Finding a minimum-wage, basic job in Texas is cake. Like, last Christmas when I was saving to come here, I had three jobs, and two of them were in retail (i.e., not miminum wage, but not salary, either).
Dublin is an entirely different story.
Allow me to share a tale…
The Time I Applied at Lush, and Got Slapped with Reality.
I applied at Lush when I first began my job search. I found the position randomly, just by chatting up the sales associate. I applied, and made it past the first round. I was invited to a group interview… and when I pulled up the the shop, there were 50 other girls (and a couple guys) waiting for the group interivew to start.
I kid you not. 200 people applied for 5 spots. TWO HUNDRED. And of those applications, 25% were called in for the group interview. I didn’t end up getting the job (even with my MANAGER retail experience), which was probably due to my lack of tattoos and facial piercings, but it was an eye-opening experience. People here want jobs, and they’ll do anything to get one, even work for pennies.
So, after walking around and handing out CVs, and applying for jobs on gumtree.ie (Dublin’s Craigslist) for a week solid, I got an interview as a receptionist at a hostel. I was so nervous because the interview lasted all of five minutes, but I got job and I’m way too busy being grateful that I even have a job to complain that, yes, it’s minimum wage.
Here are some tips for getting a job in Dublin:
1. Don’t think you’re above any job. In order to get the visa I’m on, you have to be degreed. So, yes, I’m working a minimum-wage job and I have a degree. But, I’m living in Europe! When I leave to travel to new places, I still get to come “home” to a vacation spot. I have to remind myself of this sometimes when I get a terrible guest, such as the lovely Nigerian lady I met the other day who insulted me and got pissed she couldn’t pay for her hostel in pounds. LOL. Ugh. People suck sometimes.
2. Do stay determined. You may not get the first job you interview for. You may think you’ve hit it off with the hiring manager, and then never get a call back. It’s okay. Keep searching. New job posts are listed every day. The right opportunity will fall in your lap if your legs are spread enough (this is a metaphor, please don’t slut it up to get a job).
3. Accept reality. Dublin is coming off a recessional period, and the industry is just now starting to pick back up again. The unemployment rate here is high, and therefore the job market is competitive- even for Lush jobs. My manager at the hostel told me 100 people applied for the receptionist position, and only me and a French girl got hired. Crazy.
4. Get creative. Apply to be a child-minder to hold you over while you job search. Work for free accommodation in a hostel. You have a degree. Use that mental power for good! I job hunted for a solid week. And by the end of the week, I had an interview and a job. You’ll get there, I promise!
At the end of the day, you have to have a heart ta heart with yourself. What are you trying to get out of this experience? What kind of job do you need to get you that experience? I knew I’d need a flexible job that allowed me to travel during the week if I chose to, so working 30 hours a week at this hostel is a good fit for me. But if you’re needing to make more money, or save more money while you’re abroad, maybe you should work as an au pair (free rent and usually you get some other perks), or another unique job situation. Look into all options!
And be happy. You’re living abroad! Yes, you may be poor and have to adjust your lifestyle (my finances are crazy different than my American life), but you’re doing something great. I can go to Paris on a Monday on a $40 flight. It’s still super cold here, so I booked a $50 flight to Portugal, where I fully intend on sunning on the beach (margarita in hand, obvs) in 3 weeks. So worth it all. Before I left, my mom told me she would be restless until I a. had a place to live and b. had a place to work. So, hi, Mom! I’ve done it! See you in December, cho baby girl is set to explore this beautiful amazing planet.