pantouflage/pantoufle

English translation: revolving doors

07:52 Jun 3, 2020
French to English translations [PRO]
Government / Politics
French term or phrase: pantouflage/pantoufle

pantouflage
Arg. des écoles, fam. Trouver une pantoufle (v. ce mot B 2), quitter le service de l'État pour entrer dans le secteur privé.

https://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/pantouflage


pantoufle
B2. Arg. des écoles, fam. Situation trouvée dans le secteur privé par un militaire ou un fonctionnaire issu de l'École polytechnique ou p.ext. d'une grande école et qui renonce à l'armée ou aux autres services de l'État.

https://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/pantoufle

I would add that nowadays, it is used generally for just any top civil servant (not necessarily from Polytechnique) that gets a top cushy job in a (usually large) company.

Useful bit from Le Grand Robert: "Quitter le service de l'État pour entrer dans une entreprise privée (au besoin en payant un dédit appelé pantoufle)".

I can explain in English what it means, but is there a slangy/colloquial word for pantouflage in (preferrably UK) English?

Thank you, comme d'hab !
ph-b
France
Local time: 06:51
English translation:revolving doors
Explanation:
I know the expression well from all the articles about it in the magazine Private Eye!
Selected response from:

Philippa Smith
Local time: 06:51
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +3revolving doors
Philippa Smith
5 +1Revolving doors
Hicham Ouzidan
3 +2civil servants landing cushy jobs in the private sector
SafeTex
4buying their way in
Ben Gaia
4the resignation of the top civil servants with a view to cushy jobs in the private sector
Francois Boye
4 -1pantouflage [cushy jobs for French civil servants]
AllegroTrans
4 -1getting a sinecure / giving a sinecure (to ex-civil servants)
Daryo


Discussion entries: 9





  

Answers


21 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
revolving doors


Explanation:
I know the expression well from all the articles about it in the magazine Private Eye!



    https://trends.levif.be/economie/politique-economique/pantouflage-ou-revolving-doors-les-liaisons-dangereuses-finance-politique-sous-les-cri
Philippa Smith
Local time: 06:51
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 16

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Elisabeth Richard
34 mins
  -> Thanks Elisabeth!

agree  writeaway: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolving_door_(politics)
37 mins
  -> Thanks writeaway!

neutral  AllegroTrans: My misgiving with this is that the term is now widely used to describe the series of top level White House staff who Donald Trump has sacked; an EN-spkg reader is unlikely to understand the French term pantouflage without a better explanation
1 hr
  -> The asker specifies UK English, and in the UK people know what revolving doors are.

agree  Suzie Withers: Also a Private Eye reader and this was the first thing that came to mind
1 hr
  -> :-) Thanks Suzie!

agree  Carol Gullidge: this does appear to be ONE of the possible meanings, although I do share Allegro's misgiving/Well I have agreed with you! It's just that there are other meanings/uses as well for revolving doors that could possibly confuse the issue
3 hrs
  -> Thanks Carol. I honestly don't understand the misgiving, seems pretty straightforward to me. The phenomenon known as "pantouflage" here is known as "revolving doors" in the UK./Yes, thank you for the agree. Do you mean confusion over actual doors??

disagree  Francois Boye: The revolving door goes both ways while pantouflage means leaving the civil service to go and work for the private sector
5 hrs
  -> It can, but it's usually used to mean govt officials going into the private sector and using their contacts, cf. my links in discussion.

agree  Chris Pr
7 hrs
  -> Thanks Chris!

disagree  Daryo: "the revolving door" is a closely related concept [the merry-go-around of the same people between the state and private sector] but "pantouflage" is about getting a sinecure in the private sector (thanks to the said "revolving door")
7 hrs

neutral  Libby Cohen: Am on the fence about this; would agree with you only if the French term implies that there's a SINISTER aspect (lobbying/influencing). Per Investopedia: shuffling back & forth between private and public sectors to lobby and exert influence.
10 hrs
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29 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Revolving doors


Explanation:
Pantouflage: The term pantouflage refers to a practice by which high-level French civil servants, usually former students of the École Polytechnique or the École nationale d'administration, obtain work in private enterprise

Example sentence(s):
  • le pantouflage entre la fonction publique et le secteur privé
  • Revolving doors between public office and the private sector

    https://www.linguee.com/english-french/search?source=auto&query=pantouflage
Hicham Ouzidan
Local time: 05:51
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Elisabeth Richard
25 mins
  -> Thanks

agree  Margaret Morrison: Agreed. Do you think it comes from an idea that you only have to shuffle round to another job in your slippers (ie, without even going outside)?
1 hr
  -> Thanks

neutral  AllegroTrans: My misgiving with this is that the term is now widely used to describe the series of top level White House staff who Donald Trump has sacked; an EN-spkg reader is unlikely to understand the French term pantouflage without a better explanation
1 hr

agree  Suzie Withers
1 hr

disagree  Francois Boye: The revolving door goes both ways while pantouflage means leaving the civil service to go and work for the private sector
5 hrs

disagree  Daryo: "the revolving door" is a closely related concept [the merry-go-around of the same people between the state and private sector] but "pantouflage" is about getting a sinecure in the private sector (thanks to the said "revolving door")
7 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
pantouflage [cushy jobs for French civil servants]


Explanation:
I cannot locate a single word that in any way conveys this specifically French phenomenon. "Revolving doors" conjures up images of the shenanigans at the White House and wouldn't mean anything in the French context.

