I survived!

Posted by Analyse at 5:03 PM

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

With the current economic situation, hence the increasing unemployment rate, my entry to the current workforce is really un coup de chance, a rare opportunity I shouldn’t miss. What more is that, my employer weighed out every bit of a detail one should consider in evaluating the position status and the salary for an inhinyero like me. Well done, Madame!

After a year of tête-à-tête work experience with these hard-to-please frenchies, it’s inevitable for me to have a love-and-hate relationship with this 5-days-a-week journey I now consider LIFE.

I once tried to explain to my Mom and Dad how I work à la française and I thought they completely understood. But each time they ask me pertinent questions about my job or just the way I work, I just realize that it’s not at all the case.

So Mom, if you read this, just explain it to Dad. And Dad, if you read this, please be reminded that I’m not anymore working in our beloved Pinas and I don’t need that goddamn pension plan!

So there you go, let me explain myself:

March 1 – today marks the anniversary of my arrival in the busy world, in an industrial plot here in my adoptive country called France. My chronometer restarts. 41 more years to go before retirement.

May 1 – Labor Day. It was also my first day, well, with a permanent contract or what they call CDI here (Contrat à Durée Indéterminée). Ça s’annonce bien! (It starts well!) It was my first day and I was already on holiday.

– yey, as long as I complete 35 hours per week, my quota is accomplished. Whether I work less (which is hardly the case), or I work more (which happens quite often especially when I’ve got an ongoing project) a day, my salary remains the same. Wala po akong OT. But the great thing is that, I’m the master of my time. I could arrive in my office at 9:30am or 7am and nobody cares. Anyways, I’ve got no salary deduction because I was late nor a salary increase because I was early. Fair deal, right?

Faire la Sociale – this was a tough initiation for a neophyte coming from another side of the planet like me. I mean, for those who work in an industry where time is gold and the only conversation you could have with your colleague is when you both are in a meeting. Here, socialization is allowed…and sans moderation!

Pause Café – 9:00, 13:00 (or after lunch), 16:00. I don’t know if they mark these planning on their agenda, but I assure you, they’re punctual. Here is where you could practice the above-mentioned faire la sociale thing. Well, not everybody of course follow this planning religiously, but I assure you, there are some!

Pause Cigarette – this is another thing for the faire la sociale application. When most of my men colleagues are out, surely, they’re on their smoking session!

Vacations – a friend of mine made a sarcastic remark telling me ‘hey, don’t you have but vacations there?’. Yep, in this part of the world, the rule is: We WORK in order to LIVE, not the other way around. Vacation is part of their culture and of course, their budget! Beware when you transact a business with them in July - August or anywhere between December and February, there’s a great chance that they’re on vacation.

Work Stress – beware, it’s contagious! Symptoms: You have sleepless nights. You succeed to sleep but you dream about your job. You have more pimples than before. Your favourite topic is your job. You complain about your job. You try to be organized but you work 12 hours a day or more. You work at home. You talk about work at home. You talk about work with friends.

Reserved Parking – I am entitled to one because my position status allows me to. I haven’t asked for it, I just park wherever is available. And if nothing is available inside the vicinity, I park my car outside at my own risk. My principle dictates me so. Heck, don’t other employees with lower classification deserve the same security?

Taxes and Social Security
– the 22% deduction per month (revenue tax not included – I’ve got exemption for one year), plus the company’s participation which is double my contribution, covers taxes, social charges and social security. The company pays a complementary insurance for me too.

Stock Options - everybody got one here. Who wouldn’t? It’s known to be the best investment ever. Well, if you know how to play.

Work Accident – if you had an accident on your way to work (or vice versa), please be informed that it’s considered as work accident (thus company pays!). Just be sure that the accident happens on your normal route, and not on private accesses (such as universities, hospitals etc to shortcut the trajet).

Endless Negotiations – well, I find this particularly difficult. Everybody has got something to say. It’s kinda tiring and it delays much of our work. People management is certainly a tough job here. If there’s one which stresses me out, this is it!

Well, not bad. I survived!


celia kusinera said...

Congratulations ms.Ana! You've survived your first year. More French years to come? Just relax and enjoy yourself, okay?

Bokbok said...

bravo madame! bravo!

hey... aren't you afraid about your car getting dinged? je deteste ça.

bon courage pour la suite! ^_^

Analyse said...

CeliaK, thanks, time flies too fast, parang kelan lang, i was just so excited to have my French Diplome. Yep, more French years to come, hopefully. Our company grows fast in Asia tho, im asking myself why im here hehe. An expat experience for frenchguy and I wont be that bad, i guess. ;)

boks, merci merci! secret lang, who would want naman my old 106? :) pero sans blague, sexy yata yung car ko, it's been twice that somebody tried to open my car. susme naman, lakas pa rin ng sex appeal :)

i'll be taking the bus tomorrow, in a -9°C morning! frenchguy's car is en panne, and he just left to go to Paris, so he took my sexy car. (ill be carless for 2 days!)

thanks, i need le courage pour demain!

triviabuff said...

Hey, that's funny, you started on March 1st too! Well today was my first day at work and it went well... I hope my feedback after one year will be as interesting as yours!

Analyse said...

hey trivs, napadami yata ang reklamo ko :), hope you'll find fulfillment in your new arena too. i must add that this job is MY dream job...there are a lot of ups and downs, i admit, but that just adds up to the challenge and excitement..anyways, i couldnt envisage myself otherwise, so i must stick to it :)

Dutched Pinay on Expatriation said...

ana, felicitations with the 1 year work anniversary! i am on my 1.5 years with this company and boy i want to get out lol!

la faire sociale eh? i like that hehehe. i always do the cigarette pause, we have an irish pub upstairs so every 2 hours i go up there and relax for 2 minutes with a cig. and the vcations!!!! do you guys also get 1 month vacation pay in summer? we get ours in may, quite timing since many go on holiday from june to august.

its dead snowing here! 30 centimeters and climbing! traffic is heavy, trains are delayed, and everyone is in a festive christmas mood. winter came too late, lol!

mell ditangco (this is my pseudonym) said...

I am sooooo green with envy with you Euro girls!

We have flex time during summer time. I never freaking got to use even one hour! My co-workers were able to use 1 day only... tsk

If you saw my last post, its me talking about getting to take vacation for a week after 15 months...

Analyse said...

misst, go go with faire la sociale :). but i stay on my once a day dose though. here, we have the café/thé room - i mean, real café, with coffee-maker and stuffs.

summer vacation is flexi. they normally stop production within a week in august, so Engg Dept's close too. so to accumulate, we go on vacation on august too.

jorz, we avoid to be on vacation at the same time with the dutch, they create traffic jam :).

mell, we're obliged to take our vacation here! funny no, doesnt sound filipino at all! i even have 5 days vacation that i have to consume before the end of may, and that doesnt count on the 5 weeks paid vacation (coz im not entitled to it yet!), it's just a product of their time reduction to 35h per week.

In fact, here, expect a convocation from HR Dept if you leave too much vacation days on your pay slip. so we add that systematically on our agenda. it's for us to organize.

visit you later..:)