“Oh, you’re looking for a job? Well, you’re white. Don’t worry. You won’t have a problem. People love hiring white people in KL.”
This is an actual quote that I’ve heard more than once since moving to KL seven months ago. And it usually comes after I’ve explained that I don’t have a work visa, and before I even tell the person what I do.
While I don’t doubt what these people tell me, all I can say is that I haven’t been hired yet – and I still have white skin (Although it’s now slightly tanned thanks to our pool. Maybe I’m not white enough anymore?).
Full disclosure though. I haven’t been giving this job search 110%. Yeah, I’ve kicked a few tires, but I’m also not completely ready to give up sleeping in, drinking coffee all morning, or most importantly, taking advantage of Trina’s abundance of vacation time.
Having said that, I have followed up a few job leads. Here are a couple quick examples…
- International hotel and condo developer – This lead came from an owner of one of the restaurants I was reviewing. After mentioning he was friends with the son-in-law of a guy who ran a billion dollar multinational based in KL, I was pretty excited when he agreed to introduce me. While I did have a brief email exchange with the son-in-law (also the head of HR), it didn’t go much further than passing along my resume and some talk about a work visa and not breaking any laws. Strike one.
- Volunteering with local non-profits – Surely volunteering my time would be easy, right? Not so much. I’ve made 3 unsuccessful attempts to volunteer. One never made it pass my initial email, one died at the first meeting when they found out I wasn’t a lawyer (not sure why they thought that in the first place?), and the other organization required board approval to bring me on as a volunteer to help them write tweets, Facebook posts and website copy. I’m still waiting for the board’s decision and that was 6 weeks ago (they must be busy approving more important decisions like which light bulbs to change or what type of toilet paper to use). Strike two.
- Linked In applications – There are a lot of huge companies based in KL – Samsung, AIG, IBM and those are just the ones I can see from my balcony. And, many of them are looking for PR people on Linked In. I’ve applied for a half dozen of these positions and I’ve only got 1 response back an hour after I applied to tell me they already hired someone. Quick service. Now, I’m not even sure I wanted any of these jobs as I’d likely be working long hours for very little money. So, I think it’s a blessing that I’ve been shutout. Strike three.
The good news is that the restaurant on the first floor of our condo is hiring, and now that I’m a restaurant connoisseur, I’ll be a shoe-in. Sure it only pays in chicken rice, but at least it’ll get my foot in the door.