Saturday, September 17, 2005

Papers, papers...

I have been dealing with lots of papers recently. It all started last Tuesday, when Jube and I headed to the Prefecture. Why Tuesday? Jube starts work at 11:00am on Tuesdays. Since the last time I was at the Prefecture I waited in line for 2 hours just to ask a question, we decided that the fastest way to get it would be to show up early. The building opens to the public at 9:00am. We arrived at 8:00, and there were already about 15 people in line before us. We were waiting at the gates that encircle the bureaucratic complex. We watched hundreds of employees arrive, not even glancing at the poor suppliants waiting outside. At 8:45, the gates opened automatically. The first few in line sprinted to the next barrier while the rest of us followed (without letting anyone pass us, of course!) more leisurely. We waited the final quarter of an hour pressed up against each other. Finally a security guard unlocked the door to the Prefecture, and everyone rushed inside. The most desperate were, like me, the immigrants. The system is:

Open Hours: 9:00am-2:30pm, no one new accepted inside after 12 noon unless with a letter or ticket. How do you get a ticket? You wait in line until you reach the two workers who look at your documents and approve your passage to level two: Actual Contact with those who create residency permits, etc. BUT, if you arrive without a specific document, then you are banished for the day.

So that's why I actually ran down the hallway to the foreign affairs line with the others, as Jube went to make last-minute photocopies. Luckily I had to wait about 5 minutes, in which period of time Jube was able to finish the copies and meet me back in line. When we finally got to the desk, we miraculously had all of the necessary documents and were issued a number, which was called in about five more minutes. So at 9:15, we were free to go, and I had the receipt that proves I can work in France legally.

I was so pumped from the no-tears approach to French bureaucracy I decided to try my hand at actually finding a job! Jube and I went to the Rectorat on Thursday to see if there were any open assistantship positions. Unfortunately, the head of the program was not there, so we left my precious CV, lettre de motivation, and photocopies of my brand new workin' papers and went back home. I admit to a bit of disappointment at not getting a job immediately. We will call soon and harass the program until they give me a position.

When we got home, I received a huge letter in the mail from the Department of Health of the Department of Alpes-Maritimes. More papers! This was a very depressing one to fill out, since I had to admit to everyone that I was sans emploi (that's right: UNEMPLOYED!). I managed to find all of the numbers and references asked for, and I will relinquish my carte vitale in order to get a new one. We'll see how long it takes.

And that was my week in Papers.

3 comments:

Robyn said...

This has nothing to do with papers. I am watching the Emmy's and William Shatner and an Anonymous woman are about to perform the Star Trek theme song. It reminded me of the time @ B.V. at the lunchtable when you made up your own words to the song...

fraise said...

Can you get as assistantship while in France? I tried for one (have a friend who is a teacher) and it wasn't possible; she said you have to apply from your home country (but maybe it's changed). Also, what kind of work permit do you have? A carte de résident or carte de séjour with the right to work? Even with that, be aware that the French government makes employers pay a steep "foreigner fee" for hiring non-EU citizens, which effectively keeps many companies from hiring. I've been here for five years, have nearly been hired three times and each time, the company ended up saying "sorry" because of that foreigner fee. (This is why I freelance :) ) For teaching positions there isn't any fee to pay, but then you just have to find a teaching position that doesn't get immediately filled by someone with 20 years of experience... :) Lots of experienced English speakers down here.

On the brighter side, you can get temporary work without any administrative hitch - Adecco is a good agency to go through.

Gem said...

Yes, you can be an assistant without applying from your home country! You have to apply as a recruté(e) locale. You're not guaranteed a post, but if one of the assistants doesn't come or leaves after a short period of time, then you can take their contract. So right now I'm hoping that someone doesn't show up! I think I would have a better chance if I were somewhere less popular than Nice... like Clermont-Ferrand??