I got a job!

I’ve disappeared from my blog for a good while now, but at least I’ve got some good news! I finally, after 2 years of being in Ireland, have gotten a full time job! I work as a Healthcare Assistant/Carer in a nursing home 10 minutes drive from where I live. I started on Tuesday and I was wrecked after it! I work from 8am to 8pm so you can imagine how tired I was!

There is lots to learn but I had a lovely senior HCA with me on Tuesday and she was just so nice. She was Filipino and she has lived in Ireland over 20 years.

I’ve been waiting for a job since I finished my Healthcare Support course in May, and for a while I was getting desperate as there were just no jobs popping up. Then suddenly they all appeared at once, so I applied for plenty. I got another job offer for a place half an hour away, but I took the one closer to me because I don’t think I’d like to have to drive 30 mins home after a 12 hour shift.

So that’s one bit of good news that came my way. Through sweat and tears I managed to finish my course, and I swear that’s my last one for a good while now! I’m tired and just done with doing course after course.

Another bit of good news is that my sister had a baby girl in May. She is just gorgeous and I love her to bits. She’s adorable and it’s great to see Mam and Dad enjoy spending time with her. My sister in law is also expecting a baby in October so there will be plenty of babies about! Myself and my husband have our wee cat Lola so she completes our little family. Unfortunately during our walks outside she has managed to get fleas, so now I’m getting bitten in bed by them. They are driving me mad so we are trying really hard to get rid of them!

That’s really all the news that I have. I hope to start posting more on this. I feel bad abandoning it, but I just wasn’t up to it for the past few months and just didn’t feel great mentally. Hopefully this job will be something good for me, because I really need some positive things happening!

Aisling

Work Placement Is Done!

Yet again, I disappeared from my blog, but I’m back once more! I’ve really nothing exciting to talk about so I find it hard to think of some interesting things to write about.

But, after a long long time waiting, I finally completed my work placement! In my healthcare course, we have to do a minimum of 60 hours work work experience in a healthcare facility for being a HCA (Healthcare Assistant), but with Covid and all, our due dates were moved from November to January. Then it was postponed again until March. Thankfully we all got out then in March and I was really apprehensive about it.

My placement was in a small nursing home in a small town about 15 minutes drive from where I live, so it was very handy to get there. On Sunday I went to get a Covid test, and if it was negative, then I could start on Tuesday. So Tuesday came and I was quite nervous. I didn’t have a clue what to expect whatsoever, so it was very overwhelming. Thankfully pretty much all the staff members were so nice (apart from 1) and they helped me as much as they could with everything. Also all the patients are so lovely.

I was afraid in case I wouldn’t like it, but I actually really did. It’s very rewarding and I like that the time flies by. Also I like how there is a routine. From half 8 to half 10 you get the patients their breakfast, washed and ready for the day. At quarter past 12 they have their dinner. Then at quarter past 4 they have their tea. I finished at 5 then while the other staff stayed until half 8 to get them ready for bed.

I was supposed to get 6 weeks work experience but due to Covid we were only able to get 3 weeks, so I asked could I go in on Saturdays to gain more hours and they said that that was fine. So now I go every Saturday to get more experience.

So I enjoyed my time there and the patients are so cute and lovely, so saying good morning to them, helping them get ready and having a chat is something I always look forward to.

Hopefully now I’ll be able to get a job after my course ends!

Aisling

Another September, Another Course

I never would have thought that I would be back doing another course… but that’s exactly where I am at! With this pandemic nightmare and pretty much all tourism jobs gone in a poof of smoke, I’ve had to rethink my career choice! I’m decided (and hopefully sensibly) to do a Healthcare course. It allows me to work in nursing homes, hospitals, elderly home-care, health clinics and generally anything related to healthcare. With the way this Coronavirus is headed, I felt this was the most secure way of getting a job at the end of May!

Subjects include Care Support, Care Skills, Anatomy & Physiology, Human Growth & Development, Care of the Older Person, Work Experience and Nursing Theory & Practice. Communications and Health & Safety are two others but because I done those last year this means I don’t have to repeat those. So my timetable isn’t as hectic as the Tourism course last year!

So far I’m really enjoying all the subjects; they are really interesting and I’m learning loads in each class. That’s what I really enjoy, just learning new things. My teachers are all really nice and my classmates seem very nice too!

