Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Workers' Paradise

We should all move to France. Really.

Forget all the cliches about snobbery, the consumption of garden pests and a lack of personal hygiene. Focus on jobs and working conditions.

First, almost as soon as you are hired into a job, you receive legal and social tenure. I’ve checked and that pretty much means you have to murder a co-worker to get fired. Better yet, healthcare is free and you only have to work 35 hours before overtime kicks in. Toss in five weeks off a year to decompress from the pressure at work, retirement at age 55, and France starts to look like a virtual workers’ paradise.

No wonder the whole country is almost literally up in arms about proposed changes to this system. First it was the students who felt dissed because someone raised the idea of delaying their job guarantees until they had been on the payroll for two years. The unions – and pretty much everyone in France belongs to one – are joining in to shut down La Belle France because they figure if the government can get away with changing the rules for young people, they’ll be targeted next.

We’d better hit the road right away, though. If the government buckles under the pressure, there will be maybe zero new jobs created in France for the next half century. And given the demonstrated proclivity of the French for strikes and riots, filling out an application for an existing position could provoke something akin to the revolution that cost a lot of folks their heads.