As of last week I am no longer unemployed! This is my first paid job since moving to the Netherlands in late 2012. I wanted to wait a bit on finding a job and instead spend my time learning Dutch, but the last few months I was feeling the itch to get back into the working game. Thankfully it was not a wasted goal – my Dutch is pretty good.
I won’t speak too much about the details of the job and where it is, or what happens on a day to day basis, as I like to keep work separate mostly. But I will say it’s an English-speaking job in The Hague with a short commute by tram. I guess you could call me a “content manager”, as one of my main responsibilities is going through old content that is shifting to a new portal and verifying that everything is working as it should be. Hint: it’s not. 😉 But thankfully my background in library sciences is perfectly suited for this bug-hunting task. It’s a temporary contract (through Unique Multilingual, a temp agency) but is shaping out to be a great experience. Also a great company to have on my CV! Here are random insights after the first week:
1. Holy crap, I’m tired. I mostly get there before 8:30am and leave around 5pm, but Tuesdays and Thursdays I also have a 3 hour Dutch class from 6:45-10:00pm. I was walking towards the tram to go home on Thursday afternoon and I realized I never would have been able to get my Dutch to the level it is now if I also held a full time job the first year.
2. I do miss the random things that I did during the day to help learn Dutch. Whether it was hanging out with folks to practice my Dutch or watching the TV (first Dutch cartoons and now the Comedy Central Network with Dutch sitcoms) I did find it helpful. Now I work with an organization whose working language is English but also has documents in French and Spanish. Almost every document has three language versions. Unfortunately my Spanish has eroded enough that I cannot read it that well anymore. Luckily I have found the ‘Dutch table’ at lunch, though it’s still a mix of speaking Dutch and English. (What else is new in this country?)
3. It’s really jarring to go outside after work and hear people speak Dutch again. I’m amused.
4. Trams are crowded. So very, very crowded. Excepts Fridays, where I can probably find a seat. Probably. But the other weekdays? Good luck. I’m back to using my purse again (it’s a good container for bringing along my lunch and backup glasses) but there’s nothing else important there. Beware zakkenrollers, or pickpockets.
5. It’s weird to actually have to plan the grocery shopping lists with Marco. I can’t just run off to Albert Heijn on a daily basis anymore… though he at least has an Albert Heijn and Hoogvliet by his work. Where I work seems to mostly be offices.
6. I like the kitchen at work. Free tea (Pickwick brand) and free soup (Cup-a-soup brand) along with the more normal free coffee. I have the tea on a daily basis but I haven’t tried the soup or coffee yet. It’s also a big office, so we have three half refridgerators, two dishwashers, etc. They also put a lot of effort into the atmosphere – pretty hard wood floors, colorful chairs, a bright dining area – you get the idea.
I think that’s enough for now… I hope you enjoyed my random comments about being back in the work force again. 🙂