Compared to my Tourism course, where I was the oldest out of them all, in my new group there is a whole mix of ages. Some are just out of school, one is 25 and she done a make-up a course before this, another has 4 children, another has a son in his 30’s, so I feel a lot more comfortable in this class than the tourism one!

This year the school split every class into two. So my class has 30 students altogether, but to help with social distancing, they split us into half and my group (A) go to school one week while group B logs onto the lesson via zoom. So this week I go to school and then next week I can stay at home and log in. I don’t mind this at all! I get to have a lie in, I spend less on petrol, and because I’ve been taking Spanish classes through zoom, it’s not strange for me to have classes online. I know there are others in the class who hate the online part, and would much rather go to class, but for me I think it breaks up the monotony and I’m sure the weeks will fly by.

As I was studying Spanish during the summer, I wanted to try and keep taking classes during the times when I am free, but I learned pretty quickly that I’m really not engaging in the classes as much as I was. Instead of going 5 days a week, 20 classes, I now go only 3 days a week with 10 classes. I organised it so I could do it Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but I realised that I’m missing too much in the days that I don’t go, and I don’t really want to be spending money each week when I’m not really getting much out of it. So I decided that I will stop taking online classes but I’ll continue to take speaking classes with iTalki. If I manage to maintain what I learned and keep practicing it then I would be happy with that!

For the whole summer I was debating whether to do this Healthcare Support course, but I decided that it was the best choice. I wasn’t very happy going back to school again and studying ( I put so much effort into the Tourism course, I just felt that I couldn’t do it all again), but at least I don’t have to do 2 modules and if I can do it once, then I can do it again. Plus I learned that I just have to adapt to the situation that I’m in.

I feel that this course will open up more doors to me, and I know that I could do the job. I’m a kind, caring person and I want people to be happy. I’m not cut out for working in sales or a really stressful job, but I know I could work in the healthcare sector. I’ll be recognised as a Healthcare Assistant so I’ll actually have a title. I would be helping the nurse with the patients, chatting to them, feeding them, bathing them and helping them with their daily activities.

I really hope I made the right decision with this course. I cried when I realised my tourism course is useless (for the time being), and that I have to go back and do it all again. It’s not what I planned at all and I was really annoyed that I chose the wrong course. I’m lucky that I can go back and do another one, but it’s still difficult to put myself back into the mindset of being a student when I was 100% certain I would get a job in the something related to tourism.

So, as I probably said this time last year, lets see what this year brings!

I had to turn down an interview

Since I arrived in Ireland last May, I’ve applied for countless jobs. Even when I started my course I continued to apply. I haven’t heard back from any of them which is disappointing, so I was surprised when I received an email from a company in Dublin which I applied for a few days ago.

I actually forgot I applied to them and I was wracking my head thinking about it. There was a similar job I applied for and I thought it was that one but with a different company, which I thought ‘Sure why would they change their name thats a bit strange.’ I researched further and I finally found the position!

It was for a company in Dublin which gives TEFL courses and sends teachers all around the world to teach English, so it was exactly like the internship that I first did with a company in 2013. It was a ‘Student Services Advisor’ to the students that would head off to other countries then and teach for a semester. For once I actually felt I had all what they wanted, plus I also had experience doing those online TEFL courses and I, myself went to China with an internship company.

So I got a phone call during college yesterday and I didn’t answer because the number was from Wales! I thought ‘No way I’m not answering that, I don’t know anyone from there and I’m pretty sure it’s a scam.’

So I let it ring out.

Then later I saw on WhatsApp that I got a message from Indeed saying I have a message. I thought ‘God that’s weird, I NEVER get these.’ So I clicked into it and I found that it was an employer from the company explaining that they tried to ring but there was no answer (oops) and that they want to set up an interview for me.

W.H.A.T??????

Did I just read that right??

An. Interview….

Well, this is definitely new to me!

They asked if I could give them a ring to organise it so I rang later that day. The man wasn’t there but he would ring me tomorrow.

I wanted to ask him when the job would start, because I wouldn’t finish my college course until May, and this job was permanent and full time, so I was pretty sure they would be hiring before that date.

So he rang me and I asked him when the position would start, and unfortunately it was starting in February.

So I explained to him that I have college until May so I don’t think I would be able to go for an interview. (The interview was in Dublin and I would have had to spend the day there and miss college) I explained how grateful I was and if they would be hiring in the summer. He replied that he doesn’t know yet but he would keep my CV because he said I have the necessary experience needed for the job. He was very nice and he understood that I couldn’t leave college right now.

