For two and a half months, I worked at an old folks home as a Kitchen Porter, whilst concurrently in further education as a Social Sciences student. Unfortunately, the job was nothing but extremely problematic due to physical distance and more primarily, extremely ineffective management.
1. The job was eight miles out from where I lived, therefore requiring me to be driven out there by car. However, since I could not drive myself, I had to reply on my mum to take me out and back again.
2. A typical shift was supposed to last two hours in the evening, from 5.30 PM to 7.30 PM. However, in the entire two and a half months that I worked there, I had almost always ran late in the two hour shift that I was meant to be working. This was due to the fact that when I entered to start my shift at 5.30 PM, the residents would still be having their meal and therefore leaving me to wait for them to finish, often lasting twenty minutes to half an hour. Consequently, this resulted in time being wasted for me to actually do my job and therefore I would only finish roughly an half an hour to an hour later.
3. The job was very isolating. Whilst carrying out my Kitchen Porter duties, I was not working with another person in the same shift and therefore only worked by myself alone.
The caregivers of the residents were of no help either, as the very concept of teamwork and communication was completely non-existent. The fact that I did not know the names of my co-workers outside a very small few (namely the manager and the head chef) should demonstrate this particular issue very well. When I handed in my job notice and finished my last shift a week later, I did not receive any farewells whatsoever.
All employees were required to undertake mandatory health and safety e-learning. However, I was unable to attend to this due to educational commitments. Communicative issues aroused out of this as the manager kept sending me written reminders to complete it instead of actually asking why I wasn’t completing it. Eventually, the manager sends a suspension letter explaining that, unless completed by a certain date, I would be suspended from the rota until such e-learning was completed. Furthermore, the manager or anyone else never followed up why I was always finishing late.
To put these two particular problems into perceptive; normally the residents would be in the process of having their meal when I would start my shift at 5.30 PM. However, during one shift, the residents had yet to start their meal. When I first entered the kitchen area, the food distribution trolley was still sitting there, yet to be taken through. No written notes existed as to what was meant to be happening. Puzzled as to what I was supposed to be doing due to the lack of instructions, I stalled for half an hour to three quarters of an hour. None of the nurses came and asked what was happening.
Only after stalling for that time, did I finally act on the presumption that I was supposed to take the trolley through. (If you’re thinking why I didn’t just ask someone myself, the point is that I was never informed of this in the first place.) It was not until 6.30 PM did the residents finish for me to actually fulfil my Kitchen Porter duties. Due to this particular circumstance, I did not finish until roughly 9 PM.
4. A pay dispute arised. Employees were due to be paid on the twelfth of every month but for the majority of my employment there I did not receive any pay whatsoever, as it transpired that the administrator of the care home lacking my bank details. The issue was only resolved a week later after I raised the issue.
Not really a problem, but the job was very limiting in regards to utilising the knowledge and skills I had gained. Due to these problems, I couldn't take it anymore after two months and handed in my notice. I have taken three lessons from this experience when looking for future jobs:
1. When applying for jobs, apply for something that you can physically get to on foot.
2. Apply for jobs where there's a reasonable amount of teamwork involved.
3. Apply for jobs that utilise any worthwhile skills that you may have acquired and it’s something that you have a passion for, whether it is art, music, writing or anything else.
What's the worst job you've ever had?