Voilà my solution

“Voilà my solution” – (PIP #34)

By Louise Peloquin

Over the last two weeks, our peeks into the past have presented local stories covering life journey episodes. (1)  This one deals with the most time-consuming of all – work. The text, perhaps a foreign news agency dispatch, offers a humorous twist on the topic. It does not seem so very outdated. (2)

L’Etoile, April 2, 1957

“The Day Done”


     You know the wisecrack: I love work, I love watching others work.

     Tonight, I’m cogitating about the big question of workers, about their unions, their successes, their difficulties. I’m going all in for meditating about work.

     You, Annette the office employee and you, hosiery worker Juliette and you too, waitress Yvette, I am writing for the three of you tonight.

     I am also writing for your men Charles, Roger, Edmond.

     I would like to write for all workers because, as you can see, it’s been doing a job on me.

     From a well-off family, spoiled as desired, work, for me, has not necessarily been my privilege.

     Still young and lively, I do not fear work but my work consists in watching Wall Street, which is not yet an eligible position for obtaining a “union card!”

     All the same, I know unions. I even have a secret passion for studying unions!

     I’m really happy to perceive that the fate of the workers is improving.

     That’s how it has to be in our modern economic system where money is what counts.

     Today, your chauffeur is gasoline; your messenger is the telephone; your theater is the television; your barber-hairdresser or your beauty salon is Schick or Toni.

     In other words, that’s the way it is more and more!

     With the electrons and the plastics, there’s no longer a need for a workforce or for domestic help.

     With the big city apartments, or even the little houses in the suburbs, there’s no longer a need for gardeners.

     With all of the Heinz canned goods and all of the rest, there’s no longer a need for cooks.

     Yet, all the same, instead of decreasing, the population is increasing and one has to live.

     And right now, money is necessary to live.

     And normally, work is necessary to earn money.

    And to work, there has to be something to do which pays!

     On the other hand, there’s less and less work, not quite enough for everyone.

     The solution you ask me, Annette, Juliette, Yvette, and you also perhaps, Charles, Roger, Edmond. 

     Well, the solution is sharing work.

     Less work, so much the better.

     More free time!

     I’m for the four-day work week.

     Voilà my solution.

     You’ll see that this will be the whole world’s solution.

     Because I firmly believe that since we do not live to eat but eat to live, we do not live to work but work to live!

     Good evening Charles, Roger, Edmond. 

     Goodnight Annette, Juliette, Yvette.



     Back on the New England front, news about work was not covered in a flippant manner.


Closure at Biddeford

BIDDEFORD, Maine. The Bates Manufacturing Co. employees here and in Augusta voted on Sunday, like those in Lewiston, to refuse a wage cut and the company retaliated by announcing that it would have to close the York factory in Saco, close to here, which employs 1200 people. The firm announced that it would immediately begin to terminate its current sales orders and that everything would be liquidated in eight weeks. These textile mills had been operating since 1831 and produced combed cotton.

     The company’s declaration was announced by liaison manager H.-L. Gosselin.



PIP #32, Honouring our departed,                                                                                       

and PIP #33, Who wants to sell a day in June?.

  1. The story might have come from L’Agence France-Presse, a French international news agency headquartered in Paris. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world’s oldest news agency.  With 2,400 employees of 100 nationalities, AFP has an editorial presence in 260 cities across 151 countries.
  2. Translations by Louise Peloquin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *