Saturday, February 25, 2006

End of the endless summer

After months of dogged resistence to playing any sort of useful role in society, I finally broke down and got a job. There is some sort of puritan, masochistic work ethic deep in my genome which just doesn't let me feel comfortable unless I am stressed and out of control. Or as one of our French friends said, "men his age don't feel powerful unless they have a job."

Our Paris routine is very ex-pat-centric, cocooned within a group of mostly American friends from our children's school, from INSEAD and from the American Cathedral. Outside of the incredible pastries, there are days when you would hardly know we were in a foreign country. Working in a French company is one way to see more of what France is about.

For example, my French speaking skills have been stuck at boulangerie level for months now. In fact, my biggest fear on my first day of week was having to introduce myself to the company in French. The introduction went fine but I now have a huge incentive to get truly conversational.

The company I joined is called Reportive. They produce reporting tools for companies with complex reporting needs, such as sales performance reporting. Currently, almost all of the pharmaceutical companies in Europe and many of the Automotive companies use Reportive tools to provide reporting. However, they are not well known outside of the European market, so the challenge is to help them grow in the US.

My job is chairman of the board, a fancy title for someone who still owns a business suit and can look grave when the situation calls for it (meaning that I am 50% qualified for the job). My museums seen per week average is going to take a big hit, but my applied understanding of French culture should have a big spike.