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Category Archives: in the trenches

got work to do

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i arrive home gutted after my day at work. didn't help trundling home on the train standing wedged in the narrow aisle, after hassling my way in, slightly damp but too warm. my wet weather coat is suited to much cooler temperatures.  i did have the presence of mind to plug my ipod in before i got on. i suspected as much. this is the drawback of travelling during "rush hour". last week i had to let a train go by.

it's just one day. i could not imagine having to engage in this every day. in Toronto i avoided the crush by walking to work; simply not an option now.

with some gritty determination, i employed some underused TO commuting skills to elbow past some oblivious commuter blocking the door. (sharp elbows and height are a definite advantage.) however, this behaviour is one i will never understand. we all would like easy unobstructed access to the door, but making like an immovable object when people are trying to get past you is simply the action of….a dunderhead, idiotstick, well somebody that complete lacks the inability to consider the needs of others.

i begged off cooking dinner and made for the sofa and the sweet relief of simply sitting down on something vaguely comfortable. i have no idea how i managed to attend to all the mundane household tasks (including cooking dinner) when i worked full time. it seems an impossibility now.

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pensive pondering and wondering

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sitting in the sun with my coffee. 9 am. two crosswords down. contemplating. doing a lot of that lately. it's not navel gazing. it's serious soul searching. again. round and round. i've dispensed with my pride in favour of the sliver of hope that i might get any job. iga, tim horton's and the like. this is what i am reduced to. forget about aspirations of the future. here and now dictates that money's got to start flowing in. and right now we are talking about desperate times, and you know how that refrain goes.

i believe in myself and my abilities. i believe that i deserve to have better, but those offering the jobs and apparently the agencies–supposedly working on my behalf–think differently.

there's a columnist in the metro that writes pithy little blase articles about all that the potential employee might be doing wrong and thus their reason for lack of gainful employment. does anyone ever think to shine the light the other way, on the employer? i know they possess the jobs and it is there perogative to hire whomever they please, but did any of these outfits stop to think that perhaps they aren't playing by the same rules anymore. the playing field is not level. the tools at their disposal can lend a duplicitous aspect to the whole proceedings. all the electronic hr; the monsters, workopolis's et all, community bulletin boards chock-a-block with bulls*** ads that offer a screen for the less scrupulous of employers to hide behind.

even at the local beer and wine store a girl there was bitching about her long hours because of personnel problems. well, in the personality contest or out of sheer laziness you gots what you got. i hand delivered my resume with a dazzling smile and they even know me, but….

i wonder if ageism is beginning to creep into the scenario, lumbering around and obliterating the fact that i could be a fantastic candidate for even the jobs i am not fully qualified for. and for the ones i am, a summarized list of my accomplishments and skills are there in black and white. a not unsubstantial list. so what gives?

somewhere in the world it’s not monday anymore

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it's been so long since i posted anything, but what is there to write? my life is not packed with events or work hassles or much of anything at all but the crushing mundane of domesticity. take today for instance. so far i've:

– fed the cat
– drank my morning hot water and lemon
– worked out and showered
– had breakfast
– made the bed
– hung up some laundry
– sifted through email
– surfed some hostel and cheap accom sites for san fran (i am fretting a bit not hearing from jay)
– washed the dishes
– made some inquiry calls
– read the metro; contemplated doing the crossword, but didn't

….by the time i was about ready to leave the house to run a few errands i received a call from the place i was to go interview tomorrow. (don't ask me where it was. the craigslist ad was, as usual, annoying lacking in detail and company info, and the gent who called me didn't state the name of the company either.) his call was to inform me that the position had been filled. and it wasn't yet noon! i think i should have at least had a shot. but so it goes. perogative and all that.

it's the first nibble i've received in ages. part of my daily ritual involves the scanning craigslist–and as many job boards as i feel up to scanning–and sending off resumes with their attendant cover letters. i was beginning to think every one i sent was finding its way into junk mailboxes and not into the hands of the intended recipients, but i think that's just my weary optimism speaking. i notice a few listings that constantly recur. i've even applied for some of them and i often wonder. do they hire people and the people quit or are they fired? are they trolling just in case, to keep their options open? there's one in particular that irks me when i see it. the brief description is of a pub in kits looking for someone to count money and do some minor bookkeeping. this is well within my repertoire and i applied and got nary even an acknowledgement out of it. why didn't they just reply to everyone who responded so they could draw from a pool of personnel when these hirees tired of the job or the boss or was discovered to be a tyrant or the hiree incompetent. whatever the scenario might be. that would be the idle speculation portion of my day. then i:

– picked up some groceries from the safeway at sixth and sixth
– got my library card sorted
– cooked and ate lunch
– dusted
– watered the plants
– vacuumed
– did some recycling
– dropped off cans and bottles to the development bc box (cursed that i forgot my bank card because i meant to also pick up some cat food and litter in the same trip)
– grabbed a coffee
– now this here right now would be the somewhat uninspired blogging part of my day.
– i am going to continue to blatantly ignore my spendthrift blog because i've got nothing to contribute to it. and simply don't feel like it even if i did
– soon i'll cook dinner but that will be a mostly shared responsibility because there's a chunk of meat to be barbecued and that is shaun's milieu.
– sort through pics, correct and organize–post on flicker and on my blog
– later i intend to do a little yoga to augment the ea sports sweat session of this morning
– i also intend to finish a pretty good book i've had on the go for a couple weeks.

that should round out my day and it looks fairly substantial, but i know i could pack in more. like 15 minutes of some educational plinking on my guitar. that could be something done later instead of watching tv. but you get the gist.

