Sunday, August 16, 2009

Email from a fellow blogger

When I checked my inbox this afternoon, the following email was waiting for me:

Dear GB,

I’m the author of the blog A-Philosophical (Here: in my world). We exchanged links to each other’s blogs last year. As you may remember I am Uruguayan-born, with a Spanish-background, and I relocated to Spain in 2007 from Latin America. I have been a LGTBQ Advocate in Uruguay and then USA since my ex is American, and did advocacy in NYC "Human Rights Campaign" (HRC).

Moved to Valencia had little jobs and too few work opportunities. I stayed there for one and a half years, it was around that time that I found your blog and started to follow it.

I recently relocated from Valencia to London. It has been difficult finding jobs. But still, much better-off of a situation than in Valencia where there's plenty of discrimination to foreigners. I feel fine.

Now I am working in a corporate café (20 hours a week) and started last week another part time of 10 hours a week doing cleanings in public buildings early in the morning.

During all this time I have been trying to get involved with LGTBQ Charities like: Stonewall, The Gay and Lesbian Switchboard, GMHF, PACE, LGBT History Month, and many many others.

Still, contacted all, met in person many of them but there seems there's no chance to have a work placement with any of them.

My morale now is very low. I came to London because it is a hub for charities and world wide human rights organizations. I am very passionate about Human Rights. The thing now, is that I am making minimum wage in the two jobs I have. It is not enough to survive in London, especially because housing is so very expensive.

My question is: would I enjoy a better quality of life if I were to move to another British city like Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, etc?

I met an advocate last week and as we were speaking about my possibilities, we thought of the idea of asking the corporate café I work for (and I enjoy their work methodology) whether they could relocate within the company to these cities.

Do you think it would be a possibility?

The advocate told me that in order to volunteer and work opportunities I would have it much better outside London, far more!

What could you tell me?

I am very happy to be in London, I love it but I feel I am not having quality of life at all.

Let me know please. Thanks.

Sincerely


The honest answer to his question about moving out of London is that I'm not sure, so I thought that I'd post his email here to see whether anyone else has got any ideas. The good thing about the other major cities in the UK is that they're definitely cheaper to live in than London. In terms of gay life, Manchester is famous for Canal Street, and I'm sure that the other big cities all have their own gay scenes too. But I'm not sure what kind of job opportunities there'll be for a guy like him.

In terms of staying in London, rather than working in low-paid minimum wage jobs I'd have thought that he could do much better if he gets jobs that relate to being a Spanish speaker. For example, he could teach Spanish, alternatively he could probably do translations from English into Spanish, and perhaps he could even work in a call centre dealing with Spanish speakers. After a similar experience with low paid jobs in London, I know that the Mexican guy that I met early last year eventually found himself jobs relating to speaking Spanish, and managed to earn much more as a result.

Anyway, do any other readers have any good ideas for this blogger?

9 comments:

Mind Of Mine said...

I live in Manchester and i have to say that its so much easy to manage with minimum wages here.. everything is cheaper here, rents are reasonable.

I love it!

princesm said...

I am a graphic designer in Canada. I am thinking to go to London to get a design job after I graduate. Is it really that hard to get a job there? Damn...

Actually I do want to know how the locals feel about all the foreigners are coming to London to look for jobs in London. It must be hard for them, it makes me sort of understand why people hates foreigners so much...

Anonymous said...

I think Brighton is a good bet. It has alot of jobs in the service industry and much cheaper rents. It also caters alot for students learning English so there must be job opportunities in that area to.
However, London does have large charitable organisations located there. Has the e-mailer thought of renting a room in a gay house share? This can be considerably cheaper than renting a flat or bedsit.
Wish i had a spare room he could have that and teach me spanish:-(
whatever his choice I wish him well
SX

Anonymous said...

If he wants to get work in charities, lobby groups etc he needs to start by volunteering. Stonewall for one regularly needs volunteers to help out with various sorts of things. That's one way of getting your foot in the door and showing what you can do.

Whatever he does he shouldn't leave London. I doubt he'd get anywhere with the sorts of work he wants to do outside London - especially if English is his second language.

London may be tough. It is definitely a roller coaster, but when you do eventually get the highs, boy are they worth it.

A, London

Rowan B said...

As the above said, London has all the major organisations for HR but Brighton and Manchester equally have a really good gay scene.

Stonewall are looking for people-saw it the other day.

I'm sure you could be an asset for them speaking another language as you may be able to deal with the all the spanish speaking countries who have gay rights issues..

You can't give up. You need to keep on emailing them and putting your CV through.

A-Philosophical said...

Thanks a lot for your words. Yes, I should try to get a job related to my mother tongue, Spanish. I had about 6 weeks ago an interview for Lebara, the mobile company for their call centre here in London but catering clients in Spain remotely. I didn’t get it at the end > ( That could have been much of a better prospect than my current job that I make 5,75 pounds by the hour and only managed to get a part-time job within the company for now.

LIVING IN A GAY HOUSE:

I am already living in a “Gay” house. I moved in last week. I was paying 400 pounds bills included, a month for a double bed room close to New Cross in SE. No underground going, and sort of a ghetto neighbourhood. I do not like ghettos.

Now I pay 250 pounds a months, + bills, single bed, I am practically sexless since living in London, so no difference between double or single size bed, close to Canary Wharf.

