Have you ever had to pull a late night at the office for a big report or presentation the next day?
Well, in the case of Singaporean and former actress Sharon Au, she had to be reported *twice* by her French colleagues to the Human Resources department when she sent an e-mail at 8 p.m. and when she sent an officemate a work-related message at 11 p.m.
It mostly had to do with how the French value work-life balance so much. In 2017, a number of French companies were required to guarantee employees the right to "disconnect" from e-mails outside office hours.
An article with todayonline.com reports that 44-year-old Sharon used to work with Singapore media company Mediacorp, and then she left in 2018 for a one-year sabbatical in Paris. But after two months, the self-confessed workaholic decided to extend her stay and pursue a job with an international private equity firm.
Here's how things went wrong at the office. In an interview with a Chinese radio station, Sharon shared how a French co-worker took a screenshot of her e-mail which she sent past 8 p.m. and sent this to H.R. Apparently, it's against French labor laws and is considered a form of harassment. It was just Sharon's first week at work so she got a minor warning.
On another occasion, Sharon sent a reminder at 11 p.m. to a colleague about an early meeting the next day, and she ended up receiving concern from H.R. and her officemates. They thought she was lonely and didn't have a life outside work so they started giving her counseling sessions. They also started inviting her to join them for meals and giving her movie tickets. They were even willing to sign her up for yoga classes. Aww.
Sharon totally laughed while recalling all of this, though. But she was touched that her colleagues were concerned about her mental wellbeing, more than anything. She's even decided to stay in France for another five or six years.
It looks like one of Sharon's recent Instagram posts is a reaction to all the publicity she's received with the complaints to HR news.
"The truth is, we are never going to be certain of the decisions we make," she wrote. "But we sure learn the most when you challenge yourself to be in a foreign environment unprotected, unfamiliar, alone to fend for yourself. I’m wary of sounding self-righteous or worse humble bragging, so I try not to preach what’s brave or what’s not. We live through our own distress and adversity the best way we can."