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YOUR experience working in Italy...

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1 YOUR experience working in Italy... on 25th January 2010, 12:07 am

quoteRe: YOUR experience working in Italy...
by Ggnitaly84 on 24 Aug 2009 18:50

I am bit curious about other expats experiences working in Italy, the upsides, downfalls, crazy stories. Lets share!

I have just worked here in Florence, pretty much doing everything! English teacher, nanny "tata" or slave as I called myself, salesgirl in a leather shop, celebrant for weddings ( I still do ), apartment manager/agent, marketing ( current ) . All of them have been interesting, I didn't know much Italian when I first came to Italy and thus was forced to take nanny positions or "conversational" English teaching.

The nanny job was demoralizing. I worked for a rich Florentine women , basically picking up her daughter from school and playing with her. Mom was always shopping at Prada or "working" at the family business ( publishing company) where she came bk every day for a 4 hour lunch/nap and sometimes just took the rest of the day off to go to Prada. Her daughters English was quite good but she was VERY spoiled and rude.

Common scenario would be Me: " Nerina, how was school today?" Nerina: " WHy do you ask me that, is that because you feel you have too?". Yeah..seriously or "that’s a fake purse that you have, why?" lol.. i was underpaid ( my fault as I didn't know much about how much a proper wage was at the time ect ect ), The mom would forget to pay me or argue about half an hour overtime, yeah.. not good.

Luckily after a few other not so great babysitting experiences, I did finally find a family that I Still work for, twice a week , great family and I also rent out an apartment they own to stranieri and take a percentage as they don't have time to find renters.

Leather shop, I think they hired me just to get some marketing done in english that they couldn’t do in-house, conveniently after I was done doing their marketing, the owners nephew came to work at the shop and I 'wasn't needed' anymore.

the wedding celebrant is something I still do whenever needed, basically the women who started the business has so many customers she can't do them all herself. Its super easy but you have to be at easy public speaking and it pays very well.

My most extensive work experience was working as an assistant to an Italian lady who managed several apartments in and around Florence. Her office was located in Piazza della Signoria and I was super excited at having a "normal" office job in a great location in the city. I started off taking a small base salary under the condition that I also make commission on rental contracts. For the first month or so, I learned from her the ins and outs and there was another girl from the south ( she was 36 and quite surprised that I at 24 was looking to work lol..)

I loved the job and she promised more opportunities later, expanding to wedding planning ect ect. I started noticing she was a little strange when she mentioned " i have had over 20 girls who didn't work out at this job before you and i hope you don't disappoint me" ummm no pressure there! She didn't provide me with a proper tour of the apartments and seemed quite stressed most of the time even if her workdays revolved around complaining how much she "worked" and smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee.

After awhile, I started doing really well, signing many contracts and providing good customer service for our mainly foreign client base. This in itself was a problem due to the fact that my boss had NO people skills and would demand money up front/ or not want be there if something went wrong with the apartments. I found myself with the brunt of the work and apologizing constantly while she yelled in the background that they are all trying to "cheat her".

I was making good money which kept me there but getting her to pay me in a timely matter was VERY hard, she was super greedy and always tried to cheat me out of some money. It was a difficult situation since, I had no other opportunities ( I was always looking out for other jobs ) and I wasn’t confident about my Italian ( thankfully that has changed ) and work contracts are difficult to come by. My boyfriend was always telling me to quit but I was scared to do that before I had another job.

It basically got to the point where she was openly insulting me and making snide comments about everything I did, like " you are a good seller Georgette but all you care about is money and I need someone who doesn't care about money so much". ummmm i just ask that I get paid.. i didn’t know that meant caring too much about money..

finally I grew "palle" to tell her off when she refused to pay me an agreed amount and stormed out of the office in an angry stupor thinking I would never hear from the “devil reincarnated “again, but… she actually called me the next day and paid me everything while avoiding looking into my eyes..


since then i have been much more careful, choosing to work for myself and being more picky. I now do the same job as i did before, but i cut her out of it. I called owners directly ( by looking at ads that were posted in Italian for apartments) and made arrangements with them to advertise their apartment to stranieri and take a percentage if a contract was signed, its worked out quite well!

