Living and Working Virtually in the City of Light (Or Anywhere for That Matter)
Many thanks to all you readers who responded to Monday’s story about traveling with (or without) telephone connection. All of you had amazing stories and suggestions to offer. Here are just a few of the best:
* Mobile Wi-Fi Anywhere…by Otto.
* Rental of phones, try this one: Cellhire
* The post office also has pay-as-you-go phones and SIM cards.
* “I use Skype on my cell phone: You can download Skype for free and purchase Skype World for about 10€ a month and call free to any landline or mobile phone all over the world. You use WiFi that you find in cafés, museums, train stations, hotels and apartments.”
One of our readers was more interested in finding work in France than finding a phone. Isn’t everyone?
Even the French are interested in finding work in France — with unemployment as high as 10%! This past April, the figures hit a record high with 3.3641 million people out of a job. So, if you’re a non-EU citizen without working papers, how do you get a job?
You don’t. Those who are lucky enough to be working for a company in the U.S. or elsewhere that transfers them to France are in ‘plum’ positions over which everyone drools. “Getting a job” is near to impossible with fewer companies setting up shop in France thanks to high taxation and protectionism. Even though France is a highly connected country (35.5% of the population had a subscription for high-speed internet at home in June 2012), digital companies founded by the French themselves aren’t listing them in France, such as Criteo, Scality, and eBay.
And of course, there’s the “Catch 22” of getting a work permit. You can’t get a visa if you don’t have a job and you can’t get a job if you don’t have the visa. Keep in mind that there are many thousands of European Union residents who can legally work in France without a special visa.
One good way of getting your foot in the door is by enrolling in a school or university and applying for a student visa that allows certain number of hours per week to work…but you won’t be the only one out there looking for part-time work.
Sound discouraging? It could be, but put on your resourceful American cap and get creative. You were taught to be entrepreneurial, right? You know how to ‘earn a buck?’ Right?
For ten years I renewed my “Carte de Séjour Visiteur” without the right to work and had to find a way to survive. First it starts with a shift in thinking. Change the question “how to find a job?” to “how to earn money?” There is a difference in working for someone else and working for oneself or finding a way to generate an income.
The rest has to do with how willing you are to play ‘with’ the rules rather than play ‘by’ the rules. Once you understand the difference, your creative maneuvering talents will be honed and you’ll be on route to success.
One helpful thing about living in today’s digital world is that being in a set location is no longer necessary in order to ‘live’ and ‘work.’ Living ‘virtually’ can be the key to your success. Writers can carry their laptops anywhere. Computer technicians can remotely work on anyone’s system with Internet access. Your telephone can have a U.S. number, but ring anywhere in the world. You can get a fax as a pdf file sent to your email address. You can bank online and make all your payments with a click of your mouse button.
In other words, you can be physically in France, but virtually somewhere else like Cyberspace if you will, and manage to get paid for what you’re doing, particularly if what you’re doing has nothing to do with where you are…France or otherwise.
Yes, there are tax implications to those tax resident in France…but that wasn’t the question or the problem. If what you want to do is earn a living in France because you ‘can’t get a job’ or a ‘work permit,’ then think outside the proverbial box. Make it happen for yourself and be happy to pay the tax on your earnings. (Small note: the immigration authorities are distinctly different than the tax authorities and as long as the taxes are paid, the visa is pretty much irrelevant. Don’t tell them I told you this!)
For years I’ve been teaching others how to do this: rethink, restructure, and plan for ways of earning money while living in France, as a means of survival and a start to a bigger success. And guess what, there is no need for you to be in France to take the crash course…thanks to phone and Skype and email, etc., etc.! (See our consultation page for more information.)
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris & Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
P.S. This afternoon my daughter and I are winging our way to the Spanish city of Seville with an overnight in Granada to see the Alhambra, the Moorish citadel and palace. It’s our first time in the Andalusian part of Spain, but we’re looking forward to taking in the local entertainment — Flamenco and Spanish guitar, tasting authentic tapas, visiting the sights and charming old areas of the cities and perhaps take in a bit of shopping. Monday you will no doubt be getting a full report of what it’s like to have so much of Europe at our doorstep, such as neighboring Spain, just by being based in the Union’s most beautiful city, Paris.
P.P.S. Lutèce Langue language school, the meeting place for the Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group, has a special offer for Parler Paris Readers…receive one free trial lesson in a mini-group (2 to 7 students), a value of 35 euros. And if you register for a one week Intensive course (15h/week) or two week Standard course (7.5h/week) on the same day as the trial lesson, you’ll receive 15 euros off the registration fee. Be sure to take a level test before your trial lesson — to reserve a trial lesson, call Eriko at +1 (33) 1 73 70 17 69.