Category Archives: Economics

Job Hunting Ain’t What It Used To Be — Part 1

I’ve been struggling with finding online work for about a month now, and I’ve discovered that job hunting ain’t what it used to be. I thought I’d share my efforts.

First, how did I come to be suddenly unemployed? Well, the first week of March, the online teaching company that I have been working for since 2016 informed me that even though I have a contract until May, I would need to transition to a company based in Hong Kong if I wanted to keep working for them. 

When I received the notification, the ridiculousness of the new company’s name prompted me to send in an inquiry to verify it was legitimate. It was. Then I sent another query to clarify the information. Since I teach from Mexico, the company I work for classified me as an international contractor. I was informed that all international contractors must make the transition before the end of March. The contract I had with them that was valid until May would not be honored.

I did not feel that the transition was in my best interest. After all, last year, without any warning, the Chinese government closed ALL online teaching platforms that hired teachers outside of China, leaving thousands of digital nomads scrambling to find another source of income. There’s also the state of the world at the moment. The dominant world powers, including China, are poised for some major changes. I did not want my livelihood so dependent on that.

I realized that the schools that I’ve been setting up on Teachable wouldn’t be income generating for another six months or more, so I’d have to find another source of income in the meantime. I literally took a page out of my own book (A Woman’s Guide to Making a Living in Rural Mexico: How to Find A Job and Create the Life You Want) and started looking.

I applied at three online teaching/tutoring platforms the day I got the notification of the looming transition, Cambly, italki, and Wyzant. I also set up an alert on Indeed for teaching jobs and polished up my resume. 

Cambly and Italki needed an intro video even before they considered my application. The room that I teach in is quite dark, so I moved everything upstairs and had my son help me with the microphone and setup. After about an hour, I managed to make two one-minute videos. 

Cambly responded by telling me the video was too dark. So I spent several more hours giving it another go. My poor son had to hold the blue screen behind me, take after take. The video was rejected again. I gave it one more go. This time I took down the blue screen and recorded the video with just the cream wall behind me. Personally, I thought the blue screen recording was better, but I didn’t know what else to try. To avoid seeing the bed in the room that is normally hidden behind the blue screen, I sat on a book so I’d be higher and could tilt the camera up. I thought if a pillow helped my mom see out the front windshield of her car, the same trick would work in this situation. 

I also decided to try for Cambly kids. That application required doing a teaching demo. So I taught shapes and colors as if I were teaching to an imaginary 7-year-old student that I called Diego. I’ve taught so many kids’ classes that it wasn’t too hard. The demo class was over 7 minutes, but I only did one take. I used Canva to share both the screen and my head in a floating bubble. I’m still waiting to hear back from Cambly.

Meanwhile, Wzyent approved my application to tutor through their site. You can see my profile here. The process is a bit different than I’m used to. Potential students post to a job board, and I need to express my interest in working with them. They, in turn, will check out my profile and give me the yea or nay. 

However, the first potential student wasn’t allowed by Wzyent, probably because the person wanted to meet outside of the platform. So that was a bummer. The second student expressed interest but never followed through. The third student set up a lesson for which he failed to appear and canceled the subsequent lesson. So Wzyent isn’t going so well. They offer FREE tutoring if you use this link to book a lesson with me, but I’m not really sure how that works.

Italki expected a professional quality video. One of the video examples was from this Italian dude, some of which was filmed while he was walking around the streets of Italy. While I could certainly walk around Moroleon and add that section to a video, the camera on my phone wasn’t very good quality. So I worked with what I had.

My first attempt was rejected due to the low-quality recording. So I ordered a new webcam. When it arrived, I tried again. Italki declined my application anyway. But now I had a new camera, and maybe it would increase the odds in my favor.

***

Practical guides for living in Mexico!

