Alternate Title: My 1st Professional Hit for Expat Chronicles
In April I went to the office of the English institute I worked for. Just a couple weeks prior, I’d obtained my third work visa with this company (the third consecutive visa is worth two years). So I wouldn’t have had to go back to DAS or the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores or pay millions of pesos to any government offices for two years. I was quite happy about that.
When I got to the office, Institute Pimp and I took care of whatever we had to take care of. Then he said he wanted to talk to me downstairs. The office was crowded with other teachers.
Going down, I half-expected him to tell me he’d found this site. Every time I walked into that office, the fact that they might have found it lurked in the back of my mind.
When we got downstairs, Institute Pimp said he’d found this site. He spoke for a while about what he didn’t like, especially in English Language Industry in Latin America, then said we couldn’t “work together” anymore. He didn’t say I was all wrong about anything, he says a lot of the content is true. He read several articles. His main problem was that his clients are giant multinationals. Many employees speak English and are web-savvy. If somebody found the site, then recognized my picture on the About page, then thought “Yo conozco ese gringo …” because they see me at the office regularly, then the institute may lose clients.
Colombians have told me there’s a law prohibiting the termination of employees for content published on the web. I didn’t put up a fight. I was getting more and more inconvenienced with having to teach the institute’s classes. It just got to be not worth it anymore. I was only doing it for the work visa.
This blog content’s pretty bad. Who could blame him?
Institute Pimp is a salesman. Regular readers know that I had told him I wasn’t interested in teaching English. We agreed to move towards using me to help him sell classes. He’d gain credibility having a blue-eyed gringo with him at conventions, seminars, and other sales calls. He’d also be able to have me do routine account service sales tasks, freeing up his own time. I’d get to learn how to sell in Colombia from a great Colombian salesman. Cultural differences make lots of things difficult, including sales. I’ve made sales to Colombians and Peruvians, and many principles are universal, but I still have a lot to learn. I’m nowhere near ready to write a piece called Selling in Latin America (someday!). Institute Pimp lived in North Carolina, so he’s conscious of these cultural differences and explains frankly how Colombians are. We were both eager for me to stop teaching and start selling.
I’m happy not to be teaching for the institute anymore, but I was disappointed about losing my work visa and the opportunity to sell with Institute Pimp.
I’m back on a tourist visa again, 60 days renewable twice per calendar year. When I was initially fired, I only had a week left in Bogota before returning to St. Louis for two weddings. I was worried I wouldn’t be allowed back in, but they automatically gave me a tourist visa. I have sixty days to figure something out.
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