Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

Mr Piglet and I found THE perfect offices / storefront for Mr Piglet’s estate agency today. I pass frequently in front of the building in question and remarked recently that the florist that used to have the shop was gone and that the shop was now sitting empty.

It is in the local village, on a main road, so has excellent visibility and free parking nearby (yes, free parking still exists in many parts of France).

It was just all too perfect and I was already imagining myself working from there and walking across to the school to pick up my daughter (once she starts!) and then taking her home for lunch. I was already imagining being part of the village centre, the community and which artists paintings we could expose on the walls (aside from properties of course!).

It would have been perfect

It would have been perfect

The plans were drawn up and I had costed the fit and display as well as the construction of my office.

I had already planned the grand opening with the catering and which guests we would invite and had drafted the press release in my mind.

But I was obviously getting far too ahead of myself as when Mr Piglet went back today to measure up and agree a price, he discovered that there was no mobile phone signal! Can you imagine, no mobile phone signal?

Both of our businesses mean that our mobile phones are crucial to our work, we have to be available to customers all the time and can’t afford to not be available because of a lack of network.

What a shame! I feel like crying and feel like dragging all the patrons of the local bar to see what network they have and to see if it works. We only have the choice of two networks as only two get a signal at home. Never would I have imagined when I was a little girl and didn’t even know what mobile phones were, that a mobile phone signal would play so much of an important part in my life…

How about you? Does modern technology ever get in the way of your life and dreams? How do you feel about this?

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Common sense is obviously somewhat lacking at the French Fedex’s offices during the summer. At almost the same time last year I had a run in with them (my first of many) which you can read about here.

It would appear that their corporate brain goes on vacation during the month of August. Or, maybe they’re working in collaboration with organized crime and earning themselves a neat profit from criminal activities?

What leads me to think this?

Fedex have mastered the knack of finding unoccupied properties during the summer months and marking them clearly as targets for all and sundry to see.

How do they do this?

They put a bright yellow sticker on your front door saying that you’re not there!!!

Fedex advertising to Criminals when a property is empty! BRAVO FEDEX!!

Yes, seriously. Whilst La Poste, DHL, UPS and other courier companies are behind the times and simply leave a calling card in your letter box, the intelligent folks at Fedex have over-engineered the calling card and have diversified their business activity at the same time.

Thankfully, the bright yellow sticker was only on my front door (which is street facing nevertheless) for one day, but imagine if I had been decided to stay away for longer? As it was I had been away for 5 days due to a bereavement in Hubby’s family, but I could have quite possibly stayed longer in which case my property would have been advertised as empty all that time! Or, some clever monkey could have nicked the post it for a bit of fun and I would have been none the wiser that they had tried to deliver.

Seriously Fedex – get a grip and use your brains! Do you really want to be responsible for burglaries and missed packages when you could just go back to basics?

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Photo by Barrysmissen on Flickr

Or should I say, screamer! I mean this is a total scream isn’t it? Given that most summer jobs in France are low paid, the possibility of earning £750 a week to rub sun screen on peoples back on the beach is amazing!

I stumbled upon this article on The Telegraph website a few weeks ago and it has been in the back of my mind ever since.

Apparently, the seaside resort of Les Sables d’Olonne is looking to employ one man and one women to apply sun screen to beach goers during the peak six week holiday period. That’s £4500 for 6 weeks work, not to mention just working 35 hours a week. Way more than I ever earned in a student job!

Not that I’d ever have wanted to spend my holidays rubbing sun screen into peoples backs! EURK! That would be so gross, I’m totally grossed out just thinking about it.

Anyway, for those that are interested, you have until 26th May to send a CV and video in which you need to explain why you would be good for the job!

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Je ne veux pas travailler… I have been singing this song all week for reasons unknown to myself other than the fact that my subconscious mind has been telling me I don’t want to work (obviously !).

But it seems I was not the only one. France has been gripped by strike fever this week!

The French certainly do know how to cause chaos. Although, I have to admit, I have hidden in my house all week and not noticed any of the goings on, apparently this week has been major strike week. How can I possibly live in France and not notice something as major as this?

Okay, so apparently, this week the strikes have been:

Bus and tram drivers
As I work from home I’m not directly affected by this (thankfully) but when they’re on strike it generally means maximum disruption and has dreadful knock on effects. I don’t know why they’re striking this time, they do strike often so maybe someone can enlighten me?

Striked on Thursday in order to protest about lack of resources and growing number of patients (okay so I knew about this one because my GP told me! He was all excited about having a day off!). There are loads of GP’s in France and they offer the best medical care I know of, in anycase far far better than the UK. Maybe they should spend some time there?

