Jobs, how can we live without it? 🙂
Whenever I meet fellow Indonesians here we use to talk about our job quest. Either they are now jobless and searching for one , or, they want to quit and now want to search for a new one. I hate it when people say, you are so lucky to have a nice job at a nice company blablabla. Believe me, in my case, it was not like a job went onto my lap out of nowhere. I really did my best to get one. I wrote over 50 applications in 3 month time. And I went to many job interviews.
I came to live in the Netherlands in 2007, although I had stayed a year before to becoming Au Pair. I went back home briefly after. I have had many job interviews since then. Like, MANY! Of course I felt really uneasy and did not feel confident because I didn’t speak Dutch, but soon I understood a little bit of Dutch it was unstoppable. My first ones were when I was a student at the VU, I needed a part-time job. Sometimes two jobs to make ends meet. I gained it through a student job agent, sometimes the jobs were really odd, like the time I had to work at a chocolate factory. Or the time I worked at the zoo behind the till machine. Sometimes I worked at a cafeteria prepping food, or at De Bijenkorf as sales assistant. Outside the jobs I got from the agency, I also worked as a babysitter occasionally and I liked it because I earned good money and it was an easy job. I pretty much accepted all offers from the job agency except waiting tables, I sucked at it. From all those odd jobs the only one that I hated was when I worked at the zoo. Had a male supervisor who was a control freak and he corrected me all the time. After I passed my exams I was finally brave enough to apply for office jobs.
That when the nightmare began…
I got rejected all the time. It was flat out demotivating and yes, it was brutal. Really brutal. I cried a lot, but then I pull myself together and went to the next applications. There’s one experience which I will never forget. Not because it was nice and I got the job :p So, I applied for this role which was advertised via an agency (uitzendbureau, Dutch). It was back then in 2009 or 2010. My Dutch was still bad. I speak little Dutch just alright just not in business Dutch, only conversational. So I emphasised this to the recruiters, and they told me it was fine and they were looking people who were fluent English, so I would totally be considered.
The company invited me to have the first-round interview. Since I was not lucky enough to get a job in Amsterdam I had ventured out my search to….LEIDEN. It was far enough, and the building was hard to find. I was late. Like 10 minutes or maybe 11…I called the agency I could not find the building and I was really panicking! They helped me searching and I then found it, it was totally off the map. I was sweaty everywhere, I panicked, and I just wanted to go home because I had this uncomfortable feeling and that was not because I was late. The receptionist sent me upstairs, and I went there to the floor she appointed me to. A lady welcomed me, she was tall and pretty and had a nice smile. She was the hiring manager, she apologised for me because the building was hard to find. Not her fault. I was seated in a meeting room, I became more sweaty, this time I was nervous and tired. This interview was conducted in Dutch, and there was a man I guess he was a Director who would be my boss. He started the interview and he asked me the question, tell me about yourself.
As I was just catching my breath from all the running because I could not find the building, I tried to answer the question and pardon my Dutch. I was wrong in picking a word, I guessed it was a noun or an adjective I forgot, and in a split second he went mental. He was so pissed off, and cursed the agency who sent me. He wanted a native Dutch! Why on earth I bothered to come here wasting his time. I think my face turned green….I’d had not recovered from being nervous and I was now profusely sweating. He was not finished there, he then told me to go find another job that required Bahasa Indonesia and there at least I could make myself useful. I felt my eyes burning, and my throat was suddenly very very dry like the Sahara. “Lord, what had I eaten today? what is happening?” The hiring manager lady was shocked too, she looked me in the eye and she sent me a hug through her eye. At least thats how I felt it. She cut the asshole, and said some nice things about me, but I was deaf, I was too shocked and I could not process everything. Now both of these people before me were talking. One was the devil and the other one was semi-angel. I heard myself saying, thank you anyway for having me and sorry for wasting everyone’s times. I will now go and I can let myself out. Bye.
You guess it right, I cried all the way home. I got really demotivated weeks after that and regretted why I came to this country etc. Pure self pity. I wrote all my experience and sent it via emails to the agency and they apologized for what had happened. Blah! MEH. Now if I remember about that incident I can laugh about it, but then it was horrible!!! However, that awful experience did not stop me going to interviews. I mean, why? It does not mean that I am not capable, if I’d listen to that man’s BS, that I should only look for jobs that required Bahasa Indonesia, well then.. in this country the possibility is almost likely zero. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and fail while trying. Not long after that unpleasant encounter, I got a new job. The job was what I was looking for and suited me at that moment. I still have a good relationship with my ex colleagues.
It is a new year, time for a clean slate! I just want to send out positive vibrations and also a big hug for all job seekers out there. Especially to you who live in a new country. Believe me I know how it feels to seek for a job in a country where you do not speak the language fluently. Just be patient, and don’t stop trying! 🙂 I wish I could give you a more inspirational talk but, really, perseverance is the most important thing (at least from my own experience). I am now not looking for a job, but when the time comes I guess I will also feel a bit daunted by it. Then, I will read this post again and remind myself..LOL ! 😀 I do not write this post to brag, oh look at me I have had jobs…NOPE..I want to share it to you that hey, I have crappy experience too you know. And I hope my story is worse than yours so you can feel good about yourself…Or, my story is almost the same as yours so it will cheer you up, and make you feel that you are alone. Or maybe that you don’t have all these crappy experiences which means, THAT YOU HAVE BEEN LUCKY! Dang.Good for you 🙂 !!
Now, tell me do you also have an unpleasant experience when it comes to a job interview? How do you cope?
Thanks for reading