Mostly about talking about money in France. Which is to say, I’ve made the mistake of doing it. I told my roommates my salary because we were talking about the CAF. And my female roommate has become, how should I say… chiante about it. Basically, she likes to joke around, and a few too many times now it’s taken the form of joking about how little I work, how lazy I am, and how rich I am. Now I may be being over-sensitive but I find this really, really annoying, especially because I love my job and take it very seriously.
But also because I’m not rich. I make a salary that I think is perfectly comfortable for me at this point in my life. I make more than an assistant and more than a lecteur. My rent is incredibly low. I don’t have a car to pay for. I finally make enough money to save some and spend some. And I have student loans to repay.
The second time I made the mistake of mentioning my salary I was eating dinner with the roommates (minus Marie) and a couple of friends. One of them (who I like very much in general) asked me my salary and I hesitated but in the end I said it. At which point she said, “Wow, that’s a lot, my mom makes less than that.” Then our Slovak friend (who is not only not French but also older than the rest of us) finally pointed out that it’s actually not that much money. For one thing, I make less than the other teachers (which is perfectly normal), so my salary can’t be extravagant by French standards for the qualifications I’m supposed to have. I just don’t get it. My plan is to stop talking about money with French people. But then, no one American has ever asked me how much money I make, as far as I can remember. Maybe they have and I don’t remember because they weren’t jerks about it afterward.
(I should say, I’m perfectly aware that I might be having this experience just because of the age and kind of people I hang out with. Marie makes less than an assistant as far as I can tell, so to her earning enough to pay taxes is apparently extravagant.)
Just venting about a phenomenon that is starting to seriously confuse me.