Archive | January, 2015

Hmmm.

28 Jan

I feel like I have nothing to say since  every day is still unemployed.

Over and over.

Except for a 2.5 hour class that I am teaching tonight and will be teaching for the next I guess seven weeks.

That’s about it really.

Would that I could live on $400/month for two months, three times a year.

Ha.

Ha.

Oh I’m doing stuff, this and that, getting out there.  Trying to find the work.

Today, a phone call.

_________ got my resume for the job working with immigrants.

A phone interview first, says the woman on the phone.  Then, if we want to, we will get you in for an interview tomorrow.

It was work that I could do and would enjoy doing and would be good at.

But ____________, they have 800 resumes to choose from.

Blah, blah, spontaneous phone interview on the spot while I am standing in the rain in front of my doctor’s office in North Vancouver.

Blah, blah, no phone call back.

That adds more nihilism to the whole thing really, like another whole layer.

“You don’t seem depressed,” says my GP, “You are funny and quick.  People like funny people.”

“Well, then,”  I say, “It must all be in my head.”

We talk for a few minutes about her sister’s family – her sister and I used to be friends 20 years ago but then this and that happens and you know, these things split apart.  Seems sister’s children are getting married young, like early 20s young.

They are Christians of a more fundy sort.

“Well, yes,” I say, “It’s because they want to have sex.”

“But their brains aren’t even fully developed.”

“I hear that.”

She leaves me with prescriptions and a requisition for every kind of blood test ever invented.

I leave, happy she thinks I am funny but stymied that after all these years, she doesn’t understand how thrilling it is for me to  be shrining twice a month or so with a good shrink.

Gack, I’m sick of myself at this point.

I was going to stay in all day until my class and cancel my doctor’s appointment, so panicked and yucky the insomnia has made me.

Instead I schlepp to the West Van. library and enjoy that, all the while knowing that I am killing time because I can’t get a job.

Sucks.

I’m so so sick of it.

See?  This leaves me with little to write.

La la.

La.

More annoyance, insomnia, and an annoyed e-mail

12 Jan

This time to WorkBC head office: (probably a bit of biting the hand that tries to feed me but at this point, uh well):

So I’m sitting in my local WorkBC office, using the computer, searching for work.  I am an ESL teacher and that field is undergoing so many changes that there is very very little work left.  My WorkBC employment counsellor (who I have seen just twice, as she is replacing another counsellor who replaced another one and on and on) has basically told me that there is nothing else WorkBC can do for me because I don’t know what I can re-train in.  She never sees anyone in this position, she has told me.  I find this shocking because there are many unemployed ESL teachers in this city.

So I am left with using the computers.  Uh well.

While I’m here, a woman who is in fact ESL, requests some help from the resource room helper (not sure of that official title).  Alas, sorry, he is going for lunch.  Another employment counsellor comes out and spends two minutes with the woman but the woman, obviously in need of more help and not familiar with how to apply for a job or where to apply for a job in Vancouver, in Canada, requests more help.
“I’m not usually out here,” says the counsellor, who does give her five minutes of her time and then talks to the still confused woman as she has given up and is ready to leave.  The woman returns to the computer.

I understand that there have been so many cutbacks and that WorkBC counsellors can only do so much, which is now so little really.  So many clients, so little time to help (or help at all in my case, although I did appreciate the $1,700 outsourced assessment which led to  well, nothing I didn’t all ready know).
Here’s the thing:  I can help this woman who is an immigrant and who needs more time and more help than the five to seven minutes the employment counsellor who is ‘not usually out here (in the resource room)’can do.

I can help because I have taught ESL for 15 years, because I have worked with immigrants, and I have navigated the difficult waters of job search myself.  Hire me!  On a contract basis, on a permanent basis or on a part-time basis, whatever works.  I guarantee you that I will be able to help immigrants who come to the office as it is in their area but there is no one who can really help them here or so it seems.  I can do way more than the counsellor is doing right now beside me, which is to simply to keep informing the woman that no, the woman is searching for something in New York State, not Vancouver.

I realize that WorkBC no longer offers such ‘specialized’ help but if I, just sitting here beside this situation, know how to help this woman perhaps more efficiently than the employment counsellor, there is obviously a need.

so, yeah

11 Jan

Here is an e-mail that I sent to the CEO of a small digital marketing company in Vancouver that was looking for a curriculum writer.  The CEO did a phone ‘screening’ interview with me and you’ll get a sense of the questions he asked by the e-mail.  At the end of the phone interview, he said I had all of the skills needed but I didn’t fit into their corporate culture.  Indeed (and this is actually not a parody but true):

First, I wanted to thank you for the telephone interview on Tuesday.  It was much more efficient than my having to come to Yaletown!

