Sunday, 1 November 2009

Volunteering and Job Hopping

The Volunteer

oncerned of being idle and unproductive while my application was in progress, I volunteered to a charity shop (Break Charity) that is just around the corner. I was happy with the job I got involved in and my community expanded a little bit. This volunteer job was going to be a great help with my reference when I finally started submitting applications for a job. Many people who are temporarily out of work find it very useful to volunteer in a charity shop.

Not long after, I received a letter from the Home Office certifying the application and at the same time informing me that I could already seek employment while the application was in progress.  The next day I started sending out resumes left and right. A couple of days later I got invited for an interview. The job was data entry clerk for UK Business Mail. The first question was about my passport. When I told the them I hold a Philippine passport I was turned down. The reason--they didn't have a licence to employ non-European.

Pending Job Post

I was unfazed. I sent out more application letters and continued working in the charity shop. It was the start of the school year and many schools were looking for assistant teachers and Mid-Day Supervisors (MSA). Unfortunately, I was told that in order to teach in the UK I must have a qualification from the UK and at least a year's experience. Obviously, I knew nothing--until now--of the British curriculum. But for MSA I didn't even need to be educated because it's just supervising pupils during lunch and playtime. I got two interviews for MSA post--the first turned me down, the second accepted me--the Harford Manor School. Then here comes again the passport issue. Since I didn't have it, I couldn't start work. But they told me that once I receive my passport I get employed.

First job

Finally after about a month and a half I got a call again for an interview. It was rather short and sweet. They just asked me to fill up a form and the next day I started working--in a winery.

My first task was sticking stickers on a box of wine. Sounds pretty simple even a bum could do it. But it was sooo boring I felt like robot with a very limited function--stick the label, wait,... stick, wait....stick, wait....... although it didn't require cognition at all my mind was busy recollecting my past. I imagined my life as a teacher and now a freakin factory worker and even my youngest student could do my job. I felt like sobbing. Why on earth am I, an educated teacher, doing this no-brainer job while those farangs in Thailand some of them didn't even have a college education but they are teaching!? I don't mean to belittle them, please don't get me wrong. I mean they are not really qualified teachers but since they speak English as their native language, they can teach in schools  and universities. Somehow they are being looked up to. On the other hand, I cannot teach here because my qualification from a Philippine college is not good enough. I think it's not fair. 


Anyway, that time my husband worked on a night shift because he was studying every Tuesday so I also took the night shift--which paid more. Also that way both me and hubby would be at home same time and  went to work same time. Since I was working night shift, I also took another job as a caterer in a hospital ward at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNHU). Here I was working from 4-8 pm. Then my husband would pick me up and take me to the winery. In the morning he would come to pick me up again. Since we finish same time and he works near the city, I work 10 miles away, I had to wait 30--sometimes 60 minutes--for him to arrive. But that's okay. I seem to have lots of patience for this sort of thing.

In other words I was moonlighting which was good as I was earning an average of £70 a day sometimes £100 it was good but very draining. Sometimes I would go home and feel like a zombie. All because I wanted to catch up on all those times I was not earning. At work I ate too much so I  wouldn't feel sleepy. Interestingly I didn't get fat. I was doing well with my 2 jobs until the NNHU asked for my passport--I only showed them a copy and the letter from the HO but they let me start working anyway. When I told them that I had not received my passport yet they asked me to stop working. They are very strict huh.. I wonder why some people here could work with only a tourist visa. Technically I had an endorsement letter from the HO they didn't want to recognize it. Technically, I had to stop temporarily and as soon as I get my passport back I could resume working with them again. So I stopped at the hospital  but still continued at the winery which was a good thing.

Back to being jobless

Good thing I was still working in the factory so I had money for Christmas. After the New Year  my agency that put me  through to the winery told me that I was on my way to becoming permanent there in the factory. I was so elated. On my way home, however, I was asking myself if I really wanted to work in the winery and I prayed to God that if it was not His will He would do something to stop them hiring me permanently. But first they had to see my passport and when I couldn't provide it they also stopped calling to work which I took as a sign from God.

So back to being jobless again. I was getting desperate although I kept on clinging to a hope that I would eventually get something better. I went to Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) and showed them the letter from HO and they said it's very clear I could work but really it depends on the company/employer. On the other hand I couldn't insist they accept my letter. It's still their up to their decision.

Finally, I gave up struggling. I told myself that worrying won't make the situation any better.

£5 an hour
Then I went to post an ad at gumtree an online classifieds for about anything. And a week later, I got asked to do some child-minding. I would pick up a girl from school and stay with her and the brother until one of the parents came home from work. Sometimes I stayed one hour sometimes up to 4 hours but most of the time around 2 hours for £5 an hour--even less than the minimum wage of £5.73 but at least I wasn't idle and receiving something. At least it's so much easier than working my ass off at the factory. I was as though getting paid doing nothing. But still it's not too much. It's a bit too far from home and taking the bus was impractical. Sometimes my husband gave me a lift sometimes the parents picked me up and sent me back home. A couple of times I walked when the weather was nice and it took me 45 minutes. It wasn't easy, my feet were sore when I got home.

The good news...

I mentioned in my previous post that I wrote the UKBA for my passport and visa application. Two weeks later, my passport arrived with the Residence Documentation. Again, I didn't waste any minute. I was so excited I called the hospital right away to tell them I got my passport back. But they told me it had been such a long time my position had been filled. Now I have to start all over again. That was okay--I thought.  But things didn't turn out well and I had to give up chasing that catering job.

The next place I went was, you guess, the Harford Manor School. Unlike at the hospital, here they kept their word. As soon as they saw my passport and the visa I started working 1.5 hours a day M-F 12-13:30 pm. It was a good timing because I could still go child-minding which usually starts at 3pm.


  1. Volunteering is always productive as it shows your willingness to work not only for monetary rewards. Personal growth and experience itself is already rewarding.
    Btw, thanks a lot for volunteering to help me improve my blogs. Your help is really worth your time and effort as we achieved the desired result in no time. I got my dreamed rank right away:)Yehey!!!

  2. On unqualified farangs teaching, it's a biting reality! that's an obvious discrimination wherever you go(:

  3. I admire your strong spirit. You never give up easily and acknowledge God's leading in your life. It's good to hear you got accepted at a school. That's a great start for you to get discovered with your teaching potentials.
    You have enough experiences there now that will make you a better person and even stronger in faith.
    It seems that you're enjoying your life there (with Frances) despite your big adjustment from being a dignified teacher here:)

  4. Hi Miss Nice A. Thanks for following this post all the way through. Yea I got accepted at that school and I thought it was going to be a good beginning but again it ended shortly when I went to Sicily. I will be writing about my current job in the near future.
    You too, keep up the spirit! God bless...


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