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

Work Placement

So, with my course finishing at the beginning of May, my course is FINALLY going out on Work Placement. Usually the course goes out in November and January, but because of Covid, ours was pushed back to January. Then numbers spiked during that time so our teacher pushed it back again until March.

For me, this is the most important aspect of the course. Ideally I would have liked to have the work placement in November, and if I enjoyed it then I would carry on with the course. Instead I’m pretty much nearly finished the course and I still have no idea if I was actually like working in this sector.

I have my placement location which is about 15 minute drive from my house so that’s fine. Also my teacher said that all the past students that done their placement really enjoyed it, so I’m hoping I will too. I will be working in a Nursing Home helping to look after the patients there, and like all my other classmates I’m quite nervous!

The plan is to work for 3 weeks and then we can ask and see if they will take us on for another 2 weeks during Easter break. That will mean we will have 5 weeks worth of work experience. Usually the group gets 6 weeks but this year we just couldn’t fit it in, so we have to use our Easter break to try and gain more. I don’t mind though because the experience is what I need.

I have to go up on Sunday to get my Covid test done, and if that is negative then I will either start next Tuesday or Wednesday. My husband got a test done and he said it was fine but others in my class said it was awful so I’m not sure what to think about getting it done!

I’m going to really miss our wee cat Lola though. I’m here with her literally all day so I hope she doesn’t get lonely without me. We have our routine of play time and that so she won’t know what to do on her own!

Aisling

Keeping Busy During The Pandemic

Like millions of others, it’s hard to keep busy during this Coronavirus Pandemic. My College is still sending me assignments to do, so I’ve been trying to keep up with those. Two weeks ago I was very relaxed about the whole assignment thing. I kept thinking ‘I’ve loads of time to get them done, I’ll do something small everyday and I’ll get it all done… there’s no rush at all’.

Then April came and I realised ‘My exams are starting the end of this month!’  The lack of structure to the days kind of messed me up and I just didn’t really notice the days going by.

Plus all day yesterday I thought it was Monday so I kept thinking I have a whole week to do loads of assignments. It wasn’t until I went to bed that night and checked my phone that I realised it was Tuesday! So that annoyed me because it’s now the middle of the week!

It was my birthday last week, and for my 30th birthday my husband got me the new Animal Crossing Switch Game!

I love it!

A few months ago he showed me a video of it and to be honest I wasn’t too fussed on it. I’ve never played any of the old ones so I didn’t really understand what it was all about. But then I started looking at more videos and I decided then that it did look good after all. So thankfully he got it for me and I’ve been playing it sporadically throughout the day. He has been helping me catch fish, insects and everything like that while I’ve been doing my assignments.

It’s fantastic for helping pass the time, and I love all the villagers in it too. So I’ve been enjoying the game for the past week, while trying to do some college work too.

With regards to exams, I’m pretty sure they will all be online. I don’t understand how they will manage it though, because I know they have to change the format of some of them. So I’ll have to wait and see what our teachers email.

But, I’m still bored though. I’m bored but I know I shouldn’t be because I’ve plenty of work to be doing. I feel bad for being bored!

Aisling

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

Finding Work Experience

woman using silver laptop

Photo by Marek Levak on Pexels.com

As part of my course, I have to find 2 weeks of work experience. We need to find somewhere where we are dealing with customers so I applied for 5 places over a week ago.

I applied for one in a tourist information centre, and a few days ago I received an email saying that the dates I was looking for were booked up. I then received another email from another place and said that they were also full! I went into the local library and they said that I have to go to the council and apply through them because its a public building and it’s a big hassle now with insurance and that! So I decided not to go to the council because I”m sure it would take weeks! I haven’t heard from a Pharmacy or a hotel so I’m still waiting from them.

It’s very annoying at the moment because this was the whole reason why I done my course. I couldn’t get a job. And now I’m back looking for work experience which I’m not even getting paid for. Because the town where I live is small, there’s not many places to choose from. Then we have secondary schools and they send their Transition Year (TY) students on work experience also, which doesn’t help us. Transition Year is a year in the middle of Secondary School where students don’t really do much. They do work experience, set up a small business, go on trips and other stuff. It’s a relaxing year before they go into 5th year and study for their big exams. In my area it’s optional to do but I think in other schools it’s mandatory (I’m not 100% sure on this though). My sister did it but I didn’t. That means that that the TY’s will then join the class that was a year behind them instead of continuing on with their own class. With all the trips and things that they do my Mum found out that it was a very expensive year!

I may have to go to Dublin to do it but I don’t want to have to spend a day going up, handing out CV’s and Cover Letters and then none of them reply to me. And because I currently don’t have a car, my Dad would have to drop me to the bus station really early if I was to start at 9am in Dublin.

I just thought that it wouldn’t be this hard. And it’s times like these that I really don’t like living where I do right now.

I’ll start re-writing my Cover Letters again for more places and hopefully something will come up.

Aisling.