petite anglaise

October 3, 2006

à bientôt

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 8:50 pm

On April 27th, after receiving my marching orders, I dashed home. Once I’d spoken to three different men who were, or had been, important in my life, I cried for a while. Trying to pluck up the courage to call my parents, because I was worried (needlessly) that they would be angry with me for losing my job, I turned to my computer and started emailing anyone and everyone who I thought might be able to help. One such email went out to a few key people, some of whom I had met, others virtual acquaintances, and the gist of it was “I need a good employment lawyer”.

One of the first to reply was Colin Randall, French Bureau Chief of the Daily Telegraph. We had never met, he had simply linked to my blog a couple of times, and I had emailed him briefly to say hello. Colin wasn’t sure whether he had any useful contacts in the legal profession, but he did want to meet me. He felt sure that my story would be of interest to his readers.

We met soon afterwards, chatted over a bottle of wine. I joked afterwards that the alcohol must have been intended to loosen my tongue, but the fact was that until I had consulted a press lawyer, I wasn’t even sure I would let any story run. Even after I’d received the green light from my lawyer, I still kept Colin hanging on until shortly after my contract had officially ended in early July, and he respected my wishes. Throughout that trying time, he kept in touch regularly to see how I was doing.

When the story broke on July 18th, Colin fielded calls from other journalists and passed me the details; gave me advice about what it would be wise to accept or decline. I don’t think I could have navigated my way through those murky waters – in the middle of moving house (!) – without his help.

Last week I received a shocking text message which made me gasp when I read it: “My turn to get fired.” I had read about rounds of redundancies at The Telegraph, but I knew Colin’s blog was the most popular on the newspaper’s website, and never dreamed for a second that his name would come up.

Colin’s final post has just been published here. I would like to wish Colin well for whatever the future holds, and will be offering a little assistance in sprucing up his new, and hopefully temporary abode at blogspot.

I hope I haven’t jinxed any one else?


  1. Petite

    That link to the Telegraph is broken … :(
    Not complaining! :) Well, peut etre?


    Comment by ScoobyDew — October 3, 2006 @ 8:56 pm

  2. Hi Petite
    Looking at the Media section of Monday’s Guardian, I think the changes at the Telegraph are pretty extensive. I am not at all sure that I will continue to take that paper. Colin Randall does appear to have been well regarded, and I will look out for his writings. In this case, I think the new owners of the Telegraph are the cause of the problem, not your jinx.

    Comment by Pierre L — October 3, 2006 @ 8:58 pm

  3. One recalls a time a UK politician commentated that perhaps more journalists should/could take a more positive and active role in the democratic process.

    Vive la Difference.

    Comment by Adrian — October 3, 2006 @ 9:16 pm

  4. That just plain sucks. I guess its time to accept this as karma, and do whatever it is that you can do to help Colin through this time, as he did for you. I hope I’m not next to get the axe for reading this blog at work…or else it’s going to get crowded at your house when I come looking for a place to live.

    Comment by Adam — October 3, 2006 @ 9:54 pm

  5. Hope it’s not becoming a habit that you english fellows mastering new technologies are getting fired in a country where postmans are still leaving you yellow notes “absent” because they’re too lazy bringing you your parcels even when you’re at home…

    More seriously, blogging peoples like you, “C” and maybe Mr Randall, are living actors of a transition in society in the way that your writings are at the same time:
    – public
    – without control of any authority
    – free
    – successfull

    You are building elements of a “new” way to communicate simply. It may appear somehow disturbing, would it be for employers, for classical economic schemes, press organisations, and even maybe relashionships.

    Whatever the price, keep on building it!


    PS: to read for those interested in that type of analysis,
    – “Being Digital” – Nicholas Negroponte (1996, before Internet really became usual, a must-have)
    – “La révolte du pronétariat” – Joel de Rosnay (2006, sorry, no translated version for this one, but an official free download here.

    Comment by Aymardo — October 3, 2006 @ 10:11 pm

  6. wow. crazy things certainly do arrive in herds

    Comment by piupiu — October 3, 2006 @ 10:12 pm

  7. Hey, why jinxed?? Maybe it’s a silver lining for Colin as well…
    I resigned from my translation job last month…freedom beckons for me n’all – I’m going freelance. Got to be better than the Smic! It’s true that knowing what happened to you reinforced my
    fed-uppedness at being exploited…So if it’s your influence…thankyou!

    Comment by Lucy-Jane — October 3, 2006 @ 10:34 pm

  8. I do hope your friend lands on his feet. It seems to me that you have. Sometimes getting booted out of one job is the best (well, maybe fastest) way to finding a better one.

