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[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ne week ago we moved to the Netherlands. We had a job in Amsterdam already. A cleaners job in a 4 star hotel. We knew we would start training on Monday or Tuesday. And our plan was to stay here for several months. Work and save money. And then to move on again.
Initially we planned to stay here for not more than 3 months, to acquire New Zealand’s Working Holiday visa, and to go to New Zealand already this fall. But we were too late. There are only 100 such kind of visas issued in a year, and all of them were gone already when we decided to apply.
And the next time applications for this visa open on 24 February 2017.
But as we already had tickets to the Netherlands and job in Amsterdam, we went there anyway. To work for as long as it will feel good.
7:20 AM. It’s cloudy. It isn’t raining anymore, but anyway it’s pretty cold. Even in warm hoodie and jacket. Doesn’t feel like summer. Our metro comes, and we enter it. We need to get out after 5 stops. And then there will be the next one, on which we need to go almost until the last stop.
In total getting to the job, as we learned already yesterday, takes us around an hour. About 30 minutes on metro and 15 – 25 minutes walking. And in Amsterdam it’s quite expensive, too. Even with a monthly pass for metro it costs almost 100 euro per person. Without a pass – about 6 euro per day for 1 person, or more if we want to get out in the middle and go, for example, to shop or some other place. We haven’t applied for this pass yet, so we are using ordinary 1 hour tickets (disposable OV chipkaart).
Metro train starts moving. We don’t talk. Almost no one is talking. Some people are looking at their phones. Others are just sitting. What most of them have in common is tired looking face. It’s just the beginning of the day. But I feel tired already. And that’s what I see in other people’s faces as well. Most of us are tired.
We don’t want to be here. We wouldn’t choose it if having a choice. At least that’s how we say to ourselves. But we have commitments. And we need to go somewhere. That’s why now, at this moment, we are here, sitting in this metro at this early hour of the morning. Some of us are going to work, some are going to school, some have other reasons to be here.
10 minutes later train stops for the fifth time, and here it is, our metro station. We get out of the train to get into the next one. We sit down. I take a quick look around. More tired looking faces are all around us. Train starts moving and I feel like drowning. Is it for real? Will I need to do it for day after day, day after day, day after day? And month after month?
“No, no, no, I don’t want this! There should be another option”, is all I can think about at that moment.
Although I know, that there really are another options, I start to accept the fact, that, yes, this is what I will be doing for at least next few months.
I know, that there are other ways of living. I know it. I have seen it. I have even tried it. It’s tired looking faces that’s something unusual for me now. I haven’t seen them for more than half a year, since we left the Netherlands at the end of 2015.
Back then we were working and saving money in the Netherlands for 6 months.
Train stops. We get out, and start walking to our hotels, to our jobs. We don’t want to go there, but we have to.
First day wasn’t that bad after all, though. Yesterday in the evening, when talking about our first day of work, we both could agree about one thing – it isn’t something new for us. We have done it, while volunteering in France and Canary islands. We can do it really good, only here it should be done much, much faster than we are used to. That makes it much harder, but everyone says, that you get used to it. Well, I guess, it’s true.
But anyway I have this feeling that this isn’t my place. That it’s not something I want to do for next few months. Day after day. Month after month. Again, the same like many others, who are in jobs they hate. Going and working only because they kind of have to. Because that’s normal. That’s what everyone is doing. Because it’s normal to hate Mondays and love Fridays.
And, you know, it’s not just about the work we are doing. It’s also about people. We are so used to spend our time with people with whom we don’t want to be in contact, that we simply accept it. We are used to do because we have to, not because we want to.
Few hours later I send a message to Una:”I will not work here. This is not my place. We can leave Amsterdam tomorrow.” Una writes back, that she feels the same.
In the evening we message our boss and tell her, that we are leaving.
We left a job because we didn’t like it.
We left a job because we couldn’t agree with boss, that our working and living conditions are fair.
We left a job because of some people, with whom otherwise we would need to work together.
We did it because we had a choice. And you also have a choice. Always.