Friday, April 19, 2013

Validation des acquis – Validation of your (work) experience

Another thing which is driving me completely crazy right now:
In France you need to have the diploma/degree that fits your job. See, I did fashion design and got a degree, but I never worked as a fashion designer. I worked in retail, then wholesale. For over 10 years I worked in international trading. Well, do you think that is sufficient to get a job in this field in France? NO, of course not! You see, I don’t have a degree in International trading… Therefore my CV will go straight to the bin if I apply for any international trading jobs.

I have lived in the UK for nearly 20 years, and I will blow my own trumpet by saying I think my English is pretty good, even close to excellent. I can certainly teach a few tricks in that language to a few people. I even used to correct an English colleague’s mistakes in my last job, when she had to do some chasing letters to some of our clients who thought that paying a bill was not for them… In one of my jobs working for an international company I had to translate a fair few documents from French to English so they could be used in the UK for marketing and sales.

So do you think my English level is sufficient to try to become a translator even if I stick to what I know, what I have studied and which industries I have worked in? Of course not. I don’t have the French Degree that says I can translate! I had better not tell them I have done it before otherwise I may get arrested! I am not saying that being bilingual makes you a born translator, but it will help a lot and it will help even more if you know the culture of the country you are translating from.
For information, it is not compulsory for those people who get those lovely degrees to go abroad for more than 6 months at a time to learn the lingo! They are encouraged to go abroad as much as possible, to study there, and possibly work there. They have to do some training there for up to 6 months in one visit but it does not seem obligatory to spend more than 6 weeks in the country whose language you are learning! Am I dreaming??

Well I will try to do the work anyway with or without a diploma, in the same manner I started to teach some kids some English with a different view than the lovely “Education Nationale”. At least parents do not seem to mind that I don’t have the degree, but when trying to approach businesses, it is a different matter.

So should I pay to do the validation (oh yes, you DO have to pay to get the bit of paper!)? Going to some French bureaucrat who has never been abroad and who will decide if my English is Shakespearian enough… Give good money I could use to do more repairs on our house, set up a proper bathroom, just to prove I can speak English and I can use it in a business manner? Well I will try without as I just do not have the money to spend in this idiotic manner and I am probably way too stubborn to even want to try to fit in the system.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Expats – the new taxpayers?

Following my rant, last week, on my dear country, I have to return to something I read a few times in the past few months concerning a new French idea, inspired by the Americans; namely to make expats pay taxes to the motherland on the income they earn abroad.

At least, based on what I have discovered, if you are an American living abroad, you only pay this tax if you are actually really making some good money; over $ 97000 per year. So if you are a waiter, a porter, a secretary, a sales assistant, etc, you should not have to worry about it.

French people who have been discussing this, TRUE French people that is, the ones who will never ever go abroad, certainly do not know about the $97000. They actually think that if you work and live abroad you are actually way richer than they are, therefore ALL expats should have to pay taxes to mother France.
Now I wonder if the politicians know any better?

I suppose to get some money to keep on paying for the overinflated bureaucracy, the government needs to constantly look for new ways to get some money. Taxes on the mainland are already well developed and it does not encourage votes if you keep on picking peoples’ pockets. Getting money from the expats/traitors would certainly appeal to the true French who could keep on living the good life while others pay for it. When I say good life, I do not mean the self-sufficient life of Tom and Barbara Good. No, I mean the life of living off the back of others…

Hey, as I said before the reason most of us left was to find a job which FRANCE could not give us. We saved this country a lot of cash in unemployment benefits and so on. So maybe instead of wanting to make us pay, you could just say thank you!

Yeah I know, I am not an expat for now, but I still see myself as one...