There’s actually a second reason I’m moving back to France this September: I want to prove to myself that I’ll be able to thrive as well there as I have here.
Moving to my country of origin isn’t as scary as relocating to a completely new region where I don’t speak the language (like I did when I first came here), but it’s still intimidating. I’ve been away for more than thirteen years. This means I don’t have firsthand knowledge about general things such as how to get an apartment or what French university grads like to do in their leisure time and, even more importantly, how the employment system works in France. I have no idea how important different things such as university grades, language ability and cover letters are weighed when comparing potential hires, or what I should do to make myself stand out as a desirable candidate.
I know things are different there; they run on a different system. For example, graduating from a prestigious university is pretty much the only way one can hope to reach the higher rungs of management in France. Furthermore, start-ups, which are a great way to learn and develop oneself quickly on the fly, are not very common in France because of a cultural aversion to taking risks. This aversion to risk is probably the reason I’m so intimidated to throw myself back into France and flail around for a bit until I create a strong, secure footing for myself. Back to start-ups: I have loved working with start-ups in the Bay Area for several reasons (which will probably have to take another post, but here’s a shortened, concise-ish list O;] )
- Start-ups can’t afford to pay experienced professionals so they love to hire motivated, bright young things like me
- This allows affore-mentioned inexperienced, motivated, bright young things to stop making photocopies and dive right into meaningful work that actually yields visible, tangible results (very fulfilling =] )
- Diving right into this work with little experience is a great learning experience: you’re not watching a more experienced manager or executive do work–you’re DOING this work and reading everything you can to make sure you learn quickly and do it well!
- They often don’t have enough people to do everything so you get to dabble in anything you have the time and interest to
In the interest of stopping this post from “tangenting” into a post about the merits of working for a start-up (I definitely seem to be going on a lot of tangents today!), I’ll stop this list here. Take my word for it though, if you’re fresh out of college and looking for some good experience, work for start-ups–I’m definitely going to try to continue doing so! I’m disappointed that there aren’t many in France (although it seems this may be changing slowly), but I’ve been fortunate enough to nab an interview with one so keep your fingers crossed for me!