The story of Gabriela

Honk1 is a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of their level of education, working experience, age, or origin. It’s a place where everybody would be able to re-discover themselves when it comes to the field of work. To find their abilities, interest, and opportunities in a changing working environment. We can imagine that it can be challenging for foreigners to know how and where to start in the process of finding a job in the Netherlands. We strive to minimalize – or even get rid of – the barriers and challenges the people who come to the Netherlands from abroad are facing. Hereby, one of our visitors Gabriela tells her story. Due to Honk1 she found a job at the hotel chain Marriott.

Gabriela: “Everything is about connection”

Which challenges are foreigners facing?

When you arrive here in the Netherlands or anywhere else as a matter a fact, it’s very common that you have to start all over again, completely. Those who want to settle permanently in the Netherlands must learn the Dutch language, actively participate in Dutch society, and learn about the Dutch working culture. On certain levels we are aware of that and we try to do our best to fulfill that duty. When you want to get on the job market you are facing many challenges. People unconsciously have prejudiced ideas about foreigners that significantly inform their thoughts and behaviors. Some think automatically that we are not capable of doing the job because of the language barrier, which results in not even looking at our covering letter although they are international themselves or are organized in such way. We’re somehow trapped in a vicious circle of the system in learning Dutch language that people here are unaware, but we manage to overcome by learn it ourselves, then least the minimum conversation level. Dutch language classes are expensive (for example, 2 lessons per week €299, 4 lessons per week €499, for a module of 3 months up till 18 months) and in order for us to follow them we need to have a job to pay them. When we don’t manage to get a job, we cannot afford to pay. And in order to be able to pay we need a job that we can afford to pay above our basic needs of food and shelter. From what I know, I might be wrong, subsidies are not granted to individuals but schools, employers, libraries. We often do not know all the process how to get there.

On top of that, nowadays almost everything in the selection process is digital. People tend only to give attention to diplomas and less to the work experience written down on a CV, but they don’t take the time to meet the person in real life. Every employer wants a ”topper” (the best) without investing time and training. Butlearning is the base of our existence, and everybody can learn something new. Connection is missing and then there are missing opportunities, on both sides. Which is a shame because every person has their story, valuable work experiences, and capabilities. There are a lot of extraordinary people, coming from different backgrounds, that are truly capable not only doing the job but bring talents and value on which both employer and employee can benefit greatly. And we are eager to learn. Orientation and training is another vital thing, it shows the care and the interest of an employer to keep an employee. We are ready for that too. We are here and we don’t want to be on the invisible side anymore. In the end, we are people that needs other people, in times when most of our lives happens behind a screen is time to give a try to the old fashion way of meeting people face to face.

How is your experience with Honk1?

My first meeting with Jaap, it was so extraordinary and coming in such a right moment in my life that stays engraved in memory. The attention and the patience that I received from him with openness and curiosity while listening to me, that was unique. I was not only heard, but listened to. He managed to focus on the things that were already there to use. In my case were the few other languages that I speak, beside my mother tongue, Romanian. I have been working in Horeca before moving to Netherlands, managed to work in the same area here too for short time and had different jobs while being registered ZZP-er and work as an administrator (Beheerder) of a small office location in The Hague. Unfortunately, the pandemic changed everything. The mission was not only get a job in this crisis time but get into an environment that fits me and where I can grow.

Jaap and I literally talked about everything, my background, experiences I have been through, and what I would really like to learn and do if I would have the chance. I have never heard of a place – and it was exactly what I needed – where people are truly interested in people’s experiences and capabilities, without only paying attention to diplomas. I was not used to that kind of election process, but it felt so good and right, relaxed with a tint of humor. I was allowed to be myself without prejudice, after all we were talking about serious things. Either way would of turned the outcome, I knew then it was a rare occasion. I first tried in Dutch, but sometimes when I didn’t know how to explain something, or it got more complex I switched to English as I wanted to express clearly. After the meeting we scheduled another one for three weeks later, after my vacation. The highway A4 was closed at the time our second meeting was scheduled. Still Jaap tried his best to set up a meeting, remotely. He managed to send an email to Marriott and introduce me and told me that I will receive a phone call from them. Two hours after that I was already contacted by the company. They invited me for a job interview and to get acquainted in the following days and soon afterwards I signed the offered contract. I’m still amazed at this moment of the rhythm of the events.

What are you doing at Marriott?

I am working for the food and beverages department. Mainly I’m in the breakfast time service with a wonderful crew of people and after, serving food courses and beverages to guests either in the restaurant, bar, or room service. We follow the planning and the structure, and we go where the work is needed and that makes every day different. That’s the part I really like, diversity. But it’s not only about that. Being able to pay attention to details and ensure an overall satisfaction during the stay is what hospitality is about, of all work departments. I love to be in contact with people which gives me satisfaction. Sometimes making a nice gesture, no matter how insignificant might look could bright up someone’s day. Yes, we learn a job, but we also add a personal touch trough kindness and understanding. Every team makes sure to give them an experience, puzzle pieces that comes together. Although I worked for short period in the hotel industry previously, I’m a fast learner and eager to learn on how to do certain things I haven’t done before. But all works fine and with good guidance I am getting there. The job at Marriott fits me very well, the work, the international working environment, and my colleagues. In the conversation Jaap and I had, Jaap found clues about my personality traits that I can utilize. He didn’t only search for a job for me, he made sure that it was a good match. The connection he made was just really touching and open a door for me. Personally, I will always do my best and honor the trust and confidence that was given to me. I am grateful.

Iedereen is welkom bij Honk1

Iedereen is welkom om binnen te lopen bij Honk1. Het is een ontmoetingsplek waar iedereen de mogelijkheid krijgt om te (her)ontdekken welk werk het beste bij hem of haar past. Hierbij laten we ons niet enkel leiden door wat iemand in het verleden heeft gedaan. We richten ons beeld liever op de toekomst. Waar wil je juist naartoe werken? Welke talenten bezit je die daarbij nuttig zijn? Kom het ook ontdekken bij een van onze Honk1 stores!