I emailed to thank him again, because I really am grateful for even considering me! I never heard anything from any other jobs, and this one was the only one that considered me. I’m grateful for even that.

And it was a job that I would have liked, and from what I saw I actually have experience, for once!

It is a shame but sure I suppose I just can’t leave college at the moment; I only have just over 3 months left, I’m putting the effort in and I want to get my cert at the end of it. I hope that they will have another opening in the future, but I’m happy that they saw something in me.

I always thought my time in China was a waste; I don’t get any replies from any job I apply for, not even from Starbucks or an assistant for a pharmacy. But this interview offer made me realise that at least for that company I actually did have the relevant experience.

Aisling

Work Experience Week 2

photo of end signage

Photo by Ana Arantes on Pexels.com

After a long two weeks, my work experience is finally done! Well actually the first week was the longest ever, the second did speed up a bit which I was glad of! On Friday I finished at 3 instead of 5 because I worked two extra hours the first week. I’m back to college tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it!

I enjoyed the work experience and I actually learned a tonne, like how to answer the phone in a professional manner, how to transfer calls to other departments, how to check rates for rooms, how to book reservations, how to use the credit card machine. I really am stunned at how much I learned in two short weeks.

They offered me a part time job but I decided to turn it down. There are a few reasons for this, and I did think long and hard about it, but I just feel it was the right decision for me.

First was the wage. For the amount of things that the hotel receptionists do there they are paid horrifically. Like minimum wage bad. They have to put up with so much crap from guests and they really don’t get paid well for it. If the wage was higher and was appropriate for the work that they do then I would consider again.

Second was the hours. Because I would be the newbie I would end up working from 3pm until 11pm. And from 5pm I would be on my own until the night porter came in. I know that the Duty Managers are there but they could be in the restaurant or in an office or god knows where, and I would have to sort out drunk/ angry guests on my own. Last Friday the Duty Manager left so one of the girls who was on until 11pm had no one to help her if she had a problem!

Third I just don’t know if I would like to do the job. I really enjoyed chatting to the customers and what not but I just feel that If I did take it then I just wouldn’t enjoy it and I would dread having to go in every weekend. For me I struggle to be happy so I feel that taking the job would exacerbate this problem of mine so that’s another real reason.

I know people will be thinking that I should have taken the job so I could gain experience and what not, but to be honest I would rather sacrifice money and experience to be happy. That’s honestly how I feel. If I was happier I wouldn’t worry so much. We lived in Mexico for 9 months jobless so we got used to scrimping on money so me not having a job isn’t a drastic change. I know it could be the wrong choice but for now I just feel that it was right for me.

My husband is supportive of my decision as he knows how much I stress over things, but I know there are other people (like my Dad) who think I made the wrong decision. It annoys me that I have to frequently argue my reasons for not taking it. It’s easy for people to say ‘Oh just take it, it’ll be good work experience for you’ when they aren’t the ones who are going to work for minimum wage, until 11pm and having to be bombarded with insults and curses by guests. People should just respect my decision and leave it at that.

I’m loving college right now and I’ve been getting good grades, so I hope that when the course is done then I will have a much better chance at getting a job that I would enjoy doing. I struggled with my BA degree years ago so I just want to concentrate and apply myself 100% to the course I’m doing now so that I can gain as much out of it as possible. I want to prove to myself that If I work hard I can get the grades that I want.

I wonder how all my other classmates got on with their work experience?

Aisling

Work Experience Week 1

man standing in front of front desk

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

A posted here that I had to do 2 weeks of work experience related to customer service for my course, and I was worried that I wouldn’t get anywhere. Thankfully the hotel where my sister works accepted me to do the 2 weeks so I started there last Monday. And I have to say…. It was the LONGEST week of my entire life!

I don’t even know why!! It just dragged. I woke up on Wednesday and my heart dropped when I realised that it was only Wednesday, and that I had another 2 days to do. I work 9-5 Monday to Friday so during the week it’s quiet, so that is probably why it just seemed to drag. Then on Friday it was mad because a lot were checking in for the weekend. I work as a receptionist there.

The first day I really didn’t do much at all. The other receptionist did everything and I just kind of looked and listened to her, so that day was rather long!

