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 I hate French state employees


There are lots of services in France that depend on the state. This includes postal services, telephone, or electrical and gaz supplies. People who work for state administration and for such state companies have a very special status (don't ask me why) we call "fonctionnaire" : they can't be fired; they work less hours per week; they have to work several years less than people in private sector before having the right to retire; when retired they get a bigger percentage of their last salary (it's even a common practice to give them a higher rank just before their retirement to increase this percentage); they pay less taxes, and they get lots of other advantages in kind. And of course, this is all paid by the state, that is by other citizens (we're all equals, but some are more equals than others!).

Do you think these state employees feel grateful for these advantages given to them by (and over) other citizens? Do you think they would be conscient of their luck and try to "pay" citizens back by giving them a better service? It's just the contrary, actually. Most of them became state employees because of the salary and security of employment, and now they're just waiting for the retirement or for the next weekend. People who wouldn't last three months in a private company because of their incompetence and lack of professional conscience are making their living working for state, getting up in rank only by length of service. (There are only three kind of state employees I can think of that don't fit this description: military/fire-fighters, medics/para-medics and teachers. These are treated by the state like slaves.)

Just one example: my Internet cable provider is one of the biggest in France. It's a subdivision of the state's telephone company, who has a quasi-monopoly on telephony (other companies have to deal with them because they own all the lines). They also provide cable for TV and Internet connection and for this, in the town where I live, they have a real monopoly. Put differently, I have no choice but using them to have a broadband connection (even ADSL I would have to get it from them).

I can live with their frequent DNS problems, but about three weeks ago, my Internet connection itself started to be very unreliable, and I've been frequently disconnected for several hours (from two to height or ten hours long). My cable modem gets a downlink, but it cannot get an uplink. I called them about once every two days since then, and it's only in the past week that they sent someone to check my line. A guy came Wednesday, spent the afternoon (that is three hours, for them) checking my line, and didn't find anything. He was back Thursday, with another guy, and again they spent their afternoon taking measurements on my line and replacing my modem. It was working when they left, but that didn't mean anything, as this is was an intermittent failure. They said the problem wasn't at my end of the line, so they'd have to check at the other end and they would phone me the day after.

Yesterday (the day after, then), my connection went down at 3PM and they didn't call (I lost it twice already the night before, but then it came back after some time). I tried to call them half an hour later, but the secretary I got on the line told me that they were gone, and that I'd have to wait until Monday. Argh! It was only 3:30PM!

And this time they definitely did something, as my connection has never been re-established since then, which is new. Today of course they're off, so I called the support line in Paris (this line is up 12 hours a day, seven days a week, but being at about 900 km from here, they can't do much more than calling the technical services down here). The guy I got checked and told me that the techniciens recorded yesterday at 3PM that my line was fixed. Just at the time they broke it! Do you believe that?!

I hate them! What else can I do, anyway? Connect by dial-up? Sure I could. But then, in addition to have an awful connection, I would pay for every minute of it! Because of course, local communications aren't free, in France. And guess who would get the money? Yeah, the state's telephone company! I hate them, I tell you.

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