Ex-Mediacorp artist Sharon Au adapts to French work culture

Sharon Au is not upset with her colleague for filing a complaint with the company’s human resource department after receiving an e-mail after work from the former Mediacorp artist.

Au, 44, who has worked in a private equity firm in Paris since last year, told Singapore radio station 96.3FM recently that she sent the e-mail after 8pm in her first week at work.

Back in Singapore this month for her year-end vacation, Au told 8days.sg she was not offended by her colleague’s action, saying that she should respect the French culture.

“I had been briefed. It was in the handbook. I knew about the law.

“I just didn’t think it would be obeyed because never in my consciousness can you not send e-mail after 8pm.”

“French people are very productive. They do everything within working hours,” she noted, revealing that “lunch is a Deliveroo affair”.

“You order either a salad or a sandwich and you eat in front of your laptop or during a meeting. So lunch is just 10 minutes.”

Au also told 96.3FM the HR staff reminded her to toe the line again after she texted a staff member at 11pm several months later.

They advised her to keep busy with other interests after work.

Her boss gave her movie tickets.

Recalling the second complaint, Au told 8days.sg: “They couldn’t understand why I didn’t get it. Can’t you just come to work the next day and say what you need to say?

“Oh, you must also leave the office at 6pm. I got complained (to HR) once because I stayed behind.”

Au added that she has tried to change her style.

“So after those two HR inquiries, when I’m home after work and have nothing to do, I’ll write all my e-mails and save them in my outbox.

“And then at 7.30 the next morning, I would send them all out.

“And people would roll their eyes. They would joke and say: ‘See, first e-mail is definitely from Sharon. You can tell she drafted it the night before.'”

Au has further refined her work style in a bid not to ruffle feathers.

“Now I am in phase two. I really switch off. I go to work at 8.30am and I address the issues. The outcome of that? Fewer e-mails.”

But Au, who launched her online French culinary academy Ti Yan on Thursday in Singapore, has not learnt to totally relax, even during her leave.

She is acting in a play on Jan 31 and Feb 1. Called 7 Sages Of The Bamboo Grove, it is part of the Esplanade’s Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts line-up.


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