Speak English? How’s $2 An Hour Sound?

We took a rather large leap of faith moving our family to Peru.

By many standards, our life wasn’t bad in Colorado.

We had a nice home.

We’d recently developed a small circle of friends with children the same age as ours. We were spending quite a bit of time with them.

Anyone who knows me knows that, for me, making friends is no small feat.

I had a job I actually enjoyed and that paid well.

We had decent health insurance.

After Adriana’s SMA diagnosis, we found many resources available to help us with this monumental change in our lives. Resources at Children’s Hospital, Medicaid, the state of Colorado…they all provided help.

But we couldn’t deny that Adriana was (and still is) reacting much better to therapy in Peru. That, along with the many hands available to help us here, made our decision to move easier.

Easier, but still not easy.

An hour’s work earns you a burger…….almost

One of my greatest fears about coming to Peru was finding a job. I knew moving here meant I would lose the job I had.

Quite often, I fast forward to when (and if) we return to the United States. I see myself again without a job.

I’ll be pushing 50.

I feel my hair turning grey just thinking about it. Or maybe it’s the hair falling from my head that I feel.

I’ve been out of work for a few months now.

Feels like an eternity.

Being a native English speaker, I’ve been exploring opportunities that allow me to use this skill in Spanish-speaking Peru.

I recently responded to an add in the newspaper that stated, among other things:

  • “Native English speakers needed.”
  • “Best pay in the industry!”
  • “Unlimited earning potential”

This was it. I found my salvation!

They contacted me almost immediately to interview for the position. My confidence was back…they must know talent when they see it!

I dressed in my best suit and tie and arrived early for the interview.

Red flag number 1

I entered what appeared to be an abandoned office floor.

If you’ve seen the movie Bruce Almighty, I felt like Jim Carrey’s character, Bruce, when he was sent to a job interview.

He arrived at an abandoned building, only to find one person there.

Turns out that person was God.

I searched everywhere for Morgan Freeman, but no luck.

[Side note: Morgan Freeman played God in the movie]

A woman at a front office greeted me and handed me a one-page application. Her accent sounded British, but she said so few words that it was hard to tell.

Red flag number 2

The woman sent me to the back part of the floor which was —  surprise — abandoned.

That’s actually not true.

There were about a dozen empty chairs and tables that kind of reminded me of my eighth grade classroom. There was a better view, though, as I stood gazing out from the 13th floor (another red flag).

Red flag number 3

A second woman, who looked like she may be ditching high school to be there, said she would be right with me.

This couldn’t be my interviewer, could it?!

She came back and sat down.

I started to get the light-headed feeling you get when you stand up too fast.

We started to go over the application. I honestly don’t remember what was on the application or how I filled it out.

My mind was conjuring up thoughts of a quick escape.

She began to explain the job.

Then, out of nowhere, she kicked me in the gut!

Not literally, of course.

Actually, I might have preferred an actual punch to the gut. At least I’d have an excuse to leave.

But instead, her words were a kick in the gut.

“If you work hard and meet your goals,” she said, “you can earn as much as 800 Soles a month!”

She said it as if she expected me to fall on my knees and beg her if I could start work that day.

Let me do the math for you.

800 Soles comes out to about $300 U.S. dollars a month.

Let me say that again, slowly.

800 Soles comes out to about $300 U.S. dollars a month.

Allow me to do some more math.

At 40 hours a week (maybe even more), that comes out to a whopping $2 an hour.

I was about ready to call Gaby and have her start house hunting in Miraflores (one of the more expensive districts in Lima).

Wait, it gets better!

The young child (I mean woman) proceeded to tell me that if I do really, really well, I could become a manager in a few months, just like she is!

That meant…………….wait for it……………..900 Soles a month!

I’ll let you do the math this time.

It’ll be fun!

All the fear I had about finding work in Peru just floated away…..and was replaced with sheer terror!

My head was spinning so hard as I was leaving, I almost ran into the teenager in shorts,  sandals and a t-shirt who was next in line to be interviewed.

Take a guess!

Can you guess the dream job that so highly valued native English speakers?

If you can, I’ll send you a Sol!

4 thoughts on “Speak English? How’s $2 An Hour Sound?

  1. You are a gem…love the way you think and express yourself. Will continue to pray for you
    and yours and for a GOOD job to come along. To read you is to love you.

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