Work Experience Week 2

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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

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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

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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

I Can Legally Stay In Mexico!

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So, it’s official, I’m on my way to becoming Mexican! My application for becoming a temporary residence has been accepted, so that’s another thing from our list to check off! Apparently it would take 15-20 days for it to be processed but I unexpectedly received an email about 7 days later. I’m sure because I married a Mexican really speeded things up. We were offered a 1 year visa or a 2 year visa, but we opted for a 1 year one. We aren’t sure what are plans are so we thought it would be safer going for the 1 year one.

The whole thing was simple enough too. We just had to fill in some things, get photos taken, copies taken of documents, pay the fees, and of course the most important thing; the marriage cert.

Before I had a tourist visa  that would have meant I would have to leave next month. When we visited Ireland my husband (boyfriend at the time) could only stay 3 months, and then he wasn’t allowed back for another 6 months!! I however could happily stay in Mexico for 6 months with my tourist visa!

My new visa doesn’t let me work however, so to be able to get a job, I will either have to say that I’m working independently and they will sort out tax from that, or I will have to have a letter to work from a company. I have to have a job first before I can apply for a work permit. So it’s a little annoying but hopefully it won’t be a big problem for me.

Also the process of actually me becoming a Mexican citizen is also very easy (in comparison to Ireland!) It would be cool to say I’m Mexican, but I think I need to at least be able to speak Spanish!

So our list is slowly getting smaller, and now I can legally stay here in Mexico, for 1 year anyway!

Aisling

What’s the plan for 2019?

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Well, I don’t know 100% yet….. I’ve been thinking of a few goals that I want to achieve, so I hope I actually do achieve them.

-Learn Spanish. Next year is all about Spanish for me. Study Study Study. For me, this is the main goal of mine. I really want to be able to tick this one off!

-Exercise more. With my wedding only a few months away, I just want to look better and feel better in myself. I just want to be healthier.

–Find a job I like. I don’t even really know what I want to do in my life, even being aged 28. But I just want something that I’ll enjoy doing. I don’t want to wake up and begrudgingly have to go to a job that I don’t like.

-Save money. First I need a job, then I want to save some money. We have been spending our money on travelling rather than saving for the future. Which…. I really don’t think will help us much when we’re older. (and having no savings to actually live)

Of course I still wants LOADS more things, but I think for me these are the important things that I want to achieve. I’ve no idea what will happen next year for us; will we stay in Mexico? Move to Ireland/ Spain…even France could be an option for us. Yeah It’s great to have the option of moving to all these places, and I know that maybe if you have a child or have a stable job that you love, then it’s hard to just ‘move up and go’. But at the same time I would like to have that ‘this is where I’m going to live indefinitely’ feeling. I want to come home to my own house, watch television on my own tv, and have my own bedroom. I don’t particularly enjoy living out of a suitcase either.

Plus I’m 28 and I just feel like it’s time to start thinking of settling down.

So, we’ll see how 2019 turns out!

Aisling

 

 

My Move To Mexico

For months now, we’ve always had the plan of moving to Mexico. The reason was mainly so I could learn Spanish and then when it was good enough I would have better chances of getting a job related to tourism. That was the plan anyway!

I’ve been here I think almost 3 weeks now. (I’m not really counting). We didn’t bring much with us, just some clothes and what not. My fiancés family have offered for us to stay with them and we are very grateful for that!

We have a lot to organise in the next few months! At the moment I am on a tourist visa, meaning that I can only stay here for 6 months. In order to tackle this, we are organising the civil ceremony so that I can apply for a temporary 1 year visa. In that way I’ll be able to work on that visa.

Second, we are also organising our wedding/gathering/party for early next year. We aren’t planning anything wild, just something in my fiancés parents’ garden. It’ll be a small wedding! And big surprise, my parents are actually coming to Mexico! I spent 5 years in China and absolutely no one came to visit me. ( I had to have a wedding to make someone care about coming to see me).

But anyway, they are coming at least. Finally.

So at the moment we really aren’t doing anything productive. With both of us jobless, we are trying not to spend any money. (That also means not going anywhere either). I don’t really mind, I get to study Spanish more.

Oh, and on learning Spanish….. it’s ridiculously expensive to have Spanish classes with a private language learning centre here. It’s madness!!! Most of them are over 400USD per week!! Now they are intensive classes, but I just can’t afford that. So that kind of annoys me. They are catered to Americans who come for a few weeks to learn. They hike up the price so much though, even my fiancé was also shocked at how expensive they are, especially because a lot of Mexicans wouldn’t even earn that in 1 month.

I’ll try and find classes elsewhere if I can. I know myself that I need to be in a classroom to learn things. I’m bad at self-studying.

Exercise wise, my fiancés parents have a pool so I’ve started swimming for about 3/4 hours a week. I’d like to lose some weight and just get fit. The worst thing is just getting in at the start as sometimes it can be a little cold! But if I swam in a freezing cold cenote, then I can tolerate the pool!

So at the moment we are talking about our wedding, what needs to be done, what we need to get for it, and the civil ceremony and what that entails! AAhh!

Aisling

I only work 12 days each month. Sounds great no?

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Since arriving to China, I’ve worked in Universities and private language centres, and each has their advantages and disadvantages.

For the job I have now, which is in a University, all 11 foreign English teachers work only 3 days a week…. and that is a full time job here!

So 3 days a week, plus winter holidays off and summer holidays off. So it’s a ridiculously low work hour. Our salary is a little lower than say in a private language centre, but I would happily work 3 days over 5.

That is why in the University I work, there are teachers who have been here for 4+ years, and will most likely stay for the foreseeable future. Free apartment, free internet, my card is topped up every month for food at the canteen (at the moment I’ve about 75euro in my card from the University), they pay half of our electricity and water fee, they don’t care what we teach and don’t ask, and we get bonuses for this and that. So it’s seems like the perfect job, doesn’t it??!!

But we still plan to leave. There are so many benefits to this job, but I really can’t wait to leave. I know most people are like “Oh my god why are you leaving that???? You only work 3 days a week!!”.

I just feel like we are done in China, and I just can’t see myself here another year. This semester 4 classes out of 11 are very bad. The students are very lazy, have a bad attitude and I just couldn’t face that again for another year. I don’t enjoy teaching, I don’t enjoy the fact that the student’s don’t give a shit about what I say. I feel I’m not getting anything out of teaching, so although there are great benefits, I really just want to find something that I enjoy doing, if that means working 5 days a week. So be it. I think once you enjoy doing something, it won’t matter how many days you work.

And plus I don’t want to be here for another 5 years doing the exact same thing. I know we’ll never get this amount of benefits from a job again, and I’ll be grateful for the time that I worked 3 days a week and earned good money. But we all have to leave our comfort zone.

Most of the teachers here are planning on staying on to teach…. so I feel that they are going to be here forever (or until they can’t get a new visa)… but I just can’t do it. I feel like I would be stuck; unable to leave because of all the perks of the job.  It’s very tempting to stay, but I really want to move onto a new chapter in my life!

Which hopefully won’t involve teaching!

Aisling.