The Ideal Workplace

Merci !

Annales corrigées
Classe(s) : Tle ES - Tle L - Tle S | Thème(s) : Espaces et échanges
Type : Écrit LV1 | Année : 2017 | Académie : Polynésie française

Polynésie française • Septembre 2017

Séries générales • LV1

The ideal workplace

document 1 First day at the Circle

My God, Mae thought. It’s heaven.

The campus was vast and rambling, wild with Pacific color, and yet the smallest detail had been carefully considered, shaped by the most eloquent hands. On land that had once been a shipyard, then a drive-in movie theater, then a flea market, then blight, there were now soft green hills and a Calatrava fountain. And a picnic area, with tables arranged in concentric circles. And tennis courts, clay and grass. And a volleyball court, where tiny children from the company’s day care center were running, squealing, weaving like water. Amid all this was a workplace, too, 400 acres of brushed steel and glass on the headquarters of the most influential company in the world. The sky above was spotless and blue.

Mae was making her way through all of this, walking from the parking lot to the main hall, trying to look as if she belonged. The walkway wound around lemon and orange trees, and its quiet red cobblestones1 were replaced, occasionally, by tiles with imploring messages of inspiration. “Dream,” one said, the word laser-cut into the stone. “Participate,” said another. There were dozens: “Find Community.” “Innovate.” “Imagine.” She just missed stepping on the hand of a young man in a gray jumpsuit; he was installing a new stone that said, “Breathe.”

On a sunny Monday in June, Mae stopped in front of the main door, standing below the logo etched into the glass above. Though the company was less than six years old, its name and logo — a circle surrounding a knitted grid, with a small ‘c’ in the center — were already among the best known in the world. There were more than 10,000 employees on this, the main campus, but the Circle had offices all over the globe and was hiring hundreds of gifted young minds every week. It had been voted the world’s most admir­ed company four years running.

Mae wouldn’t have thought she had a chance to work at such a place but for Annie. Annie was two years older, and they roomed together for three semesters in college, in an ugly building made habitable through their extraordinary bond, something like friends, something like sisters — or cousins who wished they were siblings and would have reason never to be apart. […]

While Mae was still at Carleton, meandering between majors, from art history to marketing to psychology — getting her degree in psych with no plans to go further in the field — Annie had graduated, gotten her M.B.A. from Stanford and was recruited everywhere, but particularly at the Circle, and had landed here days after graduation. Now she had some lofty2 title — Director of Ensuring the Future, Annie joked — and had urged Mae to apply for a job. Mae did so, and though Annie insisted that she pulled no strings, Mae was sure Annie had, and she felt indebted beyond all measure. A million people, a billion, wanted to be where Mae was at this moment, entering this atrium, 30 feet high and shot through with California light, on her first day working for the only company that really mattered at all.

Dave Eggers, The Circle, 2013.

1. cobblestones: stones used to pave roads.

2. lofty: both pretentious and prestigious.

document 2 The world of Westminster

Mhairi Black’s Diary of a novice MP… our heroine goes through looking glass into the world of Westminster

At 20, Mhairi Black is the youngest MP to sit in the House of Commons since a 13-year-old aristocrat took his seat in 1667. […]

This week, she made it into Time magazine and pretty much every other newspaper and magazine in the planet – while still stud­ying for her finals at Glasgow University. Despite all that, she was able to keep a diary of her first week in Westminster for Sunday Herald readers. Here it is: […]


Tuesday was when I really got my taste of the ‘Palace of Westminster’. There are ‘doormen’ who are located throughout the building dressed incredibly decoratively with long black tail coat jackets, white bowties and a solid gold royal emblem that hangs from their waistcoats to show they are her majesty’s guards. The thing that I have found most striking is just how lovely all the doormen (and women) are, not only in their general manner, but in the great lengths they go to in order to ensure you are okay and are where you need to be. Westminster is an absolute maze with all the nooks and crannies you could possibly imagine, so I have been lost very many times and have subsequently become very familiar with the staff!

It is fairly difficult not to at least momentarily get sucked into the grandeur of the building itself. Mosaic floors, tapestries that reach the ceiling and the odd solid gold throne dotted about through­out the array of lavishly decorated rooms. Even despite the friendliness of the staff, you cannot help but feel you are in a historic and upper class estate due to the dress code. The building itself is a fortress from which you never need leave. It has umpteen dining rooms, bars, lounges and social areas which are equipped to deal with any desire you may have. Sitting out on the Terrace in the London sunshine I began to realise how people do become sucked into the Westminster establishment. Westminster is a bubble. It is closed off from the reality which surrounds it. As I was walking about enjoying the art work and the history in the pillars which surrounded me I continually had to bring things back to reality in my own head. This is not a museum. It is a place of work. Whilst I may be enjoying the sunshine in impressive and comfortable surroundings in the heart of the world famous Palace of Westminster, there are still children going to bed hungry in Paisley. There are still people in and out of work being made to feel helpless in Johnstone as they queue up at foodbanks to avoid starving. There are still hard working families in Elderslie who are witnessing the price of food go up but their wages remaining stagnant. It is not a museum, it is a place of work – it is the place where these wrongs can be changed.