this is not the stuff that makes people go ah. makes me want to yawn.  this what i do day in and day out. busy work. fooling myself that i am biding my time until i get a job; like some mythical creature i have yet to catch a glimpse of.

a piece of the big picture

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sifted through the classifieds again today; went all the way back to the last time i sifted. the interesting thing to note is the increasing number of ads posted bitching about the misrepresented and insulting jobs that seem to be posted. another sign of the times, the growing level of frustration and people offering $10 (which is minimum wage in ontario, by the way), the requests for references in advance, and basically asking for superheros to swoop in and do the job of several people whilst being paid that of one peon. it's a certain sort of  how you say…..capitalizing on the desperation of the times. did the rounds of the job boards and the recruiter sites.  there's a precious few offerings out there. very few. worrying.

the results of the interviews of last week and this week were promising only from the standpoint that it appeared the interviewers liked me and could appreciate my personality, honesty and integrity; even recognized what electronic hr screening can't and won't identify. it counts for a lot, but it don't pay the bills, honey.

as regards schooling, that's another matter. based on my possible aptitude and level of interest, in what is said to be a growing career in the medical field my search has netted few results and most of the courses are either cost prohibitive or gruelling and long.

i have put my thinking cap on, but in trying to navigate my options and figure out what might be the most beneficial,  it is difficult to focus and think clearly. i just want to be working, plain and simple and there is so little out there. all my supports offer none, and it's frustrating.

on the horse again

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i hurriedly ran around the house in a last minute frenzy that always seems to occur no matter how organized i am and found that bijou had yakked in my comfortable but stylish shoes. a little setback but not huge. i've given myself loads of time, and so i'm not put behind by discovery.

i'm also glad i hadn't taken up honnor's invitation to stay over and walk to the interview location from her place. even though it would have been incredibly convenient and pleasurable on such a glorious day. when i received the call the woman had referred to the interview as a "meeting" i knew in the back of my head that it was indeed an interview. moreover, apparently the company is very conservative so if i had gone swanning in there in jeans and….whatever…..i don't think i would have been well received at all. she pointed out that my tattoos could be of issue, and if that is the case then perhaps we are not a good fit anyway. i felt more comfortable in the interview and confident with my answers. though, as before, i had to improvise in the way i presented my responses since i don't have a lot of experience providing service in the way that would determine my suitability.

i left with a mixed sensation of relief and discouragement. all i can do is try but my best effort just doesn't seem good enough and i am further convinced that i take an entirely different tack. i just need to determine what it might be.

a home is still a home by any other name

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we're now officially going to be living in new west–the sapperton area to be specific–come may 1. it's not an area on my hit parade, but living there will give us time to regroup and get our feet under us again. it will be a time for more reflection, saving money and hopefully a chance to get out of debt. and if i am lucky (borne of hard work and searching) i'll get a job and the process will be accelerated, and i'll get my life back on track. i've got lots of plans for myself for 2009 and i want to get started!

i'm going for an interview today and i'm preparing interview questions that i hope will impress or at least make an impression. the whole process of interviewing leaves me utterly cold, but the recruiter seems to think the interviewer and i will hit it off like gangbusters.

the day is a complete contrast to yesterday, hardly inspiring, but i am thinking happy thoughts. i'll play sunny music on the ride down and act like the job is mine (even if i secretly don't really want it) wearing heels with the interview suit might be a bit of a dicey proposition. my foot is screaming. sensible shoes it is.

thank you for your interest….

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"Thank you for your interest in a position at …Whole Foods Market ……..It was a pleasure meeting with you at the Job Fair.  We have reviewed your application,
carefully considered your qualifications, and have decided to continue
to pursue other applicants for this position who more closely match the
needs of the position.

However, your profile…blahblahblah….."

this polite little phrase is a kiss off. what stunned and hurt me most was the swiftness of it. it's wording is so generic that i have received similar letters from different companies.  i
give up. i just don't know what it takes to impress these people. i
really don't. i received the email while on the way to Bren's and i
arrived completely deflated. again, i don't necessary want to be a
grocery clerk, but i love the product and i believe in what they do and
i am a people person regardless of what their "very careful
consideration" of me failed to reveal.

the day began with me up in the crisp cool darkness with s. i gave myself lots of time to get to the interview because a few inches of snow had fallen and in this city that could mean traffic snarls that might affect transit. i arrived with loads of time to spare to a scene that was utter serenity compared to the chaos of yesterday. 

i read an apropos article in 24 on my way there, giving interview tips. the assumption of the article was that the interview setting would be intimate enough and the interviewer open enough to find out he also had a calico cat or something. i don't think i've ever had an interviewer reveal any personal information about themselves.  i was friendly, made eye contact, complimented on his name it was Matt– a good strong name, it is–and i tried to engage him, but he hardly bothered. he was definitely phoning it in.

i waited for a second interview with a team leader and again, i was engaging friendly, and again only a few brief questions were asked of me. one of them being what i thought was good customer service. i answered honestly and what i thought correctly. i am a discriminating customer and i don't know how these people determine the ability to give customer
service versus not. i do know customer service delivered badly and indifferently because i
have been on the receiving end of it and it has even occurred in one of
these stores. how those people came by their jobs and jobs in intrigues
me. the interviewer asked me if i had any questions, i had one of her which i asked. however…..

when the interview was over i left with a whole foods green grocery bag and misgivings. i told myself however, that i did my best…did my best. (thank you four agreements). i don't know what the secret formula is, i can only be myself and do my best and i know in my heart that i am a quality person who would be a quality employee.


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