Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 11

Yesterday was crazy.  After going online and checking job sites (there wasn't any new postings) I proceeded to start either fixing things around the house or cleaning things up.  A friend of ours has flown in as of last night to visit for a few days.

Our basement toilet was leaking because the floater on it was over floating on it I guess.  I replaced it and now it's working, I've earned my handyman badge, yay!  I'm not normally any good with fixing things around the house, but I'm starting to catch on to the basics... thank god.  I hate feeling useless.

It was also a pretty late night last night with rehearsal for our upcoming play... Less than a month away and there's alot of work to be done.  If I get a job before the play goes on; I hope I figure a way to handle the last two weeks of it AND go to work.

The play doesn't start till 8 in the evening, that means for two weeks I probably won't be getting home til after midnight...  That's going to be a long hard week.  But I'm looking forward to it!

Anyways, it's Friday.  Thank God.  Still things to do and be done!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 9

So now we're at 9 business days since I stopped working at my company.   Still no interviews yet.  Been watching job postings and sending out resumes.  The last two days were mostly spent with family and getting things done though.  Now it's time to get back on the job train and look some more.

Funny thing though, went out to my neice's performance at a school thing.  Just a small elementary school performance the kids were putting on for their parents.  Was really cute, although I did emerge with a migraine afterwards.  When the performance broke up, the kids returned to their native screaming state.  I'm amazed by elementary school teachers.  They must chug back the advil every day.

Anyways, that's not the funny part, the funny part was I ran into a co-worker from my previous employment there.  He's since left that company as well and it was nice to meet up and chat for a minute.  Here's where it gets even more ironic, his wife worked at the company I worked at BEFORE I went to this last job.

Hope that made sense... I'm not naming company names since I'd rather not get sued if I say something accidentally that puts me in someone's crosshairs.  But yeah, it's a small world.

I'm also feeling pretty darn good today, I just read the press release for the play I'm involved in; "Children of a Lesser God" .  Apparently my director liked an email I wrote to her about the press release, and used the entire paragraph as the starting paragraph to the press release.

Hey I may not be a published author yet, but now I have one paragraph in print!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 7

  Wow, it's been a busy day.  I've had my parentals over since last night.  Apparently everyone who's had my port, well, almost everyone, loves it.  I've used up half of my last batch giving it to family and friends, and they want more.

   This stuff ain't cheap to make, one batch costs $300 to make.  So I got my parents and my brother to all chip in for the next one, $100 each makes it easier to swallow.  So, the point of all this is I spent most of the day running around all Calgary picking up the kit and components to making this stuff.  Along the way I did a few errands and got things done.  Met up with my folks for lunch as well.

    Tommorow morning I'll start up the kit.  This stuff is the epitome of patience.  It takes a year to make and every part of the process takes patience and care.  It's crazy, but by November next year, I'll have another batch of 30+ bottles of sweet nectar.

    Wine making is another hobby of mine.  It's fascinating, chemistry, patience, and at the end of it, something you can drink that; if you do it right, tastes wonderful.

   Do it wrong and it really sucks.

    No profound thoughts today, I'm afraid, just a busy day running around, and squeezing in a bit of writing when I could.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekend #1

The weekend's here!  Yay!  Even thought I'm not working, it's still a weekend for me.  I don't have to worry about missing a phone call, and pretty much every business I'm trying to get work in is down for the weekend.

Yesterday was nuts.  I drove the wife to work and once I got home my head was just pounding.  I lay down for 45 minutes and when I woke up, I noticed I had missed a call on my cell...  Some tech company called me.  Was it for work?  I don't know, they never did leave a message.  That sucked.

I spent a little time on the computer, writing and checking around, and then I had to run out and do errands for the wife, and meet up with a friend for lunch.  After that, I finally got back to the house and my head was hurting again and I was exhausted.  I tried to rest a little bit.  After 15 mins, I couldn't fall asleep, so I checked my mail.

