Earning a Living

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I did go down the Pole d'Emploi Route

Having posted on here last, with a very favourable and positive result of my initial visit to the Pole d'Emploi, I was referred for a four day 'targeting and finding work course', and was eager to begin this.  I have a, possibly misguided, faith in the rumbling machine of annoymous government systems, and felt that I might be included and encouraged and feel at one with my fellow job seekers.  My life here in France has, after all, been punctuated by a thousand acts of random kindness. 
 
The first day, was OK, we had various discussions on the 'hidden' job market etc., and I thought all was well.  I've lived here a long time, my understanding of French and vocabulary is fast and fairly vast.  I had to ask what the word 'tamalou' was, to much amusement, but otherwise I understood all and took part in all of the excercises.  I was asked pretty damned quick during a talk on 'rights' if I was claiming the 'chomage', and explained that I wasn't  because although I pay cotisisations on my husbands salary for my son and I, my husband is Canadian and therefore not covered by the system, and I haven't actually had a salary here myself. So am not therefore relieving the French government of a sou. 
 
I thought I was doing quite well, the advisor was pleasant. But... Day two, we had a different advisor, who, asked if I was a foreigner and then proceeded to make me the butt of every negative remark, joke and sneer with a the zeal of a schoolyard bully.  To my horror after a short while of quiet sniggering the other 14 started to join in. I was called geneé and everybody laughed when it was said, and someone did a football chant of 'France pour la Francaise' which was taken up by another couple of people.  I stuck it out and finished the course, all four wretched days of it.
 
I chatted to my fellow students in the coffee breaks, and they made it evident that this was 'nothing personal' but that I should not be competing for French jobs, and that I'm simply Not French.  At the end I was given a Bilan, that stated I had integrated and taken part in all the course, but that I 'have an English accent which will hamper communication with others'
 
I am going back next week to a CV workshop, and will complain about the treatment I received before.  I discussed it with a couple of French friends and they were most embarassed, but said that they weren't too astonished because they'd heard similar stories, though not involving English immigrants.  I am evidently naieve, but I have never before experienced this sort of behavior, mercifully.  It's sort of swayed my thinking. It had never occurred to me that I was disliked 'just' because I'm English.
 
I am just feeling a bit disheartened, and perhaps a bit got at. I will pick myself up and hurl myself back into this fray.  However, I do think I have a point in being somewhat cross.  I have never spoken a word of English with any French resident (except when requested for language learning) in the ten years I have lived here.  I have tried so hard to integrate at times I feared I would implode.  I shall not let this deter me, but must say I am losing some of my Mary Poppins veneer. 
 
Have I just encountered a 'one off' horrid person and sheeplike followers?  Now I've stuck my head above the parapet am I likely to have this experience more often?  I am not a whimp, but this really was unnecessary unpleasantness for no good reason. 

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Re: I did go down the Pole d'Emploi Route

I'm sorry you came up against this issue. I'm afraid it is very common, in even in big, multinational companies. As your colleagues said, it's not personal, and not aimed at you specifically. They don't even see it as anything wrong. I just ignore it, pretend it never occurred, and carry on regardless. My German colleagues get it as well. They'll do the same if you're black, jewish, asian, whatever.

My wife gets really p*ssed off when people make snide comments behind our backs when we speak English between us, or if they spot the slight accent she has after years of living abroad, and make, what they think, are funny jokes. Guaranteed to get the perp a mouthful of French words I don't understand. I just ignore it.

Don't let it put you off. You will develop a think skin!

 


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Re: I did go down the Pole d'Emploi Route

One of our old posters was treat very badly too. A very very high level or qualifications and experience counted for nothing and the best they could do was suggest she do ancillary work.


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Re: I did go down the Pole d'Emploi Route

It's probably the worst situation for this sort of thing too as your fellow attendees are all, ipso facto, without work, and  the poor immigrant gets the blame for everything.  The UK's the same - how bloomin' often do you hear the boring old tirade against refugees and European incomers being responsible for all Britain's economic ills?  Velcorin is quite right, imo.  It's tough but you have to just hang in there, which you seem to be doing.  Don't let the b*st*rds grind you down!
"I couldn't sleep very well last night. Some noisy b*ggers going around in automobiles kept me awake." Ken Miles
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Re: I did go down the Pole d'Emploi Route

I agree, take pride in the fact that those who make fun of or blame you or whatever convenient minority are far less likely to get themselves out of the situation that they are seeking to blame others for than you are.

It sound like you have already risen above them.


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Re: I did go down the Pole d'Emploi Route

Thank you so much, for your positive responses.  You know when you sort of sit and think to yourself 'oh, get a grip woman'? - well I did, and I realised I was still cross.  But I just needed to get it out and vent it and see if anybody else agreed.  You did - I realised that life sucks, but you just get on with it - but I know I'm not there all on my own!  Onwards and upwards - with many thanks!
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Re: I did go down the Pole d'Emploi Route

Oh, and you might just mention the quarter of a million (at least, see this - admittedly old but I doubt it's gone down much - article http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/mar/23/immigration.france ) French people in the UK taking jobs from Brits.   Of course I don't subscribe to this theory but it is a statistic that usually shuts these ignoramuses (ignorami?) up.


"I couldn't sleep very well last night. Some noisy b*ggers going around in automobiles kept me awake." Ken Miles
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Re: I did go down the Pole d'Emploi Route

Millie,

Over the many years (it seems ) I was job hunting (now thankfully over as I'm retired), I spent many times wondering why I'd bothered.  It was obvious that after the age of 40 I was more experienced and more capable than those seeking to fill posts, and this led to many occasions when I was not successful, even though a well qualified and appropriate candidate.  Even in my last job before retirement the boss did say he didn't want to employ me because he didn't think I'd stay because he thought I'd find the work too simple.  In fact there was very much to do, and also ( in fact)  they got rid of me before I was ready by making me redundant!!  So much for me not staying !!

However, the point of all this is, that given what you have described, it sounds to me like they thought you threatened them, ie you were better than they were and so would get the jobs before they did.  I have seen this so many times.  Keep up your pecker - it is obvious you have the language skills (which is what fails most ex-pats) and you you have the courage and gumption to get something.  Forget them, they will possibly never, ever, be employable, but you sound as though you could well be...... and you can use it as an example if they ever ask difficult questions about how you cope when confronted with unhelpful colleagues, etc....... Bon courage!

Judith
ex W1, via 47 and 11 and now [just] in 34, equidistant from Carcassonne, Narbonne and Béziers, where I hope we'll finally stay!!

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