vendredi 7 août 2009
She has been in France now for two years. Her part-time 5-month contract did not turn into a full-time offer, so she continued to search, month after fruitless month, for a job. She was, quite frankly, astounded that she was not snapped up right away, especially as there are many small, medium, and large businesses in the area with her specialty. When her Frenchman told her that it might be very difficult for her to find a job in France, she nodded and said "Yes, I understand"; while secretly thinking to herself "I've never had a problem finding a job before, why wouldn't they snatch up an English speaking person with a Master's?"
Only to find that while the French might lament to each other their deplorable English skills in private, in the business world they are quite offended that their speaking and writing skills are not up to snuff and that a native English speaking person might actually be able to speak and write English better. In short, they feel threatened and firmly close the door.
At the end of October, they bought their first property, and moved in the first half of November, only to be quickly confronted with major renovations.
A few weeks before Christmas, they pulled out the bathtub, and she (very naively) thought that it would only take a week or so to re-do, it should be done before they leave for the US for Christmas.
In the US, they spend an interesting two weeks snow-bound with family, but at the end, she isn't too eager to return to France- spending all day at home, in a messy apartment with no shower, trying to find a job, depressed, and having serious thoughts about killing the neighbor's dog.
She has joined a "Club de Jeunes Diplômés" whose aim is to use networking and informational interviews to try and make contacts. The idea is to contact companies that you are interested, and not say that you are looking for a job, but just that you would like to find out more about what they do, and ask to have a 30 minute discussion with someone from their company who does what you are interested in. Then, if they say okay, you go (with several copies of your resume) talk to the person, find out more about what they do, and try to find out (at the end) whether they are hiring and, if not, whether they know anyone else who is.
She scores a few interviews this way, but once she goes to them she suspects they accepted because they (youngish Frenchman) thought it would be amusing to meet une américaine.
At the end of February, she finally gets a job offer- Project Manager for an industrial company, something she has no clue about, but will take anything at this point, as it isn't teaching English to rugrats.
The first few (days, weeks, months) are very hard. She hasn't "worked" in the proper sense of the term for almost two years, and never in an industrial environment and never all in a foreign language. Plus a few train strikes added in that double the commute time and stress, and the months pass very very slowly.
The bathroom is finally finished, so she can take actual showers now, instead of taking them at the gym near her work.
Her Frenchman is going to spend August working on the apartment, as usual, and since the factory is closing for a week, she is going to stay home and help him.
She keeps sending out resumes, hoping for something else, even though, as her Frenchman reminds her, it pays well and many people would be very happy to have it, given the unemployment rate. She remembers how long it took her to find a job and how depressed she was, and agrees.

4 commentaires:

Starman a dit…

I am so happy to be finally disconnected from that part of life.

Mwa a dit…

Oh, I can just feel the ennui. (I hope I used that right.)

Anonyme a dit…

These entries are not only artful and entertaining; they are also extremely insightful and helpful for us other expats. So few people talk about how they actually accomplished things in France - especially securing a position.

I learned a lot from this entry. Thank you.

J a dit…

i'll echo the thanks of "anonyme".. it's a relief to hear that i'm not the only expat american, with a frenchmen, searching for my footholds here. thanks for sharing your experience - it's reassuring!

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