4 interviews; 3 companies; 2 weeks; 1 offer; zero job. That’s the summary of what’s happened to me in the last couple of weeks, and that is why I’ve been away from the Twitter (and missed one blog post) during that time.
The offer came from company #1, one day after my interview. I was glad to get it, but I felt the other two companies were better for my career path. That is why I still went to the interview with company #2, two days after the interview with company #1. Not wanting to jeopardize the offer, I held out as long as I could, until the agency who sent me to company #1 told me that I had to make my choice. This was last Monday, the day I also had an interview with company #3. I got early feedback that I had a good interview. I had a good chance on companies #2 and #3, so I took a calculated risk and declined the offer made by company #1. Last Wednesday, I got called for a second interview with company #3, but got bad news from company #2.
This meant everything was riding on this second interview, which took place on Thursday. I came in and was relaxed, and despite its short length, felt confident about my chances. I wasn’t sure if a decision would be made on Friday, but none came by the time I had to attend a wedding ceremony in the mid-afternoon. I was going to accept waiting through the long weekend, but my phone buzzed during the ceremony. I checked my voicemail afterward, and it was not good news. Company #3 did like me, but in the end went with someone with more experience.
Did all that sound confusing? Here’s a graphical timeline:
It was obviously not the best news to start a long weekend, or to head into a wedding reception. I didn’t want that to dictate my mood for the weekend, so I cleared it from my mind, and left to worry about it until Tuesday.
It’s Tuesday now, and I’m back where I started two weeks ago. This cannot, must not, bring me down. The multiple interviews have made me more relaxed and confident in my abilities, and I simply need more opportunities, sooner rather than later, in order to score an offer (and keep it).
Now that my latest work contract has wound down, I’m prepping myself to return to the full-time job of finding a full-time job. But it also frees up a bit of time to focus in the last month of training for the Vancouver Marathon. It’s another turn of runemployment, and there’s some optimism on both fronts. My training has gone well, and I’m on track at making the start line for the marathon. The last work contract, while providing some stability and funds, has shown me that I can reach higher for the position that suits me better with my experience.
But first, a brief holiday – I’m heading to Hawaii with the family! Yes, it’s much needed, and I can’t wait to get in several “R”s while I’m there: rest, relaxation, reading, reflection, and running. Depending on the wifi access I get, I might post a photo a two. See you in a week!
On this day in 2008, I embarked on a trip that was years in the making, and despite its brief length (38 days in all), I still have great memories of pretty much all of it.
It was certainly an interesting time to go away; I had left a job at a company where I’d been for almost five years, and little did I know that I would be coming back to a tumultuous time in the economic sphere whose effects I’m still feeling (i.e. unemployment and underemployment). But none of that affected me as I traveled through Scotland, Ireland, Wales, London, and Paris. You can read all about it in my travelogue here, and select photos are on my flickr.
My financial situation has of course precluded me from additional travel since then, which is a darn pity, because my wanderlust has never really gone away, and it would be fun to go on a trip again. I’m sure that will come in time, but the priority is to find a decent job that can last more than a few months and that is worthy of my skills and expertise. But I can still dream…
A year ago, financial considerations forced me to park my car. It was initially for three months. But three months became six, then 12. A year without a car; it really isn’t as frustrating as it sounds, considering my main mode of transportation is public transit, even when my car was insured.
During the year, I ignored my parked car at my peril, as I’ve learned the hard way what happens when a car sits idle for a long period of time; not just the dust that’s gathered while in the parkade, but a dead battery. Once the battery is replaced, I hope to find a buyer for the car, then use the proceeds to buy a bike, and join a car co-op. Even when I find permanent employment again, I will certainly resist the urge to re-insure my car, or acquire a new one. If nothing else, I want to make going car-free a legacy of my extended un(der)employment.
“Runemployment” is one way to describe the year that has just passed. For almost nine months I have been out of work, the longest such stretch so far since leaving uni. Initially, it was exhilarating, particularly when I already had a week off scheduled in May, which I spent in California and Oregon. However, as summer became fall, and as I finally became a CGA, the looking-for-work situation didn’t get any easier. I’ve been told that most of 2010 has been a difficult job market generally, and for accountants in particular, and that 2011 could be more of the same. Looking at the prospects can be totally discouraging, but I should only worry about the things under my control.
And the new year is when I throw down the gauntlet. It’s similar to what happened at the beginning of 2009, when I was in the same situation, but without employment insurance. I made looking for work a full-time job, and I have to show it some respect. I have to do the same in 2011, and this time I have to focus.
Even before I became unemployed, I decided to focus my running in 2010 to improving my time in the half marathon. Initially, I set a goal time of 2:05. By the end of June, I already made that goal. I thus set a new goal of beating 2:00, and I did that too! All the time off from not working did allow me to put in more focus on my training, which this year also saw some attempts at cross-training, particularly yoga.
