I’ve been quite looking forward to this post. It’s time to tell you all about my new job! First, a note on how I found it, because it’s a fun story. My father-in-law worked as a civil engineer at Chevron for most of his career, sometimes in some very exotic places. So when Tony was a kid, he spent a couple of years living with his family in Indonesia. Those of you who have been expats know that fellow-expats you meet abroad often become good friends, and you end up keeping in touch long after life has moved both of you on to different places. Fast forward 20 years, and the mother of one of Tony’s friends from his time in Indonesia posted a job opening in The Hague on his Facebook wall (Thank you, Nita!). I read it and thought, wow; that job sounds like it was made for me.
I wasn’t actively applying for jobs at the time, since although my remote U.S. job had recently cut my hours, we were more focused on finding Tony a local job. I didn’t think it would be too easy to find myself a part-time job that fit well into my schedule and was something I would really enjoy. But I was wrong! I sent off my resume and cover letter, and a few weeks later received an invitation to come in and interview with The Expatriate Archive Centre. At the interview, I fell in love with the cute office, the idea of the archive, and the unique, international working environment. Fortunately, the feeling was apparently mutual. They told me they would take the weekend to think it over, but the very day after I interviewed, they called me back to tell me I had gotten the job.
The Expatriate Archive Centre is a private archive dedicated to preserving the social history of expats worldwide and making the source material available for academic research. We archive family and personal collections of expats, including diaries, letters, photographs, blogs, videos, tickets, etc. As the PR & Marketing Manager, my job is to reach out to those who might have materials to donate, researchers with interest in related areas, and potential volunteers at the archive.
There are quite a few reasons I love my job. First, it’s a pretty fun working environment. Our director, Kristine, is from Latvia. Eva, the archivist, is from Austria. And our office manager, Catherine, is Australian. Our volunteers and interns hail from a dozen other countries at any one time. So conversation at the lunch table is always interesting, and often hinges on important international topics–like the best candy from everyone’s home country. My own job responsibilities are something I enjoy. A lot of it involves liaising with people from various international and expat-focused organisations, as well as writing articles and giving presentations about the archive.
And of course, I am becoming quite attached to the archive itself, which is a fascinating repository of stories from expats like me. The collection represents over 100 countries, and so many unique and enlightening pieces. It’s always fun to get a glimpse of what’s in that chilly, climate-monitored room, even though it would probably take more than a lifetime to read through it all. Plus, I’ve always kind of had a secret dream of working for a nonprofit in The Hague. And now I do! Finally, as I mentioned in my previous post, the hours are pretty much perfect. The archive is open from 10-4 Monday through Thursday. I work three of those days. Tony normally takes the kids to school on the days I work so I can go to yoga, but if he’s out of the country for a day or two on business, I can take the kids to school and still be to work in plenty of time.
It’s not every day that the perfect job just falls into your lap. In fact, this is the first time it’s happened to me. Here’s to serendipity!