Some Italians come to Australia and think they are in Italy, in other words they think thay have to be grateful if someone offers them a job as if they were giving them a kidney, they do not have to ask how much are they going to be paid per hour, they are submissive and subjugated to their boss carrying some butter in their hands, ready to use.
Italians having a business in Australia know that, and behave accordingly.
Let’s make some things clear:
1.We are not in Italy.
2. Since we are not in Italy there are rules in the job market and every profession has an established hourly wage. ESTABLISHED. Employers can’t get up one day and decide today they will pay you half or double the amount the payed you yesterday.
For many jobs, in addition to the interview, there is a trial, where the employer tests you to see if you are suitable for the job. The trial has rules, too:
– Within 2 hours may not be paid.
– Over 2 hours it has to be paid, maybe less than what would be normal hourly wage but it should be paid.
For example, some time ago I went to do a trial for Australians. I worked for 4 hours, and they gave me $50, cash in hand. I didn’t get the job as they were looking with someone with experience in the role, which I didn’t have, but they paied me,since I worked. (For Italians the difference between work and charity is more and more unclear).
The day before yesterday I went for a trial for an Italian who opened a fast food last October, in a mall in the middle of nowhere, 50′ by bus from CBD. At first, he told me to go for an interview then, the evening before the interview, he asked me if I wanted also to do the trial since I was going all the way up there; of course I said yes. The “trial” lasted for six hours and I haven’t been paied a dime. He made the big gesture of giving me 2 slices of pizza to take home, with great magnanimity. Dude, you can keep your pizza, don’t bother. The big proposal at the end of the 6 hours was: “Come here full time, 6 days out of 7, for 15 dollars per hour” …
My questions were of course time of shifts and number of hours per week. He said he would always need me in the evening for closing and for the hours he doesn’t know, it can vary from 30 to 50 per week (which is quite a variation). The minimum wage for that type of work would be $ 18 an hour, and I have to pay taxes. If he wants me there for closing the shop, and he always wants me to work on a Saturday, it means that before 7/7.30pm I can’t be in the city and I could hardly take other jobs in the evening. Being busy on Saturday I would also lose most chances of casual jobs, which could be really well paid.
Worst case scenario: 30 hours at $15 are $450 per week. A week fixed costs are: rent, between 150 and 200, transport 40. Add food and in my case, unfortunately, cigarettes and little remains. All this to live a shitty life in which you share a house with other 12 people to save money, you get up at dawn and return in the evening, rationing the food, do not go out and spend no money whatsoever for your passions, such as yoga, dance or gym. Living like this would make some sense in the outback, where the cost of living is very low compared to the big cities. Go in the middle of nowhere, work like a slave, put a lot of money aside. There it has some meaning. Here it’s doing charity to the swindlers. (and anyway, I mean it makes sense if you get the right wage, not if they underpay you).
He also told me that if I work for him, in case I want to quit I have to give him 2 weeks notice, as “I doesn’t want to get fooled by any 20 something whippersnapper, I know you are 30 and well educated but still, I need to have this conversation with you”.
It’s always interesting to see how many guarantees want people who are giving you none.
He said he would have been in touch with me today as he still had to see another girl.
At the moment I am working as a casual and this doesn’t cover my weekly expenses and in the meantime I am looking for something else, so before refusing a job I think twice, but in this case I won’t.
I didn’t do charity to the swindlers in Italy, I definitely didn’t come to Australia to do it here.
What makes me angry is that there are people who accept it. Accept the $15 an hour, some even 13, and make the situation worse for everyone. They are like those people in Italy who work for free or for ridiculous amounts just to do something, and can support themselves only through family help. Then, when you suggest to do something together (concert, theater, evening) they start annoying you, without even asking for more info about the event, jumping directly to the “How much is it?”question.
The other thing that makes me angry is that we Italians always manage to ruin everything, everywhere. This is a country that works. With its pros and its cons, like all countries, but it works. We manage to ruin even the countries that work, exporting arrogance, carelessness and improvisation. “I am an entrepreneur who opened a business because I have a vision” (because they speak so, as if the rest were not terrifying enough already) “and you have the great opportunity to be part of this business in the start-up phase for then have a medal of wood in the afterlife”.
Here too there is always a basic flaw. If you’re an entrepreneur and you need workers, the fact that you can not pay them is your problem, not the worker’s. If you have the vision but not the dosh, it is still your problem. It means that you will do the job of 4 people, if you believe in your idea, until you can afford to hire someone respecting the minimum decent employment conditions.
I’m not choosy. I never said I was overqualified, since I went to university, to do any job. I did the postwoman, I scratched floors, I did mulching in the rain forest, rummaging in the organic because some moron could not figure out that on the bin was written, in Arial 36, “just food” in his native language, and he threw the whatever in it.
I’m working as a waitress with the humility of those who have no experience in a profession and want to learn how to do the job well, not with the face of those who think they are superior. Each job is worth, and worthy have to be the conditions of work. I do not accept to work in inhuman conditions for the dream of someone else and I do not spoil the opportunities of many because I lack the spine.
Italians migrate to Australia to work. But if you come here to work according to the “no rules” Italian job market, well, you better stay home at mama’s.