The Herald, 17 May 2015 (abridged).

compréhension 10 points

Document 1

 The place

1 Is this “campus” (l. 2) a university? Justify with two elements from the text.

2 What is the name of this place?

3 How does this place give an impression of success and power? Give four elements from the text.

4 What are the short messages on the ground? Give two of them. What is their goal?

Seul(e)s les candidat(e)s de la série L option LVA traiteront la question 5.

5 What sort of image or impression do these messages on the ground convey?


6 What is Mae doing in that place, on that day? Quote from the text.

7 What is her first impression? Quote from the text.

8 Considering her university training, did she expect to get that kind of job? Justify your answer by referring to the text.


9 How are Mae and Annie related? Explain in your own words.

10 How successful was Annie at college? (Give one element.)

How successful is she professionally? (Give two elements.)

11 Why does Mae feel indebted to Annie? (Explain in your own words.)

Document 2

12 Why isn’t Mhairi an ordinary Member of Parliament?

13 What type of text is it? Copy out the correct answers.

a) a newspaper article

b) a blog

c) an autobiography

d) a diary

e) an interview

14 Show the “grandeur” (l. 24) of this place. Find two elements.

15 Pick out two elements that show it is a traditional institution.

Documents 1 and 2

16 Compare and contrast these two workplaces. (Find a different and a similar aspect.)

17 “Westminster is a bubble” (l. 33). Explain this expression and compare Westminster with the “campus” (in document 1).

Seul(e)s les candidat(e)s de la série L option LVA traiteront la question 18.

18 Focus on the end of document 1 (from l. 37 to l. 45). To what extent are Mhairi and Mae’s first impressions similar?

expression 10 points

Les candidat(e)s des séries ES, S et ceux de la série L qui ne composent pas au titre de la LVA traiteront au choix le sujet 1 ou le sujet 2. (300 mots +/- 10 %)

Les candidat(e)s de la série L qui composent au titre de la LVA traiteront le sujet 1 (200 mots +/- 10 %) et le sujet 2. (250 mots +/- 10 %)

1 One day later Mae tells Annie about her first day at “the Circle”. Imagine and write their conversation.

2 In your opinion, what is the ideal workplace?

Les clés du sujet

Document 1


Dave Eggers (1970-), écrivain américain, est l’auteur de plusieurs romans populaires dont The Circle publié en 2013. Il a également fondé le magazine littéraire McSweeney’s.

Pour en savoir plus :

Résumé du texte

Mae arrive pour sa première journée de travail au Circle. Elle est très impressionnée par le bâtiment et le parc qui l’entoure. Elle se dit qu’elle doit cette embauche à son ex-camarade de chambre à l’université.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

Rambling (l. 2) : construit de manière anarchique ; blight (l. 5) : (ici) une ruine ; to squeal (l. 9) : pousser un cri perçant ; to weave (l. 9) : (ici) zigzaguer ; to wind around (l. 15) : serpenter autour ; to be gifted (l. 28) : être doué ; to room together (l. 32-33) : être compagnes de chambre ; bond (l. 34) : lien.

Document 2

La source

The Herald est un quotidien écossais fondé en 1783. Il est considéré comme l’un des plus anciens journaux en langue anglaises.

Pour en savoir plus :

Résumé du texte

L’article présente Mhairi Black, la plus jeune membre du Parlement depuis 1667. Pendant sa première semaine à Westminster, elle a tenu son journal personnel, où elle a fait part de ses impressions sur cette institution britannique hors du temps.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

A doorman (l. 12) : un portier ; a maze (l. 19) : un labyrinthe ; nooks and crannies (l. 20) : les coins et recoins ; the staff (l. 22) : le personnel ; lavishly (l. 26) : somptueusement ; umpteen (l. 29) : innombrable.

Les points de convergence

Les deux textes décrivent les premières réactions d’une nouvelle employée face à un lieu de travail hors du commun. La première est séduite par sa modernité et son innovation, alors que la seconde semble impressionnée par la tradition et le poids historique du lieu.

Le sujet d’expression 1

Une direction possible

Mae semble croire que son embauche au Circle est due à son amie, et pense qu’elle doit s’en montrer reconnaissante. Elle va faire part de ses premières impressions concernant ce lieu moderne et imposant qu’elle estime être « la seule entreprise qui compte ». Son amie sera certainement contente que Mae s’y sente bien, mais va insister sur le fait que cette embauche est liée aux capacités de Mae.

Key ideas

I can’t thank you enough for helping me get this job. You’re the best friend a girl could ask for.

You’re being ridiculous! I’ve told you a thousand times, I didn’t do anything! You got this job thanks to your own hard work and abilities!

Le sujet d’expression 2

Une direction possible

Définissez d’abord les critères qui font d’un lieu de travail un lieu parfait. Par exemple, le bâtiment, la localisation, les services de proximité, les équipements. Préférez-vous un lieu ultra-moderne avec des gadgets dernier cri comme au Circle ? Ou plutôt un bâtiment traditionnel qui a une histoire ?

Key ideas

In our modern world we need a modern workplace. We need the latest designs for computers and work stations where people can both collaborate and work independently. State-of-the-art technology is the best way to make companies more efficient.