Monday, August 18, 2008

Your Advice...

I haven't mentioned this here before but the reason I managed to find a job in France so quickly and easily was due to Mrs FP. She is, in fact, my employer. I didn't mention it before because I didn't want people to immediately click their fingers and nod with sudden understanding. "Ahh so that's how she did it. She didn't earn her job, didn't have to have an interview, isn't worthy of the job. She didn't have to work to get where she is today, she was handed it on a plate," some might say. Well despite being very, very lucky and knowing the 'right contacts' if you will, I did have to work for that job. Despite what people may think, I had to have an additional test before I was given the job in order to see if the responsable of my department thought I was worthy. And apparently I was.

It's never been a problem working with my (sort of) mother in law. In truth she has always been very supportive of me. But frank too. When there was a 'mauvaise ambience' between the girls in our department, Mrs FP explained to me that she wanted me to make more of an effort to be friendly to everyone - even those who were unfriendly to me.

I say there has never been a problem working with - or more correctly for - Mrs FP, but that was until today. One of the girls I work with mentioned that a lot of people feel they need to tiptoe around me or be gentle and kind with me simply because I am the belle fille (daughter-in-law) of one of the bosses. While I was mulling this comment over in my head the girl continued, saying that there were so, so many people in the office who were very aware of the fact that I am a piston (which means I'm only there because of Mrs FP).

But I still can't work out what she meant when she said that. In what way are people aware of it? Are they careful when I'm around because they think I'm going to run off and tell the boss that they are playing solitaire instead of working? Is that what this is all about? They think I'm some sort of spy?

There are several things that annoy me about this revelation. One; I'm a young, British girl who has just moved to a new country and therefore would find it near impossible to find a job. Two; This is my first job. Three; This isn't a long term job. I have a contract that will finish in December! It's not like it's a career and I'm getting a huge promotion because the boss owes me a favour for God's sake!

And the worst thing is that Mrs FP did such a nice thing for me and she didn't have to. She gave me a chance, she took a huge risk when she took me on, but she did it anyway and now people are turning it into a negative thing.

So I'm putting this one out to you lot. What do you think of people at work who got their job because of a connection? Is it really that bad? Is there anything I can (within reason) do to show people I am just another colleague? Should I even care?


curiositist said...

oh,it's trifles!Don't care about it.If you are friendly and positive ,people will understand you are their friend and just another colleague,not a spy.Do you have friends at work?May be they know you badly?

Jane said...

Ohh, I'm the wrong person to ask this (I know you didn't ask me specifically, but in my head you did :P)

I quit my job last week because since I walked in the door, everyone seemed to dislike me. I KNOW I'm a nice girl god dammit, but for some reason I couldn't fit into these girls' clique.

It wasn't a proper 'grown-up' job or anything, but it was making me absolutely miserable.

In re: to your predicament, I reckon there's absolutely NOTHING wrong with you knowing Mrs FP especially if you're good at the job (which I have no doubt that you are).

Don't follow my example, and try very hard not to let them get to you (but then this is a bit rich coming from me). Stay positive and remember you are IN THE RIGHT!

Good luck :)

Micah D.L. said...

what a bullshit thing to have to deal with. ergh. i empathize.

1. jobs - good jobs - are usually found through connections. so put it out of your mind that this is an issue.

2. just do your job, do it well, and prove that you deserve to be there. i'd make efforts to NOT fraternize with Mrs. FP so that you can avoid the stares and left-of-center looks.

3. no, you shouldn't care. rather, you shouldn't HAVE to care, but your colleagues have put you in the situation so you unfortunately have to deal with it now. bother.

i hate office politics.

JB said...

YOU know you're a good person, Mrs. FP knows you're a good person, so that's all that should really matter. As long as you keep up with the hard work, and Mrs. FP can be proud that she stuck her neck out for you, that's all that matters. Just be proud of yourself for doing a good job, and establishing good connections at this job for the next job. It's all about connections, baby!

Of course, this is all easier said than done.

T.D. Newton said...

Bah, after trying like 10 times to write a "nice" comment I'm sick of retyping. Work situations are what they are - if you are actually DOING work, it will show, so sooner or later this will blow over. In the real world, it doesn't matter how you "got" a job but it does matter what you do afterward. If you're not standing around the coffee machine all day chatting and are actually doing work, it will show, and even if other people refuse to see that you're worthwhile at least you'll know the truth. And it's that confidence in the truth that makes the difference, not their opinion.

