Monday, 28 March 2011

It's terribly important, you know.

One thing which cracks me up about France is the discrepancy between the supposed importance of a professional task and its subsequent payment. Take Mrs. F's current predicament: she was contacted this afternoon by a panic-stricken events management company to work as a bilingual conference organiser. The conference in question is to take place in Paris mid-May and 13,000 paying guests from the world of cardiology are expected. So far, only 850 have been registered, so the manageress is pretty stressed. Apparently, they started late, blah blah blah, time is of the essence, it's incredibly stressful etc etc etc, yiu have to be able to work under pressure blah blah, you work until six; but don't be surprised if we need you to stay until eight etc, and it's hugely, HUGELY important, you know, particularly as you'll be needed in Paris for the conference itself to re-register latecomers, sort out any problems they may have, extract the now higher fee from them if they hadn't already paid in full. Yes, dear readers; this job is so specialised, stressful, high-powered and important that the event company in question is confiding the logistics to...minimum wagers from the local temp office. Yup, it's that stratospheric. It's probably the same everywhere else, but here in France, unless you really are doing something highly specialised which, quite frankly, not everyone is capable of doing, you are basically condemned to earning no more than the minimum wage until you retire. I know I've mentioned this before, but it blows my mind whenever there's another example of its iniquity. Considering that 90% of this company's work is in English in a country where the average Frenchman or woman can hardly order a portion of chips in our celebrated vernacular, they're happy to pay my perfectly trilingual wife like a cleaning lady. Fortunately, her interpreting work for the Mexican cement company is paid double. Shame it's only for three days.

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