Many people think the French have too many vacations compared to other countries. They usually have about 8 weeks more of vacations. A lot of French workers have part-time jobs and work 4 days a week depending on their firms. They also have a lot of trouble going to work when the public transport is on strike, which happens regularly . That’s why they are used to staying at home as soon as it is possible, especially when they are said that the weather conditions are going to prevent them from going home after work.
Some could say that the arguments against the French are highly debatable since they are merely stereotypes.
However, the French think that vacation has been a social right since the First World War and they highly respect the men and the women who died to fight for their rights. In other words, they have been used to a system that gives more priority to the rights than to the obligations. They consider flexibility at work, working overtime and money making jobs as the enemies of their system.
True, nobody should accept to work more and earn less money. But, it is hard to see the validity of such a point of view as the young generations will not be able to pay for the retired people. The French know the fact. They do not need economists and experts to tell them about the critical situation that more and more workers and future retired people have been handling. It is illogical to complain about the retirement age extension whilst at the same time having a second job at 70 when you have the bare minimum to live on.
It is clear that the French live in a paradox: they cling to their social rights that have always been the symbol of their victory over the evils of the marketplace. They were certainly right to fight for a better and more egalitarian society as their fight proved to be a symbol of social progress. The fact remains that the reforms that have been implemented so far may be necessary to save the French system. Reforming means that you have to change something from the past to adapt to the new reality. Unfortunately, the French as the Europeans and many countries in the world are facing an incredible financial crisis. So, they should work longer to save the retirement system for example. But, how can you go to work when you are 55 and you have just been fired by your employer who decided to build a new factory in China?
This boils down to saying that the French will have to be lazy and unreliable in the future as they have no choice.