SHORTER ROD DREHER

Rod Dreher in The American Conservative (TAC):

The other day I was sitting at lunch listening to some French and American expat friends talking about the business climate here in France. It was fascinating to hear. They talked about how rigid the situation is, how difficult it is to start a business in France, and how hard it is to get a job if you don’t have the right connections. They spoke about how so much depends on going to the right schools, and cultivating the right social connections within a tightly-circumscribed elite.

At one point I said, "Didn’t y'all have a revolution to do away with this kind of thing?" Everybody laughed, but the point was made.

The next day, a European friend who lived and worked in America some years back said, "You really do have such an advantage in America. In France, it's awful. When we moved back to Paris from Asia in the 1990s, I thought it would be easy to get a job. I speak five languages, including French, and had significant international business experience. That didn't count for anything. People didn’t know what to do with me. I didn’t fit into their French boxes. It took me a year and a half to find something."

This afternoon I spent some time with an American-born friend who is now a French citizen, and is married to a Frenchman. She's been here for 20 years. She and her husband moved back to Paris last year after some years abroad, in which he worked for a French multinational, and she told me that she's having a hell of a time getting a job. Why? Same thing: if you're not in the network, you are out of luck.

Being here in France, and having this kind of conversation over and over with discouraged French people, has given Francophile me a new appreciation for what we have in America, despite our problems (especially our discouraging political class), and why ours is still a land of opportunity like no other. I wrote a piece about it for the November issue of TAC. I hope you'll subscribe to the magazine to read it. You'll also get terrific pieces like Glenn Arbery’s recent reported essay on a traditional farmer in upstate New York, and what he learned about community when his barn burned down. TAC subscribers also got the jump on Patrick Deneen's October cover piece reconsidering Allan Bloom’s conservative bestseller "The Closing Of The American Mind."

Journalism like you see in TAC's pages, and on this blog, costs money. We're not asking you to be charitable; we really have confidence that the reporting, analysis, and commentary we produce here every day is well worth your financial support. Please consider how much this magazine and this website means to you, especially as a voice of alternative conservatism, and consider taking advantage of our great new Election Special offer to subscribers. We're offering a year of the magazine, plus access to our online archives, for only $10 – that's 66 percent off the usual price. And if you are ever dissatisfied, boom, cancel your subscription, and we'll refund your money.

TAC is and will be the voice of the new conservative renewal – and we want you on board to help build this institution. What are you waiting for? Subscribe! We need you. And if you already are a subscriber, and want to help us even more on the mission to stand up to the welfare/warfare state, you can always make a tax-deductible donation.

Shorter Rod Dreher: America is so awesome because freedom and stuff. Networking and who you know plays no role in getting a job. Unlike France, a country I constantly visit and write about in glowing terms. No jobs in France. Thankfully America's shitting jobs. Please send money.

Be Sociable, Share!

37 Responses to “SHORTER ROD DREHER”

  1. HoosierPoli Says:

    Even shorter: The plural of my anecdotes is data.

    The unspoken story: In France you can be jobless for a year and a half and not lose your house.

  2. Middle Seaman Says:

    New conservatism is going back to the days before FDR. Reminds me of the guy who goes into an antique store, looks around and asks "do you have something new you brought in?"

  3. jharp Says:

    Bigger font would help me out my friend.

    I always have to do the Ctrl + key a few time just to read your posts.

    And I'm not that old.

  4. eau Says:

    "When we moved back to Paris from Asia in the 1990s, I thought it would be easy to get a job. I speak five languages, including French, and had significant international business experience. That didn't count for anything. People didn't know what to do with me. I didn't fit into their French boxes. It took me a year and a half to find something."

    Shorter (possibly imaginary) European Friend: "I don't interview well. People just hate me on sight, despite the fact that I am clearly awesome. I blame France. As a nation."

  5. Nunya Says:

    Oh, and not being able to find a job for a year and a half doesn't make you homeless. I guess he sort of left that out.

  6. Arslan Says:

    People living in a particular country will ALWAYS complain about things in their country- period. Some more, some less, sometimes with more truth and sometimes with less, but it always happens. When your average French person, for example, starts complaining about life in France, they don't think to compare it to life in America because they don't live there and thus it's irrelevant. Imagine if I told a Russian, when they are complaining about Russia(all the time), that he or she should first consider the living conditions in say, Ghana. It's not relevant.

