Rain, Pain and Slowly Going Insane

Looking for a job is a job.  Lately, I just don’t feel like working.  When people ask me what I want to do, I give them my usual 30 second commercial.  But deep down, I just want to read, write and take photos.  When I walk by a panhandler, I sometimes see myself in that role.  It’s illogical and unsettling.

Anyways… I’m tailoring a resume to a job opening.  I hope to finish it today and move on to the cover letter.

The cool and rainy weather the past couple of days hasn’t helped my mood.  And my DSLR is spitting out error messages (err 99 code).

I think it’s time to restart my gratitude journal.

Everyone Has A Story

For someone without a job, I’m one of the lucky ones. Everyone I’ve met at my job counseling firm has a story.

I met a woman who was contemplating a career change to become a teacher.  But she has 2 kids still in school.   As part of her severance, her employer gave her 3 months of job counseling and time is closing fast.  A few weeks later, I found out she lost her husband earlier this year.  The dreams of becoming a teacher would be shelved for now.

There was another IT geek who wasn’t sure what he wanted to do.  His hair and beard needed needed some serious trimming and unfortunately in this job market, physical impressions do count.  It wasn’t until I checked his LinkedIn profile did I realize he was actually an IT architect.  He’s got some decent credentials.  He never spoke about his accomplishments or what he wanted to do next.

Another woman hinted that she has had clinical depression but said she’s pretty sure she doesn’t have it now.  She just wants this job hunting to end.  She used to cherish time away from work.  Now the abundance of free time feels confining and she’s not sure what life has in store for her.

Then there was a guy who turned down a couple of job offers.  It surprised me until he explained those job paid less than his previous role and it involved a lot of travel.  He is the only child and is now facing elder care issues.  We chat briefly and exchange contact info.

Another project manager has a young family.  He doesn’t have a lot of Canadian experience and is willing to work in small cities where there might be less competition.  I asked him if his family will move with him.  He said no, he’ll find some place cheap to live and send money back to his family.

There are so many people here who could use a break.  There just doesn’t seem to be enough well paying jobs to go around.  Everyone has a story to tell.

Snippets

I just have 3 snippets.

  1.  I got a kid of around 5 yrs old into a bit of trouble on the weekend.  He was in a table next to mine with  2 adult women and a younger girl.  One of the women was his mom.  We were all in a packed restaurant and he was in the table in front of me although his back was towards me.  During dinner he looked back at my table and I gave him a quick smile and looked away.  He thought I was playing with him and he ducked behind the back of his chair.  I could see him trying to peek at me but I didn’t pay attention to the kid because his mom was seated facing me.  It was a good thing she was focused on feeding the little girl and didn’t look over.  I only looked at the kid when I knew the mom and the other woman wasn’t looking at me.  Eventually the mom got tired of the kid not eating, hiding behind the winter coats that were draped over the back of the chair and trying to peek at my table.  She let loose a few stern words and the kid was sniffling and crying a bit.  But before you start on me, he was giggling and laughing by the end of the night.
  2. My sister told me one of her neighbours passed away.  She was an elderly woman who had some mental health issues but lived by herself.   An ambulance and police showed up and they had to use a crowbar to open the door to her house.  What surprised my sister and her neighbours is that the elderly woman’s daughter just lived down the street.  None of them knew about the daughter until that old woman passed away.  No one had keys to the elderly woman’s home.  It’s just sad.
  3. It’s been almost 9 months since I lost my job. I have no idea what my next career will be.  I have to admit that I didn’t really look hard for jobs until this year.  I would say last year was more of a recovery – both physically and mentally. The uncertainty is both scary and exciting.  The potential is limitless (or so I tell myself).  I’m certainly pushing the limits of my comfort zone but I’m still strangely calm.

Focus and Discipline

It’s so easy for me to get distracted and turn a promising day into one of wasted opportunity.  Job hunting forces me to venture out of my comfort zone.  Networking doesn’t come naturally to me despite my strengths in working with people.  Talking about me is essential but I’d rather talk about others.  The only time I talk about me is here.  Asking for help, advice and insight can be humbling but I have no problem offering them when asked.

It’s easy for me to get distracted by all the stuff that’s going on in US politics.  The pipeline deal got approved?  I thought the refineries didn’t have any more capacity?  Is the oil for the domestic US market or for exports?  Facts vs Alt facts, illegal voters, NAFTA to be opened up for negotiation…

When I’m on LinkedIn, I’ll come across some interesting articles.  I feel compelled to read them immediately because it looks important to my job search.  I also want to carve out some time to write and improve my photography.  And let’s not forget going to the gym.  Oh and time for reading too.

