Finding job in Italy

Hi guys, let’s see how to find a job in Italy. I want you to have a better image of what’s going on, before you get in trouble. In the beginning some facts about myself:

I’m graduated. I have 7 years of experience as a translator from 3 languages and 6 years as HSE Officer. I have about 7 IOSH certificates and about 10 Russian and Italian local certificates. Basically, I’m not a particularly brilliant professional, but certainly not an entry level, and it’s not the worst resume in the country. So I expect to find a place and don’t really care about salary and career level, because obviously locals will have a better chance to get my position. I’m totally okay with it.

With this baggage I prepared a good CV in Italian and English, following advices from Internet – key words, structure, good-looking, etc. I created a complete profile on all possible job boards, and switched to LinkedIn Premium for a trial month. And started applying for every single possibility matching my profile, day by day. Just to give an idea, this is how many applications I sent in the last 80 days.

LinkedIn:

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LinkedIn. It only shows the applications done with “Apple button” (20% of all)
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Monster

Approximately 150 applications per job board. I used ten of them equally much. It makes roughly 1500 applications only with job boards. To this number you should add numerous direct company site applications, which is around 150 again. It is supposed to be more effective but more time consuming. And add 10 applications which I did personally visiting companies. Let’s minimize all to 1600 applications total to be absolutely fair.

1600 job applications in 80 days, this is 20 per day. This is how a spent my summer. To be fair again, I didn’t always write cover letters.

Now what I got:

  • 1 call from an HR for HSE position, she asked me to fill in different forms and DISAPPEARED.
  • 1 call from an HR for a multilingual secretary position, for 1000$ a month (!??) with no benefits. I agreed for this, but she DISAPPEARED.
  • 1 call from a real manager, who offered me a stage for quite a high position (not paid though), with possible contract after 3 months. It was Friday evening and I agreed for that. I called him back on Monday, and he started classical “I’m at the meeting” and “I’ll call you back” bullshit.
  • Tons of SPAM. If you are a professional spammer, write me, let’s compare our mailboxes. Obviously, my personal data leaks from job boards…. Consider, that every time you register, you agree with a privacy policy. Zing!
  • 2 calls from abroad, both applied just to see if something was wrong with me or with the country.

Well, frankly speaking, by now it looks like the country… Something is so sick about it. Like I told you, I’m not a brilliant professional, simply try to compare my profile and results, and think of your chances. Because they don’t depend on anything. Italians simply ignore e-mails. I would appreciate if you share your experience in comments. As you see, some people really need it!

P.S. I got a call from my previous job, which I hoped will never happen again. Later I will tell why. But now I have no choice but work with them again. In the meanwhile, I was also passing exams for Civil Engineering degree.

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Latent hell

Must be amazing to live on a sea shore! A must see place in many aspects. I had some natural expectations about people though, when I moved. You know, those of southern people being usually fun, but too easy-going, or better – ignorant. Though having general image, I so underestimated them. Tonight I was not sleeping, thinking that ignorance is a forerunner of evil. How close is it? Much closer, unfortunately. It didn’t let me sleep. …That might have been a screaming car antitheft at 03:00 am that nobody cared to shut off. It died on it’s own by the morning.

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Right here, on the stage

It happened many times before, during day. Not hard to tolerate, what’s a big deal. Be patient and tolerate. Especially if you want to evolve back to monkey. If you want to live in a better society, you d’better react.

Italians envy countries like Germany, the Netherlands, because they are so correct and perfect in their eyes. They understand what the “correct” should look like. But it seems they hardly understand what they personally are missing.

My neighbours in this condo constantly complain about the gate kept open days and nights – it’s dangerous. The other night I came back about 22:00 pm, the gate was open, and a condo woman was quarreling with some guy about it, both standing in front of the gate. I left again and came back in an hour – both were still there quarrelling, the gate still open. I closed it in front of them, but left with the feeling that it remained open.