I did just want to mention the two questions that concerned me (I realize that you will have all ready found someone to hire so my purpose in writing this is not to try and be hired!).

1.  The question about whether or not I’d be willing to give up my vacation to go on a paid business trip abroad:  According to the Employment Standards Act, employees are entitled to a minimum of two weeks paid vacation.   Asking an employee to give up vacation time to work is therefore likely illegal and if not illegal, than at the least highly unethical.

2.  The question about whether or not I’d be ‘in’ for going for after work drinks: I realize that you were testing here for a corporate culture fit, which is fair enough and which I understand.    However, I would suggest again that this is unethical because it creates the impression that in order for me to be hired, I would have to be willing to work unpaid overtime.

To be clear, his name, I  completely understand how important corporate culture and being a team player are.  At the same time, I believe there is both a legal and an ethical line that should not be crossed.  In other words, you may want your employees to work 24/7 and give up their vacations and non-work time for the company, but  actually using these as screening questions leads you into murky ethical waters, which I’m certain is the last impression you want your company to give.

It is unfortunate –  I have the skill set and more that you require and you can see from this e-mail that I can write professionally, straightforwardly, and well, really well.

Ain’t that the truth

9 Jan

No job + no subbing until at least spring + no evening classes + what the heck am I going to do + endless hours of cloud and rain + living off of savings + single and living in a place with $,1000 month rent + huge propensity toward depressive/anxious thinking =

$%$#$%

Okay then

3 Jan

Happy New Year but of course.

New Year.

Yup.

I’m going to work to stay in shape over the winter season, something I’m not great at doing.  If I can’t exercise outside on my bicycle or outdoor swimming, it takes more of an effort.  Indeed.

I remembered the other day that I have a couple of five pound weights that I bought a zillion years ago I think, and have been using them a bit, working on the bye bye arms.  If you don’t know what I mean, wave bye bye and look to see what is happening with the underside of your upper arms.

I remember it was December 3rd, 1998 when I decided to really get in shape.  I went to the gym every second day and started using the Stairmaster.  The Stairmaster is no longer used because it is killer on the knees, something I discovered years and years later.  Owie.  Now gyms use a more gentle stair situation.

But wow that Stairmaster got me in shape like nothing else.  A half hour was the maximum time it was supposed to be used but some women would be on there for over an hour.

A half hour was enough for me.  At the beginning it was hard and I pushed myself and I would almost get sick from the effort.   But slowly I got in shape.  And then I found that I could jog (something I’d never been able to do, ever) around the 1/4 mile track near my home.  I eventually built up to jogging for 90 minutes.

Weight dropped off me and I re-shaped.  It was amazing.

Since then, I’ve had to stop jogging.  It hurt my knees and my weak ankles were having none of it.  I’d jog but then the next day my ankle would give out when I was walking and boom, down onto my knee.  Not fun.

Too bad too because jogging was so helpful for my anxiety and such.

Since 1998, I’ve tried to keep in shape in some way.  I apparently got off track in 2011, when a co-worker at the time asked me in the elevator why I’d gained so much weight.

“You used to be my inspiration,” said she, more than a bit overweight herself.

I laughed I was so surprised.

“I don’t know – life, peri-menopause, stress (my very well paying job was chronically ending, due to the school closing.  It eventually did end that year, bringing me to my current and chronic situation).”

Anyway, in fair weather – which in Vancouver is about April-October with the odd December day and February day – I ride my bike around the city and swim in the summer at the great Kitsilano Pool but of course.

This week I’ve been fairly lucky bicycling wise but now the weather has turned to winter with the accompanying freezing rain-esqueness.  I will join my local gym (a 20 minute walk away) and do a bit of this and that.  As you get older (old!) of course it is harder to take off the weight – apparently after 25 it becomes harder.  I remember being told that when I was 20 years old and a fan of daily cinnamon buns.  Uh well, that was baby fat it seemed and it burned off in another year or so).

Work isn’t happening.  STILL.  This blog is more than 3 years old.    I mean I’ve had on and off contracts to teach but there is absolutely nothing now in the winter season.  In the three years previous I’ve either had a job (admin. job at the church uh huh we know how that worked out) or had some EI at least.  This year is the first nada any of that year.  So my days are incredibly unstructured and I don’t know what to do really.  I still don’t know, more than 36 months later, what to re-train in.    Some folks have made suggestions but it hasn’t worked out.  Hey, I’m as sick of this song as anyone else.

I ran into a former colleague the other week, the only one who was in my situation – single, middle-aged and with a rather high Vancouver rent.  She has decided to re-train as a rehab assistant, after leaving yet another ESL school when they stopped issuing pay cheques.  “That was it,” she said.  That was her last ESL straw.  Fair enough.

