NOTE: There’s a short little review at the end if you want it quick.
Alright, let’s get this down and be done.
The beautiful thing about Thai kindness is that they will often help you even if doing so seems unprofessional. To this end, when I told my manager I needed to find a place to print my portfolio for an interview at a different firm, she helped me. Not only did she give me the rest of the day to edit my portfolio, she printed it at work and even suggested stores I could visit to find a case. This is the best of Thai culture.
I made it home by 10 pm that night, tired and worried about the next day. Yes, I had a portfolio but I barely knew anything about the company, or how to prepare for a Thai interview. What if they were looking for a different type of portfolio? My case was boring as all get out since I had the awesome idea of going large with my portfolio, and large portfolio cases don’t exist [except for the one and only boring black one I purchased].
I got to work early. My coworkers continued to be unnervingly helpful in my endeavor to find a job elsewhere. Not out of character for them, but out of character for, well – Western-style business associates. I had a hand-drawn map, clear instructions, input on my clothes, everyone commenting on my portfolio and a an estimate of how long it would take me to travel to the other office. Even with all that help, they started shooing me out the door fifteen minutes early, “Just in case. You should leave now!”
On the one hand, I was in love and awe with my co-workers. On the other hand, I wanted them to back off and give me my Western-style-big-girl-space.
I arrived early, giving me time to cool off from the sweltering 30-second walk from the taxi to the front door, sit down, and get nervous again. The interview went well, although I felt like my potential bosses were uncharacteristically abrupt. Not unkind, but strange for Thais. As we spoke, though, I learned they had both previously worked in America. I’ve encountered this before, Asians coming to America and attempting to adopt our casualness. Unfortunately, it often comes across as abrupt or even unkind, when mixed in with their Thai timing and culture. Oh, well – nothing I haven’t encountered in these last few months.
Surprisingly, the interview was the longest I’ve ever had, lasting over an hour, plus time for paperwork. I left the office nearly two hours after I arrived!
What I learned in that time was, of course, both exciting, comforting and nerve-wracking.
First off, this isn’t an Architecture firm like where I’ve been interning, but solely an Interior Design firm. Which means instead of working alongside three other Designers, I’d be rubbing shoulders with nearly forty other designers. Once again, the owner and all of studio heads (there are four), have been educated abroad, typically at Ivy League universities. They are ranked quite high throughout all of Thailand [I won’t explain that further, since currently I’m not sharing the name of my future employer]. Even their secretaries speak beautiful English. I would be the first foreigner they have ever employed, just as I am the first at my current firm. While I asked for a year-long contract, they will start me a three-month probationary position.
I’ve loved the opportunity to work near architects, although we never worked together on a project. Leaving that environment does make me sad, but I’m excited to have more time with more Interior Designers. The design approach is a bit different from the typical Thai firm, including my current location. This will be a change, which I’m curious to see played out.
To my chagrin, but not my surprise, it took a full week for the details of my offer to be made. One week is not that long, I know. However, I had a plane ticket to change! And I changed it on the last possible date before incurring additional fees.
The offer is good, not everything I hoped to be given, but a solid Thai salary, with specific points for feedback, a plan for my visa and an explanation of my responsibilities, before arriving.
As you know…I accepted.
1. Moving to a new position at a different Thai firm.
2. Starting January 2nd
3. Current contract runs until the end of March.
4. Will possibly extend contract after review of my work
5. Yes, I am excited.
6. Yes, I question and review the implications of staying overseas constantly.
7. No, I do not regret my decision.
8. I am moving in January, to be closer to my job and not to impose on my amazing hosts.