To my opinion – sacrifice just one thing. Make education free. The payback will invent itself after a while.

Italian University inside – professors

They are particular. Could talk separately about each one of them. Here is a little about them:

Algebra and Geometry. Approximately 70 years old mathematician. Always keeps one hand in the pocket, with the other one destroys 4 blackboards in a minute. Speaks his own dialect, which is a trouble even for locals. The author of a Math student books series with mistakes. Somewhat evil, but could lead a stand-up show easily. He’d better did, frankly. Evil I say, because he constantly makes mistakes when teaching HOW TO resolve problems. I mean, when you know nothing about the subject and a guy like this teaches you, you literally believe in every word he’s saying. Later you discover that half of your copybook is a nonsense mess. The thing is that he performs all the calculus mentally and writes only if the memory can no more. This is what you practically see on the blackboard. At first, students tend to correct him, but pretty soon he beats the shit out of them. Once he was resolving a matrix where the determinant was supposed to be different from 0. He came up with -5, and one student said it should have been -1. So, he ran through the blackboard from the start, found 3 other mistakes and determinant -1. Some guy said this time it should be -3. He now turned to the classroom and said: “Did you get zero there? No? So what’s the freaking difference?”

He also mistakes the exam marks putting them to wrong names. Some people suddenly pass, others get butthurt. He is the one who makes pauses to discuss the Chinese, Africans, Americans and so on.

Calculus. A woman of 45 or so, a hidden genius and a bizarre troll. The author of several Schrodinger equations solutions. Talks almost clearly and likes creative exam tasks. I looked through examinations history (they take place 4 times a year), and they were absolutely different, even though each exam is designed for 6 hours and has at least 4 variants. Every trial about 2-4 student get lucky. I got lucky on my 5th trial. Why she is a bizarre troll: I had a function study, and it had a minimum with a smaaaaall decline, almost a straight line. I drew it curvy to show somehow that minimum, it was there! After exam at home I ran that function through a computer graph and it showed no minimum even at the maximum zoom. I thought I failed again. But when I looked at my corrected papers and there was a huge “+” above my curvy graph. Thank you.

Physics. A granny about 70 years old, dedicates 90% of the lecture to preachment and 10% to fighting with a lap-top. A member of National Institute of Nuclear Physics. Not sure why. She is pretty vivid, but evades touching the blackboard and only moves her mouth and mouse when lecturing. The two times she did touch the blackboard, I experienced new feelings. The blackboard was already destroyed by the mathematician (see number 1) and needed a good flush with sulfuric acid. But the granny doesn’t care any more. She would take the chalk and draw ON TOP of theorems and drawings… As if not seeing. “Oops, I didn’t notice” behaviour is actually typical for Italians. She is fixated on making up own symbols and definitions which you must learn.

As an example, on my oral exam she asked me to explain Pendulum. I have drawn it inclined to the right, with all arrows and forces, and set up the equation. She said no, “You inverted ALL signs. Think again and come up later”. I sneaked into Wikipedia – anyway she was doing the “oops, I didn’t notice” thing, and made sure I was right. Wasn’t able to convince her anyway. One student approached to me after and said she made him fail in the same way last year. The solution was to learn HER exclusive slides, where the pendulum is inclined to the left, so all signs in the equation actually are inverted. It doesn’t matter if you were granted a “+” for calculus.

Chemistry. Probably one of the best lecturers, a brilliant communicator aged 50. His lectures are attended even by extraneous people. His exams are not attended even by his students. They all postpone Chemistry to death to the last, because nobody is able to learn this amount in one semester. For compensation I guess, he frequently shows pictures of “The Simpsons” and explains it’s math jokes and philosophy. (Like this).

