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Corporate Culture Shock
I started sending applications as soon as my I received my work permit in August 2012. I tried applying for office jobs even for part time ones. I was under this impression that it's easier to find job here in the US because yes....this is US! I had probably sent 15 applications when I noticed that none of them gave me a callback. I have never sent that much applications before and not hear anything back in the Philippines. The longest time that I was out of job was 3 weeks so I started to feel the financial pressure because my husband was paying back an over payment to the government and we're barely making ends meet.
I do not want to ever come back in a call center again. I had been working in a call center for almost a decade. I took communications in college but did't really practice it due to some circumstances. I needed money and I just grabbed whatever was easy at that time. My first job was great (it was not in a call center) but I spent 6 hours each day just for commuting. Though I was paid really really well, it is not meant to last because my position is co-terminus and my boss is already leaving when I got aboard. Call center jobs is the most practical, closest and easiest job for me at that time so applied and for the next 6 years of my life was spent on the phone. I quit call center couple of times but it keeps on pulling me back. So I sent couple of call center job applications and voila! ...the phone interview.
From probably 20-25 applications I sent, I received 2 phone interviews. The first one didn't go well because I am so naïve on what to say. Their phone interview feels a little different from what I was used too. I had been on the same company for 4 1/2 years and kinda forgot how job interview goes. I was flippant and too easy. Maybe too confident because I was hardly turned down for a call center job.
I took the second one very seriously because the company is known provides great benefits and the business they are in is the same on what I used to work on. The location is not that far too. I talked to the recruiter for almost 30 minutes and at the end she said "Come to the office for a in person interview. Read S-T-A-R and practice."
On the day of the interview, I held my breath when I saw two men who are going to interview me. I never had any panel interview. The questions were very much similar to what I see in YouTube tutorials how to ace an interview. I was calm at that time. They asked me questions like "Tell me about yourself", "Tell me a time when you were multitasking.", "What are the things you disliked from your previous employer" etc. Although my interview as a lot better than the first company who called me, I was too transparent on this one. I told them that the one I hate from my previous job was being in a night shift because of difference in timezone. I also say "I do not know" if I do not know the answer. I felt good after the interview but I am not really sure. That was November of 2012. I still kept sending applications but it seems like this company is the best one I have applied so far. I didn't hear anything back from them for weeks then they called me and say that the training will start in February 2013. I was ecstatic. Here's the odd feeling she asked me "ARE YOU ACCEPTING THE OFFER?". Nobody uses that term "job offer" back home unless the company really pursued you and you didn't initiate it. There, when you are applying for the job, that means you want the job and you have done your research about the company and the job itself. Anyway, I said "Yes!" to the job offer.
I was really excited on the first couple weeks of training. The company was so generous: they provided health care, dental insurance and accident insurance, 401k and they paid me 14.50/hour. It is more than expected. Back home, I am only getting $500/month! But as days go on, I am started to feel insecure. None of the people around me treated me with hostility but I just felt like I do not belong there. I know that I feel home when I feel like I am welcome to joke but my challenge there is that my humor is sarcasm. Nothing is out of topic in my jokes: race, looks, height, body build, color of the shoes. I can joke about anything and people could do the same thing. It is very difficult to offend me so I can just say whatever I want. Problem is, the company discourages things like that. People worked there from all walks of life and everyone's wired differently. Harassment. Back home, someone can say "You're pretty" or "You're so sexy" at work and it is not considered as a sexual harassment unless it is becomes creepy. I am not sure but I feel like I was missing an acceptance from that job. I feel like it lacks welcome and it doesn't feel home.
I am unsure if that's what I was feeling but it's a combination of sadness, frustration, insecurity, not being myself and just out-there. I can speak and write English just fine but there were times that when I am trying to say something, it's not coming out right or when people are talking to me, things just doesn't compute.
I turned to be this quiet and shy person. My felt so insecure and my self-esteem just went down the hill. I never had that kind of feeling before. I couldn't relate to anybody: they do not know what I know, I do not know what they know and for the most part, no ones interested to know me. I have met some nice people and I get to asked once in a while about my country but in general it's COLD. What I do appreciate though is that the bosses doesn't act like they're bosses and shove it on your face. Employees can disagree and open up their thoughts without any fear.
I have been doing the same line of work for almost 6 years before I was hired. Back home, everybody walks out of the building all at the same time after work. If it's weekend, we hang out in the mall, watch movies or drink. I do not drink but I just he company of the people I was working with. During our break, I will always see someone you're going to have a lunch with. Here, people hop on their car to grab some lunch and does the same thing after work. There were few occasions that we had a drink in a bar but that's it. I was immensely sad. I do not look forward coming in to work. I cry at night. I am depressed. For many many months I have contemplated of quitting but I couldn't do it. I kept telling to myself that maybe I am still getting used to things and this is all going to go away. There's no day that I didn't contemplate of quitting. Everyday was a struggle.
I was seeing this counselor who I feel like not really helping me that much. I have this issue about opening up to strangers. I only do that with friends who are willing to listen while watching a movie and not to someone who's there because he's paid to do so. Again, cultural thing. When we have an issue we do not turn to counselors or medications to make us feel better. I personally go to friends who I know will say "That's okay. It will pass. Just tough it out. I know you can do it, I know you."
Prior to the announcement, I had been seeing the supervisors huddling seriously for days. I feel like there's something going on and I do not know what that is. It was Wednesday, I saw my schedule that the entire department is going to have an hour meeting. My former supervisor who's normally not around on Wednesday showed up. A video of the company's president was played about some changes in the company. He is very apologetic. He didn't directly say that we're all losing our jobs but the message was clear.
I saw my co-workers faces: most of them have no reaction. Shocked maybe. To be honest, I am the only one who's very happy but I truly sad for my colleague. A lot of them have been working for the company for 10, 20 yrs plus. I know I am going to receive an unemployment and that will give me a good head start to find my place here in the US. Sad news, I have to stay until August. That's 6 months.