Tuesday the front house manager was in and he got stuck into showing me things and getting me to practice how to use the hotel operating system. I never answered the phone but he was in the office talking to another person and to my HORROR the phone rang! I was looking at it thinking “Oh god I don’t want to answer it!” I ran into where he was and he was still talking and I thought “Oh I better answer it!” So I did and I was so nervous! I forget what the phone call was about and I probably didn’t have a clue what to say but I did it anyway. The front house manager came out to me and he said he was very surprised that I answered it on my second day. He trained other people and they didn’t answer it at all during their first week. He said that they just let it ring!

Now the only reason I answered it was because there was literally no one else to do it, so I felt I had to! I thought that if a person came over to the desk and there’s me standing next to a ringing phone then it wouldn’t look good. So for the past few days I was answering phones and usually passing it on to another receptionist or just asking them to call back. I successfully reserved a room for a lady though which I was so happy about. Usually I get flustered but I calmed down and took all her details and the room type and everything so when I put the phone down the manager came out and he said I did very well. Apparently he was listening in the office.

But if anyone who has worked with the Opera system in a hotel knows how difficult it is to use. This is the system that the hotel uses and it’s just so complicated. I can’t describe how hard it is, but I was shocked at the amount of things I have to learn. The special rates for rooms, special rates for different businesses, how to do multiple bookings in one persons name, printing out VAT receipts, loads of different billing payments for the different ways that people booked such as through booking.com, expedia.com, companies who pay their employees to stay at the hotel. The list is really endless! I thought it would be much simpler!

So for the past week I’ve been trying to get my head around the system but it’s very difficult. And the thing is If someone asks about something specific I can’t even try and guess because I’ll get it wrong. You either know it or you don’t, which made me feel very helpless.

Simple things I didn’t know, like what food is served in the restaurant, what time the gym closes at, but I’m slowly learning the basics of the job.

On Friday I learned how to book taxis and even that isn’t straightforward. I was trying to call a local taxi and it just wasn’t working. So I had to ask one of the receptionists and she said “Oh you have to put 9 at the beginning of the number”. Like how could I have known that!? Something simple like calling a number and I needed help.

I’ve another week to do and I really do wish that it was only for 1 week! It’s just so long and I actually miss going to school! I’ve learned a lot and met some lovely people but I’d rather go back to school now. I don’t get paid which doesn’t help!

I realise that I am good at talking to guests and I do have good people skills, but I’ve also realised how much I don’t know, that receptionists have to put up with a lot of sh*t from guests, and they really should be paid more than what they do. (I’ll talk about that in another post)

I hope next week goes faster and before I know it it will be 5 o clock on Friday!

Aisling

No Experience? No Qualification? No Job

woman sitting inside a theater

Photo by Guilherme Almeida on Pexels.com

When I was in Mexico, I would be looking at jobs in Ireland and I was amazed at how many there were that I could apply for. I was thinking ‘Aw it’s a pity I’m here and I can’t apply for any of them’

So now that we are back in Ireland, I’ve been applying and with no success at all. All the time spent away in Ireland I always thought ‘Whenever I go back to Ireland I’ll get a job ok. Things are different now and I have more experience’. I was a bit more positive back then.

Now that I’m back it feels like none of my 5 years working in China has benefited me at all. I’ve gotten experience all right, but not the right experience for the jobs I’m applying for. I can’t even apply for a teaching job because I don’t have a CELTA! So I’ve actually loads of experience teaching but I need a qualification to teach in Ireland. So unfair.

I just feel like we are in a rut. Yet Again. This time in Ireland. I’m trying to be positive though and keep busy; I’m still studying my spanish. I know my speaking has gone down though, but I think my verb conjugations are improving and I’m continuously learning new words. So that’s good. Also I do enjoy being with my family. I was very lonely in Mexico so now that feeling is gone and I’m enjoying my time here. We have our own space in the garden in an old mobile home that we live in now. I said I’d post about that one day and I will. The shower doesn’t work so we have showers in my parents house (which I don’t mind at all), and we need to get gas for the cooker, but apart from that everything is great. Well, in the winter it will be absolutely freezing because there’s no insulation at all and we only have a small gas heater, but we’ll worry about that when we get to it.

We also got the internet hooked up from my parents house so now we have our small TV and we can watch Netflix which is great. So I do enjoy having our own space and at the same time I can also be with the family.

I was just surprised at how difficult it is to get a job. Even my husband was surprised, and he has been applying for loads with no success. My Dad always says “Everything will work out”. But my answer is “When will it work out?”.

I don’t exactly want to wait 5 years for ‘everything to work out’.

Aisling