    Of course he fucked the dog on this one because notice how he references American expats. If France is so terrible and lacks opportunity, why are they there? Most likely it is not only because of better job opportunities, but also a much better work environment. In many countries, even in post-Soviet Russia, workers have these things called 'rights.' These rights include amazing perks such as paid maternity leave, paid vacation, sick leave, and not getting fired on a whim.

  7. Major Kong Says:

    From what little I understand about French labor laws – it's very difficult to fire someone so employers are extremely picky when it comes to hiring.

  8. buckyblue Says:

    Kong: that is correct. But also, too, their social safety net is so good that you don't have to take the first shit job that comes down the pike. If you spoke five languages in the US that would mean exactly……. nothing. Good luck working at the 7/11.

  9. Sarah Says:

    Yeah. When I was still in high school I took a few classes of the "life management" variety, which included advice on job-hunting. One of the things that was emphasized was that 80% of all jobs are not advertised. They get filled through word of mouth, aka networking, aka knowing the right people.

    These righties are so full of shit it's laughable.

  10. Xynzee Says:

    So if said person who "left Asia in the 90s" is so shit hot, why did they return to Europe? More importantly, why did they return to Europe w/o a job?

    Hmmm…??

    So either they were cut for dead wood when HK was handed over, or they were cut for dead wood when the tiger economies collapsed.

    My sister's 2nd job was something like this: (she did grad at Yale). Meet w GM (Yale grad in the same faculty as my sister, w wife who also did grad Yale). Meet w MD (who went to Yale Law along with his wife). Questions revolved around how's doctor so and so? How much do you want?

    Nope, none of that parochial BS in the good ol' US of A.

  11. Xynzee Says:

    Also, what kind of businesses do these people want to start up?? We're not coming back to the sister of the guy who wanted to open a Yozen Froghurt stand are we??

    Like did they want to start manufacturing sarin gas for the Japanese cult set? Or did they want to become financial advisors or start a janitorial service?

    I'd be hard pressed to find a Western Govt anywhere that would let you hang a shingle as a lawyer w/o the proper quals (yes the occasional fraud does slip through). So apparently unlike the US, the CheESMo's want to ensure those people giving financial advice won't be selling "dog shit" to their customers that they're betting against at the same time. Yup. Damn you regualitive bodies!!! (Shakes impotent fist)

  12. c u n d gulag Says:

    What's Rod Dreher know about anything? And he proves it with this appeal: 'America is clearly superior to France – please send money, or I'll be out of work.'

    I've been out of work here in Upstate NY for 2 1/2 years, so France sounds pretty damn good to me. Also, the food is better, and the country isn't filled with Evangelical Dominionist Chrisitian @$$holes.

    Hey, Rod, maybe you should change the name of their publication to TACCD – The American Conservative's Cognitive Dissonance.

  13. Bernard Says:

    ah the Reality of the Right. always good fiction.

  14. sluggo Says:

    Franco-file???!!!!

    In my native Chicagoese, the literal translation means douche-bag.

  15. acer Says:

    You'd have to be some kind of loser not to be raking it in in America right now.

  16. Lecturer Says:

    Dear Dr. Assistant Professor Ed,

    Isn't making fun of Dreher something of a canned hunt? He generally manages to parody himself in his writing without any help from others. (Seriously, is it possible to further ridicule a man who in his account of his conversion to Orthodox Christianity remarked how the bishop made him think of Gandalf?)

  17. cromartie Says:

    Who are these people that move places without job offers?

    Is there any other city besides Paris in France worth living in?

  18. lacp Says:

    Yes, I'm always deeply moved by the news photos of desperate Frenchmen lined up at the US Consulate, begging for green cards. What a fucking dolt.

    And "reconsidering" Bloom's masterpiece? I read that POS when it came out 25 years ago, and can't imagine that it's improved with time.

  19. ladiesbane Says:

    The new FJM! It made for tasty comments, too.

    Make this a regular feature, please and thank you.