    Comment by Sophmom — October 3, 2006 @ 10:43 pm

  9. Well I guess blogging is becoming qute a stresfull activity for others, I mean the non bloggers, like the people who tried to resist the mobile phone wave were stressed a few years ago. Anyhow long live to the Penguins !

    Comment by Negrito — October 3, 2006 @ 11:54 pm

  10. Na…”jinxed in a positive way” would be more how it appears to me…but what do I know? :-)

    Comment by Karma — October 4, 2006 @ 12:46 am

  11. Ah, one good turn deserves another. Who knows. Dawn

    Comment by dawn — October 4, 2006 @ 4:54 am

  12. Hi Petite!
    I am just sad to have only got to know your fellow’s blogger’s blog (pheeew!) only on the day it closes! I hope to read his writings soon in another blog.

    Say, as a French expat in the country of banks, chocolate and cheese (follow my gaze!) I have been reading your blog for a year now and never you have told us about THIS on your blog!!….

    The blogosphere is very small indeed and you cannot keep your anonymity much more longer, as I see. Well, I sure will be one of the first ones to buy your book.

    Just make sure you keep on updating your blog, I could not go to work such light-hearted if I was not sure to read your daily contribution! Keep it going, Petite!

    Comment by Mr. Jo — October 4, 2006 @ 8:41 am

  13. Congrats for the Penguins… why didn’t you tell us here in BIG RED LETTERS? :o)

    Wendy in Herault

    Comment by Wendy in Herault — October 4, 2006 @ 9:03 am

  14. um, I came over all bashful, but there has been talk in the comments box…

    Comment by petite — October 4, 2006 @ 9:04 am

  15. If jinxing means finding your way in the world and following your dream of writing and meeting loads of new people all while enjoying Paris to the hilt – I say “jinx away”

    Comment by Flighty — October 4, 2006 @ 9:54 am

  16. I read about the sacking in Monday’s Media Guardian, was aware of your connection, and was sad to read the news. The Telegraph doesn’t sound like a very happy place right now, does it…

    Comment by mike — October 4, 2006 @ 11:46 am

  17. Petite

    You don’t need to be Miss Bashful, please let us have some decent warning re the books. What is the subject matter of the first?

    Comment by David — October 4, 2006 @ 1:20 pm

  18. Congratulations on the book deal. And as they say in Ecosse, “keep the heid”…(don’t get too carried away)

    So what are you going to spend it on (when you’ve finished paying agent’s fees, accountant’s fees, the inspecteur des impôts etc etc)? A few pints? Paying off the mortgage? Decorating? Sorry for being nosey…

    Comment by suziboo — October 4, 2006 @ 1:42 pm

  19. Long answer:

    Well, the full amount will come in bits : at signature (hasn’t happened quite yet), delivery of first book (mid 2007), publication in hardback (spring 2008), publication in paperback (2009) and the same for book two (delivery end 2008 etc). So, once I’ve paid all the people you mention above, I will pay myself a salary.

    Take the (estimated) amounts from the press and divide by 2 for various taxes, spread from here to 2010 and the figures are much more modest! (But if I can pay off some of the mortgage, it would be nice, obviously!)

    Short answer:

    A few pints. Fancy joining me for one?

    Comment by petite — October 4, 2006 @ 2:05 pm

  20. Yes please.

    Comment by anna — October 4, 2006 @ 2:25 pm

  21. er, I’ll take it that was yes to the pint, and not to being jinxed.

    Comment by petite — October 4, 2006 @ 2:27 pm

  22. haven’t seen Colin’s blog, will have a quick look..he’ll go on to even better things..that always seems to be the way when someone gets fired, well in most cases. Well done about the book.

    Comment by heather — October 4, 2006 @ 2:41 pm

  23. Well, now that you mention it…

    Comment by Damian — October 4, 2006 @ 2:45 pm

  24. You only have to read the British fortnightly publication ‘Private Eye’ (mixture of investigative journalism, whistleblowing and satire for those not in the know), to read each edition about the latest wave of sackings at the Daily Telegraph. There’s blood all over the carpet down there. Not sure how many journo’s they employ any more. Nor how they are actually gathering any news.


    Comment by Simon — October 4, 2006 @ 2:46 pm

  25. You can find a genuine pint in Paris? Where, where, where! Theakstons Old Peculier for me please (and for the unknowing pedants, the spelling is correct….)

    If I were over there I’d join you for a beer. Shame I have to work. Great news for you about the book deal, well done.


    Comment by Simon — October 4, 2006 @ 2:50 pm

  26. I’ll join you for a pint Petite- I’m going to be in Paris later this month if you fancy one? Though you did let me down last time you were in London so I’m not sure you deserve it..

