Thierry Giraud

Beamline Technician

I used to be a chef in a busy kitchen. The atmosphere was quite virile, vocal and physical. After 7 years of cooking for restaurants all over France, a medical problem forced me start looking for another trade and I chose to become a technician. I sent a spontaneous application to the ESRF and was surprised when they offered me an interview, and then a position during my two years of training. I had no idea about science and I didn’t speak any English. I think they liked my profile in that I already had a good experience of working under pressure and getting up early. I was offered a permanent contract in 2002. There are a few parallels between the way I did things in the kitchen and how I now work on the beamlines here: there’s a lot of preparation work, then usually periods of working under high pressure. The way of sorting out problems is definitely different. At the ESRF there is a very open, respectful atmosphere. I have a lot of freedom to do my work in my own way, to test things or work on projects of my choice. The thing I prefer about my job is when I get to help build a beamline. Over the time span of the project, I work with around 100 different people all from different areas of the company, with different skills and personalities. I’ve tutored trainees at the ESRF since 2005 and it’s an important part of my job, even if it’s on top of my job. Some of these youngsters are like me, they didn´t like school, so I really enjoy sharing the knowledge I’ve gained and helping them as much as I can to find their way to a successful life.”

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