Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wed 18 Nov

I had managed to organise a meeting with a guy who ran a language school in one of the nicer parts of Brussels. So, it was a case of get up, eat the croissants C had brought me back from breakfast (didn't fancy getting up at 7 in order to eat awful clone hotel food), put my suit on (without tie!), and then figure out the Brussels Metro system, complete with large map and Rough Guide for help.

As usual, took me an eternity to find the nearest Metro stop and I can never seem to find street names on my maps. This is a recurring pattern in my life. The metro is actually very easy to use once you know where you're going, what platform you need, and what train to catch. The stations are clean and the trains a mixture of very modern and not so. The great thing is that the stops are very close together so it only took me about 15mins to get to my meeting.

The meeting seemed to be in someone's flat. For the second time in two days I'm following a strange man up some very narrow stairs in almost complete darkness. The place didn't look like a language school. Probably because it wasn't. The company just hires teachers and then sends them out to teach at various companies all around Brussels.

We spoke mainly in English as he gave me an account of the Belgian tax system ("too much of it"), my options as either a 'freelancer/self-employed' or entering the SMART system which is too complicated to explain. Most of the time I sat there like a lemon whilst his phone rang and he chatted for 10mins at a time, whilst spinning around in his chair. He (I'll call him Louis because he looked like a Louis) had a little sign on his desk which read: "Happy Boss." Another charlatan, I was thinking at the time.

He then gets me to provide him with 3 things I should know as a teacher before teaching someone. When I give him what he seems to want to hear, he jumps up, claps his hands and shouts: "Yes. This is it. It's over. This is the interview. All over. C'est fini. I have my answers. Now we chat." So we chat about god knows what. Well, that was the shortest interview I'd ever had. I guess I am always complaining about modern day work interviews which last over an hour, with 5 people on a panel, tests, events, then a 2nd, a 3rd interview etc. until they tell you that you're not qualified enough for their £14,000 a year admin job.

At the end of the meeting/interview he told me that I must get a Belgian mobile as soon as possible so "that way I can have you when I want you." Steady on.

Well, I should hear from him soon with work offers. No need for references for this chap. I think they do things differently over here!

Spend the rest of the day wandering around Brussels, handing my CV in to various people, and somehow ending up in a street full of prostitutes. See a couple of cars drive by, hooting, with giant Algerian flags being waved out of the window, ahead of tonight's World Cup qualifying decider against Egypt.

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