Pining for Push Brooms in Paris

Ah, the allure of a government job. In Paris, the desire for job security is so great that it has led to a surge of interest in joining the city's corps of 7,000 garbage collectors and street sweepers. Furthermore, where the field was once populated almost exclusively by immigrant men, many native Parisians, including a growing number of women, are supplanting them in the green-clad ranks.

The attraction is understandable: A typical workweek is only 35 hours long. Workers cannot be fired and earn a starting salary of $1,760 a month with at least a month of vacation. Many move into supervisory positions after as little as two years on the job.

So desirable have the jobs become that the Paris city council has instituted a rigorous oral and written exam — including an essay — to sort through the 4,000 annual applications for 250 openings. Only one-third of the exams receive a passing grade, with the rest no doubt serving as the applicants' first illustration of how to handle recyclable paper.
Source: and National Public Radio

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