Good news - I finally got my Record of Employment.  This whole EI thing has been pretty simple so far.  Not what I expected.  I once almost applied for EI back in '98 but the whole thing was so overwhelming I never did collect anything.  I still haven't gotten anything from EI in the way of money, but we'll see how it goes.  I've heard enough horror stories to be a little wary of depending on it.  As it was, I got my ROE so I headed down to the service Canada office, in 5 minutes I had it handed in and was on my way to Safeway to get groceries for supper.

I was rather surprised it was that quick and painless.

It may not sound like I did much yesterday, but it seems driving in Calgary can eat up alot of productivity time in the day.  I felt like I did far more on Thursday than I did yesterday.

Today's going to be nice though.  We've already did house cleaning, and I also cleaned up the hard drive.  Now I just have to get some writing done, rack my wine, and tonight I'm having a campfire with a few friends... A nice end to the week.  See you Monday!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 6

Well, now it's the 2nd week of my unemployment.  Being out from under the daily grind has really changed my perspective.

It's hard not to take it personally when you've been let go.  Usually when you leave a company, it's either because you chose to, or because they feel you did something wrong.  Either you didn't like the manager or the work.  Or they didn't like you, or your work.

When you're asked to leave because they can no longer afford to keep you on, it's a whole different ball game.  At first you start to wonder if that really was the case.  I thought back to what I did in the last few months, and realized there's nothing I could've done differently, except be even more bored than I was.

Then after a few days of being unemployed and not getting many calls, you start to wonder. "Did they blackball me?  What are my references saying?  Doesn't anyone see my resume?"

And when finally that passes, especially after I've gotten a few calls.  I began to realize.  This isn't the worst case scenario.  In fact it's an opportunity.

The worst case would be that I actually did something stupid, surfing porn at work for example.  Maybe even a terrible work accident like my CPU magically flying off the desk and crushing my chest.  Gremlins perhaps.  And I could be in the hospital on a respirator because of it.

Yes, so far, looking at it, this is a fantastic opportunity for change.  Maybe I'll find a new career.  If not, maybe I'll find a fantastic new company that's even BETTER than the one I left.  And maybe, just maybe, I'll finish this book I'm writing.

Now that I'm not working on drawings focusing on being an CAD Technologist and having my engineering cap on, I've managed to dust off my old artist's cap... And I'm finding it to be even more sparkly and magical than it was before.  When I sit down to write in my novel, it flows... like my muse is sitting right next to me telling me the story, and my fingers are typing as fast as the gingerbread man runs.

I find myself resenting distractions that keep me from writing.  I have to remember that those distractions are the very life blood of writing.  Without human interaction, what experience could I draw upon to write these stories?  Without those interruptions to my work, I'm certain I would become stale, lazy, and ungrateful for the times I CAN write.

I once read that writing cannot be created in a vacuum.  And I think it's true.  Great writing is like a diamond, I think.  And the pressures of life and bring it out.

So wish me luck.  I'm crawling into my sailboat, just a little bathtub, and voyaging across the sea of self doubt to reach the Island of story.  Maybe, just maybe, I'll make it there and you'll be able to see what my muse told me.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 5

    I had a lousy night last night.  Didn't sleep well and my stomach was churning.  I'm wondering what I ate that caused that.

    The wife would joke that I'm eating too healthy and my body doesn't know how to handle it.  Considering all the fast food I ate when I was working - it might not be too far from the truth.

    Yesterday I found out that the manager of my department who hired me originally 2.5 years ago has also been given his walking papers.  That shocked me.  Maybe it shouldn't have.  Back when I started, the company I was hired into was a smaller company.  It was kind of like Cheers in the office place, the place where everyone knew your name, and you knew pretty much everyone else.  If you didn't, just stay around long enough and you really will.

    About a year and a half later, fast forward to this past January, our company merged under the umbrella of a larger company, which also merged another 2 offices with our own.  Things changed, slowly, subtly, but quite dramatically now that I look back at it.  We went from being a small group who were almost family to each other to a larger corporation.  We changed from having 3 offices throughout the city to just having 2 and having to merge all these people into 2 locations.  In a few years from now, they plan on merging into on singular location.

