Their professional life ended over a year ago and has never resumed since. While employees placed in telework are preparing to return to the office and economic life is recovering, working people are still on short-time work, locked away, away from professional life. A dizzying experience for these men and women of all ages who were forced to arrange somehow this parenthesis that no one imagined so long.
According to the latest figures from Dares, the statistical institute of the Ministry of Labor, 8.4 million people were placed on short-time work at the peak of the first confinement, in April 2020. A year later, in April 2021, they were another 2.7 million.
“I had more and more contracts, I was in London, and there, patatras”
Maria (the first name has been changed), a 25-year-old barmaid employed by a nightclub in the Paris suburbs is concerned. She keeps a “bitter” memory of those final shots swallowed in one go with her colleagues, a week before the closure more than a year ago. “The dance floor was packed. With hindsight, it was delirium, ”she recalls. She cannot imagine then that this moment is the last of the year that she lives at work. Since then, she has lost contact with “a lot of colleagues” and talks about “crossing the desert”. The beginnings were not, however, so dark. “Being paid to stay on your sofa, you tell yourself it’s cool, but after three weeks, you understand that it’s not enviable. Without occupation, anxiety takes over. The young woman “watches” for the news of a reopening, because so far the deconfinement plan does not provide a date for the reopening of nightclubs.
Like her, Sylvère Letellier, 32, DJ of the collective La Créole, also has his eyes riveted on this information. He recounts this year, which had started so badly: “Six months before the start of the Covid, I left a good job to make a living from music… All the signals were on the green: I had more and more contracts, j ‘was in London, where I was working on projects, and there, patatras. “
He remembers that day when the pandemic hit his ambitions head-on. “On Monday March 16, I packed my suitcase and took the Eurostar home. I haven’t touched a stamp since. “To keep control, the artist, who benefits from state aid of 1,500 euros per month, sets a pace and begins to work… during the day. “This pandemic has been bad for good. I produced my music. I start my day at 8 am and work until the evening. And the effort pays off. He just signed with a label. With the key, an album and two agents for the future concerts in France but especially at the international one “where there is more visibility than in France, especially in England where the clubs open on June 21”, anticipates- he.
In the sector, not everyone has a chance. Kévin Papon, 33, is another species of night owl. The world of this sound and light technician is unplugged until further notice. If the announcement of the four-month extension of the “white year” for intermittent entertainment workers in order to preserve their level of compensation until December 31, “relieves” him, he is thinking “more and more” of a reconversion.
VIDEO. The “flight case” action of intermittent entertainment workers in front of the Odéon theater
“I can change lanes, at least temporarily to do food work, but where? And what ? I don’t know how to do anything else. “In one year, he went through several phases:” At the beginning I let myself be carried away. Then, when I understood that it was going to last, I struggled to keep contacts, a bit as if I had been fired… ”Over the weeks, he shifts. “I go to bed at 3:30 am to 4 am and get up after 3 pm without feeling guilty. “Boring” days followed, punctuated by weight training sessions and a few romantic dates thanks to dating applications. “I pay rent in Paris, but I have the life of a guy who lives in a provincial town,” he laments.
“This change of pace is also positive”
Keeping up with the pace, not letting the engine seize up, maintaining the network… Maxime Michel, 30, editor and cameraman, describes the vicious circle of these months when his network collapsed like a house of cards. “By dint of not having a proposal, I felt a loss of creativity. It was dizzying, ”he concedes. Morally, he unscrews. “My parents have told me a thousand times: Take a little job, it will keep you busy, you will have morale, except I can’t bring myself to do it, he said. If I change jobs, I would have the impression of giving up. “
Like him, Vladimir (the first name has been changed), 49-year-old event photographer, divorced and father of an 11-year-old boy, stopped working after the first confinement. A year later, he evokes in a jumble these “orders, terminated in cascade”, “a depression” following the “big blow on the head” received at the time of the second deconfinement. With a dependent child, the financial question becomes urgent. “My parents helped me but, at 49, if I have to change lanes, what am I going to do? “
This question, Judith, intermittent, also asked. And found an answer. Mother of two children aged 7 and 11 with her partner who is also intermittent, she trained in the hope of converting herself into a “carbon footprint expert” and supporting businesses and communities in the implementation of a reduction strategy. of their greenhouse gas emissions. “In one year, our salaries have been divided by three, she calculates. We look at all the expenses but this change of pace is also positive. I am less faced with the stress of daily logistics and we spend more time with our children. “