Search: job perks

Glacier3000Someone recently asked me why I didn’t decide to call these job-related posts Work Perks instead of Job Perks. The answer? Of all the terrible dad-jokes and unnecessary rhymes that have ever crossed my mind, somehow this one never did. Also, never a good idea to encourage me to propagate dad jokes — this could easily spiral out of hand.

Anyway, my most recent job perk is the weekend trip I took to Switzerland to film some social media content. Here are a few brief glimpses — I’m saving my longer recaps for the videos/posts I have to put together for work because, you know, that’s the part I’m getting paid for.

IMG_9107Glacier3000Despite the fact that mountains and heights tend to scare me, the whole Glacier3000 experience was my favorite part of the trip. We took a cable car up to the Glacier3000 area, where there is skiing, a peak walk on a suspension bridge, dog sledding, Europe’s highest bobsled coaster (in the summer), two restaurants, and, because it’s Switzerland, a watch shop. I rode a ski lift for the first time (!) and walked across that suspension bridge even though every part of me was screaming NOPE the entire time.

GstaadGstaad was basically a fairytale town. And yes, you are correct: the driver of this horse-drawn carriage ride is, in fact, a dog.

Mount Rigi hotelOn Mount Rigi, which is just outside of Lucerne, we stayed in a hotel on top of the mountain. The hotel is known for its wellness activities and spa, and since the weather was so bad, we got to enjoy the spa for ourselves! (The good weather option for this day had been a hike, so needless to say, I embraced the bad weather wholeheartedly).

GoldenPass Line GoldenPass LineI rode a few trains on this trip, my favorite being the scenic GoldenPass Line. I’ve ridden it twice before, and it never gets old.

Next work trip: Amsterdam to see Keukenhof Garden!

More Job Perks:
A Week in France
15 Trains & 22 Cities in 10 Days

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Job Perks: A Peek into the French Way of Life

by Jackie D on June 6, 2016

paris in the spring“In France, a personal life is not a passive entity, the leftover bits of one’s existence that haven’t been gobbled up by the office, but a separate entity, the sovereignty of which is worth defending, even if that means that someone’s spreadsheet doesn’t get finished on time.” The French Counterstrike Against Work E-Mail

So I’m back in New York. Don’t even get me started. Those who’ve seen me in person (and even many who’ve only spoken to me through text) have already gotten an earful.

But this isn’t going to be several paragraphs about how much I miss Paris. It’s going to be several paragraphs about one of my favorite parts of France: the work culture.

I love to work — mostly I love to be busy. But I also love to relax (earth shattering, I know). I am either extremely busy with many things or completely relaxed doing almost nothing — there is very little wiggle room. And when I get into that busy zone, it’s really hard for me to get out of it.

One of the things I loved so much about the French work environment is that people seem to be able to switch between these two zones so easily. When they are at work, they are at work — people get things done and meetings are held and problems are solved. But when it’s lunchtime, it is lunchtime. There is no eating at your desk while you’re trying to finish up a spreadsheet. And when it’s time to go home at the end of the day, same deal — it’s time to go home.

The first week I was there, I was checking my work email at the bar we’d often go to during the week. My coworkers almost slapped it out of my hand (out of love, and maybe slightly out of vodka, too). Work is for work hours. Play is for all other hours. It’s a common stereotype to say that the French value pleasure above all else, but I think it can be amended slightly — they do value pleasure, and they see a person’s personal life as exactly that: a personal life. A whole life that involves friends and movies and drinking and food and love and kids and everything else. But they also value work just as much. They value a job well done. And they see those two parts of life working in tandem with each other, not against each other.

It’s difficult now with iPhones and wifi and offices in multiple time zones to feel like you can ever really “shut off” completely. And especially when you work in a field like social media, which literally has no off switch, it can feel like you always have to have an ear open to make sure you’ll catch anything if it happens. What if there’s a disaster in the middle of the night? What if something happens while your phone is dead?

But you have to draw the line somewhere. You have to just stop working sometimes, or else you’ll go insane. And you have to stop checking your texts from friends at some point and just get that Excel sheet done. Everything has its moment. And I know that this is all common sense and that no one would argue that you need to strike a balance between work and play, but I’ve never seen so many people actually live this out before.

