Monday, October 24, 2011

No secrets.

Okay, so I have signed the offer letter last week. Yehey!

But with it, is also a consent form allowing the company to do background check on me. So basically, by signing the consent form, I also authorized my new employer to have access to my entire past.

This is new to me, because in my experience in hiring people I only counted on my gut instincts to hire new employees.

No background check being conducted.

But looking back with the problems I have with some of the sales personnels I hired, maybe I should have done this. However, it's not a common practice in the Philippines. And it cost money especially if you hire a third party to do it.

From what I have learned, here in the US, background check can be incredibly extensive and can go far beyond what any employer would reasonably need to know before hiring someone.

While I have nothing to hide, I am still a little apprehensive for any unpleasant surprises that may come up. This type of investigation does not simply confirms that I have no criminal record, but it could be much more than that. They can check up on anything from credit history, to books I read, to my relationship with my neighbors.

Or is that too extreme?

Anyway, I don't mind them checking on my employment history, because I know they just want to make sure that my job history in the resume I submitted is accurate and that I held the positions I stated I held.

Let's wait and see.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A very fruitful week.

Does anyone like job interviews? I don't.

I have been an interviewee in my long career, and I think I would never be completely comfortable sitting on the other side of the table. I see how people squirm in their seats, stutter and fumble while groping for answers to the questions. But living in a foreign country and knowing I need a job to survive, I know I will be subjected to this ritual whether I like it or not.

Two Fridays ago, I walked in at a manufacturing plant to ask if they are accepting job applicants. I was given an application form which I filled out. I don't know what position is open so I simply say " production related work". I also left the salary space blank, for the same reason.

An hour after I got home, the phone rang and it was the HR personnel of the company. She asked if I could come on Tuesday for an interview. I didn't expect a response so soon, so I frantically drafted a resume and search about the company in the net. The more I learned about the company the more excited I became because I realized this is where I will be most comfortable. It is a food manufacturing plant and it is considered among the leader in the global food industry. And wonderfully enough, the company is looking for a lead supervisor in one of their production line.

But the days and hour leading to the interview can be very stressful because I fear of not answering a question quite right. So I prepared for it.

I wrote down what I think would be a job description of the position I am applying for. I reflected on my experiences and how they match up with the job description. I wrote down what skills I have that made me qualified for the position. I also jotted down personal qualities that will make me stand out in the position. I even considered a trait I have that may be a drawback in the position and how I had improved on this area.

Tuesday morning I was ready.

Resume, check.

Attire, check.

Confidence, check.

WHAT?!! There is a test? A math test and it is timed? There's problem solving here, lady! And I cannot proceed to the interview if I can not pass this??!


Anyway, I passed the test. The interview took 2 hours because there were three managers who interviewed me separately. Ken could not believe I spent two hours inside the building because he said he saw about 5 Mexicans went in and out of the building in less than 5 minutes each.

The following day, the same HR personnel called me to asked if I could come on Friday for another interview with the plant manager. Now, this certainly gave me a good indication that I will probably land a job there.

So off I went again last Friday for another interview. It was the most pleasant interview I had. My experience with the first interview had given me a clear understanding on how to answer a potential question because when I look back at it, I wished I had answered some questions differently.

I left the office feeling fairly optimistic.

Today, I got another call.

The HR personnel asked me to come to the office to sign their offer sheet. NICE!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Autumnal display.

It's amazing how we had a very nice weather all week. Above 80 degrees in all seven days.


Yes, I'm jubilant because we rarely get this type of weather since September. But that doesn't keep my nervous twitch out because I know that this unusual nice weather is often followed by incredibly disgusting cold especially during this last quarter of the year.

Anyway, with sunshine blaring out its one last long cord before retreating to the trickle of winter, Ken decided we go to the Amish county to check out some furniture we could use in our living room. Sadly, when we got there there no were no one to see us because they have a funeral.

So, with so much time to kill and with no back up plan of the unforeseen snag , Ken decided to show me again the postcard-perfect autumnal color.

He drove towards Winona coasting along the Mississippi river.

It was breathtaking.

From inside the car, I have the view of the calm river to my right and the golden light pouring through the trees along the mountain to my left. I sat quietly while I marvel at the rich interplay of solemn browns, and brash yellow, the dash of crimson against the broad strokes of green. It stretches on and on from Winona to Wabasha to Lake City.

I couldn't help thinking how blessed I am to see this wonderful display of nature. There is nothing like this back in my country and I wish folks back home could see what i am seeing right now. This!

I silently thank Ken for such thoughtfulness knowing fully well that such a long drive will put a toll on his feet.

And indeed, he felt throbbing pain on his leg on our way back...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hot iron gone cold.

Early in life I have learned that washing and ironing one's own clothes is a part of life, the way brushing one's teeth is. I was taught early on that knowing how to iron clothes is a life skill and if nothing else, a necessity. We Filipinos take pride in our clean and well put appearance.

In fact, we wouldn't be caught wearing a wrinkled clothing even inside our homes.

So, imagine my surprise when I see household here in the US without an iron or ironing board in their homes. Most Americans wear creased clothing that is in dire need of ironing and yet no one give a hoot about it.

Wait, that's jumping forward.

Going back, I didn't actually get into ironing clothes when my boys were still growing up. We have a housemaid who do that for us. But when money become tight, and letting go of the house help seemed practical, I have to learn how to iron our own clothes.

Oh yes, it's a relief that irons have come a long way since the heavy cast iron monstrosities of days gone by. The one we use back in the province used charcoals to heat it. Thanks God, today we have electric irons that are time saving devices and also save me lot of effort. No wonder I find ironing very pleasant and I do it every Sunday morning after I am done with my house cleaning chores.

Yes, I like ironing. So lower you brows...please!

You see, ironing allows me time for reflection. It' is so easy to let my mind wander as I continue to work my way through the ironing pile. The simple rhythm and the soothing music relaxes me. Sundays is the best day because radio stations play old songs which really sets me in the mood.

BUT, living here in the US changed all that. It seems ironing is a task many Americans shy away from. People here go to church as if they are simply going to the supermarket. They wear shirts pulled out straight from the washing machines. Some don't even bother folding washed clothes but instead just throw them in piles on a bed.

I understand though why ironing is the last thing people here want to do after a long week of work. They have more pressing things to do on weekends like going fishing, or having a picnic, watch football games or go shopping than worry about such mundane things as ironing. Besides, everyone wears wrinkled clothes, so who cares?

So, I really don't know if I should be hopeful or scared with the thought that advancements in technology may further change the way we iron our clothes.

Maybe electric irons will become an ancient relic that we can admire and tell future children, "When I was your age..."


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