Analytical Mechanics. I attended only the first lecture, but anyway. The professor is approximately 45, he has numerous publications in mechanics of elastic and rubber-like materials. He is also made of them. In the whole semester he didn’t find the time to publish his own subject program. Me and many others sent him lots of e-mails asking for more information about exam, about any kind of program. In the end of the course he responded with a huge block of A4 paper with all lectures written by his delicate hand (Yay!). Students scanned it and uploaded on Facebook. I printed everything and spent several days decoding and highlighting whatever was readable. Sometime after students uploaded a better scan, now readable! I looked at it, the same stuff… which he bolded with a darker pen. Twenty first century, guys.

So. I think it all depends on Allah. No other explanation on my mind. Study better, guys… But seriously, how hard are you?

Italian University inside – study process

There are two major things you need to accept as they are: study process and professors. Let’s see the first.

It is different. It’s a marks system scaled 30, CFU, absence of teaching seminars, timetable and tutors. The timetable is pretty easy for a foreigner: you get it inevitably in electronic form. It’s everything else you have to fight for.

CFU is a subject difficulty value, undermining hours of uninterrupted head wall beating  you are supposed to dedicate to it. Usually subjects have 6 or 12 CFU. You need to make 60 CFU / an academic year. The same subject on different faculties is obviously different. My “foreign language” subject for instance was zero CFU. “Physics 1” – 6, “Physics 2” – 12. So you might expect that Physics 2 is twice as difficult as Physics 1. The real difficulty is another: a professor of 12 CFU subject will only give you information worth 6, and will ask you approximately 24. A professor of  a 6 CFU subject will give 1 and may ask you 10. This is not just classic moaning of a student. After first exams you will see no connection between CFU and subject difficulty. It will drive you mad.

The 30-point evaluation scale has the same problem – it’s operated by people. Usually a “sufficient” is 18, it gives you the right to pass onto the next level, a subject conversation with your professor. Some professors accept you with 14-15 points. On this verbal part you can argue your previous mark and raise it up to 30 (Democracy!). Though… I’ve never met a student who would raise, normally they land back to zero and try next time. Simply speaking, you never get a 30. If you resolve and describe perfectly all the tasks, you start with 18. A missing comma brings you down to 17, some other error means good bye. Sad but true, in some way it only makes good for engineers. In fact, Italians are usually very good in theoretical stuff and research, but they lack practice.

Seminars: don’t exist. Instead, professor will announce a couple of hours a week for your stupid questions in his office. You will have a hard time searching for it. Then for him, when the office is found.

So, you let go the idea of finding professor. Now you might hear rumors about tutors. Those are PhD students, authorized to teach and assigned by the professor. I tried their help with chemistry, after which I decided to leave the exam for better times. I’m not saying I’m very smart, but after 3 lessons with a tutor my minor chemistry problems turned into something uncontrolled. How about finding professor again?.. It is worth a separate post.

In general, this is all about one thing – it is going to be hard and lonely. I could have said this and be done with the message. But I know you won’t believe it. You still don’t:) It is your strong side, you will need it to overcome loneliness. I could have done many things so differently if somebody advised. Some other foreign guy.

Degree in Italy. 1st exam – Italian language

Sounds like a serious deal. If you are going to an Engineering faculty (like me), or Physics, it’s not. The professors will be late, after having a coffee they will greet you, ask you some typical stuff. In my case – “how cold is it in Russia? Proper cold? -30 or something?  Oh, Madonna!”

I spoke Italian long before coming here, it gave me a chance to relax (for the last time) and watch other foreigners. Some of them could hardly say “Ciao” and were sweating and shivering. Everybody passed though. The examinators were 3 middle-aged engineers. They probably didn’t even know what verbs and Tenses were, straight to the deal. I was given a piece of sheet with this scratched on it:

\forall n\in\Bbb N\;\exists y_n\in f[a,b]

And was asked to pronounce it. Of course I failed, as I had little no knowledge of mathematics whatsoever. “Don’t bother, you will read it in the books”, they said. They knew where I was going, and I didn’t:) It was after a year, when I realized it was a Calculus theorem extract.

