But first she felt she needed to improve her English skills.
To do this, she enrolled in a Tafe course at North Sydney for intermediate to advanced English. The 3 month course was $4500 and very helpful for her confidence if not her actual English level.
Pim’s English is quite good and she can communicate and get her point across with anyone, however she isn’t overly confident with it and worries about people understanding her. The Tafe course didn’t teach her much more English than she already knew(she was a level above most in her class), but it did give her more confidence when speaking to other people which in turn gave her the confidence to enter the workforce.
I will stress however that Tafe is your friend, there are hundreds of courses to choose from at a range of prices (cheaper if you are an Australian citizen) and there is also job assistance. Once Pim gets her Australian citizenship she will be enrolling in other courses.
What is it like as a Thai entering the Australian workforce
We thought long and hard about whether Pim should get a job. Financially it wasn’t really needed and if she didn’t work the kids could have stayed home with her, however I felt it was important to get the kids out of the house to socialise and get used to school.
So, where to start? We looked at gumtree.com again in the job section and there a literally thousands of jobs to look at. As I mentioned above Pim’s English is good without being perfect, so that ruled a few jobs out that required a high level of English, but there were still a lot she could do.
She considered applying to be part of the service team at the local Thai restaurant, however decided against this due to the hours. With her working nights and me working days we would not have seen each other much.
She also considered doing some Thai tutoring, but decided against that due to the travel and odd hours involved for minimal pay.
Some of the other things we looked at but didn’t seriously consider were massage (she doesn’t even give me one, let alone other people!!!), office work (nothing with suitable hours that she could comfortably do) and working in retail (hours and pay didn’t suit)
After going through several other different options, she finally settled on working as part of a cleaning crew. She was able to work 6 hours a day, 5 days a week during school hours and receive $25 an hour.
While cleaning isn’t the most glamorous work, the hours suited and the fact she was making the equivalent of 650 baht an hour more than made up for it. There is also an abundance of cleaning jobs available on gumtree so if you are looking there is no excuse not to have one.
My mother was also close by to take care of Jan when she wasn’t at Childcare, so that was an added bonus.
The benefits of your Thai wife working in Australia
Obviously the main benefit of Pim working was the extra money she brought in, this enabled her to send some money back to her parents in Petchabun which is something that she could not do with money I earned.
There were also some smaller benefits we didn’t take into account initially though…… It gave her a new set of friends in Sydney and most of them were from other non Thai cultures which opened a few eyes. This also benefitted me quite a bit as she worked with a lovely Uruguayan lady who gave her jars of home made Chimmi Churri.
The main thing though was the sense of independence, while it wasn’t a huge amount it meant that she now had enough of “her” own money to do and buy what she wanted when she wanted without worrying about my thoughts on a $300 Coach bag….. In case you were wondering, my thoughts are: “You have enough bags, why do you need another one?”
What are the disadvantages?
I have been sitting in front of my computer for thirty minutes now trying to think of some cons to put in this section, but in all honesty there aren’t any.
There are no drawbacks at all, I think the sooner your partner goes to work the better. It will give her a chance to really integrate into Australian life…..Pim has even started to complain about her boss.
That New Car Feeling…
When we returned I bought a new family car, a Renault Koleos which I think is perfect for Sydney and also for a few road trips around Australia.
Now Pim has a job, she decided to get her own car and bought herself a little Holden Barina hatchback. I didn’t help her with this at all, she saved money from work for a few months and paid cash for a car herself which gave her a massive sense of pride. It really is the little things that really make you happy.
in AustNow she just has to learn how to drive to “Australian’ standards.