Monday, 3 March 2014

Working hard in the service industry in Vienna - Part I.

Maybe you noticed our blogpost about ‘Working hard in the service industry in Vienna’ in which we asked you to tell us about your experience with working in Austria as a foreigner. Today, we bring you the first interview!

On 24th February 2014, we interviewed Petra Nyíriová,  a 21 year old, former student at Komensky from Slovakia. She currently studies English at the university in Vienna and used to work in Sport Experts but quit the job.

Which reasons did you have for moving to Austria?
-          I always wanted to move out from Slovakia because I just don´t like the economics and the whole package there. My mum has been working here for 5 years. She told me she found a school for me in Vienna, the Komensky school. So I thought „Yeah, why not?“ and that was it.
Was it hard to learn the new language?
-          It was, because, no offence to anyone, I didn´t really learn anything in school because  I had the opportunity to speak in my native language, which was Slovak.  So I wasn´t really forced to speak German. I didn´t have to, I just learned something about grammar, maybe. But then in these last 7 months in work I think I really found myself in this language (Does that sentence make sense?).
I learned the basic stuff about communication. In school it was hard because  you really have to speak properly, grammatically correctly and you have to be careful because you get marks.
In work you just talk, talk, talk to everyone to get along with them. 

What did you have to do at Sports Experts?
-          I was a saleswoman and assistant. That means you have to explain the products and help the customers. I sometimes worked at the till as well, so I was also selling the stuff.
Why did you quit the job?
-          I quit because it was too much to handle and at the time where I applied for the job they  didn´t tell me that they were bought from Sports Direct and it will be a lot more to do than it was before, so I couldn´t handle school and job at the same time. It was just too much.
Can you tell us more about it?
-          Sure. I think I applied in July 2013 and they hired me right away although I didn´t want to work there. My friend actually forced me to apply, so it was kind of...“funny“.
And they didn´t tell me they were bought from Sports Direct. That means that the shop was rebuilt. They rebuilt everything! The system changed and that wasn´t really fair, because you know, if you want to work somewhere, they should let you know about changes.
People weren´t satisfied because the prices and the quality of the stuff had changed, we had a lot of things but there was a lot in means of quantity, not quality. And the till point was at the farthest corner of the shop, so the customers couldn´t find it.  I know that they can´t understand the changes if they aren´t involved, so we had to explain the changes all the time. I mean, it was a total chaos.
The customers were always angry. You had to take it all.
And all the madness concentrated at the till point, which was the place where I was all the time.
Do you have some funny stories?
-         Funny stories...Well, one of the funniest things was that we didn´t give a bag for free.
Customers had to buy one for 79 cents. At the end of the day, we got the percentage of the transactions of the bags we sold in comparison to the transaction. And when I quit, I knew I would have to stay there for 6 weeks and I told everyone that on my last day, I wouldn´t sell a single bag because I just didn´t care and that´s why the sales dropped somehow.
On the last day my boss asked me: „And, for how long are you staying here?“
I said: „For about 3 more hours.“  - „Oh, so that´s why you have 0 percent. Ok, I understand. That´s fine.“ I had zero cents. I was really proud of myself (laughs).
Are there any differences between working in Austria and Czech Republic?
-         I haven´t worked in neither Czech Republic, nor Slovakia- But I can tell you that there is a big difference in salary.
I had two reasons for staying there for 7 months. For 25 hours a week I earned about 900 Euros.
Although I have to say they made us work lots of overtime hours. I was registered for 25 hours and they made me work for 35 or even 40 hours a week, which is a lot. Now I have 130 overtime hours and I should get them paid off next week and I am hoping for the best (laughs).
And the second reason was the team. There were, as I said, students and young people.
When we changed to Sports Direct, they changed people every day the whole week through so we had about 80 employees. It wasn´t easy to get along with everyone, though.
What do you think about Austrians?
-         I have to say I was really afraid of getting a job where I had to speak German because I wasn´t confident about speaking. But everyone was really kind and they didn´t care that you were from a foreign country, so if I got into fights with customers, which happened quite often, I had the feeling that they would maybe tell me: „Yeah, you are from another country. Don´t speak well, you don´t have the right to tell me anything.“ But they weren´t, they were kind, which was awesome.
But I also have to say that the worst customers were the Austrians because they think, not everyone, of course, if they are unhappy, they have the right to get into fights with you and blame you for everything.
Do you plan to stay in Vienna?
-         No, I´m moving to London in summer. You get away from German (laughs).
But you said you actually liked Vienna!...
-         I do, I do! Vienna is a great place to live in if you plan on having a family, children, stable work, want to study and have like a really, really good life, earn a lot and stuff. But I think I´m too young for that. I don´t want to have a family and children. I think there is a better opportunity somewhere else and I´ve been to London... (thinking) just once, so I just came back from London and it was really awesome.

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