Monday, December 15, 2008

La Vie Bohème...


It's just as well I had already prepared myself to finish my work contract this Friday, because today we found out that not only was my temping contract not going to be renewed, but no one's contracts are to be renewed in 2009. None at all. In fact, everyone who is currently working for the company through an agency (ie not directly employed by the company itself) is fired.

The company I work(ed) for is a huge, well known car manufacturer (I suppose I can say that now that I'm leaving, right?) and has very evidently been hit hard by the credit crunch. They are laying off their employees from left to right, beginning with temps and contracters (the French word is prestataires but I still haven't managed to find an English equivalent, can anyone help?) and so although it doesn't matter that I will not be staying on - I had always planned to leave as soon as the first contract was finished anyway - it does mean that every single one of my friends have lost their jobs, with very little notice.

I don't get the credit crunch. I don't understand what happened; how, where, why or when. I can't really get my head around it all, but I do see people's lives falling apart all around me due to the effects of the crisis and that makes me so cross. I mean, I probably shouldn't let myself get angry because of this; there's no one to get cross with. As far as I know, it's not one person's fault. But when my family and friends have worked so hard to get to where they are today only to find themselves in rather deep shit in terms of finances and job security...well it makes me mad.

FP and I are struggling ourselves. And as of Friday I will be unemployed. On the dole. Or as they say in French, au chommage.

I come home every night after a hard day's work (or 9 hours of staring cross eyed at a computer screen typing out administration notes) to a freezing apartment and instead of turning on the heating I have to wear three sweaters and a dressing gown because we can't afford the extra gas charges. I am eating black bananas, turning bad apples into apple purée and freezing jars of salsa because we can't afford to waste a single morcel of food. I sit at the desk, the cat's blanket sprawled across my legs, my fingerless woolen gloves warming my hands and I type madly away on the Macbook, short stories filling up MB's in the folder entitled 'Creative Writing'.

I'm going to be unemployed soon, searching for a job - any job - and battling against all those hundreds of other people who were told they were sacked today. The worrying thing is that right now I'm still being paid and I'm poor. What will it be like in January when I have zilch in the bank and it's 50 candidates for every one job post?

La vie bohéme always seemed so...arty in the movies, but I don't actually want to live that way. I want shoes and handbags and a heated apartment.

And right now I don't care how superficial that sounds.

8 comments:

ananyah said...

damn that sucks! Things already seem tough & you don't need the added stress of now not having a job!

hows the job search going? any luck? you could always teach english for a while in those language institues, keep seeing the ads in the metro & rer

Jennie said...

It doesn't sound superficial at all. You should have shoes and especially heat in your apartment!! I'm sorry about all your friends being laid off. :( I seriously do not understand the crisis either. A bunch of rich people mismanaged the world's money and now the poor are paying for it. So unfair and it makes me so angry!!

I was on unemployment for a few months this summer. Let me know if you need help with all the paperwork.

Belle Ecrivaine said...

The credit crunch is really becoming quite the worrisome affair. I hope you wind up landing on your feet with a good job, one that allows you to eat decently and have a little heat.

Micah D.L. said...

the word you're looking for is actually "contractors"...you were right.

i can totally feel your pain. the same thing happened to me about two years ago, during the holidays. this amazing software company that i worked for as a contractor/temp gives it's full time regular employees two weeks off (paid) at Christmas, but I wasn't an ACTUAL employee so i got laid off for that two weeks...and then didn't get to come back.

i'm so sorry that the same thing is happening to someone else. it blows!

T.D. Newton said...

Yes, this whole "credit crisis" business can be tracked back to some people, but it isn't really one person's fault. It really is staggering to know, now, that the effects are so far-reaching, because it began with money lenders financing home loans that the occupants could not afford. Those loans were batched and sold (and insured) on the stock market, and when the people started foreclosing because the payments were impossible for them, the stocks and insurance on them made a lot of money get owed that didn't really exist. That's my [meager] understanding of it, anyway, but because so much foreign investment is done in the US stock market, the effect on international markets has been about the same.

All us people who have jobs are holding onto them with an iron fist, but times are going to be hard for the next few years even for people who don't have the cash to invest. I definitely feel for you; Micah and I have seen our separate shares of hard financial times and been jobless, but things will turn up if you stick around for the end.

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Ananyah it does indeed suck! No luck so far in the quest to find a job but I have to admit I haven't tried very hard. I was so sure I had left myself plenty of time but the end of my contract sneaked up on me faster than the speed of light!

Jennie Thanks so much for the offer of help. I am hoping that I will be able to find a crappy little job (although lets hope it's not in McDo') just to see me through, I really want to avoid having to sign on...

Belle E Hmmm I hope so too! This credit crunch is freakin' scary so it is!

Micah Woo, I was right with that word, thanks! I haven't actually heard it used in English before, so I was puzzled. Yes, it is nasty to not have job security and especially in such a critical time. But you got through it, and I know I can too. Just gotta stay strong!

TD It truly is staggering to see how far the effects have gone. A huuuuuuge dominoe effect on the world. It makes me freak out when I try to understand how or when this could end, and how far we still have to go before things get better...

T.D. Newton said...

Well, for now, the sky isn't falling... the way we make and spend money is always going to evolve and change and we're just hitting a slow spot. Just look forward to the future and see what kind of invention the necessity of this recession has created.

Chouitie said...

You could try teaching english. its hard work but there seem to be loads of jobs out there. FUSAC is always advertising and places like Berlitz don't require any qualification, although the hours might be a bit pants I guess. Something's better than nothing though, right...?