No, I have not been avoiding my promised blog post regarding my work-status, it's just that every time I intend to start writing about it, my situation suddenly changes. I am barely keeping track of everything that has been happening and believe you me, a lot has changed: I have gone from unemployed to suddenly juggling no less than five jobs. That's right: one, two, three, four, five... Five!!!! And who knows, maybe by the end of this post, something else might have popped up
Compared to Ben's work history in Darwin, mine has been "slightly" more complicated and frustrating. As you may have read in my previous 'Working Woman' post, things did not go as anticipated and it was time for me to venture in a different sector. And you are about to hear all the juicy details! (at last!)
Where were we? Oh yes, I had my interview with childcare giant, Goodstart Early Learning (formerly known as ABC) and it was successful! YEAY! That was at the start of July and what came next were weeks and weeks of waiting around for my paperwork to come through. The notes taken during the interview and the short literacy test I had to take were sent out to their head office which is based at the other end of the country. Obviously. Then, I had to apply for an 'Ochre Card' which gives you clearance from the police and government to work with children. This is a must for anything that puts you in direct contact with children at work, no matter what it is you do. A copy of this and my passport then got sent back to the headquarters. Two weeks later, I had to come in to fill out my bank details, my tax file number and to sign my contract, which had to be sent off again. In the end, I started work almost a full month after my scheduled interview. It truly seemed to take aaaaages.
Goodstart Early Learning
At long last, everything got sorted and all that was left to do was to wait for one of the centres to ring me up and book me in for some shifts. Goodstart Early Learning has no less than 10 centres around Darwin alone, so I was promised a lot of work. I had to wait a week before the first phone-call came in: a centre in the nearby town of Palmerston needed me for three full days the next week and as it turned out, they ended giving me a lot more work over the weeks that followed. Score!
Anyway, as I was working my way into Goodstart Early Learning, I received a response from another company I had applied to a few months back. I kindly declined their offer to set up an interview, thinking that I would be covered with Goodstart, but after a few weeks, it started to dawn on me that the work flow really was not as steady as I had hoped. So, I apologised and kindly asked for my interview back. Yet again a walk in the park and I walked out with a contract: YEAY! I was super pleased as this company was the recruitment giant Randstad, a Dutch human resources/ recruitment agency that is used all across the world. Basically, they assemble employees of all walks of life together, interview and assess them and then send them out where there is a need for them. So in my case, childcare centres across Darwin with the need for an extra pair of hands call Randstad up and they in turn offer shifts to whomever wants it (like me). You regularly have to inform them of your availability through out the week and then they will allocate you work as it comes in. This does mean that you could either get woken up by a phone-call as early as 6.30am, or it could mean that you might wait around all day for a phone-call that never comes.
I had only just started my first shift with Randstad, when the Darwin Languages Centre got in touch with me in response to an e-mail I sent them a while ago. It was dated a good month or more ago, so I was very surprised to hear from them, more so when they were so enthusiastic about wanting to have me on board. YEAY! Not even an interview, nor proof that I spoke a single word of the languages I claimed to be fluent at was needed and before I knew it, I rocked up to my first class: Senior French. It was an after-school class held every Wednesday afternoon for two hours. I was really nervous and worried about being a French assistant as I haven't really been practising many of my languages lately (read: in the past six years), but I should not have worried. The main teacher is a lovely retired man by the name of Lino and as Italian as can be. His French was far from perfect, but no one seemed to care, so it made me feel a lot more at ease. He was really great with me, very welcoming and so there was never an awkward moment. Not that this cooperation lasted long, as two weeks in, it turned out that the assistant I was replacing would be coming back sooner than expected and at that same point, schools were closing for a week.
Darwin Languages Centre
During that waiting period, I was called up by the secretary of the Darwin Languages Centre, Justyna, who offered me a position as head Dutch teacher. Before I really thought it all through, I accepted it. Not much later however, I was informed that there weren't enough pupils to start a new class (there are currently no Dutch classes being held at the centre), but if I wanted to, I could give one of the families a call and offer to do some private tutoring. I am not even sure if Justyna can legally pass on potential clients, but she did and I will be forever grateful. YEAY!
And that is how I become a private Dutch tutor to Jolie's children. Jolie is a lovely lady from Hong Kong who with her two children moves approximately every year to a new country/ continent for her Dutch husband's work. He works very long hours and as they mostly speak English and Cantonese at home, both parents really want their children to strengthen their Dutch roots by getting to grips with the tongue. And that is where I step in. Sort of. It is a little more complicated than that, but I will go into more detail about that some other time.
And with our ever-going work for our non-profit organisation Akwaaba Africa, this brings my grand total of jobs to five. We had our very first volunteer this Summer, we have been redesigning and bringing new life to our website (please take a look and let us know what you think: www.akwaabaafrica.org) and we are in touch with a generous organisation in Bahrain that is willing to ship a few containers filled with donations to Africa as long as we can get all the bureaucratic conundrum organized. Add to this that our mother-charity STAESA was broken into a while ago and you will understand why I list it as one of my jobs; it takes up a lot of our free time!
You would think that I would be a very busy bee, but surprisingly enough five casual jobs do not even amount to one full-time job. And I am earning money both on the lowest end of the scale, as well as on the higher end of the scale, some of which comes in once a week, once a fortnight and once a month. Can you see now why it took me so long to write this blog post? It's all mightily confusing...
Much love, Emilie xxx