(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Monday, September 15, 2008

j'ai répondu.

I was excited to see my last post elicited some questions AND a couple of new commenters!  It is always fun to meet the lurkers ... *smile*

My daughter has arrived and I only had to go to ONE train station to locate her ~  it wasn't all easy-peasy though.  Her flight arrived about 45 minutes late and by the time she gathered her things and took the RER to the Gare Austerlitz, she missed her train by about 6 minutes.  Which meant she had to wait 4 hours for the next TGV to Limoges.  

Oh the poor dear, 4 hours in a Parisian café, watching the world slowly pass by.  *sigh*

Okay, to my answers.

Monsieur Graves:  The 'final' straw, eh?  hmmmm.  Well, after the escrow closed on my house in France in December , 07 ... the fact that I actually OWNED a house that I hadn't seen in about 9 months really began to grate on me.  The demise of the housing market in the U.S. had a huge impact on the division I worked in ...and the inevitable blame game began, with ensuing pressure for cost reductions, reorganizations, pending layoffs etc.  Having worked in corporate life for 20+ years and also having gone through at least three economic cycles that resulted in major layoffs and general working misery ... as well as the mounting stress and disillusion with corporate life in general AND the U.S. political system... I guess many factors just all formed the perfect storm.  I had actually resolved to resign in June if no other alternative presented itself.  And then I said to myself ... "Self, um no j/k"  "Kim, what are you thinking 'if no other alternative ...', surely there must be something you can do proactively ..." and the rest is history.

As far as why France?  France has been a nearly life-long dream of mine ... beginning with those crazy high school French classes and Monsieur Cavanaugh's wacky teaching.  When I finally had the chance to actually GO to France instead of dream about it, it was everything and more than I imagined.  In addition to the lure of Paris and her architecture and artistic allure, each time I went and discovered another region, or was introduced more fully to the French way and approach toward life ... well, it became a growing siren's call for me.

Jonnifer:  Thanks for visiting and taking the time to pose a question! Like the title of my blog, I have decided I must regret nothing.  Of course, there have been times - either in a previous visit or even since being here - that I have thought about the years it took and my years of unhappiness.  My particular situation was such (single widowed mother, lack of resources, etc.) that it all was a precursor to the time I could actually do more than dream.  The early corporate years weren't as tiresome as later and afforded me the chance to send my kids to an amazing French school which reinforced my dream.  The stress and aggravation associated with my climb up the corporate ladder was indeed soul-sucking ... but also allowed me to generate the resources to take the trips abroad, search for and buy my house and ultimately make an escape.

So, non, je ne regrette rien!

Michele ~ Bienvenue! I am no expert on the working in France arena.  I have discovered, at my local prefecture that it is not impossible, as we are all led to believe before coming, to work in France.  Especially if you work for yourself.  That means - independently as opposed to trying to take a permanent job with an employer that might otherwise have hired a French citizen.  So contracting, consulting, starting a small business, freelance writing - all are possibilities.  Or some folks do work for their original employers in their country of origin, just remotely.  I think your line of work would be something 'not impossible' to obtain a working permit for.

Of course, that wasn't professional advice!  And, by the way, I had no problem understanding what you wrote.  In case I did, in which case you'll have to come back and tell me otherwise!

Felicity~Thanks and since I didn't see a question in there, I have one for you!! where ARE you (near me) and let's do a coffee!

Bonnie Ann Black~ Actually, I moved from 'non-celibate' status which is a backwards way of saying I did have a relationship of sorts in the States and now ... for the time being I am both celibate and 'celibataire'! Poor moi!  

Rural France vs. Paris?  well that was a tough one, because j'adore Paris.  But once I visited la Dordogne and she captured my heart, every time I would dream of the move, imagining myself in France ... I pictured the Dordogne.  I do have a new goal/vision (I mean what is life if not for some element of endless striving and dreaming? ...) and that is a petite garret in Paris someday.  before I kick the bucket.

If the way of life in France (in general) is appealing, then the way of life in the Dordogne is ideal.  Especially for anyone over 40.  My French friends tell me one must be over 40 to truly appreciate the Dordogne.

OJL- Mais oui, bien sur!  A garden was actually the topic of conversation yesterday over lunch in my little garden.  Now is the time to be planting winter vegetables, and Jean-Yves explained which those were here.  My daughter has decided she will dig a small plot for me for a petit potager.  Later, a larger area will emerge.  You'd also love seeing my grape vines, we have cut buckets of muscat grapes and I am toying with ideas for them.  Personally I want to try a grape liqueur, but the peanut gallery here is teasing me and rolling their eyes!  harumph!  We will have to put our heads together on the garden topic, and then also what to do with the fruits of our labors!

No worries, I intend to keep droning on here about the daily humdrum.  But this was a fun exercise I may repeat in the future.


Ksam said...

First of all, let me say that I whole-heartedly agree with your "je ne regrette rien" policy.

Secondly, I'm certainly not a professional tax advisor either, but as someone who works for an American company in France, I can tell Michelle it's MEGA expensive to be a consultant/independent contractor/etc. I pay 46% of my salary to the French government in "charges sociales" (health care, retirement, unemployment, workers comp, etc) and then there's income tax on top of that - which amounts to roughly one month's income. And that's not even talking about the time (months) it takes to register your own business, nor the paperwork that needs to be done every month (in French). Nor how little is left over at the end if you are paid in dollars!

It's ironic considering the origins of the word, but the French definitely do not encourage people to be entrepreneurs - in fact, it's more so like they do everything they can to discourage them. In general, they are just not the risk-takers that we are.

Randal Graves said...

Oh the poor dear, 4 hours in a Parisian café, watching the world slowly pass by. *sigh*

The poor soul.

or was introduced more fully to the French way and approach toward life ... well, it became a growing siren's call for me.

So what you're saying is, if you visit for any length of time, you're screwed. ;-)

Our Juicy Life said...

so what are the 'winter' vegetables.

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

KSAM-thanks for your viewpoint ... but we ARE still in France, as LBR would say 'le sigh'!

RG, exactement. well - I don't know about the screwed part, I'm still staying upbeat ... OH, unless you meant that in the NICEST possible way....(dare to dream, I say)

OJL-ummm, still figuring out but things like cabbage, cauliflower, well basically the same wintery things we'd grow in the U.S.