Here in France, when you’re looking for a job you’re meant to go to the job centre, known as Pole Emploi. Here you will either be spoken to in a condescending manner, or else sneered at and sent to a small overheated/underheated room, where you will sit on a hard chair and wait for 3 weeks for someone to come and make you fill in forms with a running-out-of-ink pen as punishment for not having a job. A bit like writing lines after school for having shut Justin Pengelly in the girls toilets for the entire lunchtime break just because he has a girl’s bum. I probably deserved a bit of line-writing for torturing Justin but I don’t get why the unemployed should have their noses further rubbed in poo. The whole point of Pole Emploi and their attitude towards jobseekers is to put you off being unemployed for life. Anything to avoid going there again, so people accept jobs such as fruit-sorting, worm-catching and … working at Pole Emploi.
I am an actress. Well, I am when I’m not being a stay-at-home Mummy. Officially I am “toujours à la recherche d’un emploi” – still actively seeking a job. I have to be, in order to get my monthly payments of performing artists’ dole. This means I have my CV on Pole Emploi’s site and they have the details describing who I am and what sort of work I am looking for. Basically they know I am a petite, white, blonde 38 year old English woman who speaks fluent French, with skills in acting, dancing, singing and swinging about on the end of a string with a harness on. Every two days or so Pole Emploi send me a load of potential jobs which they seem to think would be suitable for me. Here are some of the latest roles they have offered me:
1/ a 35-45 year old man with dark flashing eyes who can pilot a boat.
2/ a 60 year old man built like a lumberjack with a french-canadian accent for an aftershave advert.
3/ an 18-20 year old black girl to play a nurse in a short film.
4/ a 75 year old woman with a German or Dutch accent used to cross-country hiking, for a series.
5/ a 50 to 70 year old Asian (preferably Chinese) woman – a fat one – for a speaking role in a film.
6/ for the show Excalibur, a very tall (1m80), svelte, charismatic man to play the role of Merlin the wizard.
7/ for a film due to be shot in Corsica, as many African men with long hair as can be found to play extras.
So, there we have it. A glut of roles for me to choose from. The thing is, if I don’t apply to at least some of these jobs, Pole Emploi can say I’m NOT actively looking for a job and cut my money off. So I have cut out some photos of big burly lumberjacks and little fat Chinese women and will be sending them off tomorrow.