patron / chef

Izabal

New Member
English
Bonjour :)

I would like to know if someone could tell me which one is used more often and does it make a difference??

I was also wondering when using this word how does it change if the boss is female? For longest time :confused: I've tried to refer to my boss (a female) and I don't know if I am correct in using mon patron.

Merci d'avance
 
  • KaRiNe_Fr

    Senior Member
    Français, French - France
    Bonjour Izabal,

    It's hard to explain, because it depends on the people...
    I prefer using "chef" even if a female one : "ma chef".
    I prefer using "patron" for the "chef" of my "chef" (higher position).
    And I can use "mon/ma boss" too. :eek: :D
     
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    ChiMike

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Hi Karine!

    Yes, seems to me "le patron" "la patronne" is reserved either for the owner (which may make her the immediate boss if the establishment is small) or for the person we would call "The Big Boss". And I'm glad to hear I can say "ma chef"! :)
     
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    KaRiNe_Fr

    Senior Member
    Français, French - France
    Salut ChiMike,

    You can say "patron/patronne" of a big service too (or departement). In my entreprise there are functionnal services, and on the same place you can find more than one "patron", and many "chefs" (too many ?! :rolleyes: ) each responsible for their team. For a female, there is also "cheffesse" but actually, I never heard it at work (and it sounds pejorative to my ears).
    Just be careful that "patron" means also the owner of a restaurant or bar for instance ("Patron, c'est ma tournée !"), and "chef" is also the cook. ;)
     
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    anangelaway

    Senior Member
    French
    Kelly B said:
    On peut dire également mon responsable, n'est pas?
    Oui Kelly, que personellement je préfère à chef d'ailleurs (à part en cuisine) : mon ou ma.
    En réalité, je n'aime pas le mot 'chef', et si je peux éviter de l'utiliser je le fais, à l'oral.


    And within a large company, often we can hear for 'the big boss' = 'grand patron'.
     

    1234dom

    Senior Member
    Ne dit-on pas souvent "mon chef" quand il (le chef) est présent et "mon responsable" quand il n'est pas là ?
    On peut aussi dire "mon supérieur hiérarchique" non ?

    Pour éviter les ennuis je crois qu'il ne faut pas utiliser "chefesse" :)
     
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    KaRiNe_Fr

    Senior Member
    Français, French - France
    Non, je ne crois pas qu'il y ait beaucoup de différence entre la façon de parler de son chef en fonction de sa présence ou de son absence. Par contre, on utilise souvent l'ironie avec le mot chef :
    "Oui chef, bien chef, tout de suite chef !" ;)
    Personnellement, je n'utilise pas "mon responsable" (mon responsable, c'est moi !) et encore moins "mon supérieur" (ça va pas non ? Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité ! :D )
    Pour les ennuis avec "cheffesse" je suis amplement d'accord. ;)

    Edit : par contre, j'ai souvent entendu "mon N+1" (i.e. la personne d'un niveau juste au-dessus du mien) !
     
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    Soleil_Couchant

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Yes I'm reviving an old thread. Legitimate question (that for once isn't about Bénédict) -- am I understanding the responses on this thread correctly, that, in general, "patron" would be a higher position than "chef?" "Patron" can be the owner of a company, or the head of a large department, whereas "chef" is just basically your "boss"? I'm asking just related to work matters, the difference between the word "patron" and "chef" and am not sure this thread really answers that clearly, (or at least to my satisfaction ;) ). I get that they may be interchangeable sometimes...the patron might also be your chef...uh...etc. But am I in the right neighborhood? Thanks.
     

    DrChen

    Senior Member
    French-France
    Yes Soleil Couchant, your understanding is correct.
    You can say both "mon chef/ma chef" or "mon patron/ma patronne" for someone who is ranked higher than you and that you report to, however as you said the chef of all the chefs is usually the patron, as in "c'est lui le patron de la boîte/C'est elle la patronne de la boîte" (whereas you would not hear, I think, "c'est lui/elle le/la chef de la boîte"). If you say "c'est lui le grand patron/c'est elle la grande patronne" you usually mean "c'est le/la PDG" (or just DG (directeur général) in some companies where the Président and Directeur Général are two different people).
    As Karine said, I hear "mon N+1/N+2..." (N+ any number you want) a lot too, referring to someone who would be right above you (or two ranks above you for N+2 and so on) in the hierarchical pyramid but that does not answer your question.
     

    Soleil_Couchant

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Thanks. I think you did answer all of my questions. Is it more common to refer to your direct boss as "patron" or "chef" (as in your first sentence, about how you can call your boss either or).

    And, the N+1 and N+2 thing is actually pretty cool. We don't have something like that in the USA, at least not at the corporation where I used to work, haha. It was just director, AVP, VP, COO, CEO, blah blah. (And "boss" would refer directly to the one to whom you report, no matter what their official title).
     

