Monday, November 29, 2010

Interview #1

Tomorrow at 2:30 I will be sitting in front of two strangers while they bombard me with questions about my employment history, strengths and weaknesses all in the hopes of getting a job offer for a position I'm not 100% sure I even want.  

I consider myself lucky that I got a call, on the closing date, for an Intermediate Accountant job for Nova Scotia Power.  It's a job I am certainly qualified for, and it's our only power corporation, so that bodes well that if I get the job that I shouldn't be in this position again in two years but I have a couple of reasons to hesitate.  One is that I'm not confident that I want to continue to be an accountant for the duration of my career and two when they asked my salary expectations they said it was at the upper end of the range for the position, which means they had no intention of offering that salary.

I am going to go into the interview as if I'm convinced this is the best move for me, however if I do get a job offer I'm going to be faced with the decision of whether or not I'm ready to jump at a job offer prior to receiving my severance package and whether it truly is the best move for me professionally.  I think secretly I know that I'm holding out hope to get an interview for one of the Province of Nova Scotia jobs that I also applied for but doesn't close for another couple of weeks.

I will also be faced with the challenge of negotiating terms in relation to start date and salary which I'm not completely convinced I have the ability to do successfully.  Here's hoping I am faced with the challenge of deciding what to do...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Just a taste

Well we've had a taste of winter here in Halifax.  The ground was covered and Christmas lights were glowing so I took a chance around 11 pm that evening to take a quick walk around the Hydrostone area of my beautiful city to take a couple of pics.  This one is from my iPhone.  I love how quiet it gets when the snow is falling, traffic is almost non-existant and you can feel very alone.  I could have walked outside bundled up for hours if it wasn't a work night.  And here's a terrible self-portrait... a skill I obviously need to work on.

Strangely I am looking forward to winter this year.  Not that I hate the season, but sometimes the reduced hours of daylight can wear on a brotha... but this year I'm looking at the positives.  It's almost the start of a new year, a new job, and I want to get out skiing and spend some time sledding and building snowmen with Willsy B.  Oh and I only want it to be snowy... I don't want the bitter dry cold.  I can demand that right?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's the little things...

One thing I love about my current job, that I am hoping will be similar with my next employer is the flex time policy.  I was lucky enough to change my hours from 9-5 to 830-430 once William started to school.  This allows me to take William to the bus stop and wait with him until he boards the bus and heads to school.  

It's only a half hour change in my work day but those mornings waiting with William are some of my favorite moments lately.  Whether it's watching him become more confident around other kids, to his excitement at having the first backpack in line or even being there to wave as the bus pulls off... all memories I will share with William far into the future when he has children of his own.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Project 365

I got my iPhone 4 almost two months ago and I have to say I love it.  I guess the amount of calls I make doesn't warrant the cost of the phone, even under a contract, however all of the other uses of an iPhone made it well worth the investment.

One app in particular that I've grown rather fond of, and encourage all of my iPhone cohorts to download is Project 365.  It's an app that you are supposed to use daily to journalize your year thru photos.  You create your photo diary simply by using your camera everyday for a year... can it get any easier? 

I started mine half part way thru November and already I enjoy looking back thru the past few weeks at some of the photos and am reminded of some adventure I was on.  And in addition to reminding me of certain experiences it is also getting me in the habit of taking more photos and actually using a digital camera I'm now carrying everyday.  

Here is a sampling of some of the photos I have taken... and again I encourage you to download the app if you have an iPhone.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

He's not heavy... he's my son

This morning on the way to work I was waiting at a stop sign and noticed a young man carrying what I assume was his son on his shoulders.  The little boy had a backpack on and looked so content being carried towards the elementary school.  I just kind of stared at them and wondered if William will someday look at the same scene and remember all the times he has travelling in the exact same way on my shoulders.

William and I have an amazing relationship.  I'm very blessed to have a young boy who is kind, polite, caring and has an amazing sense of humor... and the older he gets I realize how much more independent he has become and it makes me a little sad.  I'm blessed.  And I'll carry him as long as I physically can.

August 2008

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fork in the road

As I mentioned a while back the company that I work for was for sale.  On November 1st the $2+ billion dollar transaction took place; something that had increased our workload substantially over the summer.  And on Tuesday a town-hall meeting was called for all offices across Canada.  It would be at noon-hour meeting for us on the Atlantic coast.  Fear in the office was slightly escalated but at the same time, since we had received limited information on any restructuring, our hopes were that we would get some insight as to how our next few months would be affected.

We received an inner-office invite to merge in the conference room at 11:30 and have some lunch as we prepared for the tele-conference.  I opted to skip the pizza because I'm trying to get back on track with my eating and joined the group around 11:45.  As I walked down the hall to the conference room I noticed two of our VPs in the smaller conference room with someone I didn't recognize and instantly I felt my heart rate quicken.  

