Professional Success

Here is to my last week in Paris! I cannot believe that these 8 weeks have gone by so fast. I remember being told by an EUSA team member how 8 weeks would go by without even realizing it–I guess I did not believe him until now. During my stay in Paris, France I have learned a lot about myself both personally and professionally. I think I became a more independent, driven, and fearless individual. As a professional, I learned and honed the skills that are important for my career as an international journalist. Overall, I am extremely grateful for this internship experience in Paris because on top of all of that, I learned how to be a successful individual.

The French do not really give the type of compliments in a professional setting like they do in the United States. You hear less praise, not because they think you do not deserve it, but because they think by leaving more room to focus on the negatives, you will progress more rapidly in your work. In other words, even if both you and your boss know that your work is excellent, your boss will give you little praise and jump straight to parts that you can work on. The French do not think it is necessary to give so much praise because that is already implied when they point out the negatives– that is, they view pointing out your weaknesses on a certain task or assignment as an opportunity for growth. Additionally, the French indirectly state that you are successful employee if they give you more work to do. In other words, if they see that the work you are completing is done with little to no errors, they will trust you with more company responsibilities.

As previously mentioned, in order to be successful in a professional setting in France, you have to constantly work on the negatives and your weaknesses. In other words, you should not take criticism from your boss to heart, but instead remind yourself that your boss and fellow colleagues are there to help you better yourself as a young professional. Additionally, in France, if your boss gives you more work to do then you expected to have assigned that means that they care about your progress and are potentially thinking about hiring you for a position. For example, Last week I went to Orléans, France to cover a report about the Vel d’Hiv round-up, which was a historical, yet tragic moment in history for Jewish families. It was going to be the biggest report of the year, since it would have marked the 80th year after the event. Both Violette (a fellow French intern) and I were asked to visit a museum that was dedicated to all the Jewish children that had died in the round-up. It was a huge responsibility which required a lot of time and dedication. After coming back from our report, I realized that our boss had sent us to Orléans because he saw potential in both of us. Our boss gave us more work and responsibility because that is how he tells us that we have been doing a good job at work and have thus been successful at accomplishing tasks.

I had also spoken to one of my French friends over dinner last week about success in the work force in France. He was telling me how he works in the finance industry and how his boss gives him more work than the average intern. When I asked him why, he responded to me by saying that his boss is potentially looking to hire him after his internship officially ends.

I think in the United States, we put more emphasis on behavior–that is, we prefer to see the employee overtly show their willingness and motivation to work when in a professional setting. However, in my opinion the French harbor the same energy, but it is more internal and is mostly seen through the quality of their work. In other words, if you work hard on your tasks and complete them with little to no errors, you will viewed as a strong candidate. This puts a lot more pressure on the employee to preform well at work in my opinion.

I think the way the two countries define success is somewhat similar, that is, with little to no differences. I think the French work environment has prepared me for my industry not only because I learned and honed the skills necessary, but also because I know how France and my industry defines success.