    Mezian10

    Senior Member
    France French
    I think that it will really depend on the context. I will never use "patron", as it looks pretty old-fashioned to me. I also lived in French speaking African countries, where "patron" is used for everybody who has a higher social status, not necessarily because of a hierarchical link in a working environment. I will use "chef" or "cheffe" and even more "superviseur". But again, if you work in a factory, maybe you will use "patron" more than in an administration.
     

    Soleil_Couchant

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Thanks for your input.

    For context, my question "arose" last night when I was looking through a (French) language exam booklet. They were listing several possible "sujets" for "expression écrite" ... and I just noticed that in one, they seemed to call the boss a "patron" and in another, they called it the "chef."

    For example:

    Sujet 14: "Hier, vous avez eu un problème à votre travail/à l'université avec votre patron/enseignant ..."

    but later

    Sujet 20: "...Votre collègue de travail est malade depuis plus de deux semaines. [...] Vous écrivez un courriel à votre chef pour lui décire la situation ..."

    I found it curious that the same TCF book both used "patron" in one instance and "chef" in another, seemingly both for your boss/supervisor, unless I'm misunderstanding something. Who knows. Maybe it depends on the type of job you have, as you suggested. Anyway, I think I'll lean toward using "chef" or "superviseur" unless I'm referring to the "owner" of, say, a restaurant, for example (then I might use "patron").
     

    joelooc

    Senior Member
    French (Provence)
    Another way of looking at it is that chef was/is mostly used in technical/manual jobs where almost military discipline is/was deemed vital when dealing with unskilled labour force whereas patron belongs more to the white-collar world. Within a restaurant staff all the (junior) staff are still requested to answer the “Chef” using a loud “Oui, chef”(Sir, Yes, Sir)
    There is also a difference when you answer directly to your superior and when you talk about him in the third person. People will seldom mention their inferior position in a firm by saying “Oui ,Patron” (most of the staff secretly hoping to oust him/her and take his/her place) whereas “oui, Chef” is more frequent on a building site even if, as it has been pointed out, there is always a possible ironical undertone to prevent any possible abuse of authority: there is one chef, you; but we, workers, are many.
     

    Chimel

    Senior Member
    Français
    I've also the feeling that you don't use patron in a non-profit organisation: public administration, government department, schools and universities, hospitals, NGO's... I've always heard chef (de service, de département), directeur, administrateur-délégué... but there is not a patron at the top of the hierarchy and the people working there don't refer to their boss that way.

    Perhaps this could explain the difference between the two questions in Soleil Couchant's exam booklet.
     

    joelooc

    Senior Member
    French (Provence)
    In hospitals there's a different acceptation of patron; meaning the professor (aggrégé) who is in charge of a given department. Patron du service de XXX means that he is responsible for everything going on in his "service"(department).
    In public services it's more of a unionist point of view; people who feel they've got to remind the workers that working is a constant struggle against authority and pressure.
     
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    Soleil_Couchant

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Thanks for continuing to discuss. I haven't had anything else to add, hence me not saying anything, but I am reading all the responses. I suppose it's not a clear-cut, black and white kind of answer. Seems more like a cultural "in the know" thing you pick up just as a native... It seems like "chef" is the less weird one overall though.
     

    Nawaq

    Senior Member
    français (France)
    I think that for one's immediate superior, one can say..."mon/ma supérieur(e?)", non?
    dans l'armée déjà oui ça c'est sûr, c'est comme ça que ma soeur appelait toutes les personnes plus haut gradé qu'elle quand elle faisait le "salut".

    quand mon père a eu sa retraite anticipée dans l'armée et qu'il s'est retrouvé un autre boulot il appelait son employeuse (pas en face d'elle mais quand il rentrait à la maison) "chef, patronne", sans distinction. c'était dans une auto-école.
     

    DrChen

    Senior Member
    French-France
    il appelait son employeuse (pas en face d'elle mais quand il rentrait à la maison) "chef, patronne", sans distinction.
    Totally agree. They are really interchangeable in this context.
    Ain'ttranslationfun?, you're right, we do say "mon supérieur/ma supérieure", but only in a formal environment I think. I can't imagine Nawaq's dad going back home and telling his family about what his "supérieure" said (too many syllables for a casual chat anyway!). I don't think many people use it with family and friends, it'd sound too formal, therefore odd.
    And Soleil_Couchant, I can understand that you find the use of two different words in one manual curious, but I guess it's the kind of things you shouldn't think too much about haha, the person who wrote the manual simply must have written these examples on two different days on a different mood, or two different people wrote them or something, but apart from that there really is no other reason behind the word choice I think. I tried reading both examples with the other word in my head and both could work!
     
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