  20. mel in oregon Says:

    one thing rortybomb consistently misses are older unemployed people who don't have a degree or at least some college. i guess that's natural since most internet bloggers are relatively young & fairly well educated. however the bulk of the people who are really suffering in this country are probably older, under educated americans, although right now the biggest sufferers are those on the east coast with all the disaster of the storm. by the way, since we are talking about european vs united states, ever notice how many european immigrants always talk favorably about their native country. if it was so damn good, why did you leave? last point; to say that jobs are easy to get in america is factually nonsense. when 3000 people apply for 8 positions at mcdonalds, you know that we are heading in the direction of fascism.

  21. Elle Says:

    From what little I understand about French labor laws – it's very difficult to fire someone so employers are extremely picky when it comes to hiring.

    I sometimes wonder how much connection there really is between the sense among the business (particularly the SME representative) community that they are over-regulated, and that employment law in particular is far too much in favour of the employee, and actual levels of regulation. I read a couple of terrifically interesting pieces of grey literature last year that strongly suggested that a particular group of entrepreneurs perceived themselves to be over-regulated while not being able to describe any specific pieces of regulation that they found troublesome, or the impact of that on the (start up) operations of their (prospective) business.

    The French have a domestic narrative about employment law being a drag on growth and the contrat nouvelle embauche was introduced by Dominique de Villepin, French Prime Minister, in 2005 to address precisely this perception.

  22. J. Dryden Says:

    Ah, the Thomas Friedman mode of composition: "The other day in an unspecified place I talked to an unspecified person who just happened to say the exact thing I wanted to talk about, and confirm my simplistic position on an incredibly complicated situation, all of which proves that I am right." Hard-hitting, especially the way he confirms it by quoting a lot of other unspecified people who say the exact same thing. One can see why such crack journalism is in dire need of financial support.

  23. DB Says:

    @ J. Dryden

    Don't forget the obligatory "and at one point, I made the incisive observation that 'blah blah blah,' and my interlocutors solemnly nodded their heads in agreement with my cosmopolitan yet unmistakably American-fried wisdom."

  24. Saint Timonious Says:

    Meh. The French, whadda they know about business? They don't even have a word for entrepreneur!

  25. bb in GA Says:

    @saint

    Yeah, but if they did have such a word, the French Academy would make sure it was French cuz they don't allow no Anglish pollution of their pure tongue :-)

    //bb

  26. Arslan Says:

    "ever notice how many european immigrants always talk favorably about their native country. if it was so damn good, why did you leave? "

    This tends to be nationalistic Eastern Europeans from formerly "socialist" countries. Poland is a popular offender. They were so happy to attain "freedom" that they left in droves, especially after joining the EU. Now the myth is that many are moving back, but the data just doesn't support it.

  27. wetcasements Says:

    This reminds me of the time that Megan Mcardle's fake black neighbor thanked her for gentrifying the neighborhood.

    Also, I'm an American ex-pat in Asia. If I didn't like it here I wouldn't stay here. Duh.

  28. Southern Beale Says:

    I'm always suspicious of these "I have a friend who …" stories. Unless you can actually produce said friend, it's just hearsay.

    That said, we all have friends who (fill the blank). I have a friend who lives in Norway part of the year and he just opened a hotel. Honest to God, swear on a stack of Bibles, this is a true story. His name is Ed Pettersen and believe it or not he's related to Janet Reno by marriage. He said when they were getting ready to open the hotel he was asking about stuff like liability insurance, and his Norwegian partners were looking at him like he was crazy. What do you need that for? Ed was saying, you know .. .slip and fall cases, in case someone sues, etc. His partners thought he had just said the crazies thing. "Why would anyone sue? What for? What's the point?" Ed said, "you know, to get money for medical bills and stuff." They just laughed and laughed. Apparently in a country with a strong social safety net, including socialized medicine, the idea of suing a business because you tripped and fell is just unheard of. "Stupid Americans, always with the lawsuits," they told him. "Nobody does that here. There's no reason to."

    True story. Swear to God. But don't trust me. A couple years ago Inc. did a story on entrepreneurship in Norway and found it's thriving:

    In Norway, Start-ups Say Ja to Socialism

  29. mothra Says:

    Is there any other city besides Paris in France worth living in?

    I suspect you are being sarcastic, but just in case not, the answer is yes. As a matter of fact, nearly any other city in France is more worth living in than Paris. In my opinion.

  30. Elle Says:

    @Southern Beale

    I'm sure that your friend is perfectly clever, but I might encourage him to get a second opinion on public liability insurance.