I would just ignore this kind of stuff so long as you can feel good about the job you're doing. People can think badly about you for all kinds of reasons but it doesn't mean they're true.

The Divine Miss M said...

Personally I wouldn't care about it! You know where you stand with Mrs FP and you know the deal - who cares about a bunch of jealous girls.

Be confident and know that you can do the job and are good at it. You're proving yourself now.

Jillian said...

I found your blog recently and it's pretty funny because I'm in the same position! I recently moved to France, and got my job through my boyfriend in his company. EVEN though I'm qualified for it, it seems like everyone sort of looks down on it. I don't know... I don't think it matters how you get the job :)
Anyways, lovely blog and you have a great writing style that I really enjoy!

Samantha said...

My very first thought upon reading this? "Dude. LIFE in France is about who you know and what connections you have. Everyone wants to be able to be pistonné(e), so they're just jealous that you were and they weren't."

Ghosty said...

*Everyone* at my job got their job because of a connection. And, everyone who gets promoted gets promoted because of favoritism and the buddy system.

I dunno, seems OK to me. Did I tell you they gave me another raise?

/continues to play with his brand new Dell at work

Christine said...

I agree that most good jobs are gotten via connections, even here in the States.

My husband was working at this job that he hated. He was in the liquor store (because it was a job he hated) and ran into this guy who used to work at the same place, but now had a new job. He asked Mike how his job was going, and mentioned that his new company was hiring. Hubby followed through and got the job.

Then the company was ready to close the Massachusetts office and move all operations out to California. We didn't want to move out there, so he turned it down.

BUT...the higher-up of the guy who Mike ran into at the liquor store had since left for some other company. As soon as he heard about the closure of the MA office, he got on the horn and called Mike, offered him an interview. He got that job, too, and he is still there now, five years later.

This is a big part of why we didn't want to move out west...if the job transfer didn't work out, we'd be screwed. Neither one of us knows anyone out there, but we know lots of people here. And it paid off to not go, because the CA office ended up laying people off, too.

You're in a new country, where you don't know many people yet. Nothing wrong with using a family connection to get your foot in the door, and some experience. As long as you are good at the job, that is. Once you are in France for a while, and get to know more people, it will get easier. Expect to need connections from someplace to get the good jobs forever, that is the way things work these days.

Good luck!

Chouitie said...

Sounds like they're all just jealous to me. As just about everyone else has said most jobs these days are found through connections (networking is everything!), and it just so happens you have made the most of your connection on this occasion...and why on earth not? Any sensible person would (inlcuding all those girls in your office). Assuming you are getting on with the job and are doing it well then what has anyone got to complain about? I'm sure you'll make Mrs FP proud.

Unfortunately such office politics can get out of hand, especially where jealousy is involved so whilst the best advice is to just ignore these comments as best you can, do be a bit wary of entering into discussions about how you got the job etc. (unless it is to defend yourself I guess - although why should you have to?).

I guess if the worst comes to the worst, it might not hurt to point out to your colleagues that you did have to earn the job, the risk Ms FP has taken etc etc - you never know it might make them think.

Also, as already suggested, at work make sure you always treat Mrs FP as a colleague and boss rather than your belle-mere and stay professional at all times, whatever anyone else might say/do to you.

Finally, whatever happens, do try to stick it out until the end of the contract even if it gets pretty bad as then at least you'll have some experience that will help you get another job.

Oh, and finally (#2), even a bad experience can be useful - my first job finished abruptly due to office politics, but I have taken alot from it and am now sooooo much wiser. I always try to view it as an interesting experience and when looking for a new job, I now know exactly what I DON'T want in a company. I reckon you can usually tell a rubbish employer if you ask a few pertinent questions. Anyway, whatever happens, experience seems to be what counts here so as I said, do stick it out and you'll be a winner in the end.

Anonymous said...

As Sam said, jobs in France are all about connections so your situation isn't unusual at all. I got my first important job via my sister's partner at the time. I never felt any resentment from the others about it and I never gave it a second thought. I just felt all the more lucky to have been given an opportunity I might not have gotten otherwise.

It also takes a really long time for people to become accepting and openly friendly so if you are feeling that they don't like you it's probably just because you're new. Even French people have told me that this is their experience when they start a new job or move to a new place. French people don't seem to like newbies for some reason!