Tuesday 11 February 2020

Hawking the CV around

My tempestuous affaire with my ex-student V from Tamil Nadu continues. He has 6 years of post-secondary training in Pharmacy back home, which count for nothing over here. In some cases, there is mutual respect for the qualifications and licencing between two countries; but often there is skepticism at best. When I applied for a driving licence in Massachusetts in 1980, I showed them my British quals and was required to take an exam on the local practice and rules of the road. The exam was a multiple-choice quiz with ten random questions, of which I had to get 7 correct. They would be happy to let me off on the highways of Massachusetts if I was ignorant of 30% of the regulations! Knowing just how crappy is public transport in Ireland, V wants to drive a car. But the authorities here will cut Indians no slack at all. It is as if they cannot drive at all and applicants must sit the theory test and take many lessons from a licenced training school and pass the on-road test and then spend 2 years sporting N for Novice plates on the back of the car. I've banged on the door of my local network to source a competent colour-blind driving instructor.

V's current plan is to get work, any work, in the bio-med-pharma-drugtrial arena. His latest wheeze is to start at the bottom as a Pharmacy Technician, learn that aspect inside out while earning more than he'd pull down in India on the minimum wage here [much higher cost of living, though!]. In parallel, he will be getting his TCQR Third Country Qualification Recognition; which involves paying €1,500 and sitting an Equivalence Examination. This is quite Hard Chaw: after all it is designed to show equivalence with the 6 year Pharmacy degrees that are offered at Irish Universities. As with the Driving Licence, the PSI want to maintain standards of competence. Try this sample question:
Granulocytopenia, gastrointestinal irritation, gingival hyperplasia and hirsutism are possible adverse effects associated with:
a. Carbamazepine
b. Lamotrigine
c. Phenobarbitone
d. Phenytoin
e. Valproate

 Anyway, anyway, the eternally optimistic V has an interview today to work as a Pharmacy Technician in one of the community pharmacies in town. So this is what I advised:
"I will convey my full skill" may not be the right approach. If you can, try: humility and willingness to learn the Irish Pharma business because you appreciate that, although the drugs are the same, the dispensing and distribution, payments, customer engagement and sex-ratio are completely different in our two countries. In Ireland, as you know, pharmacy is heavy on women (although The Pharmacist / boss is still more likely to be a man). What Irish workers in the field worry about is men from 'abroad' bringing Patriarchal values from home and applying them in Ireland. We have experienced this in the PT course - which has a +95% F ♀ enrollment - where chaps from abroad are insufficiently respectful of their female colleagues and/or expect them to do all the work in the lab. Remember your honoured mother and how you would want/expect her to be treated? But definitely do not go the other way and be all hand-wringing and humble and deferential. But you are a kind, smart, well brought up (thank your mother) old (26 is nearly pensionable) man. I hope they recognise that. Good luck, Tuesday,"

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