Seeing my elder sister looking so elegant for work every morning and bringing back a huge salary made me want to drop everything, even my studies, and start working. Before I start my story, I want you to understand that the grass is not always greener on the other side. You have to go through some barren patches, deep ditches, broken roads, rocky paths and unchartered territories in life before you hit the road that takes you to the green valleys, only if you are lucky.
After my qualifications, I was employed in a satellite company in Nigeria as a receptionist/typist. As a young employee, I gave my best to my job, and at the end of three months’ probation, I was given a permanent contract. This did not go well with a particular challenger who believed she should be the only typist in the company. She put up some fight to frustrate all my efforts. It was difficult to get along with her as she was the head of our department, but I could put it through because of my strong will and the experience of working in a tough and toxic environment that I had previously gained from my IT job.
When I left Nigeria for Spain, I got a job in a cleaning company where I worked with a good manager and a few fantastic co-workers. My only challenge was the language barrier. It was difficult to carry out my duties effectively as I was expected to communicate everything in Spanish. A time came when I knew I couldn’t continue, so I resigned and attended a Spanish language class.
After three months into the learning, I received a phone call from my manager, Mr Christian, requesting my return. It turned out that in the few months I worked with them, I positively impacted the company, and they realised my services were highly needed. Hearing that, I agreed to return to work. On my return, a new girl who knew how to speak English and Spanish was employed, which made my job much easier.
With teamwork, the company grew from 45% to 70% in four months. I had a good working relationship with my colleagues. I developed my Spanish Language proficiency even further. The environment was conducive; I achieved so much success in that company; we won many awards, and the company grew from 70% to 95% in profits at the end of the year. Cleaning Organisation Control (COC) awarded our company with the award of the best cleaning company in Barcelona that year.In the UK, I decided to continue the cleaning job, but this time, I was employed as a feed worker. Being new in the UK, the pandemic and having to look after my kids because of their age at that time, I couldn't cope, and I had to resign to go back to college to learn to get better job opportunities.
However, as I am not used to the title stay-at-home mum, I decided to return to work and, this time, to a different career. I did some health-related courses, and with the certificates I got a job as a carer where I looked after vulnerable adults with learning disabilities. It wasn't easy, not because of the job per se, but because of some individuals who would always say that they couldn’t understand me as I was different, my accent was foreign, and I was not one of them. They questioned every aspect of my work, making me look unprofessional before the client and stressed in my solitude. There is always a silver lining. This job helped me build and develop many skills, for example, communication skills, patience with clients and colleagues, and much more. I have a passion for doing my job, and thanks to my previous experiences with my other colleagues, I was able to work with my new colleagues, even though some of them were annoying.
After gaining enough experience, I resigned and applied for a job as a support worker. When I finally got the job, I used all my experience to carry out my duties effectively. One of my colleagues didn't believe I could do the job because of her experience with some people, as she kept giving me a negative attitude. I just kept being more professional. One day, she told me, “Ann, I think I judged you so quickly”. I remember smiling at her and telling her not to judge a book by its cover. From that moment on, we all worked as a team. They brought in some new employees for me to induct them. I can proudly say that I am becoming more professional and am loving it. I am convinced that this is what I really want to do because I have so much passion for looking after the service users.In the future, when I finish college, I would like to proceed to university to study health and social care.
Author: Ann Aghagboren Onwughia (ESOL Level 1 Student)
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