Saturday, March 28, 2009

Learning to say "No"

I use many different milestones to gauge my independence. Being financially independent, in particular, is a huge goal of mine. I'm getting there! Paying rent, utilities and all that is a pretty good step. This move to Australia has brought me even closer to feeling more like a grown-up because I feel like I've learned to say "No" ...

Well, to be honest, more like "No, thank you." That's a minor detail. Moving to a new place with limited contacts and a rent to pay creates a sense of urgency in the job department. The economy anywhere doesn't exactly help my cause. Hire a foreigner over a local! Right.

I didn't have a job set up coming to Melbourne, but I did have a job interview. Through some connections, I was lucky to find an organization that was willing to meet with me. As I walked into the office, I was prepared for an interview. What I walked into was basically "How much do you want to work? What hours are you looking for?" It was overwhelming: One week in town and I have a job? A job that's not at a restaurant? A job using my degree? Sign me up!

We discussed tasks that I would be assigned to including writing marketing materials and learning new software to create videos. I was really excited to put what I learned in school to use. I spent my first few days reading and researching in order to become more well-versed in the language used in the healthcare industry.

I walked into work mid-way into my first week and was given a new job: telemarketing. Um, excuse me? I was in utter shock, but I figured that I would give it a go and call a few people - anyway, that wasn't why I was hired, so it'd just be a sporadic task. Or would it?

I was expected to make cold calls for the next week. I had a few issues with this. Firstly, I did not feel comforable enough with the company to be able to sell it. I felt that I would have to be putting my callers on hold to relay questions, and that's the last thing that someone will stand for when being harassed. That leads me into issue number two: it felt like harassment. I felt pangs of guilt every time I picked up the phone. I was supposed to be asking for a cell phone number if the point-person was not in the office, but I just could not do it. I couldn't! I was miserable. The third major problem I had with telemarketing was my accent. Now, I know I need to get over the fact that I sound American - I mean, I am. However, I know, personally, that if I were to get a call at home from someone with a foregin accent, I would be even more inclined to hang up the phone. It just seemed like an overall horrible idea for me to be telemarketing, and it wasn't what I signed on to do.

I was torn. I needed a job. I may be in Australia on a Work and Holiday visa, but I do have bills. I am living here, not traveling around going from hostel to hostel. I thought about trying to stick out the telemarketing, but after a few four-letter-word-latent phone calls outside of Flinders Street Station at lunch hour (hi Mom!), I knew I couldn't keep doing what I was doing. I tried to address the issue with my boss, but then I took on the roll of office gopher. I knew that I wasn't happy, and I also knew that I didn't move to Australia to be unhappy. I could have found a miserable job in Philly and would be a few grand richer!

And so, I quit. I thanked my bosses for the opportunity to work and save up enough rent for two months, but it ultimately was a case of "Thanks, but no thanks."

This past week was my last week. I had the opportunity to help plan and coordinate the first of five national forums for the year. It was a great opportunity to see some behind-the-scenes action that goes on at a conference, specifically dealing with venue staff. Interstingly enough, on my last day at the office, I was given a marketing brochure to restructure. How funny, I was actually doing what I was hired to do! My bosses said it was a shame that I hadn't been writing the whole time I was working there, to which I bit my tongue. No use in arguing. They said they were looking to put together a body of work for me to rewrite, so if that happens I would gladly work on a project basis.

In the meantime, I have some plans to do some consulting work to add some content to my portfolio. Honestly, I want to be able to enjoy the city before it turns to winter. I want to be able to explore. I'm really proud of myself for making the best decision for my situation. Yes, I will need to work, but since I'm not in "dire straights" as my uncle would say, I am taking a step back to appreciate where I am. I couldn't be happier with my decision.

I'm a big girl now.

1 comment:

Amanda Walsh said...

I'm really proud of you! Enjoy your time in OZ and write me an email soon. I'll be back from traveling on the 12th :) Updates to follow!!