Tag Archives: working in Mexico

Job Hunting Ain’t What It Used To Be — Part 5

I’d like to say that May took my employment status from 0 – 60 in 30 seconds flat, but that’s not what happened. Here’s what did–

First, I was hired by a Canadian-based company whose target audience seemed to be immigrants from African countries living in the U.S. and Canada. The interview process was 15 minutes, mostly a sound/video check, and I snagged a 9-10 am beginner class that started the next day. The platform provided basic materials and a general outline for the course, which I could supplement with my own creative wowza stuff, so I was feeling optimistic.

Now, for the downside. Pay. The company paid $50 Canadian dollars per student per month, but only if the student attended all the classes. So since work or other responsibilities kept students from regular attendance, my pay was also affected. For the month May, I earned $14 in total.

Next, I was hired by another company to teach middle-school-aged students. Again, the interview process was painless. I had a Skype call with the hiring person and explained my teaching credentials and living situation. I was under the impression I would help with designing some new curriculum before being given regular classes, but that’s not what happened. I was scheduled for two “trial” classes a day or so after my onboarding process. That means the students were taking a free class to see if they like the platform or not. I was given curriculum to teach, but it was AWFUL! I mean, seriously, it was not appropriate for middle-school non-native English students at all! So I spent an hour at least on each presentation, bringing it up to par, and then an hour teaching each of the students. 

The next week I was scheduled for an Algebra class. Nope! Not gonna happen. It took 3 days of back and forth email correspondence until the class was reassigned. I also seem to be on-call rather than having a set schedule. The company sends me a text message, and if I say I’m available, they schedule it (except for that Algebra class that was assigned to me without checking with me first). I get charged for text messages, and there are a lot of messages sent back and forth, so I’m starting to fret about that. I’ve taught 6 trial classes so far.

Then the third online teaching position I managed to get was for a company that offers practical English skill classes to recent immigrants to the U.S. I was the first person the owner interviewed, and I must have impressed her. She later said she interviewed a few more but decided I was the best candidate for the position and contacted me the next day. This company’s target audience is mostly Middle-eastern immigrants. However, they were looking to expand and offer English for Spanish-speaking refugees and immigrants, which is where I would come in as a sort of liaison for those students since everyone else hired by the company spoke Dari. 

This job came with additional tasks besides teaching, including translating flyers into Spanish and correcting English errors found in company documents. I also had to do a Facebook live video in English and Spanish, which was a bit stressful for me, to say the least. I am only officially contracted to teach one 90-minute class on Sundays July-September, although the owner, who is also a teacher, is expecting a baby any day now and may have me take over her classes. As far as I know, the classes are all Dari speakers, so my Spanish isn’t going to be much use there.

And then, if you remember, I signed up at Wyzant as a tutor and have managed to rack up 6 hours so far in tutoring. Unfortunately, most students have summer vacation in June in the U.S., so tutoring sessions have dried up temporarily. I expect things will gear up in September there again. 

The final teaching job that sprung up was with Cambly, where I applied in March. I’ve been accepted as a tutor rather than teacher, so I don’t have a class schedule. However, they have it set up so I can pick up hours whenever I want. I only get paid for what I teach at 17 cents a minute, but it seems I may be able to get regular students this way too. Of the teaching jobs, this might be the one that works out the best. I don’t have set hours, so if the internet is wonky, I can just not work, no need to find a replacement teacher. If the internet is good, I can pick up more hours. 

I’d also been on the lookout for non-teaching jobs. One of the ladies in the South of the Border Sisters group advertised that they were looking for a social media person for a few hours a month where she worked. So I applied. I got an interview. And I got a contract. It’s not a lot of hours, maybe 10-15 per month, but my hope is there will be more for me to do as the online magazine expands its reach. Right now, I’ll be overseeing social media posts and doing some copywriting. 

Even with 6 jobs, I’m not sure I’ll make enough to pay the internet bill (and feed Bruce). So I’m still living on the edge, so to speak. Let’s see what next month brings! 


Want to know what it’s really like living in rural Mexico? Then check out A Woman’s Survival Guide to Living in Mexico Series.

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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….


A Woman’s Survival Guide to Living in Mexico series

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El Tortillero

Before we went on our trip to visit my family, my sister-in-law T. asked if my son would help her out on weekends at her tortilleria. Saturdays and Sundays, she averages 8 buckets of masa (dough) each day. Some days, her pistoleras, the ladies who crank those hand-pressed tortillas out, arrive late or not at all. (The word pistoleras literally women wielding pistols or in this case prensas–tortilla presses.) Their tardiness or absence puts T into a bind since she has to fire up a comal and make tortillas herself instead of packing them up and receiving the money.  Because this has been happening regularly, my son said he’d be the money handler.

Since we’ve returned from our trip, he is now working 6 days a week at the tortilleria with T. Weekdays, he works 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for the lunch rush with Thursdays off. On the weekends, he’s there from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. or so. 

He seems to be enjoying working with his aunt, and she with him, it appears. She has some pan dulce y leche (sweet bread and milk) ready for him every morning. He’s adjusted his schedule so that he is up early for some computer fun before heading to work, then naps in the afternoon. Plus, there’s a little trickle of income for his own use that sweetens the deal and a kilo of tortillas, a container of salsa and some beans every day for dinner.

I enjoy hearing about his day. Customer service always provides some interesting anecdotes. Plus the pistoleras themselves chatter away as they pat and flatten and flip the tortillas.

The other day, my son came home with another one of those strange health beliefs that abound here. This one was that you can’t drink coke and atole (corn drink) together because one is black and one is white. The colors apparently clash in your stomach and make you ill.

Honestly, I don’t know anyone who would want to drink coke and atole together. It sounds like a horrible combination and sure to upset your stomach no matter what color the mixture happens to be. I actually think this belief has more to do with the hot/cold indigenous categorizations. You wouldn’t ingest something cold and hot together. This is why water is often offered al tiempo (room-temperature) with meals or on hot days.

My son also brings us the goings-on from Moroleon. The tortilleria is the hub of gossip mongers. We learned about the sudden death of our neighbor, el plomero (the plumber) from my son. The guy had gotten into a fight, sustained injuries and didn’t go to the doctor. It seems there was some internal bleeding and he died as a result.

Not all the stories are so tragic. One day my son was dispatching the tortillas and a girl about his own age paid him too much money. Before he could give her change, she ran off flustered. All the pistoleras hooted at that! Remember, my good-looking son is a Lady Killer! Later the girl’s mom came back and picked up the change with the young lady in tow, red as a tomato.

It sounds like my son has just pulled up to the house with his bike. Time for me to find out what the latest news from town!

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Filed under Employment, Small Business in Mexico