    I have nothing against the corporate machine, it's not evil, it's a necessary part of the TSX machine.  It's part of staying competitive in a fierce business world.  I understand that.  However, a part of me feels nostalgic about the company I originally hired into.  It had more heart and was more of a people place.  Until I became part of it, I had never been in an office that was so laid back that even the managers went for lunch with the employees, kicked back and laughed, and didn't mind that we got back to the office at 2 in the afternoon.

    Being a Cad Technologist, I was even amazed at how the drafting staff, often treated as peons in other companies, were incorporated into the planning of various different projects.  Our opinions had mattered as much as the designer's and Engineer's.  I'd never experienced that before and it gave me a certain pride in my work.

    I can't say it's quite the same in the big corporate machine.  Which is understandable when you're merging two vastly different cultures together.  But if I were to punch my ticket for a job that's not my uttermost passion for another 40 or 50 years.   I'd want to be in a place where everyone knows your name.

    Wouldn't you?

    Moving on.

    Yesterday I got 2 calls from 2 different recruiting agencies.  That was exciting.  Now to see what comes of it and who knows?  I could be working in as little as a week.

    Doubtful though.

    It took me 3 months to find a company as wonderful as the one I had worked for, a pay cheque is nice, no matter the amount, but to work for a place you feel proud to be a part of.  Proud to have been chosen....  That can be hard to find sometimes.

    Which is fine - it gives me more time with you!

    So my plan today is a little simpler than yesterday.  I plan on getting some writing done.  I have the bones of a story I've been wanting to write for a while.  I think I'll set pen to electronic paper and see where it goes.

    And this afternoon, there's an elderly lady who's not able to get out of her house, eagerly awaiting her books from the library.  I'll pick those up and drop them off at her place.  And besides that?  We'll see what happens and what the day will bring.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Evening of Day 4

And I - love this more than this more than life

   For the last few days I've had that one line running around in my head, over and over again.  Don't ask me why, I couldn't give you a solid reason.

   It seems to me, ever since I've lost my job, it's given me an opportunity to stand back and reflect on what's most important to me.  I've been a CAD technologist for 12 years.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it's just another term for a fancy draftsman.  I've drawn engineering drawings for Civil works for over a decade.  It's not my talent, but it is my skill.  It's not my passion, but it is my vocation.  I've earned a good deal of money for it.  By no means am I Donald Trump, but I live quite comfortably doing what I've been doing.  In the past 5 years I've gotten more migraines than I've ever had.  In fact, in the last 3 months alone, I've had a migraine almost every day.  Some. bad enough that I would go home halfway through the day for fear of being unable to drive when the full force of the migraine finally hit.

   Anyone who's had a migraine knows it's akin to being brain damaged for a few hours.  And indeed, I would come back to work and look at my drafting and wonder WTF I was thinking when I drew that the day before.

     But back to the lyric that's been running in my head.

   Losing my job may have been a godsend.  I've had time to breathe.  To reflect on my life, and appreciate it as it is.  Today, I spent some time writing on here, then exercising, then I took the dog to the vet to get her nails clipped because my wife asked me to.  I took the CRV in to get a chip looked at, because if it could be fixed, it would make my wife very happy.  (it couldn't, alas!)  I went for lunch with Brother in law for the first time.  Just hanging out, him and I.   I moved a wardrobe into a closet space that my wife's been wanting to do for, oh, 3 months now.  And finally, I went to Wal Mart to get groceries so I could have supper ready for my wife when she and her friend were done their work out.

    Nothing momentous.  Nothing world changing.  I didn't create world peace today, nor did I write the next great Canadian novel.  And no - I didn't design an award winning Storm Pond.  However, I found satisfaction in my life.

     I'm serious, I found that I was genuinely happy with my day and that everything I did made things better.  For my wife, and maybe my brother in law.  And most certainly for my dog.

     Allow me to go on a little bit longer...

    When I was a teenager, I was full of passion and wanting to change the world, if not convert the entire known civilization to the cause of Jesus Christ.  Now, I'm 34 and it seems to me that I find God created us for simpler things.  Maybe we all lose sight of that as we run around getting our jobs done and earning our pay cheques.  I live simpler now because I can't afford to spend more, and I realize, I never needed all those things in the first place, they were drowning out the most important things in my life.

