Back to Business

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Coming back from vacation in Brazil has been a little crazy. As soon as I landed, I was getting ready to job interviews, rewriting my resume, searching all kinds of jobs I think I would enjoy doing. This is the last step of moving in to the US: finding a job. It has been a good and emotional experience. I have been to interviews where the interviewer would suddenly ask “I am picking up an accent, where are you from?”, to which I would uncomfortably reply “I am Brazilian”, realizing he didn’t even take the time to look at my resume before inviting me in. There has been times I was a little unsure of myself, a little off my game and I completely embarrassed myself mumbling around and acting all nervous and shy. That has happened to me before, and it is something I really pay attention not to do, but sometimes this doubtful voice takes over and it is a mess. What can I say? I am human after all. I have been to places I had absolute no desire to work at, simply for the experience of having job interviews in English and for the luxury of being able to choose my future. I also have been to places just because, well, I want and need the money.

A friend of mine suggested that, because I had language skills and education knowledege and I had worked with translations before, I should just advertise myself on Craigslist as a Portuguese Teacher and English/Portuguese Translator, which I did. I liked the idea of language teaching, it suits me. Rookie mistake. In a week, I only got two weird emails replying for the add. One offering me a part time job, with no description at all, saying I should contact someone named Bruce asap. Scary thoughts rushed through my mind, and I didn’t talk to Bruce. If he was for real, I would imagine he would be more informative in the first place.

The second email was even worst. Here is what I received:

Hello,

I am {not disclosing name}, I came across your ad on Craigslist that you need a suitable job, well am in need of a cleaner for my newly rented apartment asap, so if you are interested in the job just mail me for the job details.I believe and understand you are an intelligent person and can do with cleaning job?

Now, I mentioned on the add my name, the fact that I am Brazilian, my expertise and that I was looking specifically for a Teaching/Translation job. I don’t know what would prompt someone to say something as rude and pretentious as “I believe and understand you are an intelligent person and can do with X job?”, implying that a) She/He was doing me a favor by offering me a job; b) I might be intelligent enough to do a cleaning job (and if I didn’t take the job, well, perhaps I wasn’t that intelligent after all). I couldn’t help but wonder if the fact that I am latin would have anything to do with her/him offering me a cleaning job, or if I was just reading too much into it. Sometimes, I have to say, having so much experience working with discourse analysis can make people a little too critic, reading things that people might not have meant to say. I told myself I wasn’t going to say anything, but swallowing that quietly was harder than I thought. That phrasing on that email bothered me for days. Just to be clear, what bothered me was the person’s attitude towards me, not the job she offered me.

So, one day, I sat down and decided to write her/him back. I decided I wanted to get some closure on this matter, plus I deserved to give a voice for that part of me that was having trouble keeping quiet. I needed to stand up for myself, so here is what I wrote:

Hello, X.

I think you are intelligent enough to understand that I am actually looking for a job as a portuguese teacher or translator. It is incredibly rude and pretentious of you to assume that because I am seeking for a job, you would be doing me some sort of favor by offering a different position, and in addition add that I might be intelligent enough for that.

Hope to never hear back from you.

Juliana

I really tried to keep it civil and polite. I really didn’t want to start an email discussion, only reason why I said “Hope to never hear back from you”, I just wanted to let her/him know how I felt.

I wonder if other people, after receiving the same email, would feel and behave the same. Readers, what do you think? Did I overreact? How would you feel if something like this happened to you?

PS: After that, I had another job interview and I was hired. So, that was resolved. I found something that challenges me, a job way out of my comfort zone. We’ll see what happens now. Feeling goosebumps, I’ll start monday. Cross your fingers, please!

PS 2: I apologize for abandoning the blog for a while, but I hope you guys will understand that I had a busy schedule the last few weeks because of the trip to Brazil and job searching. Now, we are back to business! Hurray!

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