Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Garage Discoveries, Old Receipts, Musings on Human Resource Departments and other tales of Three Star Restaurants – Especially Joel Robuchon’s Jamin

July 5, 2017

My receipt from Robuchon's Jamin 1991

My receipt from Robuchon’s Jamin 1991

PARIS – I have been spending recent weeks tearing apart all the boxes and other crap in my garage and storage room, digging through a lifetime of papers and crud, trying to find anything at all that can prove to the French retirement agencies that I was employed at The Globe and Mail newspaper from the summer of 1980 to the fall of 1983. A series of emails to the human resources department of the Globe resulted in my discover that they have no record of my existence! (It led me to wonder if they even have any record of the 19 years that my father, David Spurgeon, spent reporting for the Globe from the 1950s to the 1980s! (and also made me wonder once again what human resource departments do other than fire people!!)) While I did manage to find at least one record of one period of my existence there – the last year and a half – I have still to find any official records of my own. On the other hand, I have been absolutely amazed to discover that as far as just about every receipt, metro ticket and French payslip or household bill for my subsequent 34 years in France, I have apparently been a packrat. But one of the most amazing artefacts I found was the sudden appearance last night of the actual receipt for the best meal I ever ate in a restaurant: My 1991 meal at Joel Robuchon’s great restaurant, Jamin. So I have decided to add that receipt (its nearly 3600 francs equal around 557 euros in today’s money, not counting the difference in cost-of-living fluctuations, etc.) to my very popular article about that evening, which I wrote about immediately afterwards and subsequently had rejected from many major publications many times. It has proven to be one of the most popular items on this blog, with almost daily readers from around the world ,which vindicates me a little about having been crazy enough to write it. You can see the receipt on this post, and also now accompanying the story itself in my rejection writings section under the title: A Dinner at Robuchon’s Jamin.

One Comment

  1. Hi Brad,

    I take it that you are writing about locating an official record of your employment at the The Globe and Mail newspaper from the summer of 1980 to the fall of 1983.

    I thought that if I tell you how I solved a similar problem, perhaps there can be salvation for you too! 🙂

    When I retired I decided I wanted to live out my retirement in Austria (where I was born and lived from age 0-16), after that I did all my schooling and lived my professional life in the USA. Now, because I worked the last five years of my career in Switzerland, upon returning to Austria, because by that time Switzerland and Austria had bilateral agreements regarding social security, I was able to file for my social security in Austria.

    Of course, I had a ll my date from the US SS and also from the five years in Switzerland, but I had also held a job in Austria for about a year-and-a-half, namely from roughly 1958-1960. Now how could I prove that in 2010 to the Austrian Pension Office?

    First, I went to the Apothecary, where I had worked in Innsbruck, Austria. That place had been sold a few times since I had worked there. The new owner told me that not had the previous owners but he too had thrown out all personnel files of previous years, since by law they are not required to save these.

    But then I remembered that I had (which was required back then) been insured with the Austrian National Helth Service Plan (Kranken-Kasse), as all Austrians were. Since that Health Plan still existed, I decided to go to their HQ in Innsbruck, and tell them that I had been insured with them back in 1958-60 and might they have a record of the exact dates of my employment-insurance and perhaps even have the addresses of the companies which insured me.

    Well, they told me I had to go to the archive section which I did. Once there, I was told that yes, the records of all their insured after 1970 had been transferred to electronic files, but the files of medical insurance members before that cut-off date were not transferred but were still in the original and they were physicall located deeper in their labyrintine archive, but the nice lady (Ariadne!) took me there and truly, I couldn’t believe my eyes, there was the original paper form with my name on it and the dates of insurance and the companies I apprenticed as a 14 and a half-year old till I was 16.

    Thus, I was able to take a copy of that record to the Austrian Pension Fund to which the Swiss insurance years had been transferred plus the some twenty years of the US SS.

    Perhaps my travails on the road to getting a pension will inspire you to get credit for the few years of your Canadian employment?

    I hope so and I wish you luck.

    If I can be of any further use, please contact my on my private email which is included somewhere in this reply.

    Hope to see you next time when I’m in Paris,

    as ever,

    Peter the Wolf

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