This is the third anecdote of the first article: “Finding a Job in Spain as a Bachelor in Arts.” As promised, I will present you here four different stories that I lived myself through this hurtful process of finding a job after graduating. These experiences were that much enjoyable that I decided to start my own business.
The summer after graduation, I was desperate to find a job. I am not ashamed to say it. I was feeling really blue at the time because even though all the interviews were great and I passed them all when it was time to negotiate the contract, they expected me to get paid just 1000 euros per month, which is not enough to live on your own, even sharing a flat with others. When I explained to them that I had been promised at least 1650 euros, they all confronted me saying that if I was not interested that I should just leave it, that nowadays everyone had at least one degree and that I was good, but not special. HR these days is becoming wild.
So, when this interview came along… well, I was just tired. I was supposed to move to Lisbon, which is good, I love that place. The payment was good too, and lunch was for free… well it was a great offer. I was going to work for great North American media in the meantime, so it was a great opportunity for both networking and learning. I passed all the interviews: 7 interviews, I feel sleepy just to think about all the interviews I made. I accepted the offer; it was a great deal. I started looking for apartments. I paid for the bail of one apartment. I paid for the plane ticket. I was looking for ways to send my stuff there. Guess what? When the contract arrives, I sit down to read it. The salary was 1000 euros per month, not the 1700 euros they had offered me. I contacted a girl I had met, which was Spanish too, she had already signed and was waiting for me to celebrate and meet her there in Lisbon some time before starting to work.
I asked her what salary was written in the contract; she did not know. She expected the quantity we had been promised. She had signed without reading and was already preparing the luggage. I sent her the picture of my contract and she was stunned. This huge and great company had fooled us. With the money she had signed she could not afford to live in Lisbon. Rent has become way expensive since a lot of US citizens have moved to Portugal to live. And now Europeans, and specially, Portuguese people cannot afford to live in the cities. She had to ask for money to her parents and now I think she is still living and working there. I hope she is okay. I lost my bail fee, my plane ticket and time, but I denied the offer. When I called the HR woman, she told me to sign, that everyone was doing it.
This is my advice: read the contracts (and everything) you sign. And do some numbers, you cannot sign for a salary that you do not know if it is enough to live wherever you are planning to move. After some research and talking with some university colleagues, I discovered this is common. I am shocked. Be careful with what you negotiate, be careful with the promises they made, and read everything you plan to sign.