pphaneuf: (Default)
Denmark, which I sometimes refer to as "the place the future comes from", gave me another reason to do so: the B-society.

Having just spent a year working a more or less 9-to-6 shift (we had "flex time" inasmuch we could arrive between 8:00 and 9:30), there's no doubt about it (if there ever was!), I'm a B-person.

One of the problem with being a B-person is the clash with the rest of society. Even if work lets me come in and do my hours whenever I want, there's shops, restaurants, and such. Having dinner at almost midnight can restrict choice a little bit, obviously! Social life can also be tricky. Although these is a natural clumping effect between people living similar lifestyles, they might not have as flexible work schedule. And I wouldn't even think of what things would be like with children! Ask anyone who's had to wake me up early in the morning...

But it would seems they're actually trying to tackle the issues, even having B-classes in school that start a few hours later. Just like the French had rules preventing abuse by employers asking employees to work later hours, they're picking up on the fact that, for some people it's asking them to not work later hours that is abuse. And that's the future.

P.S.: Also, in the same line of thought, why the 9 to 5 office worker will become a thing of the past. Not that it matters that much to me now, but I am curious to see how France will integrate that into its culture.

Choo Choo!

Nov. 30th, 2006 01:39 pm
pphaneuf: (Default)
Booked some tickets on the TGV for Christmas, to visit some of [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's family. I'm looking forward to finally trying this out!

I'm pondering ideas for projects, and I think I've got one or two things that could be promising, so this is rather encouraging. I'm still having more questions than answers, of course, but everything in its time...
pphaneuf: (Sleepy Head)
Ouch, that was a bad week. So, of course, I didn't write.

There was this moment, at some point, where the root causes of my annoyances here were coming together before my eyes, and I could see that they weren't specific to particular companies or individuals, but a product of the whole system, and that, therefore, there was precious little chance of avoiding it. They're not intrinsically negative things, but similarly to apenwarr, I like small and responsive, rather than big and stable.

In France (and most of Europe in general, it would seem), things are optimized for stability, from the top-down. They have a strong, controlling state, unified almost all the way down, with cities having a little control (not much), and the bulk of decisions emanating from the center. Have you ever wondered how such enterprisey things as the WS-Deathstar ever see any use? As far as making money and keeping things the way they were, they are doing a marvelous job, actually, but when it comes to things like "making a difference" or "doing something I could give a flying fuck about", well, it's rather less than stellar. For example, do you know Bull? No? Never heard of them? It's the premier European IT supplier, something a bit like IBM, but for Europe. They have such giant customers such as Dassault Aviation, EDF, Total, Boehringer Ingelheim, La Poste, SNECMA, France Telecom, T-Com and the SNCF. What, you've never heard of most of these either? I can assure you, they're all gigantic, half of them are or have been nationalized at some point, and the system will roll on forward whether you know about them or not! I do think there is change coming, but the timeframe is in the decade, I would say. I'm not that patient!

At first, I didn't know what to do anymore, and that left me very sad. This being a systemic issue means that finding another job wouldn't do it. Starting my own company wouldn't really do it either, as I'd have this system to deal with (and more pressingly, would quickly have serious problems with hiring).

That last thought kind of surprised me, though, in another way. Previously, I didn't want to start a company. I didn't want to do management, didn't want to deal with the business end of things, and I was rather afraid of the risks. I just wanted to program. But in the last few years, I did management (and actually enjoyed it, I reluctantly have to admit), I got interested in business, probably from hanging out with apenwarr, even if it wasn't to his scale. And ironically, this project of moving to Europe had me face my fear of risks, where I didn't know where I'd work, where I'd live, how I'd get to stay in the country and other such things. So, oddly enough, I'm now considering doing something I can't do here, but only because I have come here!

Now, I'm not just packing up just yet! I still want to travel around Europe some, and I can do a good amount of the early work on just about any potential idea for a startup from here. So I'll be doing that.

For the shorter term, there's a trip to see some of [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's family for Christmas, and possibly a short trip to Barcelona for the New Year, getting pick-pocketed and all, as the tradition requires. And I've discussed some idea of going to Copenhagen to see [livejournal.com profile] skjalm, which would be very nice.

I also met two hot girls on the train, Hungarian and Italian. See, it's not all that bad around here, hehe!

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