jeudi 14 février 2008

I have had some questions about my new job.

I started last week training to eventually become a European Patent Attorney. It is quite a long and arduous process. I have to have two years of training in a company, then spend one year taking courses at the Centre d'Etudes Internationales de la Propriete Industrielle in Strasbourg. Actually, it isn't a full-year, about eight weeks spaced over 9 months, followed by some exams. Then I have to pass four exams, which are several hours long each. These exams are given once a year, and many people don't pass them all the first time. I also will have to be a European citizen. (hopefully the Prefecture can get it together in 4 years, but I am keeping my fingers crossed).

How did I get this job? I sent out resumes and cover letters to all companies that do Patents/Trademarks within driving distance- Marseille, Aix, Toulon even (ten total). All but one said nope. One of the ones in Aix accepted to take me on. Wow. Best return on investment I have ever had. (Spent about 10€ on envelopes, stamps, etc).

This job adjustment is proving to be easier than for my first job. But I think that is mostly because then I hadn't worked in over a year and a half, had never worked in France, still didn't understand French super-well, plus the apartment was still torn up. (Well, we are still working on it, but at least can fully use the bathroom by now).

The office is in an 18th century historical building. The ceilings are about 6 meters high, and are covered with plaster and frescos. But, the heating system isn't too great due to the size that needs to be heated. It looks out over onto a square and is near the Cathedral of Aix.

After coming from an industrial area, it is a big change for me to be right in the heart of a city. There are tons of little gourmet shops and expensive stores, students wandering the streets, street players (which doesn't help my concentration). There are four other women working there, one of which is an Englishwoman, and two men (including my boss), plus two other men that only come in occasionally.

The first week I was feeling completely lost. Oh my god, CHEMISTRY? I haven't looked at Chemistry in ten years and now you want me to write a patent on this stuff? Ahh! But it is going better now.

The only bad thing is the commute, about 40 minutes in the morning and an hour+ in the evenings. I start at 8 (the rest of the office comes in at 9) and leave at 5 (one hour for lunch, and everyone else leaves at 6). This way, I can avoid a decent amount of sitting in traffic jams. I guess I could shift my hours from 10-7, but I don't want to get home that late, and after about 7 pm you can forget about finding a parking spot. I also have every other Friday off, and the other Fridays only 6 hours.

I think eventually the office will move to another location, one that is easier to get to and less expensive. This is my second week now, and I am starting to get the hang of it. Besides, my boss told me that I will be absolutely lost for the first six months, so I am not worrying about it.

7 commentaires:

Starman a dit…

Congratulations on getting the job. It certainly seems like it would be quite interesting.

Karen a dit…

Wow, great job! Seems really interesting and will be a lot of hard work. I know passing the patent bar in the US is really tough so I can only imagine France.

Youropa a dit…

Thanks, Megan, for such a prompt post after I asked for more details concerning your job. I have read all your Libelles and enjoyed them as well as your pictures. I'm always interested in comparative living costs, American to French. I'm a fellow southerner, North Carolinian. Best wishes to you and Alain.

Alisa in Los Angeles a dit…

Congratulations! Sounds like a wonderful opportunity. We just booked our trip to France. Will be taking a 1 year sabbatical starting in September 08-we'll take the Queen Mary II from NYC to England (with our dogs...they have a state of the art kennel facility on the ship) and then drive over to france. We are renting a beautiful house near Najac in the Averyon. Can't wait.

Mountain Dweller a dit…

Good luck with the new job. Apart from the commute it sounds good!

The Late Bloomer a dit…

Wow, sounds like an amazing opportunity and a great job! Your hard work and perseverence definitely paid off... Gosh, I had no idea you were an attorney! I feel so insignificant somehow now... But that's just me and my silly lack of confidence talking!

Good luck with all the exams, and with settling in now. Again, it sounds like a wonderful opportunity, and I'm sure they know you need some time to adapt to things.

Xcm a dit…

Hi Megan,
I am French and worked for the EPO for 19 years. My wife found out about your blog and pointed it out to me. We live in Aix and I may be able to help you prepare the exams, particularly A and B.
My wife is from South-Africa and speaks only English, and we both know how the French can be towards foreigners. It would be nice to be in contact to chat about life in France in general. We are in our mid-forties and have three (bilingual) children. We moved to France in August 2007 and have still not quite adapted. The patent world is hard work, but does pay well, so good luck with your studies. You may contact us on Hotm dotcom, the nickname being xsket.
Cheers, Xavier.

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