Ok so I’m really not good at keeping blogs, I know this, but I’m eternally optimistic that I will actually stick with it. This is the third time I am writing, in almost 2 weeks, so I guess that’s pretty good? Tomorrow I leave Edinburgh, and it’s been fairly successful. I don’t have a guaranteed job – actually it’s complicated, more on that soon – and I don’t have a flat, but it was always very wishful thinking that I would have both in place by now. What has definitely happened, is I’ve walked around the city, and it is absolutely beautiful. I have a fully functioning bank account and a brand-new phone with a good SIM, and while it’s expensive for UK standards (£15 a month) it is so so cheap by Canadian standards. So I can’t complain too much.
Right now, I am so sore, and it relates to my almost job. So I applied to several places a week ago, a couple marketing agency things, one customer service support position, and a couple hotels. I got interviews for all of them, so that was quite nice. Actually while I was waiting to be interviewed by one of the hotels, I got a call from a marketing agency arranging for an interview. They all happened in quite quick succession, and all of them seem to liked me. But I don’t like all of them. I turned down the offer for a proper interview with the customer support position, because I didn’t want to be tied to a 6-month contract working in an office call centre building outside of town. It felt weird walking away from talking with the agency, because that’s all I wanted, a full-time job, and here I had the chance to go forwards with it if I wanted to…and I said no. I also said no to one of the marketing agencies.
The marketing agencies, as they advertise themselves, are not marketing as in advertisements, but marketing as in door-to-door sales. The first one, I looked up reviews online, and lots of them were terrible. People were saying it’s a long long working day, slight pyramid scheme structure, and generally not great. Nevertheless, I went to the interview just to see, and the “interview” was less than 5 minutes, him asking me questions I had pretty much just written on the form I was asked to fill out while waiting, and he said that they were interviewing 15 people and going to narrow it down to 5. Well, I still said all the right things, because…. Well it’s just nice being asked to do something, it’s nice to be offered. So later that day, or the next day, he called me saying they would like me to come back and do a “shadow day” and then they would officially extend a job offer. Well, later that day I emailed saying thank but no thanks. Because I don’t want to have to work 12-hour days (which is what online reviews were saying) and also it is commission only, so while it can sound really good, it’s not guaranteed money. And while you shouldn’t believe everything you read online, there were enough people saying bad things that it made me very hesitant to go. It’s also very vague exactly what they do, the website was not clear, but very flashy sounding. It all sounded a bit sketchy, so I said no. But another marketing agency called me to an interview, and being curious I went to that one too.
This one was a little less sketchy, because someone I met here said they had been sent to this agency by the job centre. The job centre said not to go, but still, it made this marketing agency seem a little more legitimate. I went to the interview, and it was done in a very bare office. The desk was empty, and all around his office was very bare. Bit odd, but ok. This interview was a bit longer, and he explained more about what the company did, and then he offered for me to do a shadow day. I accepted, because I thought I had nothing better to do that day, and hey it would be an experience. Turns out, a slightly painful one. What they do at this marketing agency, is door to door selling. This one is focused mainly on charities, so I guess that’s nicer, but still, what they do, what I did on the day with them, was: showed up at the office, and sat through an hour presentation, then walked 15 minutes with 4 other people to the parked car, drove an hour to a place called Leslie in Fife, and went door to door asking for people to sign up to be a donor for a charity. So if a charity person knocks on your door, they are probably not actually from that charity, but working for a promotions marketing agency like this one. Apparently, it’s because direct marketing like this brings a huge return on investment, so charities and businesses are willing to pay a lot for these services. It does all seem a bit odd, and so much money seems to be thrown around, so I’m not sure how I feel about the whole thing. This slightly more legit company is also on commission, and apparently it can add up quite quickly. For every person that they get to sign up, they get £30, and then if they bring another employee, for every person that that employee gets to sign up to a charity, they get £6 from them. So you make money by bringing in more employees. There’s also full paid road trips that happen, where they will pay for the car and the hotel while you work. People at this company have gone as far away as Australia and Singapore, fully paid. And it’s all because the charities pay so much to these companies, because they get a big return. If you sign someone up to give a charity £12 a month for 3 years, then sure that adds up. But it still seems a bit odd.
