Tag Archives: finding work in Mexico

Job Hunting Ain’t What It Used To Be — Part 4

May dawned, and with it, more job hunting. I’d gotten desperate and clicked on some Facebook and Linkedin ads. I also sent some other links to my son, who has been job hunting along with me. 

One recruitment site had me jump through all sorts of hoops. On the application, I was instructed to write “Apple Pie” to answer a question about attention to detail. Then I had to take a picture of my workstation and myself holding a sign. There was a short video component to be recorded via Zoom and some screenshots that needed to be jpg, not png. Then there was the interview. That was something else, let me tell you. 

This lovely lady asked me some questions about my experience, my morning routine (which at the time did not involve any work tasks), how to prepare the meal I eat most often (chicken milanesa with rice, beans, tortillas, and salsa that my sister-in-law made), and what color I was (I picked yellow, green, and purple). 

Although I felt good about the interview, I apparently did not answer something or other right because I received an email the next day to inform me they would not be “pushing on with my application.” 

The same day, I had another interview with a realtor in Illinois. This was actually the second interview for the position. The first was with a woman who explained the job (tracking down real estate leads) and asked me a bit about myself. I do have office experience. I know a bit about buying and selling as I both bought and sold a house in the U.S. I’m also fluent in Spanish (and a native English speaker) and met the requirement of living in Mexico. However, the pay was abysmal, and I think the young lady was embarrassed when she told me that I would be earning $100 pesos an hour ($4.94 USD). Well, beggars can’t be choosers, and I went ahead with the second interview. That interview didn’t have as good of feel to it, and I wasn’t surprised to receive the rejection email.   

I guess I don’t interview well. I’m an introvert, believe it or not. And these video interviews are extraordinarily challenging for me. Yes, I know I’ve been teaching online for the past couple of years, but when I’m teaching, I move to that flow state and am no longer bothered by being on screen. Of course, I must not have gotten to that state during those demo classes I failed last month because I was also REJECTED for that position.  

Even though I don’t seem to be alone in this struggle to find online work, I’m not really into this misery loves company mindset. (Study Shows That 47% Of Frustrated Job Seekers Searching Outside Their Field)(Why everybody’s hiring but nobody’s getting hired) Once more, into the fray….

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A Woman’s Survival Guide to Living in Mexico series

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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.

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A Woman’s Survival Guide to Living in Mexico Series

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The Working Man

working men

So with the closure of Taco Express, I told my husband that I would no longer be party to any more of his money-making schemes. I continued with my own schemes of course, but I will not invest in his.

Therefore, he started job hunting in earnest. It isn’t as easy as you might imagine. Unemployment rates are high, wages are low. In order to just apply for a job you typically must have a voter registration card, a driver’s license, a national registration number, proof of residency (like a utility bill), a high school diploma and your own application, purchased at a papelería (paper store). Each and every one of these documents is a hassle to obtain. You also should have someone already employed with the company who can vouch for you. It’s not what you know, but who you know.

So armed with these documents, my husband began his search. The most difficult type of employment to obtain is regular old construction work. There are too many workers for too few jobs. Then come in the men from outside Moroleón, from the ranchos, who are willing to work for even less than the standard $250 per day. Depending the current value of the pesos that averages out to be about $20 for an 8-10 workday.

This affected us directly as this was the type of job my husband had been looking for. He had not found regular employment in 4 years, then he had that operation and recovery time, so it limited the type of work he felt he could do without re-injuring himself. For instance, he didn’t think that he should be a water delivery boy carrying garafones (water cooler bottles) up and down stairs.

So anyway, he had been going to different job sites asking for employment. He came home each day discouraged. Those with jobs just laughed at his efforts. Literally. To them, it seemed humorous that they had jobs and he didn’t. It didn’t matter what he could do. Definitely not the land of opportunity here.

He found employment for one person, who would swear at the workers, have them do things outside their job, and basically make life miserable. He put up for it for two days, until due to the overseer’s error, he had his finger squished (lost his nail eventually, but no lasting nerve damage). He never got paid for his work, nor received anything in compensation for injuries.

Then another job my husband found was working for the state constructing overpass bridges. He liked his boss there, however, one day he was told to climb the bridge and work at the top. Traffic was not diverted around the construction site, nor was there any sort of scaffolding or safety equipment. The workers straddled two boards set over a yawning gap, over the traffic. He refused to go up and quit that instant. As my mom says, “It shows he has his priorities straight at least. His family comes first.” Seriously, what was I going to do, here in México, a widow, with a young son and no money to return to the US?

Recently, he was fortunate enough to find steady employment. He works for a family and the family of the family, in remodeling their houses. They have a plethora of properties in the area and always are looking for more to buy and redo, so he’s had work 6 days a week. They love his work.

However, he has had a problem with keeping a peon (assistant). Most of the work requires two people, either to carry things or to mix the cement while the other lays brick. So at first, he worked with his younger brother C. C is the youngest of the family of 11, and nothing much was ever expected of him. And he has lived up to that expectation of nothing. He and my husband had a falling out when C took off in our truck and crashed into a telephone pole. So then my husband was short one peon. I keep telling him to not work with his brothers.

Then he had another peon, a middle-aged man who owns lots in La Yacata. But my husband is demanding to work for, he expects quality work and his tools well cared for, and that was too much for the guy and he quit.

Then, my husband had his older brother J working with him, but again, there were problems. During this time, J fell off the wagon and was drinking excessively again and missed work. Then he decided that he preferred to return to Tamaulipas and left my husband in the lurch. Didn’t I just tell him not to work with his brothers?

So then he went in search of another peon, but as this was to be regular work, most guys felt it was too much commitment for them and said no.

But there are always men looking for work, so I’m sure that one will show up. In the meantime, he does the work for 2 people but gets only paid for one. It’s enough to make one think longingly of the States, where there was always enough work for anyone willing to work.

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