I work for a major American bank in Paris and my life is being made a misery by the constant harassment of my colleagues.
I've worked at this firm for nearly two decades and was in London originally. I moved to the Paris office a few years ago because of Brexit. The problem now is that the bank would like to get rid of me. However, because I'm in Paris and am senior, then letting me go is both very difficult and very expensive.
Under my new French contract, I'm entitled to around three years' full salary as severance pay if I'm dismissed. Although I would be happy to accept this and although the bank would be happy to get rid of me, it doesn't want to pay this amount. Therefore, instead of simply laying me off as it would in London or New York, the bank is subjecting me to constant low level harassment in the hope that I'll leave of my own accord. I have no intention of doing so, even though my job has become miserable.
Matters are made worse by the fact that I can't really leave voluntarily for a competitor, even though competitors are hiring. In my current position, I benefit from the French 'impatriate tax regime' which means I'm only taxed at 30%. If I leave for a rival bank, I will lose this privilege - it only applies if I remain with my current employer.
I'm therefore locked in a stalemate and am stuck where I am. I'm not the only person in this position in Paris: the system creates this situation, and the situation encourages bullying because it's only by making the job miserable that people can be made to leave their jobs.
For this reason alone, moving to Paris is probably best avoided. And this without even considering the additional politics that come from being in local office that's continually jostling for power against London.
Fernand Moineau is a pseudonym
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