25-year old Hanna* has just returned to her au pair job in Ireland having spent Christmas with her family in Hungary. She has been working in Ireland since early 2019 and spoke to me about her experiences of seasonal and fixed term jobs in different European countries. She has not been diagnosed with social anxiety but considers herself socially anxious.
I work for a family like au pair (minding kids, doing housework etc.). This is my first time working like au pair. My duties are cleaning the house, mind kids, cooking meals, doing the laundry. That’s a pretty tiring job, especially minding 4 kids but the family is very friendly. I like it so far.
In my current job I work 9 hours per day, I have 2.5 hour lunch break and my weekends are free but some Sunday I have to babysit a few hours. Very tiring job but anyway not that stressful. They are nice but the kids are crazy :_D Sometimes I really stressed out because of them…but you know one day I will go home and don’t give a shit about them anymore 😀
Sometimes it’s really uncomfortable (having meals with the family).. but I got used with it. I’m very bad at small talk so I just try to answer shortly and close it down xD I more like to eat alone. (When talking to people) I feel nervous and sometimes I talk stupid things or just forget the words what I wanted to say.
I don’t like to go to crowded places but it’s getting easier with time. For me practise helped a lot, I interacted more and more with people so after a while it wasn’t that bad. But if I spend a lot of time alone it’s hard again. I had sleepless nights too 😀 I always have. Sometimes it’s really hard…. I could sleep only with sleeping pills.
I don’t think I’m a strong character I’m just able to adapt to most of the situations. After a while I get used with things. I try to solve it alone (social anxiety).
I had to be learn how to be capable under pressure…
When I was in High School I didn’t really think about it (working abroad). I started to learn cosmetology so I needed practise in it. I’ve seen how bad are the Hungarian payments so I decided I will try to get a job abroad. I always loved traveling anyway.
I was 21 years old (when I first worked abroad). I’ve got a job in a restaurant like bartender and I also had to prepare food like cutting fruits, cakes etc. At first it was very scary, this restaurant was a very busy place most of the time but we had so much to do that I was more tired than anxious. Living with strangers wasn’t a big deal because I had my own room so I could spend some time alone.
I worked usually 9 hours (per day, in catering roles) but sometimes I had to do overtime what usually wasn’t paid at all. It was told that we have to stay (as long as) we having guests but we got the same money in the end of the month. I had 1 day off.
I had to learn how to be capable under pressure but at first it was really hard to work like this. That’s not a surprise why some hotel/restaurant looking for workers all the time. People spend there working some months and they’ve enough 😀
My boss was an idiot again (in my last job, as a cleaner and receptionist in a hotel in Switzerland) but I getting used with it.. it’s always the same. When a workplace was really bad I just quit.
I like traveling itself and discover a new country
I worked like receptionist in Norway, but I only had to work in the reception in the mornings then I cleaned the rooms. I didn’t have fix hours, it depended on how busy was the hotel but I worked maximum 8 hours per day and sometimes I had even 2 or 3 freedays.
My workmates (there) was the best, they were kind, sometimes we watched movies together or went to car trip. I don’t like parties I rather go hiking or watch a movie at home. I made some (friends) but I don’t really keep contact with all of them. It feels like we were connected because of the same job and after a while we don’t have any common themes anymore.
I have some friend in Hungary. When I’m at home we usually meet and go somewhere but anyway we keep contact on Facebook.
I gonna stay in my country (after the au pair contract in Ireland ends this year) for a while just to relax after it so I don’t think I gonna apply for anything.
I have a long list about countries what I want to visit. I like traveling itself and discover a new country. I visited some really nice place (in Ireland) like Howth, Tick nock, Enniskerry, Drogheda etc. (When travelling), I try to avoid dangerous situations. Always having a map with me so I won’t lost in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately never had any bad situations, I think it’s not only about how do you prepare (there are things what you can’t be prepared of) but maybe about luck as well.
For me the most important is to get meal and accommodation where I work because anyway a lot of money would go on them. Then I check the tasks if I having any experience in them. Then the payment.
*The interview with Hanna (not her real name) was conducted online during December 2019 and January 2020.