Tag Archive | job

The Great Job Hunt

Two months into my big adventure and I’ve committed the cardinal sin of being so busy I barely have time to think about, let alone write, my blog posts.  The downside of this is that I have so much to share and tell that the topics keep building up and up, and sooner or later I’ll have missed the boat and the moment will have well and truly passed.  The upside of my current predicament is that my jam packed schedule is the result of finding a full-time, permanent job in a sector I love. Yessssssss!

When I arrived in Canada I brought with me low expectations packaged up in a worst case scenario.  My plan was to secure some sort of temporary work, ideally admin but retail would do, and volunteer in some high level roles to keep my skills up for my return to the UK in December 2011. Anything else would be considered a bonus. Despite this I decided to aim high and applied for some ‘proper’ jobs before I left the UK, receiving an invitation to my first telephone interview whilst sitting at Vancouver Airport waiting for my luggage to appear on the carousel. The next morning I found myself talking to a nice lady from HR from a payphone in a hostel, using a phone card, with a stinking cold, after no sleep, surrounded by Australians playing football over my head. The role had also been downgraded to part-time which was far from ideal. Needless to say I did not expect to hear back.

I will admit to not even looking in newspapers for jobs...

After the obligatory 14 day ‘holiday’ period I set myself a target of the end of February to find some sort of work, and started contacting recruitment agencies about undertaking some temping. Temping in Canada is much more competitive than in England, and I didn’t hold out much hope for getting an assignment any time soon after finding out that I’d have to interview for every half-day receptionist shift I was put forward for. Luck must have been looking favourably on me as a week after registering with my first agency I was offered a four week data entry placement at a charity in Vancouver (no interview necessary).

My propitious streak continued as three weeks after my disastrous telephone interview I was invited back for a panel interview.  A second interview soon followed, and six days later I was on my way to my first day at work as a Volunteer Engagement Coordinator for the Greater Vancouver Region of a very large and well known Canadian charity. The icing on the cake came when I received my official offer letter stating that the job had been reinstated to full-time, with a salary that far exceeded my UK equivalent. Best. Day. Ever.

I’ve been in my new role for just over a month, and I absolutely love it. It’s a challenging role with a lot to learn, but it’s a great career step and I’m working alongside a fantastic team. I think it’s safe to say that my prospects in Vancouver are looking better than I ever thought possible, so much so that I have applied for a second work permit to stay for 2012. Two months ago I was wondering whether I’d ever see the inside of an office again, and now I’m the newbie with the ‘cute accent’. I know, right?


“I’ve got some exciting news…”

I didn’t think I’d be writing this post just yet, but this week I told my manager that I will be leaving work at Christmas.  I didn’t actually hand in my notice as I only have to give one month in writing (and I’ve got 2 months, 2 weeks and 1 day until I leave….but who’s counting?) however I made the decision to give informal, advanced notice to my colleagues.

I initially wasn’t planning on saying anything until the end of October at least, but I was keen to give my department time to start the recruitment process for my replacement as early as possible and ensure that a comprehensive handover procedure can be put into place.  That and I’d already told a few of the colleagues I’m closest to, word was starting to spread, and the thought of my managers finding out from someone else other than me scared me into making a snap decision.

How not to tell your manager...

It wasn’t the best timing I admit.  We recently lost three staff in a spate of voluntary redundancies, one colleague is leaving at Christmas to go on maternity leave, and another handed in her notice this week to also leave at Christmas.  However, I took the plunge and went for the ‘I’ve got some exciting news..!’ approach, rather than starting with an apology and coming across as negative from the outset.  Luckily it paid off, my manager was incredibly supportive of my decision, and very happy for me.  She has worked abroad herself, so fully understood my reasons for wanting to leave, and instantly gave me so much helpful advice.

Now it’s out in the open it is somewhat of a relief, but has also made my dream of two years seem rather more real.  For the first time the nerves are starting to kick in, and I’m beginning to realise how quickly the next 2 months, 2 weeks and 1 day are going to fly by.  On that note, I’d better get back to work…


Living the Dream

Today has been a particularly stressful day at the beginning of what will be a particularly stressful week at work, and every time I open a particularly frustrating email or receive a particularly irritating telephone call I remind myself that in 12 weeks and 3 days I will leave my office for the last time, and in 15 weeks and one day I will be on flight AC855 to YVR (Vancouver International to those who don’t speak airport).

Handing in my notice to leave for a completely new country with absolutely no idea what I’m going to do for work is a dream I find exhilaratingly liberating, perhaps because it is the perfect excuse to start from scratch and choose a job that I genuinely do enjoy.  At the end of my working holiday I’ll be returning to the UK, and to my career, and I’m starting to view my year in Vancouver as a parallel universe in which I can do absolutely anything without it really mattering in the ‘real world’ back home.  I like cheese, so maybe I’ll work in a deli?  I like bath and beauty products, so maybe I’ll work in The Body Shop?  I like chocolate, so maybe I’ll work in a Hershey factory?

12 weeks and 3 days to go...

As a Volunteer Coordinator by trade, I’m a great believer in the benefits of giving up one’s time, both to the individual and to the chosen organisation, particularly when it comes to developing new skills.  This week I discovered the amazing http://govolunteer.ca/, a fantastic source of hundreds of volunteering opportunities across all of Vancouver, and I am confident that I’ll be able to use my spare time to volunteer in a role that  utilises my UK experience and keeps my CV ticking along.

Although I’m under no illusion that Vancouverites don’t work hard or that all Vancouver jobs are easy, the thought of doing even the most mundane administrative role doesn’t sound quite so boring ‘over there’.  I like to think that even when the in-tray is piling up, just knowing I’m half way across the world in a thriving city by both the beach and the mountains will be enough to get through 9-5 and live for the evenings, weekends and bank holiday Mondays.  As with any new place I’m sure the novelty will wear off eventually, I just hope that time comes long after I’m on a plane back home for Christmas!