Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I was doing some research and I happened onto a city guide list generated by someone at TorontoLife. All good so far...except that many of the businesses on the list were closed, defunct. Many others had been purchased and re-named, err...branded. I do not know how old the guide is There was no posting date but it was on the current T.O. Life website. Much of it was useless. Perhaps they create a new one each year. I doubt it. And there is obviously no date or way to tell. USELESS. A magazine (on-line or off) should do better.

This is jut one example of how gunked up the internet seems to be. I may be visiting sites that I otherwise might not (definitely not in most useless IS Have you ever tried to find a good review? Did you find one...and was it dated? And even when the info is dated, how relevant is that opinion from 2002 if the site hasn't been updated since then? Well, at least I know when it was written.

I have often thought that all information on the internet should be dated. It should be a law. I am sure when the results of search inquiries include such ancient useless information more site traffic is generated. Anything to possibly boost advertising revenue - I get it. It is all stored on a server somewhere out there. Probably not cost effective to have someone remove it. But at least if it were dated, I'd know more about that piece of news, opinion, review, etc.

And what's up with 2,000,000+ search results?  Does anyone ever look beyond the first couple pages before they modify their search terms and try again? Sorting by date might help, eh?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Storming the Castle

My job search continues. I have long been a member of three job/resume sites. I actively visit them every day despite having activated email alerts regarding possible job matches. I am also exploring the Canadian Job Bank site and The process is very time consuming and, in its own way, exhausting. It seems every couple of days or so I find a couple of new positions to apply for. Those days are good ones. I can only hope that an employment agency or company emails or calls me regarding a position they feel might be suitable.

I am also signed up with a recruitment agency. I don't hear from them often but every once and a while my phone rings and they check in with me. My partner tells me that a very knowledgeable contact of his, who worked in this field, states that recruiting firms drop like flies during recessions. I can believe it. At the very least I am impressed by the phone calls I am getting by "my" recruiter, even if she hasn't found an appropriate job for me.

Navigating through the job sites isn't rocket science or particularly original but it still has to be done. One has to work as many angles as possible. My creativity in the process seems to be growing. One can only look unsuccessfully (depending on how one chooses to perceive it) through job listings so long (not that long actually) before they start thinking about how to work it a different way. I am enjoying this part. I won't elaborate the details but the research angles are endless. One has to make it all as interesting as possible if not fun. I might as well learn something more than I know about the process. I've always had fun learning, so...

A largely depressing situation occurred with two resumes submitted, where, during the process I found that both companies required the candidate to be either a permanent resident or Canadian citizen. I am neither but do have a valid Canadian work permit. It's heartbreaking because the positions were ideal for my skill set and interests. Argh!

I've written previously about the notorious difficulty of finding first employment for new Canadian immigrants. Both Eric and I understood this when we made the decision to move here. This would be a great place to mention that I am not regretting that decision. Not. At. All. Canada is amazing and Toronto is a great city. The only piece that is missing is employment. Life is good. Challenges abound but they are those that opportunity created. I can't complain.

Perhaps this post has become "train of thought." Choo! Choo! Or a string of non-sequiturs. Or perhaps it's just ending that way. LOL ...But it is very stressful to not have active employment for an extended length of time. In the past I have watched friends and family physically and mentally break down during a lengthy bout of unemployment and its accompanying job search. For various reasons I have never had this experience. I have never had to work hard to gain employment. I have not suffered physically but definitely notice the mental effects. I joined a gym as a healthy outlet to my frustration. It's just a matter of time before I look to become a barista at Starbucks. I love coffee and it's an honest buck. Hopefully I don't need to be a permanent resident.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Lights, camera, guest list...just do your best darling"

Last week I took the opportunity presented to me by my sister-in-law to work as a production assistant on a two day corporate event her company was producing here in Toronto. The show was a "sales kick off" simultaneously broadcast by satellite between five cities: San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Toronto and Dublin. Lights, cameras, screens and a stage were all set up so company big wigs could interact in real-time with the sales people in all the cities. The Imperial Ball Room at the Fairmont Hotel was the site location in Toronto. Approximately two hundred people attended though much larger groups could be seen in several other cities. I worked alongside a dozen or so "techies" and was basically paid to be an extra two hands (and mind, as it turned out) for the on-site director.

The job met almost all of my expectations. I retrieved coffee and food for the director and some of the crew. I waited around and played on my iPhone. I stood on-stage and assisted with the sound and video check. I waited around some more - thank god for smart phones. I helped to acquire the internet connection needed for two laptops and a video conferencing unit being utilized to run the event. I even got to trouble-shoot those connections when they failed to meet the mandatory specifications. 

I am glad for the computer/IT background knowledge I had. Thanks to very knowledgeable friends, a partner replete with IT background and my own moxie over the years, I have probably accumulated more than your average Joe's amount of computer knowledge. I can only say, "thank goodness." I was not clueless. At least I understood the basics needed to achieve the results. Despite clearly being the least qualified person for the task considering those around me, I managed to successfully communicate with several off-site IT experts and coordinate one very long conference call. All but one of the issues was resolved in the end. We had done all we could. Despite our lack of success on that one point, the situation ended in a strangely satisfying way.

It was not hard work. It was actually very easy money. I am not sure "crucial" is the correct word for a PA but there were obvious unexpected moments the director needed an extra set of hands.  I had a good time despite the boredom of sitting around. The crew and site director were all very easy going and friendly. There were one or two moments of intensity but otherwise the show went smoothly. They all clearly know their jobs. And now I have a handle on what is going on - the flow and atmosphere. It was a good experience.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Update of Sorts

Our lives in Toronto this February have been good. Work has taken Eric away and back for a couple of weeks now. I won't be seeing much of him until, I think, the second week in March. He returns on weekends which makes for rather lonely work weeks here on Oriole Parkway - just me and Caesar the cat. I can't really complain. He has a very stable job with a company that is doing well considering the world economic crisis. Every week I have a relative or friend in the states ask me how Canada is fairing. "Better than many countries," I say. While none have been personally affected, friends of mine here in T.O. have spoken of concerns regarding staff lay-offs at the companies were they work. The U.S. lost approximately 600,000. jobs this last January. Can anyone imagine the entire population of a city losing their jobs in a months time? How 'bout next month? 

I continue to pursue employment. I am sure that like everyone else in my position I regularly visit several job/resume web sites. I receive updates on saved searches from those that provide them. I scour Craigslist job ads regularly. I have to admit I have never, ever worked this hard to find a job. I find the frustration building and manifesting into unfocused anger. It's interesting. So far. Nothing my partner has had to deal with but when I speak of it he becomes concerned. He does not generally know me as an angry person. To deal with this negative energy, this week I joined a gym. It feels good. I've become more my normal self. 

My sister-in-law has hired me for two days this coming week. The company she works for does gigs all over North America and Europe. They have a show here in Toronto and I am to be a production assistant. She is wonderful to think of me. I am happy to accept. 

The rest of the week I will continue my job search. I am going to try something different but I am not sure how that will manifest itself. 

And I will keep going to the gym. 

February 06, 2009

A wonderful hand-made holiday decoration made by my friend, Steven.