Monday, October 17, 2011

The 35 hebdomadaire

The original reason why I didn't know what and if I'd be able to post was because I spent the week on the job hunt.  Monday was all about getting my CV in order.  Tuesday was getting help with my lettre de motivation, and then Wednesday was getting the word out.  Thursday my mother in law came for a visit, and to leave a few things next week for when she goes to see her daughter for Toussaints, my sister in law's family.  Friday would be a bit more relaxed.  On the docket that day was just a hair cut.  Saturday and Sunday promised to be more relaxing though.

Having never before written a CV, this was going to be an adventure.  A resume, I could write in my sleep.  I had modified my own three times in the US.  I had my form for Academic use, another for sales use, and a third for clerical/office work.  Each I had tuned over the years for the correct case and application, highlighting specific skills necessary for whatever I was applying.  With a CV, nothing doing.  You have to put everything on one form, and in less than one page.  So it becomes a matter of sorting out what is necessary and not, and how to present oneself overall.  There's the additional fun of having to write it all in French.  Of course in French, there is certain jargon and expressions that one uses in French, much like in English.  I wrote it out as best I could in French first, and showed it to partner, who corrected it.  After that, I sent it to my mother in law, who used to work in HR,  and sister in law, who works in online retail.  They ripped it to shreds and then told me how to do it right.  Step one, complete.

Tuesday I didn't feel like fooling around, because I got the feeling that trying to translate my cover letter wasn't going to cut it in France.  There are two things that displease me about the lettre de motivation in france.  The lettre de motivation has nothing to do with your skills.  It's about explaining why you were sending them the letter.  I was joking with my mother in law about explaining that since I was a child and I used to play grocery store, I dreamed of working at Carrefour and arranging cans in a supermarket.  The other fun comes in when you find out that if it's not formatted exactly to French standards, they will take one look at it, assume you have no idea what you're doing, and throw it the hell out.  My mother in law showed me exactly how to write it and what needed to be included, and then sister in law tinkered with it to make it exactly what I needed.  Now I just had to get up the courage to pass it out.

Wednesday is partner's long day in courses, so we had decided that I would leave with him the afternoon, pass out my CV and letter of motivation, and meet him that night by the car.  That meant that I would need to take the metro.  I hadn't taken it much, mostly out of fear of getting lost.  I don't usually get lost, as I do believe myself to have an excellent sense of direction, but I didn't want to risk anything happening.  I figured maybe it would be wiser to start the morning off with the places I could walk to.  So that meant that I was applying to the Netto on the corner, the Super U a little further down, and the Lidl that was just down the street a bit further.  Later that afternoon, if all went well, I'd get a day pass for the transit system and take the bus to Alma to drop off applications there, then take the bus back home.  That night I'd take the metro over to the school, trying to complete the impossible task that partner and I screwed up last time: how to get to the car from the metro.

I spent the morning finding the routes I'd need to take, and after breakfast and a shower, I was ready to drop off my CV and letter of motivation.  I hit the ones close by quick, and even got my shopping done along the way.  The only concern was Lidl.  I'd never actually been there, and it was supposed to be really close by.  I'd never gone though just because there were closer, and what I found to be cheaper, options.  I walked up the length of the boulevard, and came to the same road the metro was on.  I knew I had gone too far.  So I asked someone nearby if they knew where the Lidl was, and they said that I would need to take the metro to get there.  I could walk but it was a good 30 minutes then.  So I decided that I'd save that application for the afternoon before taking the bus to Alma.

I come back to the house, put away the groceries, and relax a little before partner arrives for lunch.  He and I eat a bit, we talk, and he goes to study.  I kill a bit of time before he has to go and we leave the building together, around 5.  I headed to the metro and went two stations north, and I start asking people where the nearest Lidl is.  No one knows.  I finally give up and look on a map, because I had to put it in an envelope with the address on the front.  I found the road, and it turns out that this particular road goes on for a while.  I have no idea what to do at this point.  I can go north where the road starts, or I can go south where it veers off and I have no idea how to get there.  I decide I'll go north first and see.  So I go two more stations north and look around a bit.  No one seems to know where the road is when I ask.  I even randomly ended up asking a Russian woman.  We spoke English as it was less complicated.  She said she had no idea where the road was, but wished me luck.  I walked a bit further down, and found the road, but no indication it was nearby.  So I looked around a bit more and headed south.  I went back down to the station where I started, and asked someone.  He said just turn right at the real estate office, and keep going.  It's about 500 feet from the station.  I gave them my CV, walked back to the metro, and caught the bus to Alma.

