Monday, 23 July 2012

Job swap

You know how analysts say the next generation is going to have multiple different careers in their lifetime? Well try different jobs during a world holiday! Yes, about a month ago I switched mine. You see, I’m not really cut out for retail. Or at least not when being a guide for bike tours is an option! I’ll explain…

About five days after I arrived in Paris I took a bike tour my previous employer in Vancouver suggested. Bike About Tours ( is the name of the company and they do tours in English that are different from your average “hit all the main tourist attraction” tours.

I was scheduled to take the early tour, but I got lost trying to find Notre Dame and missed it. Fortunately, they allowed me to switch my tour time to the afternoon. I arrived for that one a bit flustered but excited to see Paris from a local’s perspective. When I arrived, I met one of the owners. We talked for maybe two minutes and then he said, “Do you have a job?” Now, it had only been the day before I was hired at the gift shop, and I still hadn’t worked a shift yet. I felt obliged to say yes because I thought I should give the gift shop job a chance. He said it was too bad, but to stay in touch in case I change my mind.

After two weeks at the gift shop I was bored and wanted something I bit more... interesting. I met with Paul, the business owner who had offered me the tour guide job, and accepted. After about a week of training I was ready to take my own groups out around Paris!!

The tour is a chance to see Paris through the eyes of a local, as every guide lives in the city - most longer than I have - we can show our clients a unique side of Paris. I love doing the tours! Each one is a bit different, but the people are always a blast! I have a great time joking around and teasing people on my tours, and we all get to enjoy the city together.

I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent studying French history, but I have a pretty good handle on it now! I’ve watched so many documentaries it would make your head spin. So much for graduating university! Who knew I’d take a summer job right after I graduated that had me taking notes on documentaries an being tested by my employers on historical facts!

Either way, it’s been a real ride - pun intended! I work four hours a day giving me the majority of the day to do as I please. For a work holiday this job is a dream. Or as the French call it a “Vacance travail” – a much better name since it puts holiday before work, which is much more fitting I think.

We North Americans have so much to learn from the French!

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