Friday, 30 September 2011

Working down south

In my last post I wrote that work is hard to find in the south of Italy. I should have said that work is hard to find for Italians but if you are a mother tongue English teacher, which I am, then you won't be short of work, well at least here in Cosenza. You'll probably be underpaid and have dodgy contracts, your bosses will think you only moved here yesterday and try to fool you into believing their contractual lies....but you'll have work.

I have been lucky since moving to Calabria. I had a job interview the day after moving here (after bel marito and I returned from our holiday in Australia in January 2010.) The next day I began work, and although it was always cash in hand with no chance of a contract I was paid well (for Calabria). There were students, I had enough work, and I had some good money coming in. I went to Scotland with my boss (and bel bambino in my tummy) and taught there at an International school. But this is Calabria this is Italy and when you have no contract and work for a somewhat flimsy school then nothing is certain.

Whilst pregnant the majority of my work was taken away from me and given to another, my boss (who was AUSTRALIAN....can you believe it. She had lived in Italy for a long time though) what was I saying? Oh, yes, my boss went psycho, and I mean psycho so I left and just in the nick of time since I have heard that she has shut up shop, without telling the students, and run off to France.

I was out of work for a few months with the good excuse of having a baby but when bel bambino was all but 3 weeks old I decided to print off some CVs and take them around Cosenza. We drove around Cosenza for a while, bel marito driving whilst I tried to find the schools. We only found 2 in the end, the others were impossibly hard to find and I wasn't actually thinking anything would come of it, but low and behold the next day one of the schools called, I went in for an interview and a few weeks later began working full time and the school.

The pay was ok, I had a contract, nothing permanent but I contract and my colleagues were great. The hours were just too much for me though. I was working a 6 day, 40 hour  week, on top of that I was doing a PON at a local school and I was translating a novel....and I had a little, tiny, bel bambino at home. When my contract ended I asked to become part time, and of course was given the lie that work would start in September, after having a forced 2 month unpaid holiday since the school was closing for the summer. So we are now at the end of September, and this forced 2 month unpaid holiday has become 3 so what else would one do but look for new work?

And new work I found, today being my second day. I am now an English teacher at a private asilo nido which is like a day care kindergarten with babies from 1 to 5 years old. I work just the mornings for 4 hours a day, and I get paid more then I was and I just chat to the 3, 4 and 5 year olds in English while they stare at me like I am an alien from another planet. 

Still no permanent contact, still underpaid if you think of wages in other countries, but I have to count myself lucky that I have work.

3 comments:

Dianna said...

Hi! I've been following for a while...great blog! I'm having the same experience here in the north...ug! Super frustrating and hard to stay positive (remembering what a valuable and intelligent member of society you are, and were back home) when what is really of value here is cunning and maybe a bit of 'who cares'...anyway, good you found something and that asilo age is super cute (except during cold season- can't handle all the runny noses). good luck!

Leanne in Italy said...

Hi Dianna,
thanks for stopping by the blog. It is hard to stay positive here sometimes...glad to hear the north is difficult too!

Anonymous said...

How Interesting to read your blog. I love Italy have just spent 6 wks there visiting relies and I had a feeling that life was not so easy. Especially for the young. Australia may not have the history and the charm but life here is what every you want it to be. I realize that now and more so from reading your blog. good luck!