Monday, 30 June 2008

The working life

Although it is officially winter, NZ is taking it easy on me to let me settle in nicely. The other weekend Patrick and I went for a day hike and we were treated with lovely weather. We had excellent views over Christchurch and the bay on the other side. Doesn't the water look tempting to jump in?

The weekend after Jill and I went for a long walk along a windy beach, more like winter this time...Jill took some really nice pictures, which of course, I don't have...Jill has a proper job at the moment so we are both thrilled with the fact that her visa got extended. In the meantime, Jill has surrounded herself with Dutch people. Me of course, her boss and her girlfriend has Dutch blood in her. Good on her: the Dutch rule!! (since when did I become patriotic...I'm not, but it is weird to see how many (semi-) Dutch people I bump into).

And how about my job hunting? Well, I am doing my best and I am sure I will find that perfect job. The moment that you have a nice chat with a company and they say 'ahah, your credentials sound great, but you are not a resident so we are not even looking at your resume...' you feel pretty cheated. I mean, being rejected AFTER they look at your resume, ok. But not even taking a glance at my amazing CV...autsj, that hurts. To be honest, it's their loss, but as long as I don't have a work permit it is unfortunately also my loss!
But I do understand; who says I am that committed to stay as I say I am. I know I am, but how do they know? It's Murphy's Law: all those immigrants in the Netherlands who had difficulties entering the country, are now punishing me by making it hard for me to stay in NZ...

But in the meantime my contract at the company got extended so I must be doing something good. It's still ok work, but I would like to use my brains a bit more. I mean, since I have them, I might as well use them!! Customers can be friendly, but you have some weird ones...A tip of the iceberg:
- one lady rang to complain about her bill. She transferred from another company to us 2 months ago and now she had to pay 2 bills of 200 dollars. I looked into the matter and advised that the bills were correct for the services she had. And she was amazed, I quote 'I transferred to you because that would mean I did not have to pay any bills'. When I explained to her that you always have to pay for services no matter where you are, she hung up. I'm sad to say that this person was Dutch. Bloody Dutch, always complaining about money...
- one woman called me a 'silly cow' after I said 'Goodmorning, you're speaking with Maaike' and she kept abusing me till I transferred her to the department she wanted to speak to (I found out later that the abusing kept going even though that person wasn't a customer with us...)
- an old man rang to ask whether our digital TV channels had any sex movies. No hesitation or shame whatsoever, just straight forward...
- one guy went totally crazy when I couldn't find him in the system (he was already annoyed because his phone at home wasn't working). The thing was that he didn't know his customer number (understandable) nor his own phone number (hmmm) and when I tried finding his account with his name, he told me different names 3 times...So he wanted to speak to my supervisor and I was just laughing because he was so ridiculous insane. And guess what, he rang back a week later to me...personally. Imagine being in a contact centre and someone rings back a week later just to say ' I was wrong, sorry'. Is that customer service or what?!

My supervisor already mentioned vaguely 'we should keep you'...That freaked me out: I mean, I am more than happy to do a job which isn't within my area and I will do my best for ANY job, but customer service...Naaaaah, not my future career!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Busy bee...

After travelling little bit less than a year, it makes sense that reality hits you. Luckily I have been there before (twice!) so I know how realities feels like(quite soft to be honest).

Sure thing, I miss the travelling, I miss the different cultures, I miss my absolute freedom to wander off whenever I feel like it. But do I want to be a traveller non-stop? No way. And no better place to 'settle down' than New Zealand!

So, busy bee as I am, I'm all organised already. Bank account, IRD number and my precious (yes, I got one too) green mountain which was lend to me by David who I met in Peru. House search was funny: it can take you several months to find a place in the Netherlands, and here it took me a week...I had a look at a few places. One was nice, but the tenants were a bit racial... They were complaining about foreigners, so I looked at the guy thinking 'I'm a foreigner' and then he quickly said he meant 'Asians'. As you can imagine the decision to NOT take that house was easypeasy. So thanks to Patrick who did some pre-arrival search for places to life, I have a nice room in an absolutely luxurious house (2 bathrooms, dishwasher...) with 2 guys, Matt and Hamish. Both lovely and I made them 'stamppot': I guessed that was the only proper way to introduce them to my Dutch side. I also bought a bed via Internet for 100 dollars and I still cannot believe how nice the bed is.

And work...Well, that's the reason it took me 3 weeks to write something on my blog. Since it's my first time ever of being unemployed, I dived into job ads in papers and Internet. My friend Jill, who is looking for a job as well, and I are having serious meetings about 'How to get a Canadian and a Dutch a proper cool job' and we send each other job ads (Thank God we are not in the same area!). And thanks to Patrick's friend Julie I have one killer NZ proof-resume.

I started writing cover letters and ringing people. Result: nice chats with friendly people on the phone who all wanted to have my resume, some interesting applications are still 'in the air' (fingers crossed) and at the moment I am working at a contact centre for a telecom company. Answering the phone, talking to customers and helping them sort out their stuff. And you know me: I like it! I think every job has its challenging aspects and within this position I get more acquaint with customer services in English. So far I had one angry(ish) customer who wasn't angry any more after we finished the talk. I don't know whether it was my 'telecom' expertise (I can hear you think 'Maaike, do you know anything about telecom?' Answer is no...) or my 'cute' accent: main thing is that it worked. And how much fun is it to help out a 75 year old lady to work out what the cheapest way is for her to ring her daughter in Australia and her son in the UK? Seriously, I like it!

The only down side is that I have to work on Saturday too. So while the people of the good life enjoyed hiking outside the city, I was working. And writing cover letters...But I'm not complaining; I'm actually happy to work again, yay!

The added pictures are from previous weekend: mountainbiking and hiking with Hannah, Warrick and Patrick...