Wednesday 30 March 2005 8.14am
I'm certainly not angry with you. Nor with the many good natured and hard working young Poles and Slovaks who are working in bars resturants shops and elsewhere. Anyone used to the lack of British service culture will have noticed the difference. Even B&Q, a major hardware chain are quoting the availability of cheap Polish building workers as a reason why the British are giving up their culture of DIY.
My point, based on a conversation with my (Polish) hairdresser on Saturday, was that she was lucky that she had managed to get a job lined up in advance. PLus a resturant owner in Soho who told me he had lost count of the number of young Central Europeans knocking on his door asking if he had work.
My other point about think of what you might like to do and approaching employers directly is based on the experience of my (Slovak) au pair, whose best friend, also an au pair, had studied environment at university and was able to get a Saturday job as an "explainer" at Kew Gardens. Great for a CV. I am told that the Bayswater Ice Rink is more or less taken over by young Slovaks, presumably with a background in ice hockey.
Have you got accomodation lined up. And do you have any gardening, building, carpentry skills. Accomodation in London is really expensive. And so is transport if you are living outside the centre. One option might be to see if any SE1'ers have a spare room and need some help over the summer. The au pair deal is a room and food, plus circa £55 a week pocket money (we throw in a bus pass worth about £10 as well), and you work 25 hours, on ligtht housework, childcare or whatever. You are then free to study, look for a bar job or go out and have a good time.
Most of the au pairs I know are enjoying themselves. London has a large number of young people from Australia, South Africa, Ireland, France and Italy and just about everywhere else. A summer in London will be fun. And SE1 is a particularly good place to be.