I dropped off my CV at the different locations, but I'm not going to get too excited about it.  The market is hard, especially for those people who have some education, but not tons.  Of course, right now it seems like it's hard for everyone.  I did the tour of the restaurants there.  I had to be careful about which clothing stores I applied to, because some of them require a special formation after high school.  They told me that they were full up, but they'd keep my CV all the same in case.  I applied to a few more places, one of which was a video game shop, and that made me very happy.  They were even looking.  So like I said, no getting my hopes up, but oh damn, that would be sweet.  Of course, I'd probably never have a check at the end of the month, because I'd spend it all there.  But damn, that'd be sweet.

I still had some time before I'd go meet partner.  I decided to bum around the center of town and see where might be interesting to apply there.  I always like the idea of applying at Fnac, but apparently there's some sort of formation you have to have, but well....who knows.  Anyway, I figured I'd try at Saturn and Virgin.  If no one hires me, no one can say I didn't try.  So I keep going.  I look around for an hour or two, and then take the metro further north to Villejean.

I should probably talk a little about the disaster it was trying to find the way to get from Pontchaillou to the medical campus.  That day, we thought it would be a cinch to find, so partner and I had just bought the hour long metro cards.  So we got the cards at about 4:30, expecting to have this wrapped up in about 20 minutes tops.  We wondered down past the Cardiology center, and back along the side towards town, but the buildings all started to become residential.  So we found a map posted, and looked around.  We couldn't really find where we wanted to go, since it was a map of the hospital, not the medical school included.  We figured if we kept going though, we'd find it, eventually.  So we came back and tried the other way.  Even worse mistake, as we were almost in Villejean.  So we try one more time, can't find it, get pissed, and make it back to the metro with 3 minutes to spare on our card. Partner is now determined that he will never EVER take the metro into school.  I time it all the same, and it's about 12 minutes by metro.  Truthfully, that's about how long it takes him in the car anyway, and he only has to fill up the tank for 20 per month, so it's less than a monthly pass anyway.

This time though, I came prepared.  I found out that we had taken the wrong way around.  We should have gotten off at Villjean-Université, and then it's just 800 meters to the parking lot.  I find the first road I need to take, and keep on going.  I am doing just fine, as we weren't supposed to meet for another half an hour, and I didn't want to get there too early.  It's a really nice night for a walk.  The campus is beautiful all lit up, and the buildings are almost enough to make me think of when we used to take the bus back to partner's place from campus.  It's just nice to feel independent and do what I want.  I make the turn, exactly where it said it would be.  The buildings are getting familiar, and I am right next to the car.  I wait a few minutes and then decide I'll surprise him and meet him a little closer up.  So I move closer up by the parking entrance, wait a few more minutes and inevitably get bored.  I decided I'd meet him in front of the school.  So as I'm walking up, someone is walking down.  It's partner.  He had finished early and was waiting on me.  We walked back to the car and decided since it was late we'd just get Dell'Arte.  It was bliss!

I guess the most important thing is that I have conquered the Rennes transport system.  I am confident I could go wherever necessary now with minimal preparation.  This Wednesday I'll head back to the center of town and drop off more CVs, Thursday mother in law will be staying the night before she catches her train south for Toussaints, so it will be good to see her again.  I have to meet her at the Autogare downtown, and we'll take the metro/bus system back.  So this week should be quiet.  Who knows, I may even get an extra day with partner for Toussaints!


  1. sounds like you are on top of things...bravo ;)

  2. Thanks! I'm trying to keep up, but sometimes I worry about how long this will last. This surge needs to stay up.

  3. The part I like is when your MIL and SIL shred your curiculum into pieces! ;)

    I don't know how long you've been in France, but do you need to have some kind of a working permit to get a job... a "green card"! Maybe you and partner have decide to benefit from the PACS or something alike?

    I wish you the best in your job hunting. Don't forget to get some rest... I'm tired just reading all you do! LOL!

  4. Well, someone has to tear it apart. I'd rather have it understood than spare my feelings. It's the only way I'll learn really.

    I wish that the PACS gave some guarantees, but it doesn't give any sort of immigration rights. The only real functions it serves is to make you married for taxes and the ability to make medical decisions for one another.

  5. the most basic tasks when you are an immigrant can be difficult. applying for a job is no basic task. you are a strong man. hugs

  6. Thanks hon! I'm at the point now where the worse they can tell me is no!