But I’m going to instill more focus and discipline in my job search.  I’ll have to set aside most of my time for it because that’s my priority.  If I can dedicate some quality time to this, then the rest should find its time.

To deal with all the negative stuff going on, I’m going to focus on doing what’s good in my corner of the world.  I came across this quote.

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

It’s been wrongly attributed to John Wesley from my brief research.  Yes, I even spent time to make sure I could rightfully attribute the quote.  I haven’t been able to find who actually said this.  But I like it and will try to incorporate that into my every day living.

 

 

Tough Love

“It’s a good start.”  Then the pen slashed across the hardcopy of my LinkedIn summary.    It wasn’t the feedback I wanted to hear.  But it was probably the feedback I needed to hear.  It’s back to the drawing board.  But it wasn’t all discouraging news.  My counselor took pains to highlight my people skills.  He told me he could see why people feel comfortable talking with me.  He knows how to gently push and nudge us past our comfort zone.  I jotted down more tips including making time for myself.  I tested him by asking how he managed transitioning from one job to another.  But he was smart enough to quickly turn the conversation back towards me.

It still amazes me how my dad managed to keep his sanity while job hunting.  He didn’t have the benefit out outplacement services, LinkedIn, resume writing services…  He was motivated to keep his family together.

I’m motivated to find something that interests me.  I don’t have kids to feed and to put through school.  This entry isn’t ending the way I thought it would.  Maybe the hidden lesson is to be grateful for where I am.

Selfie – ugh, no…

At our job counseling sessions, they advise us to improve our LinkedIn profile by having a picture.  It increases your visibility and more people are likely to click on your profile if you have a picture.  I finally surrendered and decided to put my picture out there.  So I dragged out my broken tripod.  The handle for the centre leg broke off years ago.  I keep it around for “decoration”.  I made a lot of test shots and cringed at the results.  I wanted to do it by the window but I don’t have a good spot.

Eventually I found a spot, set up my flash, figured out how to adjust the focus without a subject, got dressed (just a shirt, tie, blazer) and took a bunch of pictures.  Finally there was one that looked okay.  There are some small shadows behind me from the flash that I couldn’t figure out how to remove.  But for a small LinkedIn picture, I don’t think people will notice.

One thing I noticed is that the pictures that I thought would work out when I checked the camera weren’t that great when I imported them to my laptop.  In the end, it was the picture which was the brightest.  I still don’t like getting my picture taken even by myself.  Selfie – not me.

On another note, thank you for the thoughts, prayers and kind wishes for my sister.  I stayed with her yesterday afternoon and for dinner.  I think it’ll be a couple of more weeks before the meds and her body stabilizes.  One lesson for us is to make sure we have a family doctor.  Her family doctor retired and she never got around to getting one.  A walk in clinic is ok but you still need a family doctor who is familiar with your history and someone you’re comfortable dealing with.  The worst time to look for a new doctor is when you’re sick.

 

 

 

Back to Job Hunting

I met with my job counselor this week and we both agreed that my job hunt needed more focus and attention – in particular networking.  I went over my 30 second commercial with him and he recommended adding more hard skills.  There were many other recommendations about my LinkedIn profile, moving to a more active job search through networking rather than looking at job postings etc…

So I started to make a plan on how to tackle all of this.  I woke up late although I got to bed at 10:30 PM.  I actually woke up around 2 AM and didn’t get back to sleep until 4 AM.  I slept through my alarm.  After a healthy breakfast of oatmeal, nuts and berries, I did the dishes and brushed my teeth.  I noticed the bathroom needed to be tidied up.  I wiped the faucets, sink, the shower stall, the mirror, the toilet and, swept the floors and tossed out the old towels.  I decided to mop the bathroom  floor too.

I dragged out the bucket and the mop that spins.  The bathroom looked decent after that.  While it won’t win any awards, people won’t be scared to use it.  I even use those Lysol wipes.  Then I looked at the hardwood floors.  It was getting a bit sticky.  So I spent the next hour just doing a basic mop up.  I’ve found over time the best way to clean my floors is hand wiping it using a micro fibre cloth and hot water.  But I have to get down on my hands and knees to do that. That’s too tiring and I’ll save that for another day when I feel like it.

So I did a quick wipe that and the hardwood floors looked a bit better.  It’s now after 1PM.  I then debated if cleaning was a form of procrastination.  Since I’m a Gemini – the debate raged on forever.  So I decided to blog.

I best get back to my job hunting.

(ed. note:  warning – the author’s next entry is about dish washing.  He has run out of things to write about.)