Like they said – don’t bother for your Italian, you won’t be kicked out for that. They demonstratively disregard your accent, however brutal it is, and you will always feel comfortable. Later you will be tortured with completely different things, and it’s worth being another topic soon.

Университет в Италии изнутри – учебный процесс

Об этом стоит поговорить с двух сторон: учебный процесс и преподаватели. Сначала о первом.

Отличий в учебном процессе хватает. Это 30-бальная шкала оценок, CFU, отсутствие понятия учебы семинара, расписание, тьюторы. Расписание для иностранца понятно: это просто таблица, которую ты неминуемо получишь перед семестром в электронном виде. Все остальное придется добывать.

CFU – это баллы, которые назначены на каждый предмет, предполагающие сложность. Чаще всего это 6 или 12, и кратно трем. За год обучения положено набрать 60 CFU. Один и тот же предмет на разных специальностях имеет разную сложность. Например иностранный язык у меня был 0 CFU. “Физика 1” – 6, “Физика 2” – 12. То есть “физика 2” вдвое сложнее и объемнее, чем первая. Официально. В реальности сложность оказалась в другом: На 12 CFU преподаватель дает тебе на 6 на 1, а спрашивает на 12 на 24. И на 6 преподаватель даст тебе 1, а спросит 10. После первых экзаменов ты четко ощущаешь, что заработал.

30-бальная шкала сложна примерно тем же – ей оперируют люди. Обычно “уд” – это 18, который дает право участвовать в устном экзамене, некоторые преподаватели допускают и с 14-15 баллами. На устном можно “оспорить” и подтянуть оценку хоть до 30 (демократия!). Я пока не видел ни одного студента, который бы рискнул подтянуть – обычно натягивают их. Экзамен может быть сдан и поэтапно, за каждую часть тебе поставят оценку в 30-бальной шкале 18, а потом выведут среднюю арифметическую.

Теперь о семинаре. Их нет и не будет: вместо этого преподаватель объявляет часы приема по тупым вопросам, обычно пара часов  в неделю; где-нибудь в своем кабинете, который ты с трудом найдешь. Найдешь ты его либо по виднеющейся очереди, либо по закрытой двери. Но это относится ко второй стороне вопроса, о которой далее:)

Итак, вы бросили затею догонять препода, но возможно обнаружите что есть некие тьюторы – это такие старшекурсники или PhD, которые авторизованы помогать по предмету начинающим.  Я попробовал такую помощь по химии, после чего не стал сдавать экзамен. Я конечно не особенно одарён, именно поэтому тьютору удалось запутать мне мозг за каких-то 3 урока, после которых я перестал понимать уже понятое. Может снова постоять в очереди к преподу?

А в целом это все только об одном – будет трудно. Искать и понимать информацию придется наедине с собой, не поможет никто. Можно было бы просто написать “трудно” и закончить на этом статью про университет. Но ты ведь не поверишь!:) Ты и сейчас не веришь. Это упорство тебе тут пригодится…

Unlimited 4Gb

What is the first thing you do in a new place?

 

You call your parents to say you are OK. Maybe you just find Internet connection and write. Then you certainly look for a good home connection and a working cell phone. There you go in Italy:

LOGO-SIM-4G-Unlimited

Everywhere you will find these offers. 4Gb unlimited, 2 Gb unlimited and so far. I thought I didn’t understand something. But then I talked to salesmen and asked if it was actually limited or what. They were saying no, it was UNLIMITED 4Gb. Still feel stupid about it. They are buying this!

Wait, there is more. They still offer ADSL connections… Again I though it was a joke. And was so naive… It seems to be the most used type of connection, zing!

Actually there are some “normal” solutions for home: real unlimited Internet with WiFi 3G routers for about 100500 25$ a month. Nevertheless, the foreign guy is so surprised that in the middle of Europe the hardly know about optical fiber.