Lifestyle Travel

Working in Paris

People tell me I’m lucky to have found a job in Paris. Trust me, it was tough finding one, but in the end it was definitely worth all the stress and hard work, especially during term time. The earlier you find a job, the better. It saves you a lot of stress before exam season.

After sending my CV to eight companies who ended up rejecting me, it was Regus who finally offered me a 6-month internship as a marketing assistant, and I was ecstatic. After term ended, I packed my bags and took the Eurostar to Paris, anticipating my new adventure.

A week before my work contract started, my boss invited me to the Spaces centre near Opéra Garnier. I got off the metro and saw the beautiful Paris Opera. I went to the building on Meyerbeer street where I agreed to meet my boss. There was a red carpet in the lobby and once I was upstairs, I stepped into what unexpectedly looked like a coffee-shop. The atmosphere was pretty relaxed, and there were people in suits working on sofas. From a first impression it looked so cool and ‘hipster’, and my manager gave me a tour of the place. She explained to me that Spaces is a brand that Regus bought years ago, and now the marketing team helps out with their events: this means we get to work at any Spaces centre we want.

Spaces is a beautifully designed work space, with couches, marble floors and tables with colorful comfy chairs and sofas, huge meeting rooms and areas you can go in to make a phone call. It has a more modern concept with ergonomic design than the Regus office, and everybody works in a communal area as if they’re at a Starbucks. Just with more space! My boss introduced me to all the directors, executives, secretaries – everyone was really welcoming and I couldn’t wait to work with them.

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Saying that, the first few days were a little overwhelming. I didn’t know what to expect, or what was expected of me. When I came into the Regus office, I was already looking overdressed. The interns at the office were wearing jeans while I was dressed in a white blouse, black trousers and heels. Already I felt awkward, and my colleagues were communicating in marketing terms I couldn’t understand like ‘companeo’, ‘leads’, ‘nomination’. I was pretty much clueless. So there I was with a pen and a notepad, scribbling everything they explained to me. And also, I couldn’t use my computer during my first week because my ID and password didn’t work, so I was clinging on to the other interns for extra tutorials before I actually started working. My first week was summed up with a bunch of technical issues and contacting the IT help desk. They did in a way save my life!

I’m commuting 5 days a week on the metro to Saint-Lazare, Rue de Londres which is where my actual office is. My stop is Chaussée D’Antin LaFayette and I get out at Boulevard Haussmann in front of Les Galeries Lafayette. I walk past romantic cafés, delicious-looking bakeries and high-end shops with things I can’t afford. My walk to work is always accompanied by the smell of roasted coffee as well as freshly-baked pastries. It’s GLORIOUS, although it does make you kinda hungry. I love seeing the medieval-looking buildings from the outside and then stepping into an office with a modern interior with marble floors. I just love this contrast.

I’m happy that I get to use my French everyday. You learn to write emails, make phone calls, fill out forms, communicate an issue, serve clients, complain – all in French. My job requires me to make events and put them on Eventbrite, publish office listings online, sorting out bills and paperwork, send email campaigns, translate information – basically anything that my manager needs help with. Posting on social media is a big thing for us. As a marketing assistant, you learn about the best snappy Tweets to post about a conference, the opening of a new office centre or a cocktail or networking event. You learn all the hashtags, and yes the French do love borrowing English vocab, especially if they’re doing marketing. It’s all about #teamwork #coworking #cocreating #cothinking #millennials… I just love how they say these words, and I’m starting to say them in a French accent. It’s just more convenient to me when I speak in French. I just hope I won’t say these words like that when I speak English.

Oh and the best part of the job? Unlimited coffee everyday. At Spaces there is an industrial size Nespresso coffee machine that makes anything you want. Whether it’s latte, cappuccino or macchiato there is always an endless supply of coffee. Other than that, my favorite thing about working in Paris is that your lunch break is an hour – which can be extended to two if you wanted to. You can meet up with friends for lunch, or take a nice walk before you start working again. I love how everyone sits out in the patio watching other people pass by whilst enjoying their lunch. And somehow everyone just eats salads all the time. I don’t think fast food is actually a ‘thing’ people eat in Paris, because fresh food is always better. Maybe that’s how French women keep their figure. But I certainly learned to love the salads here too, and my favorite salad bar is Mister Garden on the corner of the Gaumont Cinema.

I’m hopeful of the next few months to come, but right now it’s rather quiet because most people have gone on holiday. I’m happy I came to Paris to work, so let’s see where it all takes me.