    While trips-and-slips might be unheard of in Norway, I can't imagine that someone wobbling off a loo seat, braining themselves on the sink, and spending the rest of their short life on a ventilator, wouldn't motivate their distraught relatives to take it before a judge. Likewise, you have to imagine that the people in the world most ardent about personal responsibility would take a dim view of being poisoned en masse at a wedding breakfast.

    Public liability insurance is entirely business as usual for the countries in Europe I'm familiar with, no matter how small the commercial enterprise.

  31. One Dissillusioned Guy Says:

    Actually, as a "foreigner" (canadian, but American born) arriving in the US as a permenent resident in 2003, my take is that'd you'd have to be a blithering idiot to start a business in the United States. you'd either have no health insurance at all, or you'd be paying $1000 plus a month for crap swiss-cheese "coverage that would laughable by any standard but an American one.

    Also, as pointed out above, the French aren't exactly breaking down the doors to get into the United States. When I accompanied my wife to her Green Card hearing in 2007, there was a striking lack of French people in the waiting room, which was filled (aside from us) with refugees from impoverished, third world hellholes. There's a reason for this; educated professionals from other first world countries looking to emmigrate can do better in pretty much any other modern democracy in the world: Britain, Germany, Australia, Canada etc. Low crime, universal health coverage, better quality of life, in many cases better money.

  32. One Dissillusioned Guy Says:

    @Elle, "Public liability insurance is entirely business as usual for the countries in Europe I'm familiar with, no matter how small the commercial enterprise."

    Agreed, but with the crucial difference of vastly lower premiums. If I'm driving here in New Orleans and mow down a pedestrian without health insurance (and the odds are about one in five that I will) multiple sets of lawyers will immediately spring into action arguing over who's going to foot the bill for treatment of a patient who now also may very well have been rendered "uninsurable" for the rest of his or her life. The costs of America's cockamamie health "insurance" system manifest in many varied ways. For instance my auto insurance here (for someone who's never had a moving violence and whose only accident was 25 years ago) is approximately three times what I paid in Canada for similar coverage.

  33. Major Kong Says:

    Is there any other city besides Paris in France worth living in?

    I'm mostly repeating what mothra said:

    While I love Paris, the cost of living and traffic are comparable to any very large American city (NY, Chicago, LA, DC).

    There are numerous cities in France that are far more livable. With their high-speed rail system you can even commute to Paris from a pretty good distance.

  34. Beleck Says:

    preaching to the choir of the American public is wasting time and energy. supposing Rmoney steal the elections, the Dumb white voter/predominantly male, will rejoice. then they will blame the Democrat for gutting Social security and medicare. Dumb white souther fucks are the perfect tool for the Elites. it is so true as to how easy white southerners/republicans hate the other/blacks, etc., it will be quite interesting to see what the Repbublican "sell" as the reason whyall but Defense has to be cut.

    past the point of caring whether it is R/LIte or R/full strength is made President by the Voting counters.

    if you think poverty, unemployment and the war on Drugs/Blacks is bad now, just wait the Republican Obama/Rmoney finish us in the next four years. the Latin banana republics will be nothing compared to us.

    thanks to the war on America, our children will inherit the whirlwind sowed by their greedy, hatefilled Republican parents. that Greatest Generation that voted GE's Ronald Reagan in as the Harbinger of hte Death of the American Experience.

  35. Barry Says:

    Rod: "When we moved back to Paris from Asia in the 1990s, I thought it would be easy to get a job. I speak five languages, including French, and had significant international business experience. That didn't count for anything. People didn't know what to do with me. I didn't fit into their French boxes. It took me a year and a half to find something."

    Eau: "Shorter (possibly imaginary) European Friend: "I don't interview well. People just hate me on sight, despite the fact that I am clearly awesome. I blame France. As a nation.""

    Back *before* the dot-com crash, I knew a guy at Ford. He had opened a plant in India, meeting schedule and budget, despite major problems (like the land buyer getting a 'real deal' by buying flood plain land).

    When he got back, they didn't know what to do with him, despite the fact that Ford was doing major production and sales expansions throughout the Pacific Rim. He ended up leaving Ford. And that's with internal networks working.

  36. shack Says:

    Thanks This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

  37. Find Out More Says:

    Hiya, nice web-site you've got presently.

Leave a Reply