Wednesday, 9 May 2012

En Forme

Two weeks ago I began my "formation" or training with Pierre, my advisor. I had taken along the bag that I use for cabin luggage, stuffed with a big French / English dictionary, copies of all my pole emploi  documents, my CV and lots of other papers concerning my previous employments here in France and in the UK.
Pierre had been a bit worried about me coming to see him as he doesn't speak English and his only other English client not having spoken any French. They had tried to communicate with her using the dictionary that she had brought along, and with him typing things into Google Translate. This was obviously tedious and not very efficient or accurate.
He had ended up phoning his daughter, who spoke some English, putting his mobile on speakerphone, and his daughter translating for them as best she could as they went along. Lord knows how the client managed with filling in the paperwork.
As usual there is lots of paperwork. I had to sign at least 6 different documents, presumably a contract, agreeing that I understood and agreed to do anything that I am asked to do, or my money (should they give me any) would be stopped.
I had come prepared for a possible full day of training, perhaps in a large room stuffed with computer terminals, but no, it's just me and Pierre in  a room.
Do you know what the training entails? he asked. I replied that apart from CV's, letters of motivation and how to search for a job, I had no idea no idea.
Were you told any other details of the training?
No, I said, and I don't know how long the training lasts....
He explained that I was to come along once a week for up to three months, or until I find a job, whichever comes first. He qualified this by saying that although these meetings would be once a week, some of the meetings would be carried out over the phone. He then gave a sheet with the "training" overview. Sessions would last from 25 minutes up to an hour. After 25 minutes I emerged into the sunlight, 8 pages of questions nestling in my heavy bag, my homework for the next week's meeting.
Last Thursday, I returned to see Pierre with my questionnaire filled in to the best of my ability. I left an hour later, with another 8 pages of questions to fill in. Once this first 4 week phase is completed, Pierre will have all of the information he needs to make a judgement on what firms / jobs to target.
He has told me that only 20 percent of the available jobs are advertised on the open market. We will be targeting the hidden jobs.
Whilst arranging the date and time for our next meeting, Pierre explained that May was the month when the French make "le pont". There are about 4 bank/public holidays in May. If for example the holiday is on a Tuesday, most workers make le pont / the bridge, and don't go to work on the Monday, to enjoy a long weekend. This means that I have until 31 may to do my homework. Vive la France!!

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