Let Me Be of Service

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Just so I don’t bury the lede, it’s official, I am once again employed! But that’s only partially the point of this post.

I’ve been on the hunt for work for quite some time. If you’re like me, when you’re looking for a job, you do a lot of soul-searching. You spend a lot of time thinking about what you like to do, what you don’t like to do, what you’re good at, and what you struggle with. You spend a lot of brain-energy trying to encapsulate your good qualities in pithy little sound bites.

Eventually, if you’re lucky, you discover (or create or stumble upon) a personal motto — something that sums you up as a person, or at least sums up the way you interact with the world. For me, that motto is the title of this piece: Let me be of service. Continue reading

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You Can’t Go Back

As I compose this, I’m sitting on the couch next to my spouse, Steven. We’re watching TV together. This wouldn’t be a weird thing, except that it’s during the day on a weekday.* That doesn’t usually happen. Or it didn’t usually happen. It certainly can now because Steven was laid off last week.

This was completely unexpected, though not entirely surprising. (He worked in the swiftly-sinking television industry. As he put it “I caught the first lifeboat off the Titanic.”) The lack of warning made it quite the heart-stopping day. The fact that I’m also between jobs leaves us with little in the way of a safety net. And that’s scary.

My greatest personal struggle right now is to keep from beating myself up. If you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you know I chose to leave my job last year because it wasn’t a great fit, and I wanted to pursue something that would make me happier. That was the right decision at the time. I knew the job market in Edmonton was tough, but I felt it was worth the risk.

From this angle, that risk looks much worse than it did back then. But blah blah hindsight blah blah. As my wise mother told me when I called to tell her the news, “You can’t go back.” Continue reading

Better Days Ahead (Or So I’m Telling Myself)

Yesterday I got turned down for a job I didn’t really want. There were enough drawbacks it would have been a tough job to make work logistically, and it (probably) wouldn’t have paid enough to make it worth it. That said, while waiting to hear back, I’d almost talked myself into taking it anyway if they offered it, simply because I need the paycheck.

So when I got that rejection email, my instant reaction was disappointment. Very very quickly, that changed to acceptance. And at this point, I’m near to relief. While I would have been really good at the job, the hurdles required to get there would have gotten old fast.

Later that same day, I found two promising jobs to apply to, received a call back from a placement agency, and got a lead on a communications job in a good office (a dog-friendly office with at least one very nice office pup!). Now, there’s no guarantee any of these will pan out any better than that last one did, but if I’d taken that not-great position, I’d’ve missed out on all these opportunities, which very well may fit my lifestyle and location perfectly.

So if you’re floundering, I know it’s cheesy to say “brave heart, hang in there”, but seriously, do. There’s no shame in getting discouraged and down on yourself—that’s where I was about a week ago. But I keep reminding myself all those negative feelings don’t help anything. Sure, there’s no guarantee things will turn around. There’s a chance they won’t and things will get worse. BUT. There’s also a chance that something fab will come around the next corner.

Thus, whenever possible, I try to operate emotionally as if something good is on the way. Not because I think there’s some cosmic power that’s going to make it happen if I think happy thoughts (though if there is, all the better), but because feeling happy (or at least calm) won’t get in my way. Feeling worried and scared most certainly does get in the way of getting shit done.

I know I can’t feel good about everything all the time. But I can choose not to wallow on purpose. So here’s me not wallowing. In fact, I’m chillin’ in a coffee shop before an interview at that placement agency I mentioned. Wish me luck!

I Make Things Better

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As you may know, I’m on the hunt for a new gig. Job hunting means thinking about my strengths, the things I’m good at. This does not come naturally to me. I grew up in the Midwest of the United States, moved to Canada, and I’m female. For all three of these, a common stereotype/social norm is humility. In my case the stereotype holds very, very true. I grew up thinking it’s important to be humble. And while letting oneself be led around by the ego is anything but cool, there are points at which humility becomes a stumbling block. Job hunting is most certainly one of those points.

I’ve gotten better at thinking about and identifying my strengths after years of working at it, but writing a blog post about this sort of thing is another (rather uncomfortable) step. It’s also an important one. All too often we (especially women) are told we’re bragging/boasting and being obnoxious or pushy when we detail our successes.

To hell with that.

I need a job. (While all this time for exercise and podcasting is great, I like eating and having a roof over my head.) And that means getting comfortable with my strengths and learning to shout them from the rooftops. Or at least from my own blog space.

So today I’m starting with the most basic strength I have. I make things better. Continue reading

Job Interviews – Yay or Yikes?

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Yesterday I started my job search in earnest. I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but I suppose “getting a job” could be considered one. And one I really need to carry out, at that!

A nearly-inescapable facet of job-hunting is the dreaded interview process–or, in my case, not-so-dreaded. Interviewing is my favorite part of the job-search process. I honestly love interviews.

Why? My joke answer is always, “I get to sit in a room for an hour and talk about myself. What’s not to like?” But the truth is more nuanced. What I really like is not so much talking about myself as it is talking about something I know. I love chatting about a subject where I feel like an expert. This is why I love podcasting so much–especially about Doctor Who. I know a lot about it, so talking about it is fun.

In a job interview, no one in the room is more knowledgeable about the subject than I am because I am the subject. Continue reading

Back in the Saddle…Sorta

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After a long silence due to international and intercontinental travel, I am back home in Edmonton and working on re-acclimating to real life. Or something like real life. I have to admit, the re-entry hasn’t been entirely pretty. I’d never spent a month away from home before, and while it was exhilarating, it’s a weird thing to just stop. And picking back up at home is rougher when things aren’t the same as when I left.

I’m now sans job, so there’s not much structure in my day. That’s something I always struggle with. And the joblessness brings mild nervousness with it. Job-hunting in a less-than-ideal Edmonton economy isn’t the most fun thing. Nor is all the housework that awaits one after travelling for a while. Then there’s the feeling of isolation at being in a city that’s at least 1500 miles away from most of my friends and family. So while I meant to jump back into the blogging thing immediately upon returning home, that just didn’t happen.

Instead, I’ve been doing oodles of self-care in the week-plus that I’ve been back. Continue reading

Shh! Be Vewwy Qwwiet. I’m Hunting Jobs.

ETA – Two paragraphs: the one about the dress code and the one about the cafeteria. How could I forget those important components?

PIE in the Sky

Yes. That is a big old pie in the sky over Edmonton. Very appropriate, considering nobody* actually gets to work in their ideal environment. So here’s the obligatory disclaimer: No. I am not actually delirious enough to hold out for a company exactly like what follows. But it’s important to know what you want and what’s truly important to you so you can find something that’ll be a good enough fit you won’t want to claw your brain out after working there a few weeks/months/years. The workplace is as important as the work.

As many of you know, I’m newly-arrived to Canada, and yes, everything’s going great. Thanks for asking! I’ve given myself a few weeks to adapt to living in a new country, a new city, and the same physical place as my spouse. Now that I’m settling in nicely, it’s time for the next big challenge: getting a job.** Continue reading