Mitja Horlemann: WCBS Support Consultant
Not being 100% sure how the job market for trained archaeologists is in the UK, but assuming it’s about the same as in Germany, instead I applied for the support consultant role with WCBS, because my experience at the State Department meant I was well qualified for the job.
My training was internally on the support desk and then also distinct sessions with Training Consultants. I think I drove them a bit up the wall because I’m very curious and I tend to ask all the questions.
Also I had to get a professional thesaurus, because even though I had studied English, the language of accountancy and the independent schools sector both have a language of their own! I started with an Excel spreadsheet with all the abbreviations that got flung around all the time, to cope with a sentence like “I tried to send my FPS via RTI, but HMRC told me the NI is wrong!”
I remember vividly the first six weeks. I never slept so well in my life because I just came home after work and then just had dinner, fell down like a log sleeping for 10 hours and then repeat because there was just so much information to process.
My colleagues are really lovely and everybody super supportive and what I really like about support is it’s a mixed bag because you never really know what the query will be when the phone rings.
Sometimes it’s an admin person who says oh, I can’t find the pupil in my lists. Where have they gone? So you can go into individual usage inquiry and see where they are. Or, the bursar wants to reconcile their Billing Ledger. And there you have an imbalance in goodness knows which period, and you have to start digging in the transactions to see where it went wrong, Sometimes it’s the IT contact saying I want to upgrade my SQL database, can you give me a hand…
The realm of software support has to be considered sometimes, because actually it may be an accountancy question or about tax legislation so at some point we can only say, well, I can’t really tell you what to put in that field. I can only tell you what it does – check with HMRC.
I think what’s really benefited me at WCBS is I look for the logical and structured approach, and that rings quite well with databases, because if you know how it’s structured and where things go and how they are all relating to each other then it’s extremely helpful to get your head around.
The other thing is I just love helping people and getting their problem sorted, so that made support the ideal position because you actually help people achieve what they want to do. And also you have that good riddle every once in a while where something didn’t go to plan!
Mitja Horlemann: WCBS Support Team Leader
I moved into the role of Team Leader after some restructuring, then we had Lockdown. This was quite helpful to bolster my experience with the amount of calls we had due to our schools needing some different functionality from our software, because of HMRC issuing legislation just to cater for furlough, and the need to refund partial school fees because of schools being closed.
Of course there were no specifications, we hadn’t been here before, so we had to come up with some workarounds and tweaks. And then deal with the extra calls to help schools perform these new functions.
Mitja Horlemann: Father, Glastonbury Knight, and Forager
Outside of work I’m currently putting together the gear of a 13th century knight. And since that’s not complicated enough, I’m actually building the mail armour myself. You need approximately 20,000 metal rings. I call it heavy metal knitting – and the finished garment will weigh about 16 kgs! I’m hoping to wear it at the medieval fair in Glastonbury Abbey which happens each year, plus a couple of others around the country.
I’m also a passionate forager, especially in the woods looking for mushrooms, which my children also enjoy.