Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Springtime in my step of employment

I was hot, thirsty and hungry, so I took my life in my hands and used the crossings to reach Carrefour (A big sell almost everything for the home shop).
I bought some victuals and returned to my car to munch lunch.
My next appointment was at 13:30 hrs at the “”Springtime of Employment event, which the sharpest of you will remember is one of my Instep advisor’s trials for me.
Research on the internet had given me the road name, but not unusually for France (yeah right!), the number of the road. Firing up my trusty GPS, I punch in a road which has the train station on it, and is a known location to me. On the map my destination road does not look to far away……
Easy-peasy. Park under the shade of 2 trees lock up gps and car and walk.
It is still baking hot and I pass the cemetery, descend some steps, and, heaven there is a public toilet. After the briefest of stops, I traverse a huge non surfaced carpark, noting the petanque club rink and the childrens’ play area as markers.
In the centre of the car park is one of the travelling household gizmo and gadget vans whose catalogue I bought my solar powered outside light from earlier this year.
Not a customer in site.
I continue on. Oh there is the garage that I returned my Europcar hire car to last August. Consult map, cross road, see scrappy piece of cardboard high up on lamp post with arrow, employment fair.
Of bloody course my destination turns out to be at the farthest end of a very long road. I am glad that I do not live in the road as for a distance of a few hundred metres there is a truly awful stench, just like when they used to open the abattoir doors in summer back in Elgin.
I arrive
10 minutes early for the afternoon session, so more waiting under a tree.
And we’re off. Through the gate and a young lady gives me a leaflet with a slip of paper in it, showing the location of the organisations attending.
Enter building. Layout is confusing, but I cope. The hiring firms are in place, but the half which has the ANPE stands, is actually on the stage, there appear to be a few tables, a computer or two. Where is the CV workshop and all the other exciting options.
I do two circuits. Buffalo Grill, Carrefour, MacDonalds are the only names I know, apart from the police.
My target is nowhere to be seen. I go out of a side door and see a big tent. It has an A4 notice with more rectangles on it. This is Infomatique.
There on the list is Futurescop also my French teacher’s “organisation”
I enter the big tent. Lots of tables in a horseshoe formation. Most of them with the firm’s staff still out to lunch.
I go and speak to Mr S and I spot my target two tables away.
He is expecting me. So we have a chat and go round and round in circles. He is a nice enough chap (shockingly bad teeth) but too laid back and pleased at his own cleverness. We can even conduct the whole meeting in English if I prefer. I choose French. He has a younger female colleague at the desk with him and I am the only punter in the tent. The next table are also listening in.
I notionally sign up the lady as a client, he suggests a fee of 1000 euros, which I think is reasonable. She starts to look worried.
Eet all comes back to ze question, Do you ave any customerz?
I say Non
Zen you cannot ask ze qwestion what should I do? (this is the loop we are stuck in for some time)
I suggest that he imagine that I did have a client, what should I do then? …..
And so we go on, I laugh, they laugh, the people at the next table laugh. Perhaps a stand up routine is the way to go.
I pass my ANPE lady who signed my up as unemployed. She is tiny. No wonder she stays behind her desk normally. I talk to her. Moment of panic until she places me. Has she seen my Instep advisor? No, but she has never met her. She takes me back into the tent, and there is an Instep table, now with some ladies behind it. They know nothing, but my advisor is not and has not been there. Strange that she told me she would be there.
Next stop is to find the location of the Medical staff training centre that I wrote to about a month ago.
Walk back to the car, take on water, then head off walking with map.
I find it in temporary wooden huts, one of which is the reception.
I talk to a lady and explain my business and that I had written a letter. Would I like to meet Mr B? she will arrange an appointment.
I get a message on my answerphone the next day. The meeting is the same date and time as my Point.P delivery.
I phone repeatedly but it is always an answerphone. I find a different phone number on the internet and try that. I explain that I cannot make that date/time. She will get back to me. I get a phone message confirming my meeting on the same date and time as before. I phone and explain. As Mr B is very busy, the meeting might have to be in July, she will take charge of matters and get back to me……. I’m still waiting.


  1. I have been to a few job fairs in France. Finally I decided to open my own business thanks to the auto-entrepreneur laws. It is easy to get caught "in a loop" with the French.

  2. Yes the French love loops and creating loops and complaining about loops. My advisor knows nothing and anything I tell her about this scheme is way over her head. Of course I could go ahead and sign up online but I am not quite ready to do so yet.
    Thanks for the comment, it's good to know there is someone else out there.


Feel free to send me your comments or suggestions