Secondary school teachers
On strike today. I don’t know why they’re striking either…

Dustbin collectors – on strike from today until who knows when….
The bin men are complaining that their jobs are dirty (no way! I would never have guessed that if I was applying for a job to a bin man!) and that they are not satisfied with the 1% pay rise they received in January. They also want to lower the pension age.
In Lyon our bins are collected every day from outside of our property. Compared to the UK where many areas only have collections twice a month this is a luxury so they’ll have to strike a long time before I’ll miss them. As for the UK, that’s really gross and politicians and councils should be ashamed.

Magistrates & Lawyers
I couldn’t care less about Magistrates and Lawyers. All they ever do is take money (my money) and there is never much result! As my husband says (more eloquently in French) “the French legal system is a circus, animated by clowns and jugglers!”.

Prison Wardens
mmmm, a bit worrying seems as people frequently escape from prisons in France (or maybe its just me that thinks this?).

There’s also another National Strike planned for 23rd March the aim of the game being to cause maximum disruption to everyone in France and bring the country to a standstill. Last time there was a National Strike no-one I know bothered going to work except for yours truly as I work from home!

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ok, so this is in English but its still a rubber stamp!Today I had a true sense of belonging as I let loose with my rubber stamp all over envelopes, invoices and letters.

For the first time since having a French company (or a company anywhere for that matter) I have a rubber stamp.

Whenever anything is official in France it has a rubber stamp. Invoices need to be stamped and when you sign a contract you must stamp it with the “cachet” of the company. Never until today had I used a rubber stamp, so the feeling of finality and importance that the stamp created as it hit the paper was a new experience for me.

No wonder anyone with a little authority in France is so keen on their rubber stamps! I can now understand why the bureaucrats get so carried away with the need to stamp everything. Stamp, stamp, stamp! I practised my stamping to get the degree of ink just perfect and stamped everything in sight! I’ll be fed up of it tomorrow but today I actually feel French!!!

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A beautiful phone for ugly conversations

Yesterday was a true reminder that I am a foreigner living in France and that it is easier to be French living in France, or, at least have a decent French accent when you speak the language!

I borrowed Hubby to help me with some work as I needed to cold call a number of large organisations to set up some appointments. I’m not into cold calling but this type of activity never used to daunt me in the least when I was doing it in the UK. But, in France, I absolutely HATE speaking on the telephone.

The reason I hate speaking on the phone so much is often people make out they can’t understand me at all, but funnily enough if I shout at them they miraculously understand, although shouting down the phone isn’t very professional for an important business call! In fact, some people are so rude (I’m thinking of certain professions who are renowned for being obnoxious) that they don’t even consider that even though they don’t understand me I may just understand them and say things like “oh my god, I’ve got a bl***y foreigner on the phone, can’t understand a word she’s saying”. Of course, the latter is said in French and of course I understand!

So, I convinced Hubby to help me and was amazed when he managed to set up two major appointments for me in the space of two days. I’d had a go with exactly the same places in September and couldn’t get passed the secretary for her saying “err, can’t understand you, what do you want?”.

I’ve asked some of my French business contacts with whom I speak regularly on the phone if my French is that bad and they cannot understand what the problem is. Fortunately it is not everyone I call who re-acts in this way but it is a lot and it is very frustrating. Maybe I should work on my accent some more or maybe I should just buy myself this gorgeous phone I found on the internet so I’ve got something pretty to look at whilst I try and call such ugly minded people?

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I’ve woken up in a stinking mood this morning. An absolutely stinking mood. It’s as if I want to bite someone’s head off just for the sake of it. I guess this is what happens when you do an extreme diet – my blood sugar levels must be all over the place.

I am not one to advocate extreme dieting; in fact I think it’s stupid because all you do is put back on the weight and more, as soon as you start eating normally again.

But this type of diet seems to be all the craze in France, so maybe it’s not considered extreme, maybe I think it is because I love food so much? Basically, it consists of a protein shake at lunch and very little for dinner with some fruit in the day. I’ve been doing it for 10 days now and have already lost 3.5 kilos, so only another 2.5 kilos to go before heating the beach in a few weeks time… There are so many skinnies here surely you don’t but the weight back on once you eat normally?

Anyway, back to what I was originally going to write. Stinking mood.

Someone once told me that to be happy you have to think of a good thing that happened to you the day before.

So, I think back to yesterday and a huge smile comes to my face when I remember the beautiful Pandora bracelet that a customer sent me as a thank you gift. I remember how touched I was when I opened the delicately wrapped box. How grateful I was as I carefully removed the tissue paper to reveal the teeny tiny charms, and how surprised I was when I saw that one of them was a little house charm.

One gesture, one act of generosity has brightened not just one day, but two and no doubt more in the future. I am no longer in a stinking mood. I will remember this and next time someone goes out of their way for me, I will send a gift or if my budget does not permit, a thank you card.

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