A Woman’s Survival Guide to Living in Mexico Series

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A Woman’s Guide to Making a Living in Rural Mexico: How to Find A Job and Create the Life You Want

If you remember, approximately 40 days ago, give or take a few days, I signed up for Leonie Dawson’s course 40 Days to a Finished Book. Well, guess what? I finished a book!

I’m pleased to announce that A Woman’s Guide to Making a Living in Rural Mexico: How to Find A Job and Create the Life You Want is available for preorder on Amazon! From now until July 14, it is available for $2.99 pre-order. Amazon has mixed things up and you need to click on the “Other sellers & formats” in order to see the sale price. Once you click there, you’ll see “New from $2.99.” Your ebook will be automatically delivered to your Kindle on July 14, after which the price will go up.    

The reviews from those lucky ladies who received an advanced review copy are better than I could have dreamed of. 

“This is like a primer on Mexico!! It’s a ONE stop guide to being successful/surviving Mexico. It’s an entire course. School is in session!” From Roxana Bangura of the Bangura Institute.

“I haven’t finished yet but so far, I LOVE IT!!! I’m learning some things I didn’t know. I’ve been taking notes.” from Margret Ruiz of Margret Ruiz Photography.

If you weren’t already aware, A Woman’s Guide to Making a Living in Rural Mexico: How to Find A Job and Create the Life You Want is the sixth book in the series A Woman’s Survival Guide to Living in Mexico. I have at least two more books planned in the series.   

As you can see from the latest book, my mission continues to be to provide valuable information to women who have moved to Mexico so that they can create a fulfilling life despite the obstacles. So here’s my call to action for you! I’m positive that there is at least one book in this series that would benefit you personally, or a woman you love. If you would share this post (or a direct link to the series) on your social media networks, I would be exceedingly grateful (as will the women who benefit from my humble writing efforts).

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Filed under Economics, Employment, Small Business in Mexico

My husband’s second wife

Wednesday, I had a rather stressful day with the highlight being a rather funny (now that I look back on it) but weird conversation with a woman who claimed that her husband had built our house. So let me start at the beginning. 

I was so excited about The Writer’s Toolkit bonus offers that I broke my own cardinal rule–NEVER use a site you are unfamiliar with to order something. One of the bonus items was a book that looked fascinating. I would have to enter my debit card information to pay for shipping on the author’s site which was off the Ultimate Bundles’ site. Since I had already ordered 4 other books without an issue for other bonus items and I have purchased bundles from Ultimate Bundles for the past 7 years, I naively went ahead and did entered my debit card information on Sunday. 

But, the form gave me an error message. Hmm. I tried again. Nope. So I contacted Ultimate Bundles who said they would look into it. I didn’t think anything more about it until I checked my bank balance on Wednesday. AAAAHHHH! There were two charges to some market in Thailand that totaled nearly $400 (dollars not pesos or whatever currency Thailand uses). 

I disputed the charges through my bank, which promptly canceled my bank card. The email from the bank assured me that I would receive a new card to my US mailing address in a few days. OH NO!  I still haven’t recovered from the last bank card shipping fiasco

I received an email saying that my account would be temporarily credited pending investigation for one of the fraudulent charges, but not the second. I decided to call the bank and ask. I was so flustered, I entered my social security number requested for identity verification wrong TWICE. I hung up and tried later. 

The internet was spotty, so the call quality via Skype wasn’t the best when I called again. I finally was connected to a bank customer service representative who told me he was from Milan. I explained the situation and he did some checking. He shared that something similar had happened to him once and he was so stressed he didn’t sleep for 3 days until the situation was resolved. I certainly lucked out with him. He made a point to make sure that my account would be credited for the second disputed amount as well. Thank goodness!

After that call, I sent another email to Ultimate Bundles to tell them what had happened. They did further investigation and the issue (the site had been hacked) was soon fixed. I was a hero!

