Thursday, September 30, 2004

After what I wrote last week about the atmosphere in my French office, I thought I'd better update with today's developments.

My boss, another guy and a trainee are leaving the department and so they organised what is called an 'apero', or 'po' for short. A 'po' can be held for many reasons including promotion, departure, the birth of child or a forthcoming marriage. The general format is for the celebrant to bring lots of drinks and nibbles into work, arranged them on a table or desk, and invite everyone to what ends up as an office drinking session.

On this occasion, the first of atleast four corks was pulled around 11am, and it wasn't much more than midday by the time we were all half way through the second bottle of whisky. You can imagine how productive our afternoon was.

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Having drunk a couple of beers, my boss made the obligatory speech. He wasn't exactly gushing sorrow or weeping tears of sadness, thank God, but he certainly showed some emotion about moving on.

I wasn't really surprised because since he moved to his new job a few days ago, he has made a point of popping around to our office, going to lunch, and even initiated a personal email conversation with me like any normal friend who was bored at work, like about girls and stuff ;)

Thomas put up a post about another aspect of French socialising at work. His company sounds a bit more extreme than mine, but it is very true that eating dinner, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes fulfills an important social function over here. I quite like this. In fact it's one of the most positive aspects of working life.

Where I work, we get subsidised food in the company restaurant to the extent that we pay only 3 euros a day for a full three course French lunch. And after we have satisfied our appetites, we can then saunter through into the cafeteria where we can serve ourselves with as many completely free espressos as we like. This is definately pleasurable social time.

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