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Still settling in at work, so there’s not a lot of energy left for blogging, but I’m determined to keep posting more often. To this end here’s another list. This time it’s the good and not-so-good things about where I work:

Good things:

  • Working with a great team of people who love their work and have a shed load of experience.
  • Therefore, I’m learning a lot about social work and Theatre.
  • Most of the clients are great to work with. And the more awkward clients usually get fed up and leave after a few hours.
  • The other staff all dislike meetings, so they survive them by taking the mickey out of each other between business.
  • I’m close enough to my old college to continue the training as a therapy dog trainer.
  • I’m working in a theatre again, and not just any theatre: it’s in a re-purposed art-deco power station.
  • Standing up and moving about all day is good for a waistline that expanded in two years of sitting at a desk.
  • Because I’m the first Occupational Therapist in the organisation, I’ve got a fair bit of freedom to work out how I fit into the team.

Not so good stuff

  • It’s in the middle of the city, and I really don’t do cities.
  • The commute into the city is shared with approximately 3749 children going to school, with high pitched voices.
  • I’m still getting used to this business of standing up and moving about at work…
  • It’s really in the middle of the city…
  • There isn’t a workshop to play do projects in.
  • It can be stressful when I have several clients who need something to do, and I can’t give them a job because of lack of experience and technical understanding on my part (But we’ve figured a possible solution for that…)
  • I’m essentially an intern, which means ‘cheap’, but it’s only for a year until I get my state recognition.

Overall the good outweighs the stuff I’m less than thrilled about. At least for the next 12 11 months.

I also have to write reports in German which isn’t easy. On the other hand someone has pointed out that I can see that as a kind of revenge on the Job Centre who have occasionally made life miserable in the last five years: some pen pusher in an office over there has to decipher what I’ve written…

Mwahahaaa…

 

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arbeitsplatz

Work station prepared for client.

Posting has been pretty slow of late as I’m about to do my next practical exam for my Occupational Therapist training, but finally after a lot of proofreading by my mentor at my internship placement, I’ve sent off my 3000 word report for the first read through by my tutor at college. Now all have to do is prepare the instructions for my client and I’m ready, with two weeks still to go.

I’ve even managed to get the new workstation ready. I still can’t get used to the idea that I can make this sort of thing and call it work…

Even better, thanks to my mentor at my placement spending several hours working on the grammar and spelling, I know it isn’t complete drivel.

And the best part is that I have a long four-day weekend and I don’t have to use it for the report. I can’t do any more until my tutor gets back to me, and he has the weekend off too, so I can forget it until next week with a clear conscience and spend time with my family.

There may even be more blog entries. Perhaps. If a certain toddler lets me have fine minutes break…

It’s exam season at college, and that means getting the remaining functional brain cells to work trying to learn things.

KL_02_Erträglich

It turns out I’m a visual learner and I don’t remember abstract concepts very well, so to get some of the ideas into my head, I hit on the idea of making posters for them. The process of making the pictures and drawings helps me retain the information, and I have a visual idea to try and recall during the exam.

That’s the theory. And I get to draw stuff in the class, and call it revision.

I’m supposed to remember the word at the back, ‘erträglich’, meaning ‘sustainable’, as in ‘a job doesn’t cause long term health issues’. I’m using a play on words which I’m sure has German speakers rolling on the floor already;  to allow English speakers to join in the hilarity I should explain the German word for ‘carry’ is ‘Tragen’: so he’s carrying something. (Tragen and Erträgen, gettit?) I’m hoping this will help me remember the point.

I’m also hoping they won’t deduct marks for bad puns…

Occasionally people  who know me through the blog ask why I don’t just ‘become self employed’ as a carpenter, instead of faffing about for another three years learning occupational therapy.

Apart from this showing a highly optimistic view of my abilities, in Germany a carpenter/cabinet maker is under the authority of the Carpenters Guild, which decrees that even after a three year apprenticeship, no-one is ‘permitted’ to be self-employed unless they have completed a master carpenters qualification. This takes another two years and you have to practically be an engineer or mathematician to get through it. It also costs 15 to 20 thousand Euros.

Most of which goes to the Carpenters Guild.

The result is that most self-employed carpenters about are (1) mathematicians; (2) in debt, (3) largely keen to keep the status quo going, having invested so much in it, and (4) paying members of the trade guild and therefore able to keep things the way they are*.

And then there’s the startup costs. Carpentry here is machine intensive and machines aren’t cheap: I’d have to take on a frightening amount of extra debt to set up a workshop. I’d then spend 20 years getting stressed out making boring chipboard furniture to pay it all off. Except that the machines will be ‘too old’ and ‘too slow’ in twenty years time, so I’d have to start all over again.

Or I can learn to be an occupational therapist, which frankly sounds a whole lot more fun.

I’ll also be at least twenty thousand Euros better off…

*Quote from one master carpenter on the subject: “I had to pay to get my Masters’ Qualification, so you should too.”

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