Getting fired from a volunteer position

Posted: January 9, 2013 in ADVENTURE STORIES!, Ramblings, TRAVEL
Tags: , , , ,

Back story: I’ve been finding volunteer work through a wonderful website called Workaway.info. My whole goal, while traveling, was to try all kinds of work/deal with all kinds of bosses (in exchange for room and board). So far, I have worked on farms, in hostels, at people’s houses, teaching, and cooking/cleaning. Light to heavy work, sometimes emotional, sometimes physical, sometimes scams- but I’m learning a lot! Especially about what kind of boss/culture/people I like to surround myself with. Also, in doing this, I’ve managed to stay under budget of 20$ a day. (woot!)

This story is about my volunteer position at a Hostel. My first hostel job! Even though it didn’t provide food, I was actually really excited about it, because working at a hostel could be amazingly fun! You get to converse with fellow (frugal) travelers all day while dreaming about where to go next! What could be so bad? Well, let me tell you…

Scene: 2:30pm- just after waking me up out of my (well deserved) nap. Hostel’s main table, San Jose, Costa Rica.

Asshat: “you aren’t doing what you are supposed to do”
me: “I don’t understand.”
“It is very clear. It is written here in English. You speak and read English, yes?”
“si.”
“Then- it should be very simple for you to understand. We want you to hand out fliers.”
“Ok. On the sheet it says to hand out fliers on Monday and Thursday, when the maid is here to do the big-cleaning. I have done that. The other days I clean- as per what the sheet says.”
“You only cleaned 2 hours today.”
“It’s not my fault I’m efficient. Is there anything else that isn’t clean? Is there anything you want me to do over? Are you upset because something isn’t clean enough?”
“No. But you are supposed to work 4 hours.”
“But you’re punishing me for being efficient. Should I be inefficient? That’s not how Americans work.”
“Ever since we woke you up, you’ve had a bad attitude! Why do you have attitude?”

…..(I just blink a lot… What is the proper reply to that?)

Then- he says/screams “You come to MY country, TO MY HOUSE (business), and you don’t treat ME with RESPECT! I DEMAND RESPECT!!! You’re a woman! You are supposed to do the woman work, but you’re also a volunteer! You’re SUPPOSED to hand out flyers and get people into our hostel! This is what you have to do!”

When I (tried to) explain to him what he said was just super sexist and very insulting, he screamed at me more (getting up and throwing the chair at the table), saying how he is my boss and how he deserves respect because he has given me this opportunity and I should be grateful.

I then asked him:
“Ok- let’s shift. What did went to school for?”
“Business.”
“Did you finish?”
“That is no concern of yours.”(no)
“How many bosses have you had?
“2”
“How many jobs have you had?”
“3”
“How much volunteer work have you done?”
“That’s no concern of yours!” (zero)
“Have you ever gone down and handed out fliers? Have you ever cleaned?”
“That’s what we have you to do!”
“Hmm. Well, I’ve never been screamed at like this- especially when I’m working for free. And I’ve had some asshole bosses in my day…..”
This is when he slammed his hands on the table screamed “I WILL NOT BE CALLED AN ASSHOLE BY SOME GRINGA!” and threw me out. (While watching me pack and stewing because I was smirking the whole time).

With this said, I love volunteering! (Really! Honestly!) But I also get a kick out of cultural exchanges that take unexpected turns. It amuses me to no end. I actually feel like I’m learning something (business 101?) that my (mostly useless) college degree didn’t give me.

I’m also mentally adding “strong women that are allowed/expected to speak their mind” to my “things I take for granted” list.

Now excuse me- I’m watching the sunrise from my balcony suite at VistaDelValle.com

 

EDIT: Some have asked me what the name of the hostel was– I won’t reveal the name– but it translates to “The Demon” or something like that. (Look! A lesson in foreshadowing, too!)

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Comments
  1. blade3colorado says:

    Hilarious. 🙂

  2. Christina says:

    LN,
    You handled this beautifully. Asshat, indeed.

  3. OMG what hostel is this?! lol! im doing a workaway in CR but south of san jose. How has the rest of your experience in CR been?

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