     To simply be, to love my wife and my family, and to breathe the air God made and say, "This is good."

     So yes, I'm going to bed tonight after some time with my wife, and fixing the lights on my friend's car and am breathing happily and freely thinking.  "Yes, Today was Very Good."

    And I hope you do too.


Day 4

As of Thursday October 14th, I'm no longer employed.

   It's a weird feeling.  One minute you're sitting at your desk, playing Bloxorz and watching a video and the next your boss comes in and asks you to follow him.  What would you assume?  I thought it was a performance review, or perhaps a new project to start, or maybe I did something and he wants to have a serious talk about it.  When you lose your job, don't you usually get a bit of advance notice?

   I guess not.  I walked into that boardroom and our HR head was there and neither of them looked exactly thrilled about the meeting.  Still, I really didn't think my job was up in the air at the moment.

   I sat down, and this is where my memory gets a little hazy.  At 2:00 on a Thursday afternoon, I wasn't sure what to expect.  "We have some bad news.  Unfortunately we're not getting enough work and we're going to have to let you go."

   Oh good, he subscribes to the band aid approach...  Rip it off.

   Can't say it surprised me, I was fairly calm as well in the face of this dramatic moment.  Do other people cry and wail?  I'm not sure.  He was right though, for months we were scrambling to fill our timesheets with something every week.  If we kept our overhead hours down below 30% a month, we were feeling pretty darn good.

    Unfortunately, there were some weeks that were 100% unbillable hours.  Something had to give.  I had been thinking, for weeks if not months now, that I needed to have an exit strategy in case things hit the fan.  When you own a home, have a wife and a dog, and bills to pay...  You don't want to be caught with your pants down.

    So while the HR lady was giving her spiel and handing me documents, my brain was already thinking and putting my plan in motion.  Maybe that's why I didn't scream, cry and wail.  Nor did I bargain, plead or beg.  It's a business decision, and frankly, I was relieved.  Sitting at your desk doing nothing, is frankly, very exhausting.

     So now I'm among the ranks of Canada's unemployed.  I've filed my EI stuff, got my banking in order.  Cut out a ton of expenses that we don't need and shooting out resumes like a drowning man paddling for shore somewhere in the middle of the Indian ocean.

    Am I scared?  Maybe a little, but it's only day 4, thus far I trust this is just a stepping stone to something better.  After all, God has a plan... and I was sick of being bored.  Now that I'm not working, I'm busier than ever.

    Some people think being without a job is like being on vacation.  Maybe if you got a huge 6 year severance it might be.  I did get a severance, which was quite generous for someone only in the company I was in for 2.5 years.  It's not enough to call it a vacation though.

    And when you go on vacation, you usually have a job to come back home to.  No, I'm working my ass off.  Sending out resumes, doing chores around the house, getting supper ready for when my wife gets home.

   Oh yeah, I'm a househusband now.  And why shouldn't I be?  I'm not bringing home a pay cheque, my wife is.  So in a way, I've got to earn her money.  It's only right.

    I detest men who sit at home when they're jobless.  Going on facebook and playing farmville all day, or firing up their PS3's and playing Medal of Honor while their wives are busting ass bringing home the bacon.  I think it's shallow, callous and a good recipe for a divorce.

    So here's my plan today.  Going to check into Monster and Workopolis.  Then send off a few more resumes.  Workout on the bike and figure out what I'm going to make for supper, I might have to pick up some groceries.  Best to be prepared.

     Then after all that, it should be close to lunch time.  Going to meet my brother-in-law for lunch and drop my CRV with Honda.  There's a damn window chip that needs to be repaired.  I swear, this city has too many missiles being launched on the road at my windshield.  They never last a whole year.

     Oh - yeah the wife wants me to take the dog in to get her nails clipped and by then, I think I'll have to get supper started.  If I'm lucky, I might start washing the windows around the house, and a few other odd chores.

    It's a full day - but hey - it's better than sitting in front of my computer, playing bloxorz, watching videos and trying to figure out how the hell I'm going to fill up my timesheet.