What I learned from working as an expat in Paris

Enjoying a last glass of wine in Paris at one of my favorite spots.

Starting a new professional adventure is the ideal moment to look back on a previous experience. In my case, I worked during the last year for Scaleway in Paris.

“Scaleway is an Iliad Group brand supplying a range of pioneering cloud infrastructure covering a full range of services for professionals. Scaleway is growing its reputation around the world and currently serving business clients in four datacenters located in France and one in the Netherlands.”

Working in Paris taught me some things about the French culture…

Taking things easy

In France, they take things easy. Every meetings starts with at least ten minutes delay. This can be frustrating if you are used to starting on time. But the French way of living also has its advantages: sweet lunch break where you can take your time to enjoy freshly made meals. During the heatwave my manager even told me “Take another glass of rosé wine and take it easy in this hot weather”.

Sadly though, the cassiers in the supermarket also take it easy when you don’t necessarily have a lot of patience 🙂

Working together with people from different backgrounds is nice

The fact that in France they take things more at ease is not the only difference. Working in France, I quickly noticed that most French need a lot more words to express the same information. This makes meetings sometimes cumbersome or tiring due to long discussions. But this also makes that my colleagues by default could express themselves with more nuances.

French ❤️ Paperwork

French companies and governmental agencies really do like paperwork. They want a ‘justificatif’ prove for everything. Obtaining a bank account and social security quickly took some months due to the severity on the necessary paperwork.

Language will always be a limiting factor

Even tough my French is very good (people in France sometimes ask me where in France/Belgium I come from with my accent), I eventually stumbled upon a language barrier. Calling with bad quality to the French social security or bank when they speak very quickly can be a challenge. Or understanding all the jokes of my colleagues when they speak with the typical Parisian ‘verlan’ slang words. But luckily, my French has even gotten better, I learned a lot of new words and expressions!

Working at Scaleway was both challenging and fun

I really enjoyed working at Scaleway. I had the possibility to learn a lot of new technologies on interesting projects. This all while working with passionate and smart people.

Paris is an awesome city

Hell yeah, Paris is an awesome city. I had visited Paris plenty of times before moving there. But even after a year, I was still discovering cool places, nice dishes and fancy restaurants. Paris is one of those cities where you have always plenty of stuff to do and visit. Paris never sleeps.