The first few days in my new house was bizarre. Everyone was juggling school and work which meant I was usually by myself in the house till late at night when they got back. While this should have been comforting, it wasn’t. The silence was a constant reminder of my shortcomings and how so far out of control my life had gone. I was becoming more depressed each day so, on the days I went to school, I decided to stay back for as long as was possible before I went back home. I wanted an environment to escape my thoughts and school was that.
Two of my housemates were doing warehouse/factory jobs and I was given some links to send my application. One of my main problems at this stage was that I didn’t own or car nor did I know how to drive, this also made finding a job more difficult. One one of the Fridays I didn’t have any class, I was scrolling through the internet and applying for jobs as usual when I stumbled on a job advertised by Ernst & Young Sweeney. It was a market research interviewer position. I put my resume together, rewrote my cover letter and sent my application. Almost immediately, I got a response from Melbourne telling me to attend an interview at the Ernst & Young Centre in Sydney the next Monday. I was advised that the interview would take approximately 15 minutes and I should be dressed appropriately as interview will take place in a business setting.
I was ecstatic at the prospect of getting any job at this point. Also, I was coming close to the end of my first semester, so my availability was more flexible than usual. The next Monday, I made my way to the city in my sparkly dress and yellow cardigan paired with black flats. I got off the train in central and walked briskly towards George street where Ernst & Young is located. I walked through the huge glass doors to the reception and told the lady i met there i had an interview with EY Sweeney. I was asked to take a seat at the lobby and shortly after a lady came down to meet with me. “I love your cardigan”, she said. I responded with a smile and thanked her. She gave me a rundown of the job and some other forms to fill as I had some with me that were previously attached to my invitation email. She was impressed with my handwriting and complimented me. Then I was asked to pick a suitable date to attend my induction/training. The whole interview process was surreal to me because I had spent all this while trying to get a job and I got one with no stress or hassle.
Finally, I had a job!
I went for my training on the scheduled day and met a couple of trainees there as well most of whom were international students like myself as well. During the interview, I got a better idea of what the job was about. We were to work in teams doing surveys within certain areas. The survey involved us approaching random people on the streets and asking a series of questions from a tablet that will be given to each individual. We were part of a huge data collection process. We also signed some confidentiality documents because we could potentially be collecting sensitive information.
My first job was around Darlingharbour/Circular quay area. It was a very awkward and tiring process for me. First, I had to get used to approaching strangers which is not at all my strong suit and the constant walking was tiring. We had to cover a wide range of the area to get valid data that can be used and we were only allowed 30 minutes break within an 8-hour shift. I took as many shifts as I could not because I enjoyed the job but because I desperately needed the money. The second set of data collection we did was much easier. We worked with TransportNSW workers which was a fast and interesting process but we were fully into winter. I had a shift at a bus stop in Castle Hill, NSW at 6:30am one morning. It was 1^C and very cold. We would go into the mall after we complete every set of survey collected to keep warm.
After a while, I stopped receiving shifts because for a short while, there was no survey to be collected. While this was a good job, it couldn’t sustain my daily life. It couldn’t help me save towards paying rent or tuition fees. Eventually, I had to get another job, so I started my job searching and application process all over again.