Work, Play, Email (Not Anymore?)
It’s Monday, January 2, 2017 and I’m back to work. Of course, writing this “nouvellettre®” is hardly “work.” Writing is not only a total pleasure, but necessary — like exercising daily is for some; writing is necessary for me. In between the missives there is the “real work — helping people like you make a move to France or make an investment here, which is also hardly “work” because it’s so rewarding. Then there is the “play.” Yes, I do play.
Fortunately I can work or play whenever I want. My only boss is me and I’m the toughest boss I know…I cut no slack for myself. All week I’ve been both “working” and “playing” in the South of France with dear friends, having traveled by train to Provence and then by bus from Aix-en-Provence to Nice on Tuesday of last week.
A week in Nice is hardly long enough. The blue skies and bright sun can be very addictive. The city has been “well dressed” for the occasion — with the Apollo statue at Place Masséna in Santa Claus costume under a big plastic bubble to resemble a snow globe…pretty comical. In fact, most of the decorations are a bit “kitsch” and unsophisticated, but that makes it even more endearing.
New Year’s Eve I crammed more than 20 people into my small apartment for a New Year’s Eve bash — almost all American friends who are now living in Nice, full or part time, and some who are planning to move here. What is so amazing is that every single one of them extols their joy at their lives here. As they speak, you can see the sparkle in their eyes and the glow on their cheeks — not from the champagne, but from their heart-felt sentiments.
Long time American in Nice, Ann Sumwalt, a journalist, editor and translator who organizes the Riviera Readers Meetup, arrived with a big package in her hands and a note on it saying “Do Not Open Before January 20th.” We all know what day that is — Inauguration Day of President Elect Donald Trump. Of course, Ann couldn’t wait till I opened it, and neither could I. In the package was a punching bag on which was pasted Mr. Trump’s photo accompanied by American flag motif boxing gloves. We all got a big laugh out of punching the bag to release our pent-up frustrations!
On New Year’s Day we took the 100 bus from the Old Port (still under massive construction to install the new tramway) all the way to Menton with the sun shining strong on our faces and on the water making it glisten. Menton is equally as decorated as Nice with the Jardins Biovès converted into “La Petite Ferme” (The Little Farm) complete with a petting zoo of sheep and goats for the kids.
The beach in Menton is sandy and the town was buzzing with residents and visitors strolling along the water’s edge and along the shopping streets. We heard almost exclusively Italian being spoken at this French border town — not unusual considering it’s proximity to Italy.
Now, back to work, we are faced with the news that as of yesterday, the new law in France dubbed the “right to disconnect” comes into force. The measure was signed in May to give French employees the legal right to avoid work emails outside working hours. If your company has less than 50 workers, then it’s not affected, but once it reaches that threshold, the workers will be obliged to set the hours when staff is not supposed to send or answer emails. As it stands, the French only legally work 35 hours a week (I am sure I do more like 70 hours a week), so that doesn’t leave much time to get all their work done. (Even 70 hours a week is not enough for me!)
Those that support the new law claim that dealing with emails outside of work hours is not only unfairly paid, but causes “stress, burnout, sleep problems and relationship difficulties.” LOL! Of course it does. I spent a sleepless night last night thinking of everything that must happen today and the rest of the week after having taken some time off for the holidays. That’s called life and productivity — but is that my Americanism speaking out?
Will it work, everyone asks? In what sense, is what I want to ask? Will it reduce stress or cause more by creating a lack of productivity? If I were not able to work when I want, how I want, I think that would ADD to my stress, not reduce it! Isn’t it all about simply getting the job done, not when or how we do it?
With this new law, more companies may opt to never hire more than 50 employees — one more measure on France’s books to encourage stunting a company’s growth (there are many other regulations that punish companies with 50 or more employees, believe it or not). They have found a way around that by creating a new company and when it hits 50 employees, they start yet another one! I read that German car-manufacturer Daimler tried the idea in 2014, but instead of workers on holiday sending out out-of-office auto-replies, all new emails were automatically deleted! Yikes! What were they thinking?
Tomorrow I head back to “Gray Paree” to a very, very busy new year, starting off with the signing of the “Promesse de Vente” of a Marais apartment purchase and then four solid days of filming yet another House Hunters International episode.
I do hope that the holiday week was as enjoyable for you as it was for me. Happy New Year to everyone, regardless of where you are and what you are doing, working or playing, and emailing to your heart’s content…without the stress and without restriction!
A la prochaine,
Editor of Parler Nice
Adrian Leeds Group
(in Nice, France)
P.S. “Le Matisse,” my apartment near the sea in the Carré d’Or district, and the two-bedroom apartment next door, is available for short stays to friends of Parler Paris, Parler Nice and the Adrian Leeds Group. Email [email protected] for more information and to book your stay!