It was a delight to get a break from the USA work mindset for three months and live like the French do — where it doesn’t necessarily matter if you get to work 30 minutes late as long as the work gets done at some point; where it’s not the end of the world if you have to save a task until tomorrow; and where it’s just as important to hang out with your coworkers at the bar on Wednesday night as it is to brainstorm with them in a meeting on Tuesday morning. Where work is a beautiful thing, but so is play.

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paris shopping tour paulie and meAnother perk of working in the travel industry: having coworkers with good connections. During my first week in the Paris office, one of my coworkers offered to set me up on the Paris Shopping Tour, which is run by her cousin, Diane. Diane was trying out a new route for the tour and needed a test audience. I specifically Googled how to say “Yes obviously is this even a question?” in French so that I could answer properly.

I met up with Diane at the stylish Etienne Marcel cafe, which is a very hip cafe apparently frequented by celebs. It’s located on a very busy street in an excellent shopping district, and most of the shops we visited were within a few blocks. The most famous streets are Rue Etienne Marcel and Rue Montorgueil — the latter is crazy busy, with little bakeries and boutiques and sidewalk cafes and a ton of pedestrian traffic. The surrounding blocks are a bit quieter and you can find a ton of designer & high-end stores.

For some reason, when I’d first heard about the tour, I’d imagined only clothing shops. But we saw a little bit of everything: shops selling jewelry, vintage, perfumes, candles, shoes, furniture, decor, everything.

We visited about 15 shops in total – here are my 5 favorites, in no particular order:

paris shopping tour 2Espace Kiliwatch: This store is apparently very popular and well-known in Paris. The front of the store features new clothing and accessories for both men and women. And then as you head toward the back, my favorite part: vintage! I didn’t buy anything on this particular day, but I went back a week later and got a cute skirt that I can hopefully wear in the next week or two, if Spring ever decides to visit Paris.

paris shopping tourLes Bougies de Charroux: Candles. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a love affair with candles. This shop actually has a few branches throughout France, and the candles are all natural and very very affordable, and plus they come in really cute jam-like jars. I got one during the tour, then went back and bought two more later on. Will prob be bringing a bunch of these back home with me in my suitcase. (also: “bougies” is the French word for “candles” and I think it’s the most adorable French word I’ve learned so far)

paris shopping tourPaulie & Me: This store is run by a lovely couple: a New Yorker and a Parisian. The New Yorker is Paulie — he and I chatted each other’s ears off about life in New York versus life in Paris (we are both Team Paris). The store features independent French designers and is mostly clothing and jewelry, and all of the displays in the store (the shelving and display containers and everything) are all recycled or repurposed. The price tags are also repurposed (used metro tickets), and if you bring in 10 tickets for them to use, you’ll get a 10% discount on your purchase. This is another store I’ve gone back to since the tour, and I bought a very cute and Parisian-looking t-shirt, because ever since moving to Paris I’ve been trying to up my French wardrobe game.

paris shopping tourNose: Perfumes, candles, heaven for your nose, basically. You can actually mix your own perfume here (but you have to make an appointment).

paris shopping tourMystery store: OK so I actually don’t know the name of this store, and honestly I think that’s kind of the appeal. It doesn’t even really have a store front — Diane took us up to a gate on an otherwise quiet street, she rang a buzzer and announced our arrival, the gate swung open, we walked down a long dark entryway…and then all of a sudden we were in this gorgeous store where everything was clearly très chère (chic/French way of saying very expensive). Like, it was one of those stores where they offer you champagne as you shop. It was amazing. Everything was dark and luxurious and there was wood and metal everywhere. It had decor and clothing and shoes, and there was a back room that could be rented out for events. It’s one of those places where you have to know someone to get in, so anyone interested in this tour should definitely ask Diane about it. (also I was too afraid to take photos here)

paris shopping tourThere are a few different routes for the tour, depending on what you want to shop for and what kind of stores you like (she has one in Montmartre that’s more vintage and boho-esque, which I would love to try). After the tour I sat with Diane and two of her friends in a nearby bar for some delicious cocktails, and they were so sweet and funny and it was so nice to meet some new people during my first official weekend in this new city.

Paris Shopping Tour site
Paris Shopping Tour Insta

Merci Diane & your lovely friends for showing me around and putting up with my jetlagged French!

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