Foreign rights : Work Hazards Ahead by Géraldine Sivade
published in October 2007
- narrative -
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What the press has to say :
"The alert testament of a person in search of work, a precarious intellectual in difficulty, like so many others."
"You can tell that Geraldine Sivade is speaking from experience in this bittersweet text, written with a light stroke, that manages nonetheless to make us smile."
Interview after interview, from tyrannical colleagues to everyday humiliations, what happens when entrance into the work world has but little to do with what could have been imagined before taking the first steps? The author recounts the setbacks, the little successes but above all the ups and downs of a slice of professional life.
"Mr. Hartmann, head of personnel, and his assistant. He looks at you with a haughty, self-satisfied air. His assistant, just as unfriendly, describes the position to be filled without so much as a smile, and informs you that she'll be taking care of training for the chosen candidate. You envision with horreur the possibility of working under her supervision. Mr. Hartmann, with an air of contempt, looks over your CV and asks you what you were doing from September to July, the glaring hole in your CV that you were not able to fill. (...) The sales rep for the temp agency, who is conscious of your market value, i.e. what you can earn for her, takes her turn at making a deal, passing Mr. Hartmann her notepad on which she's written a price. With a contemptful smile and a shake of the head, it would seem that the suggested price is far too high for what you represent. You feel like a horse at the county fair, half-expecting to be asked to open your mouth in order to have your gums checked."
Work, be it a necessity or a "choice", holds for many of us - socialization or convention obliges - a central role. If for some it is synonymous with fulfillment, for others it means precariousness, unemployment, redundancy, humiliation, or quite simply boredom... As an erratic succession of daily, banal scenes gravitating around Planet Employment, Work Hazards Ahead acts out a bittersweet alienation, at once funny and hopeless. Our character's existence is punctuated by a parade of wanted ads, hard-won interviews, employment, unemployment... Sassy, light and without concessions, Work Hazards Ahead describes the not so linear path of someone perpetually sailing or else shipwrecked, at the mercy of the waves of the capricious ocean we call "work". With her zingy style the author is able to make us laugh at situations which are the norm for many - if not workers - at least employees.
Born in 1970, Geraldine Sivade, with four years of post-secondary school education, took her first steps in the work world in France, then in the United States and Germany. Seven years later, these first steps seem never-ending.