Thursday, December 30, 2004


so the lousy news...

is that I lost my job. Or more properly, I didn't get the job I never actually had.

As I've mentioned before, the whole reason I am in Brazil is to study microfinance. The plan was to volunteer/use my grant money to work at a nice microfinance NGO, all the while learning about how it worked and learning Portuguese. Sounds good, eh? And I even found a nice place: Planet Finance. My old Harvard pal Raz Tsien heads up their China division, and she got me in touch with the nice-seeming and very enthusiastic Frederico Celentano, who runs their Brazilian operation. I sent Frederico a long letter stating my situation, and he was extremely encouraging, saying we should "talk by phone" so that he could "present our projects" to me. He thought we could "work together" and wanted to know if I could "come to São Paulo" soon. Call me crazy, but I read these as signals that he wanted to work with me.

I was satisfied and turned to other matters (the Roland paper and my applications) while occasionally lobbing a call or email his way. He was traveling a lot according to his secretaries, so I didn't think much of the fact I wasn't connecting with him. But then a month passed, and still I hadn't heard. It was getting increasingly difficult to explain away his non-response with busyness or carelessness, and I began to get worried. Finally I launched an all-out telephone and email assult, determined to bring this miscreant to justice. I guess realizing I wasn't going to go away, he finally responded, saying he's been really busy and he never meant to imply blah blah blah... Long story short, I don't have a job there. What a weasel. It's all well and good if you don't want a volunteer like me, but I don't understand why someone would act so enthusiastic and then change so abruptly, and take so long informing me of the change. At least I figured out he's an unreliable asshole now rather than after I've done something rash like move to a new city to work for his organization. I'm not actually despairing because I'm confident I can find something else, but now I need to actually do it, which will be a challenge. I wish it could have been as easy as it seemed. And I'm pissed I've lost all this time.

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