    Naughty Petite!

    Comment by David In London — October 4, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

  27. well done from the london crew (those mad drinkers from your pub days in Paris!) see you over here soon for some bubbly

    Comment by dave m — October 4, 2006 @ 4:00 pm

  28. Perhaps you could organise another meet Petite? (Hope that’s not too cheeky a thing to suggest, especially since I missed the last one – due to unfortunate reasons beyond my control…) You could tell us all about it all! I don’t have a blog at the mo…are ex-short-time-blogger-commenters-turned-non-blogger-commenters allowed at these (potential) things?

    Comment by redlady — October 4, 2006 @ 4:31 pm

  29. First, woo-hoo on the book deal. Second, the best thing you can do for Colin is to mention him prominently in your book. He obviously respected you, and was as helpful as he could be and as such, deserves some positive light.

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — October 4, 2006 @ 4:36 pm

  30. redlady – I was certainly thinking it was about time we had another of those, and gosh, no anyone is welcome. I’ll post about it shortly, once I’ve got a date fixed.

    Comment by petite — October 4, 2006 @ 4:48 pm

  31. Re: the number of journalists at the Telegraph. They would probably claim to be hiring new ones, but experience and continuity is useful too…
    Obviously, I need to start reading Private Eye.

    Comment by Pierre L — October 4, 2006 @ 5:38 pm

  32. Hearty congratulations, petite! I am not one bit surprised.

    I, OTOH, keep referring to my employer, a well-regarded rapidly-growing but grumpily managed demolition company as the “KnockingShitDownCompany” a/k/a “KSDCo” and religiously blog from work, but, nooooo, they refuse to fire me no matter how hard I try. Some of us can’t catch a break. *sigh* ;)

    Comment by Sophmom — October 4, 2006 @ 5:39 pm

  33. Oohhhh boy! Since I started reading this blog I knew that, one day, this would happen and that you would publish a book, but how exciting to read, today, this news!! WoW!! Great!! How this make you feel?? I can’t wait to hold your book in my hands…and actually turning the pages…

    Comment by Olga — October 4, 2006 @ 5:49 pm

  34. Definitely up for a pint…maybe champers is more appropriate!Might be working in your corner of Paris soon too… we should do lunch if I get the job (if you don’t have too many interviews etc that is)!

    Comment by suziboo — October 4, 2006 @ 5:54 pm

  35. I know exactly how The Telegraph operates. I was one of their victims 2 years ago.

    Comment by Banana — October 4, 2006 @ 6:41 pm

  36. Hi, petite anglaise. I heard a lot from you (, and start to read you several weeks ago only. I am glad to hear good news like this one.

    Comment by Clemence — October 4, 2006 @ 7:30 pm

  37. Poor Colin, I think I am going to stop reading your blog at work… I have a sinking feeling (is that what we say? I’m losing my English). I can just imagine someone in my funky company telling me, you’re not allowed to read blogs, even though everyone else does, it’s just because you’re the ONLY American here so… Happy for your book deals though ! Who will play you in the movie? I vote for Scarlett J. Or Reese W.

    Comment by magillicuddy — October 4, 2006 @ 11:07 pm

  38. I have been “blog-watching” from the Coast of Maine (USA) for a long time now, perhaps without the ability to say hello or to encourage you to hang in there; that things always seem to get better if you wait long enough. Today’s events, including the story by Colin Randall, gives all of your “watchers” the sense that you have indeed landed on your feet. It is amazing to me the depth of your following, and how your story seems to have touched so many of us out there in the ethernet. I look forward to reading the new book which I am sure you are busy working on. Please keep telling us about your life and loves?, it is truly fascinating. With best wishes, HJ

    Comment by HJ — October 5, 2006 @ 3:43 pm

  39. Poor Colin. Not so sexy being a middle-aged jobless male journo in the newspaper business right now.

    At the time I was amazed at the way the LaPA story took off and from your account his was largely the brain behind it, so….into promotion Colin must go!

    Unless he wants to write a few books before senile dementia finally sets in.

    Comment by andrew — October 7, 2006 @ 1:15 am

  40. Hope it works out for Colin. He definitely has my sympathy. Talking from experience, it takes resilience to bounce back. Very gratifying if it does turn out for the best but pretty disorientating and anxiety-filled time until it does.
    Always feel a bit of a moaning minny when saying this, seems to me that UK (work-)culture regards redundancy rather lightly. Maybe it is a residue of growing up on the Continent where only alcolholism, fraud or near bankrupcy of the firm are valid reasons for redundancy.

    Congratulations on the book-deal btw.

    Comment by denke — October 8, 2006 @ 2:10 am

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