Bonjour à tous et toutes!
Today, I felt like giving a bit of my brilliant, insightful cultural analysis. Then I realized hat I could write this instead.
French people have a different view on life from Americans, as many will attest. This cultural departure includes their views on work. The French are proud of their jobs, regardless of how seemingly menial or insubstantial it may be.
I will give you an example: when we went to Normandy last weekend, we were asking our tour guide about why there was so much cow stuff. (There really was a TON of cow stuff. Anna was in heaven; she really likes cows.) She said that Normans just really love their cows, because that's where they make their living. Without the cows, there would be no Camembert cheese (again, they're very proud of their Camembert) and no milk. In fact, the cows are made extremely comfortable, because Norman farmers believe that a stressed cow doesn't make as high quality nor as much milk. (For all I know, this could be true.) This includes talking to the cows and occasionally allowing the cows into the house. Cows are highly regulated in Normandy; you can only have two cows per acre of land that they're on.
There are dozens of other examples. Every artisan (someone who sells their handmade products) that we buy things from seems to genuinely enjoy their craft. They are not snotty college students holding themselves over until they graduate from medical school so they can make more money. They are not someone who lost their job and had no other choice. These are people who have wanted nothing their entire lives but to live in their hometown and bake bread (or raise cows, wait tables, make cheese, press wine, etc.). As a result, they provide friendlier and better service (I have no idea what people are talking about with this "snobby French waiter" stereotype) and they genuinely enjoy what they do, day in and day out.
We should all take a lesson from the French and do what we love, regardless of the pay. We would all be much happier and healthier for it.
Now, because I don't like posting without a picture, I present for your viewing pleasure, an artsy, touched up shot of the statue on the Place de la Republique in Orléans.