As a runner who is also an accountant, I have an extensive spreadsheet that has tracked every one of my runs since mid-2006. The chart above is my month-by-month mileage for the year. 2010 was the first year I’ve started tracking this, and it’s part of the fun of putting all the numbers together; I can only imagine when I get my hands on a watch that can do all that on the fly. My goal for 2011 is, at minimum, to match my 2010 mileage total (1,338 km / 831 mi).
As for racing in 2011, I’m already in the middle of training for the First Half Half Marathon in February and the Vancouver Marathon in May. My goal for the latter is to get close to, if not beat, 4:20. I am weighing my options for a fall race. Victoria and the Okanagan are the usual standbys, but Portland and Chicago are meriting some consideration. And even further ahead, I do want to try a triathlon (sprint, maybe Olympic distance) at some point in 2012.
At the moment, I have four things I want to achieve in 2011, all realistic and doable:
- Find a job
- Run my next marathon in 4:20
- Run at least the same distance as I ran in 2010
- Meet more people (from this post)
I sincerely hope you have a happy and prosperous 2011!
It turns out that Ingrid Michaelson and I were born on the exact same date. Like most people, I first heard of her with the song “The Way I Am.” It was much later did I find out we’re really long-lost twins.
Yes, that means it is my birthday today. And yes, it is a great day. But I’m also slightly saddened that I’ve now been unemployed for exactly eight months. It has been demoralizing sometimes, but I have to stay positive. And I’ve actually had something positive today: a phone interview. I’m crossing my fingers for that one.
Turning the age I am now (I’ll let you figure that out), I feel that I could have done more things with my life if I had different circumstances. But hindsight is 20/20, after all, so I’d rather not dwell on that. I just want to focus on finding a job, then hopefully everything else falls into place.
If you are reading this, you can help: my Linkedin profile has a summary of my experience. I am looking for an accounting position suitable for a newly-designated CGA. Please spread the word. Thanks!
To prepare myself for the start of season 3 of Being Erica, I watched the last episode of season 2, “The Importance of Being Erica.” It’s great that there is a third season, and I’m looking forward to it. The “therapy” sessions that Dr Tom sends Erica in each episode is as science-fictiony as it gets, but of course the realism of those situations grounds the series as a whole, and I’m sure there isn’t anyone who hasn’t seen an episode and thought of a particular point in their life they’d want to re-do.
But going back to “The Importance of Being Erica”. Dr Tom sends Erica back to grad school, where she is confronted by her thesis adviser when Erica couldn’t come up with a reason (never mind instantly) why she was in grad school in the first place. Erica eventually figures it out and asserts herself in the present; her actions tie up some season-long plot threads (notably her relationship with Ethan) and essentially wipe the slate clean for season 3.
The question “what do you want to do with your life?” was the catalyst in Erica’s realization in her trip back to grad school. I’ve been struggling with that question since I was laid off in April. Even before then, I was looking into going back to school to pursue something in transit planning. I won’t gloss it over: I’m inherently lazy to research schools, and frankly, the summer doldrums made looking for accounting work tedious at best.
But that’s just excuses, and I think I’m running out of them. At least things are looking up: I’ve finally received my CGA designation; that should open up more doors. I’ve signed up for a class about transportation issues; that should get me some opportunities for networking into this field, if not as a stepping-stone toward planning school.
And I’m trying to stay positive: I recently found a post that was recently featured on the WordPress.com front page on how to be a superstar job seeker. Tip #7 is banishing negativity. To me, that is a big step after almost half a year of unemployment. So hopefully I can channel some of Erica’s fearlessness and confidence (that she has gained through two seasons of therapy) and really apply that to my situation.
Earlier this week, I’ve started a bold experiment. Instead of renewing my car’s insurance, I decided to park it for at least three months. My personal situation (ie. unemployment) has necessitated some cost-cutting, and car insurance is a significant chunk of it ($110/month for bare pleasure use). At $32 for 3 months, I’ve essentially saved $100 a month by putting my car in storage. Add to that the cost of filling it up, and that’s more money saved.
Going car-free is something I’ve been considering at this time last year, also at insurance renewal time. At the time, I’ve thought about selling the car and signing up for one of the co-ops. I have always been using transit as my primary method of getting around, and to me, spending $110/month on a vehicle I barely use seems ridiculous.
But the practicality of having a car won out, and I ended up renewing the insurance. This time, it will be a test to see if I can survive without a vehicle. I figure that since it’s summer (finally!), it’s more pleasant to get around, and some walking won’t hurt in terms of my running training. I’m even considering getting a bicycle. Who knows? Maybe that car can stay in its stall permanently…
ADDENDUM, 07/11/2010, 16:50 PDT: I walked home from my parents’ house earlier today, and it took about 20 minutes, door to door. It could take about as long by bus, including waiting time.
And I discovered a neighbourhood walking map centred on Trout Lake in East Vancouver, developed by Better Environmentally Sound Transportation. There are also maps for Kerrisdale and Killarney, with hopefully more to come!