Sunday, December 02, 2007

Should the French work on Sunday?

Me and hubby: Yes
Our couple friends: No
There goes the debate on why and why not. I don't want to go into the detail of what we had discussed, but what strikes me is about their thinking: If there is something they don't want to do, other people shouldn't do as well. Reason being if some people are allowed to do that, they will have to force to do it one day. A very selfish thinking, but that shapes the mentality of the French:
- If I don't want to work on Sunday, other people who want to shouldn't be allowed to do that
- If I don't want to go study, let's block the school/University so that others can't study too
- If I'm not happy with my pension fund, let's bother others to show them how important our job is

Based on this mentality, even there are people expressing their willingness to work on Sunday (work more to gain more), people who don't want to work on Sunday fight to prevent this from happening. Their reasoning could sound absurd, but sadly it could happen in France:
If my coworker willing to work on Sunday, that means he works harder than me. One day my boss will think I'm lazy if I refuse to work on Sunday. So we shouldn't let this happen, Sunday is for family gathering and nobody should work on that day, except those in the emergency and leisure industry.

And they are not wrong. In real life, if everyone in your department work until 9pm everyday, would your dare to leave work at 5pm? If your boss asks you to work on Sunday and everyone else said yes, would you dare to say no?

When I was studying in Malaysia, I worked part time in a department store. My supervisor who has married would arrange students to work on Sunday so that those who have family didn't have to work on Sunday. I was very happy to work on Sunday as it was the day where most sales occurred (more sales = more commission), plus I lived with my family so I see them everyday and eat with them for every dinner. But this might not work in France. If students work on Sunday, they might not have chance to go home to see their parents.

On the other hand, shops operate on Sunday can boost the purchasing and stimulate the economy. Directly and indirectly it will create more jobs. Let say you have an option: You can get a job that requires you to work on Sunday, or stay unemployed. Which one would you choose? Me definitely choose to work.


  1. BE,

    This is an excellent post. I will dig it after I comment.

    I think there has to be a balance in work and family life. I think everyone should have a day of rest. In our Christian way of life, it is Sunday, and Muslim is Friday.

    I do believe we need a day to recharge ourselves from all the bust and bustle of a week work.

    Chic fillet boss believe in not opening his franchise store(s) on Sunday and his store never suffer any setback.

    Yes, you can work on Sunday or Saturday or Friday but you should take a day off from the week to rest :).

    When I was managing the school in Brunei, I made Sunday a mandatory day off. I was managing 2 companies for my boss, a school and a computer retail stores. In fact, a lot of people thought I was outrages to close the computer store on Sunday because that is the day most people go "jalan jalan' on malls and stores and that's when computer stores got more sales. But, I don't see it that way, we did most of our sales on Saturday and we were one of the most successful computer retail store then in the city.

    Everything in life need a balance and that is what God intend us to do :).

  2. Jamy,

    Of course we need to balance work and family life. The French here work 35 hours per week, so if they work on Sunday they will have two days off either on Sat or during the week. The question here is whether we should allow people to work on Sunday as it is against the law to operate on Sunday.

    In Malaysia and US shops open during Sunday. Do you think Malaysians and Americans don't have balance life?

  3. hi bee ean,

    it seems it's the same thing in Germany. My friend in Germany said that everyone has to leave work at the same time, nobody is allowed to work overtime, otherwise, it will encourage competition amongst the staff. Am not sure whether this applies throughout Germany though. - Li Ping

  4. Nice Blog!
    Will read again~

    I think we shouldn't work on sunday~

  5. BE,
    I do not think it should be question we allow or not if you believe everyone is free to choose what they want : "The question here is whether we should allow people to work on Sunday as it is against the law to operate on Sunday."
    Though you can disagree with them. I think the government should not interfere if someone want to work or not to work but give a basic guideline. Even in America, it is teem as Christian country but the government does not make a law that the shop should be close or otherwise. If there is a law to 'close or not close' than there will not jeopodise the meaning of free market.

    In certain part of England many years ago, the Christian believe Sunday is a Sabbath ( a day of rest) and a lot of shops closed on that day and no liquor was sold.

    From a business point of view, I think government should not have any law on that. However, if someone whose faith/religion/conscious/family issue do not allow them to have business on Sunday then so be it.

    If you ask me on that, I would say if you have Saturday off, you should work on Sunday.

    But, this piece of info does not surprise me a single bit because what do you really expect from a socialist kind of country in term of how they view business. Don't tell me you expect the kind of America business atmosphere, spirit in France ? BE, you know better than that, right ?


  6. Jamy,

    As you said, this is France, a socialist country, the government involves in everything. On the other hand, the French feel the urge to evaluate, you will be amazed that more and more people demonstrated AGAINST the strike, more and more people want to work on Sunday, more and more people want to change this socialist country. It is totally possible that in the near future, the government will allow shops to operate on Sunday.

  7. I believe young people started to question if after all socialism does not work ? Like their Chinese counter part in China. Now there are more millionaire in mainland China than any European country.
    Socialism, communism started off with good intention but if you know that our human nature is sinful and that lead to selfish, we all like to take care of ourselves first than others, you agree ?

    Though capitalist has its fault but I think it is a system that works better with human natures. It does offer equality as long as everyone put in their parts. The ones who do not want to work, sorry lah. I don't believe in there is such thing as hard working poor :).

    I don't think the young people in France want to continue to live in poor condition when they see other countries are going leap and bound but they are regressing so much. Not to mention they are one of the great nations that have so many colonies before :):).

    I might be wrong but it takes visionaries and great leaders to reform the present system but I wish France all the best on their reforms to be less socialist and that will make your job hunting much easier as well.