I joined the group with were all in active conversations, yet all nervously watching the door.  I sat down next to my friend Karen and soon the receptionist Karma joined us and we made idle chit chat.  Then one of the VPs came out and asked Karma to go downstairs because about 10 people would be arriving and needed to be escorted up to the board room.  My heart sunk and I knew what was coming next.

The group arrived in suits and stern faces.  Most shuffled their way thru the crowd and stood at the front of the room as the new owners started the conference call.  Most of the call I couldn't pay attention to because it was obvious that our future was negatively changing and it was out of our control.  We were told that we would each have one-on-one meetings with the members of staff from the new company to discuss our future and that for those who were not continuing on packages would be detailed.  Tears welled in my eyes.

The call lasted maybe 10 minutes but the weight on everyone's shoulders was beyond bearable.  We went back to our desks and waited out our individual turns.  We couldn't work; not only because we could not concentrate but also because all internet, including email was shut down until after meetings were held.  People who had been employed with the company long enough had a feeling we were all out of jobs immediately and started packing up their desks.  I did the same.  Taking down pictures of William and throwing out non-essential papers and gathering up the social committee petty cash and receipts and putting them in a safe with notes for whoever would deal with the funds.  It was a long three hours until my meeting.

Three hours of watching friends go into an office and come out with swollen eyes; packing up their stuff and leaving or for some there seemed to be a contract for them to consider, which extended their employment for a predetermined amount of time.  Finally it was my time to enter.  I had watched enough of my co-workers pass by to regroup and calm my nerves.  

I entered the office and met someone from the new company in a suit and see an envelope with my name on it on the table.  I made a joke and it broke the tension.  He told me he appreciated my attitude and then went into his speech about me being identified as a key employee and hoped that I would stay with the company until the end of January as part of the transition team.  Anything else he may have said is a blur and I was shuffled down the hall to a gentleman who worked for an independent HR company who would help me transition to my next employment opportunity.

I was offered employment until the end of January at my regular salary.  If I stay until the end of the contract I will also receive a bonus as well as a generous severance package.  Of course I will accept for two reasons... 1. I am terrified to be unemployed and have responsibilities and 2. if I don't accept the offer I get nothing.

So here I am, for a second time in two years, facing unemployment due to a restructuring.  This time, thankfully, I am not also dealing with a health scare and a marriage that is falling apart.  I am at a fork in the road and am now forcing myself to analyse my life and which path I want to follow.  While I was content with my job I knew it wasn't something I would do, at least with this company, for 30 years until retirement.  

The options ahead of me right now are to either stay in the accounting field and continue my designation, or go back to school for a new path, or find alternate employment that utilizes my existing skill set but is perhaps in a different capacity.

Today I have spent the day in Starbucks drinking tea, doing some networking via email, making lists and doing some research.  And it's funny.  Initially I was scared to find out my fate, but unlike my last layoff, I'm looking forward to the change.  It's an exciting stage to be in, regardless of the unknown.  I'm going to try and embrace it this time and try and find a career that is more rewarding than things I have done in the past.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hallowe'en Party 2010

Saturday, October 30th my friends Colin and Colin hosted a party at their apartment... which also happens to be an old whore house in Halifax.  They completely converted their place and hosted a party to not be missed.  I won't go into a long drawn out post detailing the whole night but will give you some of the highlights.  If you want more specifics leave a comment and I'll be happy to expand.

Here's a few flashes of moments in my night:
Ex-Wife and son drive me to my friend Tori's house
Get into cab wearing costume which includes gold cape and green panty hose... cab driver doesn't even bat an eye.
At party I get groped twice by a 19 year old before I have a talk about his aggressiveness... he then begs for a hug.
I wrote something vulgar on a guy's tank top
Fog machine sets off smoke detector in apartment building... landlady freaks out cause someone is laughing as we are evacuated
Two early 20 something guys wearing loin-cloths are making out just for someone else to see it happen... they barely even know each other
Bath tub is full of blood and fingers
Sonny (female) and Cher (male) do a song for the crowd
the male Elizabeth (from The View) asks me to help him unzip his dress in the kitchen so he can change into pants for the bar... he just fully disrobes in the kitchen... I also have to help with panty hose.
Hop in cab with a very strong full drink to drive two blocks to the bar... he his a stop a little hard and I drop the entire drink on the floor with audible splash and limes everywhere... I tip well and act like nothing happened.
A "used tampon" costume wins for best costume at the bar... clearly they didn't see mine.
I run into a number of Robins... mine is the only home made version
Using the bathroom at Refs I have to hold my cup (jock version not drink) in my teeth to pee
Dance very close/flirt with someone - crush is developed
Freeze waiting for my own cab
Get home and take off costume to have coins fall onto floor that a leprechaun (lesbian friend) must have stuffed into my costume at some point.
Ahhh... Hallowe'en... that magical time of the year!!