We are four gay guys in our mid or late 20’s. It is ok, and the place seems to be much better, nice visual sights around. So, this is a big step forward.

CURRENT SITUATION:
I will start volunteering at the Lesbian and Gay London Switchboard likely in September. I tried volunteering in other charities but the Switchboard seems to be the best one to start off. I have a couple of contacts there, and I believe I will feel comfortable volunteering there.

I usually follow job offers at www.charityjobs.co.uk but I haven’t managed to get a single interview, yet filling out endless application packs.

Ideally within LGBT Human Rights I would like to aim at LGTB Parenthood and Reproductive Policies. There was person at Stonewall that recently published a guide for LGTB Parents. And, I loved that! For my having experienced in different legal systems (countries), I believe I have some knowledge that could be of great interest for the LGTB community in this matter. So, I tried to get a hold of her thru Stonewall website, and a contact I have there, a couple of weeks but haven’t heard from her yet.

SUGGESTIONS:

I would need suggestions on how to get students for my Spanish Lessons, I know GumTree is a way- I am also an English teacher (without TEFL, I formally majored in a BPhil (Ed) back in Uruguay, yet the British Council in Uruguay allowed me to teach English since I had teaching experience and spoke English close to a native speaker.

Should I be contacting the language academies that teach English for the newcomers or just people that come to London to learn English? I see myself rather a tutor than a teacher nowadays. I am not English mother tongue but I am an experienced teacher in English as a Foreign Language.

A-Philosophical said...

LANGUAGE JOBS:

I have, since the very first of my move, been following the site www.toplanguagejobs.co.uk that’s the hub from there I got the interview for the call centre for the mobile company.

Also, I keep an eye on a couple of Language Jobs Fair due to October and November this year, and of course the Diversity Job Fair in November (diversitycareershow.com) that will cater LGTBs and Gay Friendly employers.

Right now I am making minimum wage and working part time, I have to set myself a deadline to make a change since I cannot continue like this forever and ever. I do not want to go back to Spain. I am a Spanish citizen (passport holder) by descent but over there coming from Uruguay, Latin America, they generally prefer to employ the Spanish-born. Not a foreign-born. This is why I love London. In my job we are people from everywhere in the world. Africa, Europe: South, North, East, heart of Europe, Asia, and me, Latin America.

SAUNAS:

I have also been turning up to Saunas to offer myself as a cleaner. My Polish friend, who had a hard-on and infatuation love affair with a guy working at Pleasure Rooms, contacted me with him for an application. They want people full time and in different changing shifts. They want you to be exclusive for them. Full-time, not part-time. I had a couple of interviews with them and they kinda admit that.

A-Philosophical said...

BIG DEAL:

Working in a Sauna when I do not consider myself being or willing to be a pay-whore? Well, I would just take it just for what it is, a job to clean… I can make 0,25 pound more than in my current job, which is very international and not only, catered by hot Brazilians and other latinos. I tried Chariots as a possible employer too. The one in Vauxhall required that I be trained for being a cleaner (in this case, I managed to get an offer for part-time cleaner in the evenings, which was great for me as I would total 40 hours a week between my current job and this new one) but they wanted me to get trained on two week days (4 hours each days) and within office hours, and at that time I work for the café- So, I wasn’t able to do it. I will turn up at Chariots Shoreditch this week and see if I can find a vacancy there. Since I am a latin guy (let’s admit I am not the average latin guy nor do I behave like most of latinos but) I look like very Mediterranean and I can’t help it. They do like that.

CLEANING JOBS:

Also, I got a cleaning job for a couple of weeks close to Parliament Square cleaning offices. It was ok, 6 pounds the hour. I started at 5 AM until 7 AM. The job was simple, to clean, in my case, to vacuum. My co-workers were Latinos with no English language skills at all. It was a ghetto job. And, for a completely bilingual person it was a bit bizarre to work there. But I needed the money. My friends here tell me I should get out of that job as soon as possible because I knew English and I could do other types of jobs. The biggest problem for me at that job was the time I was to wait from 7 AM until 11 AM to get to work to the corporate café. Being in Central London at 7 AM, there was no chance to even go to a library and get connected to the internet. I just went to McDonalds, had my breakfast and waited, and waited yawning like crazy.

PUBLISHING INDUSTRY:

Also, passing by Old Compton Street and around the Soho area I saw a poster looking for staff at Clonezone store, I applied. My application was turned down though. But I got the idea to apply for their competitors like Prowler, Soho Books, and sent my CV for their consideration. Let’s see if Prowler could tell me yes this time around because I applied before and they told me no. I would like yes and start working there.

Facebook also helps a lot to make new contacts. I will keep in this strategy in order to make new networks.

And, I applied to Gaydar, they wanted bilingual English-Spanish representatives for their offices. I applied a few weeks ago and didn’t receive a yes or not but just a message that my application had been forwarded to Mr. Bla bla, I should try to contact them and do some following up. I would really fancy working for Gaydar.

This is my experience in London. I do not complain because I like the atmosphere. Here I may have chances I would never even be able to dream of in Latin America, not even in Spain. And, I know that I am just paying the price of being a newcomer, but I face no discrimination. At least, I do not sense it at first hand.

I love when you find this melting pot. This is unlikely to find in many places. So, despite that money is really little I enjoy living in London.

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