My Story - Charlene Lubbe
1. Tell me a little about where you grew up and what it was like.
I was born in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape in South Africa. We moved to Pretoria two years before I started school, which is the capital city of South Africa. We lived in a suburb called Centurion and even though I changed addresses a few times, I called this area home right up to the point when I decided to move to New Zealand with my husband. Growing up in South Africa was, from what I have learned, quite different from New Zealand, especially in the sense of opportunities available to kids and most of all the safety aspect. New Zealand is so much more family orientated and in my opinion, a great environment to grow up in.
2. Why did you choose the career you have worked in?
In honesty, I have to say that I didn’t really choose the career, “it” rather chose me. When I was around 16 I visioned myself as a chartered accountant, but at the end of my second last year of high school, I decided against it, as I was unsure that that was what I really wanted to do. After completing my secondary schooling, I was offered a job in the legal sector and worked for Attorneys for 2 years. Post that, I moved over to the medical sector and happily found a comfort zone for almost 12 years doing a bit of everything - reception, practice management and finally ended with credit controlling and accounting. Then we decided to move to New Zealand, where I now have an awesome job at an architectural firm, which is just a temporary one at present but will hopefully develop into a permanent position. This sector is completely new to me but I'm loving the challenges it presents and the team is just amazing to work with and very welcoming and supportive!
3. What was it about NZ that attracted you?
As can be imagined. I'm very close to my family, so in honesty, if it was not for the situation we found ourselves in with the deterioration of the infrastructure and safety in South Africa, along with the fact that my husband could only find work abroad, which had him be away for extended time periods, we would have probably not have moved over to New Zealand (but never say never, they usually say). My husband used to work in the Middle East for several years and we've been married for almost 3 years and just decided that we didn't want to be apart for the long periods at a time his job demanded. We just wanted a normal family life with a normal family routine. Moving to New Zealand offered us that opportunity. It was the best decision we’ve ever made (except for saying Yes for marrying him of course). We just love it here, everybody is so supportive and friendly and helpful and the surroundings are just beautiful, of course. We try to explore a little bit each weekend, as weather permits.
4. How have you found living and working in NZ?
Moving to New Zealand was the best decision we have ever made. As with moving anywhere, we had to, of course, deal with the expected challenges of finding work, a house, a car, etc but as time goes by everything is slowly moving into place again. Personally, I think we have settled in very well. I have not experienced any of the “terrible” emotional breakdowns mainstream public warns against. We are happy, and with our container arriving soon, it will feel like home sweet home again.
5. Can you tell me a little about your experience with Alpha, and how we have been involved in your journey?
I arrived in Auckland on the afternoon of 3 May (first time ever to New Zealand). My Husband arrived a month prior to have the primary things sorted before my arrival. The day after I arrived was a jet lag battle and I spent most of the day being lazy and working on getting my internal clock reset. The next day I started applying for work (I applied for some jobs online from South Africa, as I knew I was coming over and had to find work as soon as possible). I then received a phone call from Amy (5 May) asking me to come in for an interview on Monday, 8 May at 2 pm as she had a job opportunity she wanted to discuss with me. After seeing Amy, I went through to the interviews, but unfortunately, this application was unsuccessful. Amy then phoned me a week later and asked if I would be interested in temping work. This then led to a single day job on Friday, 12 May. Next call from Amy was on Monday the next week which had me start with a new temp job on Tuesday, for 4 days. On the Thursday of that same week, Amy called again and said she had another company that would like to interview me, this was for an architectural firm and it was for 3 months with the possibility of turning into a permanent position. I went for the interview on the following Monday and was informed that I got the job and has to start the Thursday of the same week. I have now been with this company for more than a month and loving it. They're a wonderful bunch of people and I love the challenges the new job presents. Amy still follows up on how I'm doing every couple of weeks. If it wasn't for Amy, I would have been lost. Thank you for all your assistance and guidance, you are one in a million. Keep up the great work! :-)