Imagine what it would be like (maybe you know) to be single and unemployed with no idea of what to do next and no family at all in the province.  And you wake up every day and you have to think about this.  What to do, what to re-train in, what are the options, what can I cut back on spending wise (cable, I suppose), what can I do all day.

I popped into the local employment office (well, the folks there don’t actually help you find a job but will look at your cover letter and show you some resume templates.  Not their fault, there isn’t much funding) this afternoon mainly to be around other people.

“Job hunting is a full time exhausting job,” I heard one of the employees tell a job seeker who was about my age.

I wanted to ask how it is a full time job – are people just constantly sending out resumes and going on information interviews?  What the heck, I don’t get it.

Frustrating.

I live alone and spend a whole lot of time alone.  I have great and terrific friends but that’s not a 24/7 situation obviously.  I join things and I think tomorrow evening I’m going Contra dancing at a hall a 1/2 hour walk from my house.  Not sure though as it is like square dancing but less, well, square, and I don’t ever quite have the coordination for that.  Might be okay to watch though.  It costs money so I’ll see.  I play Scrabble with a group fairly regularly and my writers’ group and Centering Prayer/meditation group will be starting up again next week or the week after so that’s all good.

“You should put yourself on a schedule,” suggested A.T. and a few other folks.

I could I guess.  Get up before noon, exercise and then . . . .

Hmmmm.

Sometimes there is work at a local university for Feb. or March or both but not this year as student numbers are down everywhere.  So that’s out.

It is the combination of being unemployed and alone that I’m finding really really brutal.  It’s like – hmmm, I’m not sure how to quite explain that.  I do know that I’m bored to death of hearing myself complain and I imagine most folks are too.

It just goes on and on and on.  I get a little hope with a little work but it always goes.  Ageism is starting to come into play although not quite so much in ESL teaching which has an inordinate amount of middle-aged women it seems.  Yeah well middle-aged women who aren’t leaving their jobs anytime soon.

Stay positive, suggest some.

Trying, I say.  And really I am.  I really really am.

What to do, what to do.

Keep busy! is another suggestion.  Okay . . .

Gack.

I guess I’m done venting for the moment, much to the relief of the tiny and wee fan base.  No, actually I’m not.  This is ridiculous!

However badly one’s work/financial life, one must get their eyebrows waxed once in awhile.  I hadn’t had it done in too long (hmmm, a few months, both for financial and laziness reasons) and so off I schlepped to my local waxer people.  My usual waxer, a lovely middle-aged woman, had been off for a long time, sick.  The owner hired no one for a long time to replace her because it turns out it isn’t easy to find a waxer who will work the hours you want.  Now they had a new, younger woman.

She was pouring the hot wax on my eyebrows (that is the nice part, the ripping after not so much nice.  The first time I’d had it done I’d thought, oh, how nice and warm and relaxing.  And then, rip! Rip! goes the fabric.  The upper lip is the worst although I haven’t ever had a Brazilian, which would surely be worst worst) when I asked about the former waxer.

“She passed away,” said the new waxer.

“What!” I shouted, sitting up.

“Last month,” she said.

The wax fell into my eyes.

“Oh no,” I said, “That is so sad.”

“I know,” she said.

“My god,” I said.

Rip.

And then-

“I’m just going to do some threading here.”

“No!  Threading is really painful.”

She threaded against my threading wishes.  That is some kind of pain that threading.

She ripped the moustache and the inevitable chin hair and sent me on my way, red of face but looking better.

“We must suffer for beauty,” she said.

“Come back again,” she said.

I hadn’t realized that the original waxer was going to die from her illness.

She was a lovely lady whose name I never learned.  I found out the other month that her sister owned the shop.

Well shaped eyebrows are good things though really.

My gay friend, L., who is on holiday in Australia at the moment (he lives with D. in England.  I first knew D. and met L. through him and now L. and I have become closer than D. and I.    Well, as close as people can get in a long distance friendship) just now sent me an e-mail.  His advice is not family friendly, ha, more of a late night TV show friendly.  But it made me laugh.  Distraction works really well with me.

Example:  “Oh geez, I hate myself I don’t have a job and no prospects and I like sour cream and tortilla chips and I’m bored and there is no hope-  Oh wait, is that the new People magazine?  Awesome!”

That kind of thing.

I will leave you with some advice:  a.) don’t join the Mormon Church b.) make sure you have some savings c.) don’t go into ESL d.) call your mother even if she annoys you (if she is still alive). e.) try not to be annoyed by all of the happy people out there posting photos on FB.

Good evening.