I would leave the term in French and give a short explanation in brackets, otherwise an average EN-speaker won't understand this.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2020-06-03 10:15:58 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The White House revolving door: Who's gone?

25 November 2019

Donald Trump's administration has had a very high turnover - with senior officials quitting, being fired or getting eased out at a record pace.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39826934

AllegroTrans
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:51
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 45

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Sheila Wilson: Yes, however correct "revolving doors" is, I think it would mislead a lot of readers nowadays
1 hr
  -> thank you

disagree  Francois Boye: Unclear! Why? Because those who 'pantouflent' have the best jobs in the civil service!
3 hrs
  -> you have used almost the same expression so why disagree?

disagree  Daryo: the concept of "revolving doors" of the kind mentioned in this ST (implied: between the civil service and the private sector) predates Trump by decades, if not a whole century or two and has nothing to do with the texts you quoted.
6 hrs
  -> Maybe so but clarity is needed for a British reader in the French concept. The text I quoted is to show how this can be confused with the term referring to the White House, i.e. the totally negative connotation (being sacked by Trump)
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
the resignation of the top civil servants with a view to cushy jobs in the private sector


Explanation:
pantouflage is an opportunity for the top civil servants of France to make megabucks in the private sector.

The top civil servants are not trained by universities. Les Grandes Ecoles (ENA, Polytechnique, Ecole des Mines, Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees etc..) are in charge of training top civil servants in France.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grande_école

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantouflage



After reaching the top of the civil service, those graduates from les Grandes Ecoles turn to the private sector to make more money.

NB: This system is about to change because President Macron decided last year to open the access to ENA to all the professionals of France, regardless of whether they had graduated from a Grande Ecole.

NB: The US revolving door became a French practice when Emmanuel Macron became president of France. The reason is that many current technocrats who rallied around Macron's campaign are coming from the private sector, which they joined after they had been civil servants.

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grande_école

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantouflage#:~:text=Le terme «...


Francois Boye
United States
Local time: 00:51
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Daryo: correct, but it's more an explanation - too long for a translation.
1 hr
  -> because the word pantouflage has no equivalent in the UK/US//translate public school in French: be my guest!

neutral  AllegroTrans: not only is too long but it basically repeats my own suggestion
2 hrs
  -> because the word pantouflage has no equivalent in the UK/US//Translate public school in French: be my guest!
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8 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
getting a sinecure / giving a sinecure (to ex-civil servants)


Explanation:
you could possibly argue that "a sinecure" would not be often heard on the Clapham omnibus, but that's the nearest I can think of.

The "revolving door" that makes this possible is about the same people moving to and fro between the civil service and private companies. The "operation manual" of THAT "revolving door" goes as follows:

Step one: a private company lets an expert quit and join the civil service.

Step two: by a happy accident the same expert happens to be in charge of regulating the business they quit.

Step three: in recognition of services rendered by this civil/public servant to the private company (by pushing legislation that is favourable to the company's interests) the civil servant is welcomed back and given "une pantoufle" - a sinecure.


Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:51
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in SerbianSerbian, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 26

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  AllegroTrans: Sinecure is pejorative and doesn’t reflect the usual reality in the private sector//asker has ruled out sinecure
55 mins
  -> That's certainly not the reality for the majority of people working in the private sector (agree on that), but the chosen few landing themselves une pantoufle are subjected to a different set of rules ...
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10 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
civil servants landing cushy jobs in the private sector


Explanation:
A bit long compared to the French but...


    https://books.google.fr/books?id=RB03DwAAQBAJ&pg=PT297&lpg=PT297&dq=civil+servant+landing+cushy+jobs&source=bl&ots=-CK1JsGaBi&sig=ACfU3U1h5z
SafeTex
France
Local time: 06:51
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ben Gaia: This is the most direct equivalent, though see my suggestion "buying their way in".
3 hrs
  -> Thanks.

agree  GILOU
11 hrs
  -> Thanks Gilou
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14 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
buying their way in


Explanation:
(to a cushy job in the Private Sector.)
From the french definition given it sounds like some money is laid out, so this phrase would cover it without anyone needing to revolve.

Ben Gaia
New Zealand
Local time: 16:51
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 16

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  AllegroTrans: not sure if money is involved, more like an old boys' network
10 mins

neutral  Elisabeth Richard: I agree with AllegroTrans. It does make sense though if you reverse the expression and say the private companies are buying their way in governments policy knowledge and networks.
14 hrs
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