22 February 2007

Law and International Students Officer

Went to work today - to quit. While I was in the bus, I thought, I can't continue like this, working 24 hours a week => a 50 hours week including uni and had the spontaneous idea that I am going to quit today. When I arrived at Liverpool Station, there was some strange incident, all the platforms were closed down, hundreds of people in front of them and police everywhere. I wonder what that was all about.

I had a chat with the people from the London office (where I workEd, the HQ is somewhere outside) and they were really supportive and provided me with all the things I needed for my NI number. Turns out that in the UK, there automatically is a contract between employer and employee, once the latter starts working for the former. I was not aware of how far common law (based on precedence law cases) goes. I explained to them that in Austria, we only have statutory law (means what is in the law texts) and that it is considered dubious if you are not given a contract. They tried to get me to negotiate and we ran down a couple of options, since I am the only German speaking person.
The reason why no-one has received any payment was due to a system crash.
I will pop up on Saturday for my last shift for now (this was my own proposal) because they surely have some deadlines to meet and I am not going to let them hang in mid-air.

Then I went to my dev studies lecture where I was trying to write the essay which I have to send to my 121-tutor Prabhat for correction before we meet to discuss it. After it, some random guy chatted me up. He obviously wanted something for me, he was really ominous, either he wanted to marry me or move in with me or break into Dinwiddy or sell me something. I don't know. He knew me 15 minutes, told me that he likes me because I am "so assertive" and God knows what else, batted his lashes - and really believed that I would fall for that! Crazy guy *shakes head*

Then I went to SOAS (Russell Square) to send my essay and maybe try to find Gopika, since I got a mail from her yesterday that there are now ULU elections for next year. First though, I wanted to have a little snack in the JCR. While I am sitting there, sipping my tea, the girl on the same table as me finishes her newspaper and asks me if I want to have it. The headline was about British banks who ripped of their customers for mistakes on their part. How fitting, I thought.

Tried to use Wifi for my essay, doesn't work. I went to the departmental library to use their PC. When I popped in my head into the tiny office that makes up the library, there are four people between 40 and 50, one reading, the other three whispering about something. I asked them if it was a meeting. The only woman (who I knew was an anthro prof) found it quite funny that I (and two other students my age before me) should find it weird when four elderly people are in that library. Another student came in ten minutes later, asked the same question and upon being welcomed laughingly by all four entered the room. He came up to me and asked me if I was the volunteer (the Kanitkar library is run entirely by volunteers), I said no and wondered which the volunteer had left the library unattended. Suddenly, one of the professor-ish men twinkled with his eye and announced, "I am." Everyone started laughing!

Anyway, so it was not possible to install a USB stick there, I went to IT helpdesk, the expert sends me away with a leaflet, a cable and the prescription to download a software so I can use the Wifi. I go to the main library, the lift doesn't work. I finally get to a socket, can access the internet via cable but cannot download software from SOAS server. Want to go back to IT helpdesk and run into Gopika, the International Students Officer. I had just looked up her number on the net to contact her if she knows if and who is running for International Student Officer next year. She hasn't heard anything. I said, I considered doing it (but have not had the time to really think about it). She, being very enthusiastic mobilised me and got me going (I met her at 4pm, the deadline for nomination is 5pm). She says, "Go! Go and get your nomination pack, Heidi! You've got one hour to write a manifesto". - "A WHAT?" So I ran and got one of those nomination packs (basically a form and regulations), ran back to the IT helpdesk to complain about the Wifi, took 15 minutes while he was simultaneouly handling three people and in the end, he told me to get back tomorrow. *grrr* A waste of time.

So 4.15, I run back to the library, get briefed by Gopika. 4.30 I rush to the IT room to print my manifesto. 4.45 I am finished. Of course, three people were printing books before me and I needed only one. single. page. 4.50 I finally get the damn paper out of the machine, turn in the form and the manifesto, 4.55 I run to the Prontophot in the JCR because I need two passport-sized pictures. I run back to the office, get a pair of scissors and told that I have 30 seconds to complete my application. I finish, right on time. 5 seconds past 5pm, two people come into the office to hand in their nomination forms for one of the sabbatical posts (means you work full-time for the SU for one year). Peter, the General Manager sends them off and says it is too late.

Since there is no-one competing against me, the post as International Students Officer is more or less secured. I still don't realise what had happened. The whole day had passed in such a rush! If no-one had run for ISO, the campaigns and initiatives of the committee would have died. Also, there would be no-one to mentor the next ISO (Gopika graduates this year) in two years.

2 courageous comments!:

natascha said...

you wana know my opinion about decision you make, right? you don't wanna know, right? you know what i'd say if i said anything. omg. you're crazy. you dn't have enough time to earn part of your living costs, but you do have time for volunteering?
well. congrats, anyway!

Heidi Jahn said...

thanks!
i receive an allowance of 15 GBP, actually (per week, I assume, it does not say in the nomination pack) and well, i have to invest in maybe two hours a week to develop the skills for ehschonwissen.