I know I have been positive and almost all my posts have had a happy ending. However, it’s time for a reality check. Don’t worry, I am still happily married with the man of my dreams and absolutely loving motherhood. The only thing missing? That job that doesn’t feel like work because it’s so enjoyable and fulfilling. Don’t understand? Let me take you back to 2010.
I used to work as a TV reporter for a local news channel in my home city in Brazil. I used to love what I did and had potential to grow. Having to drop everything to move countries means that you are either going to start your career all over again or simply change everything and get a job in something totally different. That is if you don’t just decide to become a stay home mum. I am not ashamed to say that I am still trying to figure out what I am doing myself! But I know I am not the only one…
I met recently couple of Americans in London. One of them used to be a lyrical singer and the other, a fashion designer. Both of them haven’t managed yet to get back into their careers (even though they have been here for years). On the other hand, I also know a Mexican who was a dentist back in Mexico but had to study again from scratch as the English system wouldn’t recognise her qualifications. Turns out that she is now a successful dentist and with her own practice, hiring people and everything!
As the sun rises for everyone, I strongly believe that it will shine brighter for those who work harder. After having my boy, it became more difficult to work on the job search front. Time is limited and when you do have it, you might end up feeling completely exhausted… But here I am and my cup is always half full and not half empty. Lots of opportunities are still to come, but let me give you a few reality checks for you considering going for the big move.
I am fluent in English and can even do banter. Nevertheless, I have a strong accent when I speak and I still make lots of mistakes when I write (have you seen my blog, oops!). I used to be a journalist in Brazil, but I have to admit, it is really hard to be a journalist here. The demands of the job and the precision of the language tend to intimidate me, hence, the lack of work. Looking at the brighter side, there are a lot of jobs out there that request foreign languages, especially in London. The trouble is to find one that accommodates your previous career and that doesn’t mind your occasional incorrect use of the language.
Loss of Seniority
People who used to have senior positions in their home country might have to take a big step back in order to reach what they used to have again (unless if you are being transferred by your company). You will have to be humble to deal with maybe having to adopt the name “assistant” on your business card before you actually get the title “manager” on it.
Lack of help from the family
When you live near your family, you are probably likely to get some sort of help like having your children being picked up from school and babysitting. Living in a different country means no help whatsoever (unless your parents are over for a few months for exactly that reason: to help you). That means having to spend a fortune with nursery or with childminder at least until they reach school age.
Racism is a strong word, but I can’t think of anything else to talk about a “subtle” type of racism. I worked before in a very English company based outside London. The owner wanted me to adopt my ex at the time last name, so when people emailed me, I would sound less foreign! I was at times prevented from making or answering phone calls as well so people wouldn’t know they were dealing with a foreigner… Back then I didn’t mind all that because after all, I needed to have that experience and I actually learned a lot from it, besides that my boss was good to me in other matters. I believe that the racism in London might not be as explicit as it was in the countryside though, due to the million foreigners living here.
Competing against English people
If you are going for a job interview and you are the only foreigner competing, who do you think they will pick? Unless if your first language is what they really need, I think it is really hard to compete against the English (see this news report from last year here). I think that with Brexit, it is going to get even harder actually to get a job, as the companies will be probably incentivised to give the best positions to the Brits. I think it is actually fair that, so it means we have to work even harder and be even better at what we do to get the jobs!!
Nevertheless, this is the country of the opportunities. So watch the space because soon there will be something bigger and bolder from this foreign mama.