2010: year of runemployment

“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:

  1. Find a job
  2. Run my next marathon in 4:20
  3. Run at least the same distance as I ran in 2010
  4. Meet more people (from this post)

I sincerely hope you have a happy and prosperous 2011!


Merry Christmas, YouTube style!

Enjoy the season with two themed videos. The first is more recent, and you might have already seen it. What if the nativity story took place today? (I first saw this on Price Tags.)

And an excellent CGI rendition involving two Doctors, a runaway sleigh, and K9! “Incidentally, a happy Christmas to all of you at home!”


Trying to build an offline community online

A few weeks ago, I attended the latest Vancouver Blogger Meetup. This session wasn’t like the informal chat-ups that I’d attended in the past, but was three separate talks from established bloggers and how they’ve built up “community” around their blogs. Raul (Hummingbird604) summarizes the main points raised from all three speakers, and likely his own experience as well.

The first talk was by Rebecca, aka Miss 604. As she listed the various events she became involved with or organized, I was surprised at how many I myself have attended. One of Rebecca’s main points was the importance of connecting offline, in real life, to foster meaningful connections.

I find that the follow-through is the big challenge for me. I have gone to these big events, or similar, and I meet people. We might exchange twitter handles (or in the most recent event, business cards – I finally had some printed), and I might follow them. But meeting again in the real world, if it happens at all, might take place months later, and I’m sure that person wouldn’t know who I am. That’s where my innate shyness/social anxiety kicks in and my night is essentially over before it’s even started. That is why I feel I’m already at a disadvantage when it comes to networking.

I’ll stop the personal moaning and mention that I have a unique online community, centered on twitter, and based on four areas of interest: running, the Canucks, transit, and Doctor Who. This blog has become a secondary tool, but just as important, especially since I link the blog and my twitter so that a new post will appear instantaneously as a tweet.

But I find it interesting that while I have built a great community of runners through twitter, the blog, and dailymile, I still have difficulty meeting runners in real life. And I’ve signed up for many clinics, but at various locations, so I don’t exactly have a history at each place.

That just might be one of my goals for 2011: meet more people. It’s time to establish my community!


Birthday

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!