Home > Personal > Either a job for life, or I don't want it.

Either a job for life, or I don't want it.

French students are having violent demonstrations about a new law that gives businesses the right to hire someone 18 to 25-year-olds on youth job contracts, which would allow employers to terminate a contract within two years. After two years, the contract would revert to a standard full-time contract (i.e., nearly impossible to fire.) It doesn’t sound so extraordinary to my American ears, but that’s because I live in a (by and large) “employment at will” freemarket-based economy, where both I and my employer have the right to terminate my employment pretty much at will. Admittedly, my employer would probably be more prone to terminating my employment than I would if I was a bad employee, but it also means that I can bail to look for a better opportunity if I feel like my employer is treating me badly. The flip side is that because my employer can ditch me if I’m a dud, they’re more open to taking a chance on me in the first place. 
The French employment setup is pretty much the opposite. It’s very hard (and expensive) to fire someone, dud or no. Once hired, you’re pretty much Hired For Life. So, employers are hesitant to hire people, especially young people who don’t have an established employment record. As a logical consequence, there is chronic unemployment, especially among the young. The new law is an attempt to address that, but the young don’t want it. Instead, they want the same deal that people over 26 get: employment with a standard contract. The new contract will make it easier not just to hire but also to fire those under 26, which these youngsters see as a threat to their future and any hope of the kind of jobs for life many of their parents and grandparents enjoyed. So, instead of taking a chance with the new contracts and actually getting a job, they’d prefer to remain unemployed and, as a bonus, break things as a political statement. 
Idiots. France is broke, folks. Trying to use the same violent methods as your parents did in 1968 to obtain jobs for life, guaranteed pensions and a generous welfare system will only make France broker and your own situation worse. 

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