I had no idea that at the time I finished work at 5pm on Monday 19th June that that would be the last time I would step foot in the Sofia Boutique Hotel. Four months of working there may have just ended but I didn’t feel sadness or failure, I felt anger and betrayal. Having not worked for a whole year before landing my original Customer Care position at Sofia it took some courage to work, for depression had put an ugly end to my last full time job a year ago. I feared that as soon as I began work again the negative thoughts and depressive moods would resurface, but I pushed through and took the job. Many times I simply wanted to quit, especially so when the passion for the job I had was diminished, but I carried on for the sake of getting our rescue dog Princess home to England. There were little alternatives out there for me and so I knew that this job was all I really had in order to bring in income. My partner, who worked in the same hotel as me, had more opportunities however as her outgoing and extrovert personality meant she wasn’t limited to hotel or desk work.
Just a few days prior to what would be my last day at Sofia my partner got given a great job opportunity, she was wanted as an English Teacher in the Vietnamese countryside. Her wage would be over double what she was earning at the hotel and she would only need to teach for three days a week compared to the six that the hotel required. It was a no brainer. I was offered the same position too as they wanted the both of us, but I turned it down due to the fact I lack teaching experience, and if you put me in front of a group of school children all looking at me and depending on me to teach them then I know I would freeze. The only teaching I have ever done was back in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) last year which was only one on one, and it’s fair to say I didn’t enjoy it as I couldn’t wait for the class to finish. I could never put my heart into something like that, not because I don’t want children to learn English, but because of the anxieties that flare up upon each time driving me to the shadows.
My partner took the job and was requested to begin work in the next few days, meaning that she could not offer the hotel any form of work prior to leaving, she simply had to tell them that she would not be returning and leave the hotel for good. Thankfully however contracts aren’t a big thing, especially when hiring travellers, and so there was no obligation to offer any form of notice. The meeting in which she would inform the hotel of her departure was scheduled, and I fully expected her to return with a big smile on her face knowing that she was finally free from hotel work. Sadness and tears where what she returned with, she should be happy as she was now free to begin work as an English Teacher, but the sadness was because I was now free too. I had effectively been sacked, and for no good reason.
During my partner’s meeting with the hotel owner he clearly explained that whilst he understood her need to move on to a new challenge it would be impossible for me to continue to work at the hotel. Apparently the person that I answered to on a day to day basis had complained about the fact that we both never quite saw eye to eye and constantly had creative differences. Therefore I was basically released of my duties because I cared about the work that I produced, enough to always stand up for it and want what was best for the hotel, that was the thing that hurt the most about the whole situation. During my time at the hotel I always put the effort in, always tried to produce the best work that I could possibly do, and yes the pay was pretty poor but that didn’t stop me from wanting to help improve the quality of the hotel and restaurant. All I ever did was my best, but sometimes your best just isn’t good enough.
So I was now unemployed and had very few options in front of me, and I did everything I could to hide the fact that I was panicking inside. My partner went off to teach in the countryside, a trip that would take her over an hour away from Da Nang with classes both early in the morning and continuing into the evening. It was best for her to stay in the countryside for the three days instead of constantly coming back and forth to the city, and as much as I was going to miss her it presented me with a good opportunity to get my head down and focus on looking for new work. Thankfully my partner’s new wage equalled more than our combined earnings at the hotel, but I still wanted to look for a new job and pay my way.
At first the whole situation felt like a big step backward, but in reality the income received still meant that we were on course for getting Princess home by October. Until the worst happened….