Work Experience

My five day long work experience in the local mortuary was one of the most interesting weeks of my entire life. I learnt, witnessed and experienced things that I couldn’t even have thought of. I was told to treat it as ‘observational only’, but I was hardly going to stand by while someone struggled with a fridge tray, or had a really messy autopsy room to clean up, or had a doctor at one door while three different funeral directors had walked in. Of course I couldn’t do too much, but I got stuck in enough to be a helping hand and show my appreciation of being allowed to be there in the first place.

After day one I wasn’t sure I was in the right place at all. I knew it would make it or break it for me and after the first day I had witnessed some very stressed staff, a bloodbath worthy of a proper horror movie and been shouted at by the pathologist who was conducting the autopsies that day. I went home with a smell in my nostrils and a worry in my mind that I couldn’t cut it out. The smell disappeared quickly but the thoughts didn’t.

Until the next day. I didn’t consider not going back, I’m not one to give up that quickly, and can be really quite stubborn when I want to be. I held my head high, decided to laugh off the pathologist and see what the day would bring.

By Friday I had seen everything I needed. I’d stood and watched (a different) pathologist conduct a full autopsy and explain exactly what she was doing. She even apologised for the other pathologist and her actions! I’d helped as much as I could with the work (within obvious limits) and I knew for a fact that I wanted a job there more than anything. I still knew that it was unlikely, that jobs don’t come up often and the new trainee was flourishing as well as being lovely and my friend now!

I left after that Friday with a spring in my step and a new determination to get somewhere with this. Oh and that week I had found out that I’d been successful in getting an administrator job at a hospital in London. I would be an NHS employee at last, a step in the right direction and now 20% discount at Nando’s to boot.

The team at the hospital had all said they would let me know about any jobs they heard of coming up and I had their full backing to progress with my dream.

Welcome!

Hello! Welcome to my new blog. I’m starting this as a mini-project but also as a record for my own memories and to keep family & friends up to date with what I’m up to. 

Long story not-so-short, I landed a job about a month and a half ago. Sounds dull, maybe a little exciting, but let me explain a little further.

Education-wise, I am a qualified archaeologist and I’ve studied Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology. That meant, in the wonderful modern world, that I ended up working in financial administration making rich people even wealthier and investigating when 5 pence went missing from their account. That thrills some people but I always felt a sense of not belonging.

About two years ago, I was sat with my friend Natalie talking about just this. Natalie is a very successful cake maker with her own business. Alongside this she is an accountant, by education an Egyptologist. We’re a couple of very interesting people! Natalie asked me what I wanted to do with my career, if I could do anything at all. I think I said something like “Well it sounds weird but I’ve always kinda wanted to work in a mortuary, though I don’t know how”.

Natalie is a very matter of fact person in the most fantastic way. So her reaction was simple, obvious but inspiring and wonderful. “Then find out”.

She tried to persuade me to phone the local mortuary manager and ask them. Even thinking of that terrified me so I compromised and agreed to email. At least then I could carefully plan and think about what to say without stumbling over my words and making the worst impression. An email was sent and I patiently waited. A reply came back that was positive and a few more flew back and forth. He agreed to let me know when any jobs came up as he thought I was a good candidate and that was that. I was really happy and hopeful, but realistic in that I knew jobs were few and far between and that my name could well be lost into the sea of many others in the same position.

Months passed and I almost forgot about it. I did take on some advice though, get a job in the NHS. I knew this would benefit me, I could use my administration skills and I would at least feel like I was doing some good. I kept applying for anything I thought I could do in any hospital within a reachable distance. Nothing came and the whole process was quite disheartening.

Then an email arrived while I was waiting in the local hospital with my boyfriend before he had a minor operation. There was a trainee APT job going at the very same hospital trust. I took it as a sign, I needed this job and it was my destiny to get it. I can be quite like that. In a total dream world where coincidences are more than that and everything has meaning. Please bear with me!

So I applied and prepared for the interview and waited totally impatiently to be told when it was. A week later I checked my phone at work and saw what I didn’t think would happen. I’d not even got an interview. I’m not ashamed to say I cried at work. My very lovely manager, Diana, took me into a meeting room. She knew this was what I had wanted and why it was so upsetting. I vowed to not let it stop me, to email for feedback and to try a different plan. She knew someone who worked at a funeral directors. That could be another avenue to a job I’d enjoy. I started to think of the wider picture and feel hopeful again.

Due to my incessant emailing, the mortuary manager agreed to meet with me to discuss my options. I jumped at the chance and one afternoon wandered up to the local hospital. He was lovely and suggested I complete some work experience there to add to my CV and help my future career. I agreed eagerly and the ball started rolling to get that in place….

To be continued…

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