I also worked for an American company who has a website with tips about Italy selling publicity for their site and their English directory. They are very kind and pay me whether I sell or not . I feel very lucky to have my life under my control and have different outlets to make money...

so that said.( and boy was that a novel!) . i would LOVE to hear your experiences of working in Italy :-D.. the bad, the good, and the ugly!![quote]

I wrote this in expat thread but never really got any responses.. lets revive pink forum! Very Happy

View user profile http://ggnitaly84.blogspot.com/

2 Re: YOUR experience working in Italy... on 26th January 2010, 11:33 pm

Hi, I'm new to the forum and just having a look around. Love your account of the different jobs you've had in Italy; you've certainly had some diverse expeiences!
I've been here for two and a half years now. At the beginning I worked in a travel agency, but didn't last out long due to pitiful pay, long hours and the frustration of working in an environment akin to a (not very efficient) 1950s office- think piles of dusty ringbinders and hours of unnecessary form-filling.
I did the babysitting spoilt kids too- right now in fact I have a 'situation' where a mother asked for an english teacher only for me to discover on arrival at their place that the kid is 3 and she wants a babysitter "who'll teach him Englsih"...at babysitter prices of course.
After that I did the rounds of the English schools and discovered that the work is often badly paid and patchy (ie, making yourself "available" for 12 hours a day for a few months of the year then not working for big chunks of the rest of it).
Now I'm giving independent private tuition a go. I'm grateful for anything I can make a go of after seeing the sorry state that most of my Italian peers are in job-wise.

View user profile http://ramblingsfromrome.blogspot.com/

3 Re: YOUR experience working in Italy... on 27th January 2010, 3:32 pm

Great write-up, Georgette! Thanks for the post. I'm just getting back after a trip to the States for the holidays so am a little behind on my forum-posting/viewing.

You have had a lot of jobs! I am very interested in this celebrant position, but I'm afraid I don't understand exactly what it is you do in this capacity. Do you mind explaining a little further? :>)

As for work experience, I haven't had any yet so I can't comment but the prospects don't seem to be so great. A lot of my Italian friends are in cassa integrazione right now so not sure how that bodes for a non-native Italian. On the other hand, we all bring different experiences and talents to the table so I'm sure something will click, sooner or later.

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4 Re: YOUR experience working in Italy... on 30th January 2010, 6:49 pm

I did the babysitting spoilt kids too- right now in fact I have a 'situation' where a mother asked for an english teacher only for me to discover on arrival at their place that the kid is 3 and she wants a babysitter "who'll teach him Englsih"...at babysitter prices of course.

thats what really annoys me. the concept of "teaching english" at babysitter prices. I have gone through it and so has many of my friends.. most of the time the kids are too young and are still learning Italian.. plus its exhausting! I now am very clear with any inquiries with people.. if you want a babysitter thats one thing, an english tutor something else entirely!

For Jo.. celebrant is someone who marries people but the ceremonies aren;t legal ( as in justice of the peace) . These are mainly for foreigners who want to get married in Italy but don't want to go through the legal nightmare and just do a ceremony conducted by someone like me. We do vows ect ect. They usually get legally married in their home country. Its actually quite fun, i went to an "audition" and its great to see so many fancy weddings that I probably would never have seen, plus i enjoy talking the couples and hearing their story!

now I am extremely content with my job situation... i really like doing marketing for the american company, it allows me to think outside the box and apply what I learned at UNI.. plus its satisfying everytime i manage a sale.. italy is all about adjusting to their work ways and coming up with what works for you . and for me.. its variety and flexibility ..

View user profile http://ggnitaly84.blogspot.com/

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