Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Big Reveal, part 2

So where was I yesterday?  Oh yes, that's right, C's big decision....

He decided to call their bluff and quit.

Let's leave a moment of silence for all the dead fonctionnaires who just turned over in their graves.

And another moment for Cs family, friends and co-workers who all thought he was completely insane to leave a job that is guaranteed for life with great benefits.

Their reaction was basically why we didn't tell anyone else. It was like with the viager thing - everyone's reaction was so negative that it was hard to stay positive about the project.  So C wanted to keep it on the DL for a while.  It was not easy for me since it was a big event in our life and I am an oversharer, but hey, there are two of us now and I needed to respect his decision.

C had four months of vacation saved up, so he decided to take it all and use that time to study English and any other skills he would need for his new career.  I was slightly worried that would entail him just sitting around at home all day and distracting me (since I work from home), but I needn't have worried. He got up every single day of those four months just as if he was going to work and went to study at the UNESCO library.

During that time, we talked a lot about rules for successful job hunting in the US - things like tailoring your resumé to the job description, sending personalized cover letters to each company and thank-you notes.  These may seem obvious to the young Americans out there, but they are still things relatively unknown in France. Most French people just send out mass-mailings of a standard CV+lettre de motivation.

We also spent a lot of time talking about the interview process and the need for preparation, something else that is often lacking here. So C went back to his flashcard route and basically wrote up every interview question possible and then practiced his answers to them.

And then came the job hunting part. He spent so much time researching companies, salaries and careers, and all of his efforts paid off.  He got tons of interviews and was offered almost every job.  I was so proud that his hard work was paying off.  I mean, how often does that happen in France?  I wanted to shout it from the rooftops and be like "In your face all of you naysayers! See, it is possible to find a new job if you really try, even in this economy." But C as usual wanted to stay discret. (He is obviously better at being the bigger person than I am, lol). And anyways, most of those jobs paid just barely more than his civil servant job, and we were holding out for the big lot, so the hunt continued until we came across two job offers, both for foreign entities, that actually had more than decent salaries.

I will say that the one thing that we hadn't taken into account in all of this is that the hiring process in France takes time. Unlike C, most people don't quit their jobs until they find a new one, and there is often a 2-3 month notice period they have to give, so they don't actually end up starting their new job until a few months later. The hiring process has adapted to this, so when he came across these two amazing jobs and was raring to go, they were moving along the French timeline and going slowly.

The downside was that all of this was coming to a head at the end of his vacation period, which equaled the end of an income, so the stress was starting to filter in.  And even more so when his boss sent him a letter saying that his démission had been denied and that he was to report back to work on Monday.  And I was all WTF?? How can they say they refuse his quitting?  Is that even possible?  If you quit, you quit et basta! But wait, maybe the French government can do that?  *cue panic attack*

What I can say is that there was a lot of back and forth, which included the police coming to our house and buzzing at the door in order to get him to come back to work (and me telling them through the intercom that they should be ashamed of themselves)...



Blogger Emily in Exile said...

I can't believe the police came to your house to tell your husband to go to work!

July 14, 2012 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Ksam said...

I know, right?? That's why I was like "You should be ashamed of yourself, surely you have better things to be doing with your time!"

July 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger melinda said...

so ridiculous.....sounds like a good thing he's outta there

July 14, 2012 at 2:23 PM  
Blogger Diary of Why said...


July 14, 2012 at 5:46 PM  
Blogger Pierre said...

This is incredible, seriously!

Refusing his resignation, ahah!

Is there a part 3 to this crazy story?

Bon courage anyway!

And I'm not sure I got everything... you're planning to move back to the US?

July 14, 2012 at 5:52 PM  
Blogger Emily Marie said...

Wow! You must be so proud of C! I'm so excited to hear how everything turns out. I can't say I'm surprised at all about them refusing his démission.

July 14, 2012 at 6:00 PM  
Blogger Wonky73 said...

Gotta really respect C and his willingness to work to get what he wants.

I am a relatively new reader but I've gone back and read some of the back stuff. I even went back to your old blog. And there is a common theme: things happen for a reason. There is a second part to that statement that become evident reading you blog. Things happen for a reason, but then we have to act to make that reason come true. If you hadn't moved to Paris. Or if C had reacted to not getting the promotion by being lazy and doing nothing. Because he chose to act and view it as an opportunity life advances.
Sorry for the long philosophical comment.

Looking forward to part 3 where we find out if C is allowed to leave his old job.

July 14, 2012 at 6:25 PM  
Blogger purejuice said...

stunning, the police coming to your house to tell him to get back to work. i hope you'll devote some analysis of french society as to how that could possibly happen. wow. aren't y'all the world's oldest democracy?

July 14, 2012 at 7:30 PM  
Blogger Bee Ean said...

What a big loss to the government! It is nice to know that there is at least one civil servant that is motivated, we heard so many bad things about them.

July 15, 2012 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger oliviadog said...

Incredible story! Hard to believe it is true. (But I do). And yes, eagerly awaiting part 3.

July 15, 2012 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Jadie said...

Hip, hip, hooray for C's courage and vision..and yours! What a great story of determination, hard work and PAY OFF!! You chose a good one, Sam..

July 16, 2012 at 7:19 AM  

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