This is about the time I had a contract in Paris and it is one of my favourite all time contracts.
IT Contract in Paris
I heard about the job from a French girl who used to work for me at Dialcard in Putney.
It was a four month contract in Paris starting in late July. She had already got one of the jobs, and the skills were an exact match-up with mine.
I passed the interview with flying colours.
A friend of mine (let‘s call him Clive) was very keen to go to Paris too. The only problem was that he didn‘t know any CICS or DL/I. That wasn‘t a problem either. That’s becasue I gave him a brief run through aus told him the interview questions. No one said I couldn‘t.
He got the job too.
Working on Contract in Paris
They put us up in a nice hotel on the left bank, just off the Rue St. Dominique, which runs from the Eiffel Tower to St. Germain. We worked in a place called St. Quentin, just outside Paris, which was rather nice, actually, considering the name.
The food was free in the canteen. When I call it a canteen, I‘m not doing it justice. It was like an Aladdin‘s Cave of free food and alcohol. You could have free Champagne for lunch if you wanted.
The job itself was rather dull, and I don‘t remember any of the details. We used to gather, every evening, at a little cafe/bar at the corner of Rue Augerau where we lived and Rue St. Dominique to have a little after work Orangina or beer and a chat.
We would then wash and change, and walk through the streets looking for somewhere new (and nicely tucked away) to eat and to have a nice bottle of wine. We would then go to Le Dome for a few drinks before bed.
IT Contractor Sacked in Paris
Unfortunately, Clive, who I helped to get the job, wouldn‘t let me help him at work, like I said I would. He said that he didn‘t need me.
He was also a bit of a yapper, and one night after a few beers, he told the assembled crowd, including a permanent project leader, that he knew no CICS or DL/I and that I had told him the questions for the interview.
They sacked him a couple of days later, just two weeks into the contract. He nearly did for me too, but I managed to survive by the skin of my teeth.
Clive didn‘t go home immediately, as he had already paid for his girlfriend to come over to Paris for the weekend. My American girlfriend had come over with me.
As she knew Clive, and had nothing much else to do, the two of them went down to St. Germain and found a piano bar, where they spent the day drinking. There was a transvestite there, who had a singing act.
As the bar was nearly empty, after ‘she‘ had finished singing, my girlfriend asked her over to have a beer with her and Clive. She told me that Clive, a macho Geordie guy, looked a bit uncomfortable.
The next day, Clive‘s girlfriend arrived, and he took her for an afternoon snack and drink sitting outside a little cafe in Rue St Dominique. His girlfriend, who was facing Clive on their pavement table, said to him, ‘Clive, look at the state of that coming towards us’.
Just a few seconds later, whilst his girlfriend was still winking and nodding, the transvestite came up and said, ‘Hi Clive, how are you doing, you terrible boy’.
His girlfriend‘s face, they told me, was a sight to see. Clive made the feeble excuse that it was a case of mistaken identity, but the transvestite knowing his name kind of goes against that.
Great IT Contract and Great IT Contractors
I made a lot of good friends there, but the only problem was that they told all 12 contractors at the start of the project that would only renew 4 of us, and that became the main topic of conversation whenever we got together.
I remember when we first came over that a guy called ‘Dave‘ had just got a brand new car delivered. He was in a smash the very first night that he drove it. It was at a pedestrian crossing when someone stopped sharply.
He smashed into them, and someone went into the back of him. The car was a write off. He was in a bit of a state, as the insurance didn‘t kick in until midnight and it was only 11:15 at night.
He filled in the accident form at the police station as 12:15. The police didn‘t object (or didn‘t notice). He told us how relieved he was the next day. He had thought that he wouldn‘t get any insurance, but that it was very clever to fill in 12:15 on the police form.
As he told us, he mopped his brow. ‘Where did you get you‘re insurance’ I asked him. ‘In England’ he said. ‘Well it was only 11:15 there’, I told him.
A look of horror took over his face and stayed there for several weeks, until, after much to-ing and fro-ing on the phone, he found out that he would, indeed, get the insurance money.
Memories of IT Contract in Paris
I lived on expenses when I was over there, and the money I got from my 4-month contract went on a deposit for a flat I bought in London, prior to marrying my fancy American chickaroo (as one of my friends called her).
It‘s years since I‘ve seen Clive, although I‘ve heard that he and his girlfriend are no longer together.
Perhaps he might look in on this site one day – but preferably when this article has gone deep into the archives.
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