Keep On Trying

Lately a few people that I know have found jobs.  We all go to the same job counseling company and it’s good that they have landed.  Some are from a networking group that meet weekly.  I know how hard they’ve worked and the struggles they’ve gone through.

As for me, I have to continue to stay focus and not get complacent.  It’s so easy to take teh foot off the gas pedal. I just have to continue sharpening my resume, improving my networking, honing my interview skills and be more comfortable marketing myself.

But if any of you want to fork over a few hundred grand (Canadian), I would be okay with that too.

On an unrelated note, I sent a note to a friend of mine who has stomach cancer.  I just wanted to let him know I was still thinking of him.  He replied back and is scheduled for 8 rounds of chemo and surgery afterwards.  A week later, he sent me a photo of him with his bald head.  He’s still smiling with his wife behind him.  He told me it’s all in God’s hands now.  I hope he’ll be able to defy the odds and pull through.


Makeup Please…

My weekly networking meeting with 3 other  job hunters was reduced to just 1 person.  2 of them said they had conflicts.  One of the things we did was to practice some interview questions.  She told me my answers were good but I looked old and tired. She reminded me I was competing with 20 year olds who have tons of energy.  I didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before so maybe that contributed to it.

“Old and tired”.  Ouch.  That hurt.

I felt better after a haircut and a walk. I debated about retail therapy but decided not to.





I’ve been trying to be more disciplined in my job search.  There are good days and there are those days where negative energy likes to linger.  When that happens, self doubt shows up.  It’s followed quickly by procrastination. It doesn’t take long for them to resurrect any bad habits I have.  Together they all gang up on confidence.  I have to make sure I remain positive and not let those negative thoughts and emotions stay too long.

So I need to be a lot more disciplined at this.  I still need to make time for the things I like to do or need to do.  Looking for a job is a full time job but I also want some “work” life balance.

I’ve started a morning pages journal.  It’s 3 pages of whatever comes to mind written in longhand.  This was recommended to me by my late friend Kelvin years ago.  But I never did it.  It was an odd coincidence that I found it again from some article on LinkedIn after I was thinking of him. So I figured that must be a sign.

I have a spreadsheet that tracks all my action items, networking activities and goals for my job search.  But I haven’t been consistently using it.  If you’re a project manager, this would be similar to your project control book.  I updated it this morning but will need to do it daily. I’ve been doing a decent job of making new connections on LinkedIn.  I feel  more comfortable doing information interviews.  Selling myself doesn’t come easy for me (and perhaps for you).  I have to practice my 30 second commercial regularly.

My wardrobe also needs to be updated.  After a few years of working from home and years of casual dress code, I really don’t have a decent business casual clothes.  I have 3 suits, 1 dress pants and 1 blue blazer.  I need something less formal than suits but more formal than khaki pants.

Mostly I need to stay focused and positive.  Not having a steady stream of income makes me feel vulnerable.  But I also want to make sure I get a job that I enjoy too.  At some point, I’m sure I’ll need to make some trade offs.  But for now, I just got to keep moving forward.




I just submitted a job application and won’t you know it, I goofed up.  I did a bit of digging and figured out the name of the hiring manager.  But the job posting on LinkedIn didn’t have the hiring manager’s name or title.  In various drafts, I had the name in but I finally took it out at the end just in case I was wrong.  So I used the dreaded “Dear Hiring Manager”.

After I submitted it on the company’s website, I noticed who the job reported to.  It didn’t have the name but her title.  Of course, the title was for that person’s name that I had.  I had even gone on her LinkedIn.  What ticked me off was that I went through the posting a few times but missed this.  I’m just kicking myself now.

The job is at one of my target companies but it’s only a 1 year contract.  And the salary is a lot lower than what I used to make.  But I need to get my foot in the door.

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.


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.