Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Earning The Proverbial 'Bread and Butter'

A human being is part of a whole, called by us the "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. – Albert Einstein

We are a curious species and all of us have different reasons for leaving the comfort of our homes to wander the earth. Bird’s fly through cold winter skies to find warmer climate as do some species of whales, the African Elephants migrates to find food during the wet and dry seasons, many crabs migrate to reproduce, I migrated from India to New Zealand in search of new experiences. After living and working here for a year now, I know I couldn’t have picked a better home for my first overseas experience. No matter what your reasons to migrate are, New Zealand is a good option to consider. The immigration process is as simple as it can get, and if you happen to have the skill sets needed to be on the ‘skilled migrant category’ then it’s even easier.
Living in this beautiful country is an absolute pleasure. The public transport in the bigger cities of Wellington, Auckland etc is very efficient and in Wellington you can almost get away without owning a car. The thing I like best about living in New Zealand is that there is such an influx of cultures that a foreigner never feels out of place. You can find large number of Chinese, Srilankans, Indians all mingling with the local Kiwis very easily. The job scene is great once you get you foot in the door, which can be a daunting prospect as is the case in any foreign country. To work in New Zealand you do need to have a valid work permit. I would say it’s easier finding work in the bigger cities like Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, but it all depends on the kind of employment you are seeking. For me the whole experience has been an extremely educational. I now have a newfound respect for work, which I took for granted back home. When I arrived in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand a year ago, I had no idea what was in store for my career. Even though my husband’s company in India had sponsored a work permit for me, nobody was willing to give me a job. While most employers commented on my impressive background, they were quick to reject me because I’d never worked in a western corporate environment before. The Indian stereotype didn't help either, to the western world India is a poor backward, underdeveloped country. As far as they were concerned I would be ill equipped to handle the standard and pressure of working in their world. I was often and still am confronted with questions like, where did you learn to speak English, is your spoken and written language comparable to that of a Kiwi. My blood boiled at such questions, but I have since adopted the policy of ‘Grin And Bear’ and it doesn’t bother me so much any more. This was just the beginning of a long agonizing struggle to fulfill my ambitions. I acknowledged the fact that the slate had been wiped clean as far as my career was concerned, and I would have to start from scratch. I started by taking little baby step and enrolling into a temp agency where I was reluctantly employed and given odd jobs when there was absolutely nobody else to call. I did small mundane tasks, which I hadn’t ever done even when I was interning. I went from holding a hi-flying marketing job to Xeroxing and delivering mail. Even though I was doing absolute menial labor as far as I was concerned, it was a refreshing change from sitting at home in my tiny apartment and staring at the walls. It was also a relief for my poor husband who had to deal with my depression and paranoia ever since I’d stepped into Wellington. I began to enjoy life a little more and took pleasure in meeting the lovely people of this spectacular country. The people of New Zealand are a definite asset to their country. They are fun loving, polite, helpful and will go out of their way to make you feel welcome. The only time I ever felt the slightest prejudice, was when I was looking for work, which was understandable because people had had unpleasant experiences with Indian employees previously. I’d been temping for about two months, when I half –heartedly applied for a marketing role with a Finance company. By this time I had received so many rejections that I was tempted to permanently give up any hope of ever finding a decent job in this country. Every rejection letter made this resolution stronger, but my competitiveness got the better of the rejections, and I continued applying for marketing roles I knew I could fit into. So I put on a brave confident front and went off on my hundredth interview in the past four months. The interview went very well and I was invited back for a series of rounds and tests, which were a part of the employment process. The people interviewing me were very professional, down to earth and never once questioned my linguistic abilities. They were impressed with my qualifications and felt I was the right person for that role and for the first time since I’d been here someone gave me a chance, and took the risk of employing me. The day I received the call from my manager that they’d decided to employ me I was ecstatic, but I had absolutely no one to share the news with. My husband was in an important meeting all day and it was still night in India so all my friends and family were in slumber land. I took my self out to lunch and celebrated my first victory. Life’s been completely different from then on. I’ve learned to enjoy and appreciate the country so much more. Working in a Kiwi organization is excellent. There are several benefits like discounted insurance and gym memberships, flexible hours etc available to all employees. People here know how to work hard and have fun while doing it. On the whole living and working in this country is a fulfilling experience, one I’d recommend to everyone to experience at least once in their lifetime.


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