Time passes so quickly that I have not realized I have been living in The Netherlands for 2 years now. I remember first time coming here, I did not think much of anything. I quit the job I have worked for more than three years in order to come here to reunify with my husband. I have to be honest, I did go to escape from the hectic and hard hearted-ness which had been surrounding me, those days. Before I left, I get a phone call from a telecommunication network company offering me to work for them, but I was so dense in mind, I just declined it without putting further thoughts into the offer. I just wanted to go away.
My life here was also not a smooth journey, my adaptation phase went bumpy and almost depressing. I have tried as much as possible to apply for work and it was hard to get just an interview. I have a full two months period without any favorable response for my application. I even once contacted and interviewed by a company looking for a (human) dishwasher for Cirque du Soleil, but somehow we did not get through with the following interviews and I just forgot about it.
I write this post as a reminder for myself how it has been for me. How far I have come, how much I have accomplish, how many losses, and many other things. I also write as an insight for others to see what it was like for me and how did I struggle and cope. Because I have gone to start a new life far away from my family, my mother, brother, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins… I have nobody except my husband here, and he has been here for three or four years before I came.
I came here all the way from Indonesia. This was not my first time to The Netherlands, I went here before in January 2010 and it was freezing cold. This time, however, was the end of summer, and even though some days were hot and humid there were also days of wind and rain. The rain and sunshine changed interchangeably within the course of an hour. Nearing the end of the year, it was getting worse. I have never lived like this before. In Indonesia, we do have rain and sunshine at one day, but not within 1 hour with 2 times heavy rain and 2 times hot sunshine, for the whole day for all week long.
I had no work, and that was so stressful. Money were tight and the unwelcoming weather just kept me imprisoned at home. I did not know many people either at that time. But thankfully I had been developing this system of my own, which I made this invisible Self-Motivation button that automatically pressed itself whenever I feel down. Trust me it works like magic, even until today I still use it and now it became a ‘background job’ for me. I do not even aware I have made a button somewhere in the back of my head, or was it around my heart? I don’t remember anymore. Luckily, I also had something keeping me occupied during those hard times, I was actively blogging for a specific target blog, which talks mainly about Korean Pop culture. I know this will help me, because I have been blogging for it way back when I was still working in my previous work experience. It helped me diverted my mind and prevented it to become polluted with stress. I was knee-deep in stress. I worked 20 km from home which took me a total of 5 hours spent on travelling! Just the travel, the work itself added (should I say consumed?) 8 more hours of my day. There were also unpleasant working environment due to the incapability of the management level (I know what I am talking about). So much bla bla bla to put here, all I know now it was not worthwhile. Part of it was also my fault, because I have failed to establish an understanding of my working environment and as time went by, my tolerancy level also went south. I felt like a frog in a coconut shell, stuck all the way round and too stupid (lazy) to find a way out.
But I will never dismis my work experience there and banish it as if it never happen, no way. Nothing is perfect in this world, nothing is entirely wrong or right. I did learn and developed myself there, especially my technical level. It grew vastly and I immediately felt a connection to my work. I did like my job, I just failed to connect to the politics that went on the office. Too high level to reach yet affect everyone else so deeply.
I kept getting rejection email stating that how regretful it was for them to reject me due to my lack of Dutch language knowledge. I know how to create one or two sentences, but it was too basic for professional level. But things turned for the better, I got my first job interview invitation. It was for the company I work for now, but they wanted to conduct the interview in the office outside Amsterdam. I wanted this so badly, I complied and went to the interview. Once I got there, I told them the details of my situation and also told them about my lack of Dutch language knowledge, which of course was not hard to notice. During the interview, the technical skill I gained during my previous work experience, helped me so much it almost like it just levitated me and my dignity way up high. They were impressed, but I was not that easy to be satisfied. I went home with only 50% of expectation of getting hired by them.
To my surprise, they called me again and arranged for second interview. This time was in Amsterdam office and they gave me yet another technical questions, this time more detailed and insightful. If when I went for the first interview humbled and with nothing in mind, this time I played my A-game. This is what I did for all job interviews I had been to (6 times interviewed, 5 times hired)
- Make sure your self confidence is intact and feel it as if it is always within you. I know some people, including myself, are not naturally confident and extrovert, but sometimes we can also be a confident personality. Do that, get that, and believe that it has been within you forever.
- Describe yourself, tell them your work experience. Picture yourself getting up in the morning and then go to work, then tell your interviewer exactly what you have in mind. You can have a long story, just take your time and make sure nothing is left untold.
- Sell yourself. After telling them the details, don’t forget to summarize and just like soup, it never taste better without salt, boost your experience level. But keep in mind, they will never forget, so after you’re hired, please remember to increase your experience level to match the level you had told you had.
- Smile, please.
- Put on your best look, wear your best dress or shirt, comb your hair, make it as if they hired you right away, you can start working within seconds.
However, I did not receive anymore news from the company. Then I found out that I was pregnant. My sister also getting married in the end of that year. I could not bare the idea of being jobless, pregnant, alone, and cold in this strange land. I decided to buy my ticket home.
As I was preparing to go back to Indonesia, I got a call from one of the interviewer asking me why didn’t he see me in the office? I told him that I did not know that I was even hired! He told me that I was hired and he expected me to start as soon as possible. Then I told him about my plan of going to Indonesia in December and that I only have several weeks left before my flight. He then told me that he will contacted the HR people and will process my contract right away. Just two days before going back to Indonesia, I signed the work contract and told them about my pregnancy. They said it was okay and we continued with the process. I got a 1-year contract which started in January 2011.