Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On Working

I have a few thoughts I want to get down about finally working, but I'm not exactly sure where I'm going to go with it. Bear with me here...

I am reminded time and again how naive Stéphane and I were about my moving here. We were sure I'd find work within six months (those two years of my parents falling ill and dying one after the other notwithstanding) and even then we thought I'd be able to pick up where I left off. It never occurred to me that moving countries would be so vastly different for someone fresh out of school and for me, who at 31 years old had a nice little career going and was making more than my husband.

I don't know why I never realized that I'd be literally starting over, but now that I'm revisiting the same sort of job I had 15 or so years ago, it seems so ridiculously obvious. For the first time in my life my boss is Mr So-and-So (as opposed to being on a first name basis) and younger than me. I'm overqualified and over-educated for this job (and for my colleagues), and I sincerely hope I'm not still doing it in five years.

BUT. I also feel like I've cracked the code. I'm on the inside. I have a Social Security number and have money going towards retirement. Every paycheck I bring home means we're that much closer to buying a house. Every month I stay employed is another month I can add to my resume which will only look better and better as time goes on. If I'm offered the CDI (the magical never-ending contract), I'm pretty much set, and at this point I'm feeling more and more confident that this will happen (more thoughts on that in another post). But most importantly, there's no reason I have to stop looking and applying for jobs that I really want.

So I see this job both as a saving grace and a temporary set back. If we can accept the idea of a five to six year break in my career as temporary.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel. When I was living in Finland I had the same problem and once I got dual citizenship I was set. But until then there was a feeling also of not pulling my end of the deal...its a man thing. Just hang in there and it will all come out. Besides, things aren't that great here in the US at the moment. Michel

Sharon said...

Hi - long-time lurker coming out of hiding to ask what is probably a silly question. I've seen you mention the long-term contract before and, as someone who is living in the States, I'm obviously unfamilar with it. Would it tie you to the same company permanently, or would you be able to accept a position with another company? If you go to another company, would you have to wait for them to offer you another long-term contract? Not that I'm planning on moving to France - just curious. Thanks!

Vivi said...

Hey Sharon, that's a great question! No, it doesn't mean you're tied there forever, but you might have a longer period of notice before you leave, maybe one month. If you go to another company, your contract is negotiable. It is always possible to start directly with a long term contract, with a trail period built in so that both parties can terminate. For a long term contract right off the bat, you would probably have a longer trial period, like three months. Hope that helps!

Denise said...

In an odd way it totally reminds me of life as a military spouse. Plans for a career are changed, adjusted, completely stopped. When we were first married and got settled overseas it felt so odd to be completely "free-loading" off hubby. Now of course, I've been at it for so long, it's a different feeling. I do bring in some income when I teach, but it's not much. I wouldn't change my career as a stay at home mom at all...but having no SS contributions does freak me out sometimes. Anyway....just adding my two cents. :-)

Antipo Déesse said...

Good girl! You're so cool, it's amazing! I was just a spoiled brat when I arrived in this country and 20 years later I don't think I've grown up yet....


xxxx

Suz said...

That's sort of how I feel now that I'm a (SC) state employee past my probationary period. I have lots more rights regarding firing than I ever did working in the private sector! It's a nice feeling.

Glad you're on your way to that! And, 5 or 6 years is nothing in a lifetime of work, in my opinion.

Scott said...

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I started my own hiking blog at http://www.ultimatehikingguide.blogspot.com

Check it out! I think you'll dig it!

Karla said...

In Norway there is a 6 month 'probation' period when you start your contract where you can be let go at any time. Once you pass that 6 months, then you are on the 'golden ticket' also, and there is a three month notice on either side for job ending, though it is very strict for the employer and you really have to screw up to be let go (Layoffs occasionally happen but are strictly controlled). this also applies to home rental contracts, three months notice on either side.
I am becoming more Norwegian, but I think this is fair.