Before I recovered from all that, someone knocked on the door about La Yacata business. Remember, I’m still the acting representative, although I’m only officially the treasurer. Anyway, the guy wanted to know about a lot he was interested in buying. I asked if the seller had the blue certificate. It’s a waste of my time if nobody has any papers to verify the lot location and ownership. 

The seller was over yonder as was a woman that I think was his sister. Those two, the original caller, and three other younger guys came to the door and gathered ‘round. The seller then pulled out the old cream certificate, not the blue certificate. When I tell him that the lot is owned by someone else, he says that Chuchi sent him to me to “fix” the situation. He says he bought the lot 20 years ago (the certificate said 2004, but whatever). The woman chimed in and said that she’d already talked to Chuchi as well. 

Remember, Chuchi is the guy who was in charge of La Yacata until the community staged a coup and took control of the Mesa Directiva (board of directors). Then he sued La Yacata for money he felt he was owed. He lost the court case. You can read the whole saga in La Yacata Revolution: How NOT to Buy a Piece of Heaven in Mexico available on Amazon.

The woman then said that her husband had built this house. I asked for clarification. Which house? Why the one I was living in. She even patted the wall affectionately. Really? I asked her if she was married to the man working on the next lot over (who was my husband). She looked confused. I told her that my husband, right there, had built this house. So unless we were married to the same man, her husband hadn’t built this house.

She clarified that her husband was a bricklayer and had told her that he had been working on a two-story house in La Yacata. There are 4 such homes, so there was no reason for her to zero on mine, but it is the nicest one of the bunch and I guess she thinks highly of her man’s skills or something.

Anyway, back to the issue at hand. I told the potential buyer to NOT buy that lot until ownership had been established. Then I told the seller he’d need to speak with Super Prez because I couldn’t do anything more for him. The seller said he’d talk to Chuchi and if Chuchi didn’t figure this out he’d shoot him in the head. The woman reprimanded him saying he shouldn’t say that because if something did happen to Chuchi, he’d be the first suspect. True enough. 

They left and a few minutes later, Azul the vet came with more La Yacata business. I told him I had just met my husband’s other wife and we had a good chuckle. 

The posse came back in the afternoon saying they had talked to Super Prez who told him to work it out with Chuchi. Instead of the lot on the certificate, Chuchi said he could have a different lot. I have a name in the master list for the “new” lot, but since no one’s come forward to claim it, Chuchi may have “reserved” that lot for his peeps. Our records aren’t 100% accurate. Hopefully I won’t have to do anything more with this situation, but that’s a sort of ridiculous pipe dream on my part.

Although I was ready for a nap, the day wasn’t done with me yet. I had forgotten that my WordPress site (this one) was due for renewal until I received notification that my card was declined. Of course it was. The bank canceled it. After a few moments of panic, I realized I could use my son’s card which hadn’t been compromised to pay for the subscription. So I did. Then since he has a Teen Money Account through Capital One 360, it was easy peasy to transfer the money I used from my account to his. Whew!

The last bit of frustration on Wednesday was trying to get my son’s schooling wrapped up. He completed all the courses and the community service (I had him help me with La Yacata stuff for a month). Now he has to turn in these 3 documents. The first has been sent and accepted. He’s currently working on the other two, but the site kept going down. But it’s gonna happen–he’s going to get an official diploma this month! (I’m trying to keep that thought foremost in my thoughts in case the universe is listening and willing to bestow good fortune on him. You all know how official paperwork goes here in Mexico.)

So, finally, if you’d like to get the Writer’s Toolkit now that I’ve personally assured the safety of ALL of the sites included in the bundle and the bonuses, you can still do so until midnight tonight. Despite my little shopping spree in Thailand, it really is an amazing collection of resources for writers (including me). ProBlogger and Kindleprenuer are just two of the big names in self-publishing that share tips and tricks to make your writing a succes in this collection. (Ok, so this isn’t the best sales pitch starting out with disaster, but it is what it is.)

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Filed under Economics, La Yacata Revolution