Right so the day, I drove the hour through Scotland, got dropped off, and was shadowing someone who’s been doing this for 1.5 years. And it was literally just walking door to door, talking to people, or trying to talk to people. Actually giving the spiel about the charity happened to maybe a dozen people, out of 140 doors knocked on, and only one person signed up the whole day. It was a 1:00pm to 8:30pm day, as that is until when they can legally knock on doors. Although after 7:30, people were complaining that we were coming to them. But that’s how it went, so much walking. And walking. And now, the day after, I am so sore. The whole day was meant to half show me what it was like, half meant for them to see if they wanted to offer me a position. And in the end, yes, he did extend an invitation for me to join them. Which honestly, they probably do to most people, because like I mentioned above, they get money if they bring people to the company. So if I were to join them, then every person that I get to sign up for the charity, the person who I shadowed would get £6, and I would get £30. The average is 10 sign ups a week apparently, so that’s £300, but you can of course get much higher. And that’s how they get people to work for them, but showing them nice figures and saying how possible it is. At the end of the day, my feet hurt so much and I was so tired I just accepted the invitation and said thank you. Honestly, I don’t know what to do about it. There’s no fixed contract, and you could work only 3 days a week, and there is kind of a lot of freedom, but it also involves walking up to people’s doors, annoying them, and getting a lot of those doors closed. Actually no one slammed the door, and so many people were really quite nice, lots of nice people saying no, but they wish they could, lots of old people saying no they really can’t afford it, and just lots of people saying no not interested without even hearing the spiel. So it would get quite repetitive and lots of rejection, but also, I’m sure you get to meet lots of nice people, albeit briefly. However, on the way back in the car, since I have data on my phone I checked my email, and I potentially have a job at a hotel!
I interviewed for a Reservations Agent position, and during the interview I was explaining how much I like this city and it would be great to get visitors in the hotel to like it just as much, but actually a Reservations Agent spends a lot of time in an office alone, rather than speaking to guests. So I got an email from the assistant manager saying they would not offer me the Reservations Agent position, however they might have a front desk person position, and wondered if I was interested in that. Which of course I said yes! Then she reiterated that this position doesn’t actually exist yet, and they would need to restructure their team around, but that I’ll know in a week. So kind of yay, they liked me, but also, no guaranteed job. But still, a good sign!
That was all on October 9th. Today, time of writing being the 10th, I got a call from the other hotel I interviewed at saying that they liked me, that I have gotten through to the second round, but that they are looking for someone to begin asap. And I am going away to France and London and then being a tourist with Maman and Evey and then to Paris. But I’m not devastated, this position I don’t think is exclusively front desk, rather it involves a lot a table setting and general dining set up. But I’ll call back about it when I get back to France, even though I probably won’t take it. For the marketing agencies, I think they just ask everyone back, because they need people. That’s how they work. But the hotels, that’s really nice to hear that they like me. I am therefore optimistic, that even if I don’t get these positions, that I will get something. Or, I should actually go with the marketing agency. Because I never said no, at the end of the month I am supposed to go in. And I don’t know what I will do. I kind of really don’t want to do it, but that’s because I’m really sore and lazy. Then again, if it wasn’t me knocking on people’s doors, someone else would do it. But then it’s not really the nicest thing to do. But these charities do need money, and it is a good cause. I would really much rather the hotel outright offer me something now. Although actually they will let me know in a week, and I’ve got a couple weeks before the promotions marketing agency wants me in, so hopefully I will have a legitimate reason to let them down. They sell it well, but in reality, it’s probably not that great.
So that’s been my job search. Actually quite successful, but, I think I am being picky. But I think I should be, because I’ve come all this way, I don’t want to get stuck in something that is awful. I mean I don’t know really what I want, but, I still have some criteria. It’s the same with searching for a flat, none have been absolutely perfect, either the flat is great but the location is not, or the location is nice and the flat is meh, or both are decent, but the bathroom is terrible. Still, I’ve applied for one, and I’ll see how far the application actually goes, if I need UK references or anything like that. There are quite a few flats online too, not through agencies, which I guess is alright, because there are agency horror stories, but there’s also random Internet flat horror stories. So there again I’m not quite sure what to do, it would be nice if this one flat I applied for I get, and then I don’t have to think about flats for 6 months.
But for now, I will have a nice 2 weeks of holiday with Maman and Evey. I won’t be bringing my laptop with me, as it is heavy and bulky to carry, so I’m uploading these three posts, which for the record I have not edited, so if the doesn’t make sense, sorry. The first two I wrote while very jet lagged, and this one, my excuse is that I am tired and cold and sore. Being cold is just the new state of things being in this country, and being sore is from all the walking, and being tired is just because I am tired. Too tired to make my blog fancy, I really do want to add pictures, but it’s far too late now and I won’t have time tomorrow. In a couple weeks I’ll do a post just with pictures, because pictures are awesome and probably nicer to look at than this rambling.