think work is very stressful for most Americans. As you correctly
mentioned, Audrey, Americans work in very closed spaces (in fact,
there's a humorous movie called Office Space who's main topic is the
stress of work in the office). Americans work 40 hours per week, while
the French work only 35. I remember hearing that the French are much
happier in their workplace and hence they are more efficient than

Certains français travaillent 35h par semaine, mais ceux qui sont cesser
faire ces 35h en font généralement plus. Ces heures ne sont pas
forcement payées et ratrappées. Nous avons l'avantage d'avoir un salaire
minimun alors que vous vous pouvez faire plus d'heure et gagner moins.
Aux EU, beaucoup sont obligés de faire deux travail pour avoir en fin de
mois un salaire correct. (es ce vrai ou es ce une image transmise par
les films. Je ne connais pas le film dont tu parles, quel acteur joue

It is true that in many families, both parents work in order to get the
benefits of two salaries. Generally, however, I think that families work
more in order to have more things that they want, and not necessarily
for necessities only.

In response to your comment, Audrey, there are minimum wage requirements
in the United States also, and I do not think that Americans necessarily
work more and earn less. I think that as in any country, how much you
make depends a lot on what your job is.

Do any of the French students feel that people are more efficient
because they're happier at their jobs due to working fewer hours?

This post addresses mostly Audrey's comments. Like Frances said, we do
have a minimum salary law. However, as you correctly pointed out, it is
not sufficient and many people end up working two jobs. (For example, I
did research on this, and most states--including NY, where I come
from--the minimum salary is USD$5.15 per hour, which is very little.
Think about how much this is when you have to pay, on average, $800 for
monthly rent, your family's food, clothing, electricity, etc...).

However, not everyone works two jobs. I guess what it comes down to is
the level of education you have and what kind of job you have. Also, the
job "openness" depends on what kind of job you have. For example, people
that work for sanitation work in a very open environment, whereas
someone that works in the field of Computer Science ("l'informatique")
tends to work in cubicles (I know because I've been on both sides of the

To the French students: do you mind describing what a typical workday
looks like? (For example: arrive to work at 8 AM, have lunch at noon, etc).

I am curious, how is the French workplace set up if it does not have
cubicles? Also, how do the French keep morale high in the workplace? I
don't think it is simply an issue of money. In the U.S., people who earn
high wages (stock brokers, computer programmers at Microsoft) also tend
to be very stressed out and unhappy. Do you think the difference between
U.S. and French workers has anything to do with different concepts of

I was rather surprised to find that the French students listed money and
a paycheck often in association with work. I guess I thought this was a
purely American thing, because we live in a highly capitalist society.
However, it seemed that work has a much more positive connotation in
France as compared to America. I believe this may be because of the
media's perpetuation of "work" as a battle and a struggle. Do any of the
French students agree with me? Do many movies, television shows, etc.,
portray work as a hassle and an ongoing struggle? I know this portrayal
is common in America.

Office Space was directed by Mike Judge. You can read more here:

I also wanted to add that one problem with the U.S. is that the minimum
wage is too low compared to the cost of living. To contrast, while the
minimum wage is lower in Mexico, the cost of living is much lower, and
at least in my city the problems are not disproportionally higher or
lower than in the average of the United States. What matters is the
balance of the minimum wage and the cost of living. So maybe the real
question we should make the IUP students is if the minimum wage is in
adequate proportion to the costo of living in France. I suspect here's
the key of why they don't have two jobs as often as Americans do.

My comment doesn't concern workspace; it's about work ethic. The way
people negotiate in the US is totally different from how people
negotiate in other countries. Here, everything tends to be very formal
and straightforward unlike Europe or Latin America, where there is a
stage prior to the actual negotiation. People socialize and avoid the
subject of interest for a while. That's probably why there are some
misunderstandings when American and foreign companies do business.
Simply being aware of this fact would help both sides out a lot.

I'd like to pose a question to our french colleagues: is work there
mostly a source of personal fulfillment/success or a means of survival
while you enjoy life otherwise?