Friday, September 11, 2009

It Takes Patience

Finding work in Australia is more difficult nowadays especially in regional areas and even in city centres compared to the time I arrived in 2007. The global financial crisis caused unemployment rate to increase by 1.6 points from 4.2% in Aug 2008 to 5.8% in Aug 2009. It is comparably lower than the earlier forecast of 8.5% to 10% but the underlying underemployment is a concern. The reduction of hours worked instead of outright lay off best explains the case. More and more companies are shifting their employees from full-time work to part-time or even casual work just to be able to make ends meet without losing the talent they've developed for many years.

This is a better set-up than what happened to a few friends who lost their job with just an hour or two notice. I know it was devastating and frustrating as I had a fair share of the same fate when my previous company, where I worked as an analyst, closed down the very same day I went back to work from maternity leave in 2008. No notice, no redundancy offer. The only saving grace is that I could stay with my son a bit more. But, I have a visa condition to fulfill, bills to pay, and formula milk to buy. So, I had to hit the road straightaway and look for job. There was no time to cry over spilled milk so to speak.

With the support of my husband and in laws and the contagious giggles of Kimi who was barely 8 weeks old then, my spirit was high and my outlook was optimistic. I did not waste any time. When Kimi was asleep I was scouring and for jobs and tips to hurdle the job hunt. I practically applied for any job that I believe I can do or I can learn to do from waiting and cleaning jobs to research and analyst work. I prepared several CVs to fit the job description, customised application letters addressing the selection criteria, and answered online essays required for the application. I also kept all files I sent out with file names for each job to easily see which CV, application letter and selection criteria I used for which job. Before interviews, I read through the files to make sure I do not mix up the information especially the essay part.

I made sure friends and acquaintances know that I was looking for work. I also emailed the recruitment agent who hired me with my previous (first in Australia) job to share what happened and to seek her assistance in considering me for job vacancies with their clients. She was kind enough to forward my CV to her colleague who interviewed me for a full-time casual work in a customer service and logistics capacity. All throughout I kept an optimistic view. I took action and prayed keeping in mind to ASK, BELIEVE, and RECEIVE. My strategy worked -- I got the job and started working again when Kimi was barely 10 weeks old. Since it was only a casual work, I did not stop looking for other more permanent opportunities.

I prayed more. Then, an answer came when I got a call for an interview for the job that I was really wanting when I was just starting the job hunt (Yes, it took them more than a month to shortlist applicants). Actually, it was the location (2 kilometres walk from home) and the company that I liked from the moment I read through their website -- I got the feeling that they look after their people and welcome multicultural diversity. An important consideration for a migrant in the long-run. I dressed up well for the interview to exude the right impression and confidence as well as feel good about myself. That inside feeling matters as it is quickly sensed by the interviewers. Again, the strategy worked and I am already working with them for more than a year. Being new to the industry, I still have so much to learn, jargons to comprehend, and processes and policies to understand. As long as I continue to pray and believe, there will be opportunities for career growth to be received.

Lesson: It takes patience and strategy for new migrants to get a job these days. It's better for your health to be optimistic than stress yourself and worry.

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