France is famous for its administrative and bureaucratic red tape craptasticness (that is totally a real word). And for a reason.
I teach English at the University here, except that that University is actually divided into a whole slew of different (read: independent) parts (Arts University, Science University, Economics University... etc.). I teach at the first two (arts and science), as well as "Polytech" (also at the Science University but independent of it. Don't ask) which is for the brightest students, preparing them for high faluting "grandes écoles".
As a freelance translator, my teaching is done as "vacations", a very specific (and specifically very shitty) type of contract that basically means you have to do what classes you're told, when you're told and every hour you don't teach isn't paid (including public holidays, illness...). If they need to get rid of staff for any reason, the "vacataires" are, of course, the first to go. There is also a maximum number of hours you can teach, namely 196, all universities together, for the academic year as a whole.
Another joy of these "vacations" is that you only get paid twice a year: the first semester (September to December) gets paid at the end of March, the second (teaching from January to May, then exams and orals and bla bla bla on and off till July) at the end of July.
This year (as in 2010-2011), in the first semester I taught 44 hours at the Arts University, 20 at Polytech and 54 at the Science University. The first two were paid at the end of March as planned. Still nothing from Science, and I learned today, after a snark-fest on the phone with a university administrator who has a job for life, gets paid for 13 months in every calendar year and can retire at 55, that I won't actually be paid till the end of July.
In the second semester, I taught 76 hours at the Science University. And the same administrator informed me that "because they have a lot of dossiers to deal with", they won't be paid till the end of October.
I guess you could probably say that right now I am beyond furious. Livid, even. The sums involved probably seem derisory to most people (all 196 hours taught probably comes to about 7,000 € or perhaps a little more), but I count on that money. I planned to use it to pay off debts, take the girls away for a few days at least, whatever. Now, instead, the debts will increase and we'll be staying home all summer.
I work stupid hours, but I work every day. Every. single. day. That includes Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. I don't necessarily work huge numbers of hours every day, but still. Every. single. day. I haven't taken a whole day off since Christmas Day. And now I know I'm going to be here all damn summer.
I'm angry, and disappointed and oh, so tired.
You have to wonder when the fuck life is going to give me a goddamn break...