New to the series? Just two minutes to read the backstory in Part 1
Thailand. PadThaiLand. Of sweet red and spicy Tom Yum Gum Soup. Of rainbow coloured sweet sticky rice cakes. Of countless annoying sweaty shirtless backpackers guzzling beer, shaking their nest of hair that hasn’t seen a drop of water since January squatting on the infamous backpacker Khao San Road.
The irresistible smell of a new job, a new industry lured me here. I was excited to enter a world I’ve merely glimpsed in Chile when I was working in public relations. The world of online marketing, of online entrepreneurship. I was excited by the prospect of writing for a living, of learning new skills, of learning what marketing really is and if I’m suited for it.
I joined the team of a small digital marketing company and was immediately put to work. I had learned and grown so much with how hands on my job was on most aspects of the business. I was doing administrative, marketing, writing, editing, managing, tech duties from 9-6. It was a whole different ball game from teaching and more stress and pressure especially if the Gods of Wifi didn’t come our way. But still I loved the way the business tried to be bold, gutsy and be willing to push the envelope.
I was okay with it at first. Didn’t I travel to Thailand to learn new skills? But then slowly I grew discontent, increasingly anxious, depressed. I couldn’t figure it out. It wasn’t till I took a career test months later that I realized my social needs and skills weren’t met at the beginning. Working in such a small company meant that it was okay for me to work on my own most of the time. Since it was e-commerce it meant most of the team were freelancers and scattered around the globe. From teaching and interacting with tons of people everyday for six years (talking to people was my job) to be reduced to talking to my small decrepit old model netbook Asus (Good morning Asus! How is your RAM today? If I’m lucky Asus might respond with a noncommittal extra beep or two) the entire time was a shock. To top it off, except for my boss, I didn’t know anybody in the area where I lived in in Thailand.
To me, it was like Chile all over again. Depression and loneliness were major factors why I left Empanada land. Also, I realized while marketing was all exciting, stimulating and new it wasn’t what I wanted to do in the long haul.
The last blow came when bronchitis struck and I was left to tend for myself in
Thailand. It was the scariest feeling knowing there was no one I can continuously run to for help as my symptoms got worse and worse. All my colleagues were out of the country. I did not want to impose on anyone I just met in Thailand. Worse I forced myself to work because I didn’t want to disappoint my boss. Imagine getting sick on the first month of the job when all the important work was piling up. It was a recipe to getting fired. But forcing myself to work while incapacitated and puking in agony was a bad idea overall and sealed the coffin on the hasty decision to just leave Thailand and run away from my depression.
And funny enough, often in the midst of making a major decision another email popped into my inbox offering a salary 3x more than Thailand and in another country. The Land of Pho – Vietnam awaits.
To be continued
2013 A Year of Change Series