Working Update

Yesterday I had a follow up interview with that job I talked about last week. This time, it was with two sales people in Quebec, and somewhat to my surprise, entirely in French.

My French is ok at the best of times but my guess is, that if I am successful in getting this job, I’d be doing about 20% of it in la langue officielle du Québec as I would also be covering all of Canada.

It’s basically a proposal writer job for an IT company and I have some experience with proposal writing, but never owning the entire process, and I have zero experience in IT. I had zero experience with legal services but that worked out ok in the end, for a while. Until I got shitcanned.

In a lot of ways, this would be an ideal job for me. It’s remote and it’s mostly writing based. That used to be right in my wheelhouse before my career path went all weird because I was more passionate about food and shelter than crafting an elegant paragraph. So I will need to really ramp up my French again, as well my Word skills. I think I can do that.

But I would be lying if I said I was not nervous. This past year was difficult for me at work, and honestly, something happened at the beginning of the pandemic that broke something in my brain. Suddenly, I was struggling to manage my job as its requirements began to evolve. In March of last year, I was laid off when the company restructured and I was assured it was nothing to do with me personally even if it didn’t feel like it. It was a blow but it sparked the decision to move back to Saint John, which I think was the correct decision in the end.

My next job went ok but, again, my manager expressed doubts because I wasn’t delivering what he expected, even though, per the job description, I believe I was. Just the same, I left it after five months when I was offered a similar job to pricing gig at the previous law firm. I was let go after three months, for vaguely defined “performance issues.”

So it’s fair to say that I’m anxious about meeting any new challenges in a new career. Over the past four months, I’ve looked for new jobs in just about every industry, and wondered if a low stress, repetitive, entry level gig would be better for me. But I couldn’t even get a second interview with Costco. I feel like I’m overqualified for entry level work but underqualified for the jobs I actually get. I’m a great interview because I’ve had a lot of practice but I always struggle when I get the job.

But knowing this, and knowing what usually triggers these issues in advance, I think I can manage to anticipate what I will need to do to be, if not successful, competent.

So off to Word tutorials on YouTube I go.


As they say, “some personal news”

Hey, remember the other day when I bitched about the hiring process for a potential employer?

Well, it turns out they offered me the job, which I accepted because these streaming services, and retirement and my kid’s education fund, aren’t going to pay for themselves.

I start in July, sometime after we arrive in Saint John, depending on the travel restrictions into the Atlantic Bubble at that time. Vaccinations are accelerating and cases are, as I write this, dropping considerably in Quebec and the Maritimes so perhaps the quarantine rules will be less stringent.

But there it is. I’ll be working pricing, as I have been doing since 2005. This time in the head office of a home improvement chain.

Anyway, here’s a new mixtape:

The May 2021 Update


It’s official: not only have we sold the house, but we have bought a new one in Saint John. We take possession July 5 and so will begin a new chapter.

I’m also, possibly, on the verge of hearing about a new job, as is Kerry. We’re hoping this is the week we get new gigs so we can put that bit of concern behind us. The last time I was laid off, it took almost a year to find something new. I’d like to compress that time period somewhat.

I have to say the job market in the Maritimes is different from what they have in Montreal or Toronto. I applied for a position and shortly after, received an email to participate in a Predictive Index cognitive assessment test. I then had a video interview with the hiring managers. I was then asked to provide references, with at least 2 past managers, by having them go to a link to provide feedback on me. I also had to re-do the PI cognitive assessment because they didn’t like my answers the first time (I’m not good at those things). The index could not close until I had two managers respond. I could not get in touch with my most recent manager so I had to go way back to some others to ask them if they would do this for me. Finally I was able to the feedback I needed and the reference check was completed.

In March, I was offered a job with a very generous compensation package but it fell through over my request to work remotely from New Brunswick. I was offered this job based on two video interviews with two people who didn’t know me from Adam. No references were requested.

This reference check was frustrating and I’m honestly not sure how they attract talent with this weird, inflexible process. While I haven’t lived in the Maritimes for almost 20 (!) years, I can’t help but wonder if there is still an attitude from employers that, because unemployment is higher than other regions, they make more demands of their employees in a way that wouldn’t fly in similar industries in other regions.

Of course, there are people who are treated much worse at their jobs than this middle-class, white collar guy so I don’t want to overstate the issue. I just makes me wonder, if I do get the job, what kind of workplace I’ll be stepping into.

The overall point here is that if an employer does not know if they are going to hire someone based on their CV, and more than one interview, it seems unfair to put the burden on the new hire to make their references go through this process. It seems particularly onerous when your references may simply be unavailable to enter the information requested within the timeframe they require, which is what happened with me.


The Book of Longings

The Book of Longings is a novel about the imagined marriage of Jesus and his wife, Ana. It’s a very inventive tale that seeks to give voice to someone who would have been silenced all these years. Highly recommended. Oprah Winfrey liked it as well.

The Spring 2021 Update

I know if I went back to my previous posts, and back when blogging was a thing, I would find several that indicated a desire to get back to my hometown of Saint John. In fact, there have been several points where we almost did move back but for any number of reasons, they fell through.

This time, however, it’s official: we’re moving back. The house has been sold (pending the buyer’s financing) and we’ll be in Saint John in July.

We’ve wanted to do it for years but what prompted it this time was that in March, in the middle of pandemic, I lost the job I have been working at for the past four years. It was a “business decision,” they told me and nothing to do it with my performance. But the fact is that the past year has been difficult for me and it did affect my performance so I can’t help but wonder if it was a factor in my dismissal.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a new job lined up yet and most banks take a dim view of unemployment when you apply for a mortgage. But the proceeds from the house sale should provide a cushion when we arrive to rent for a bit while we get ourselves sorted.

So if you know anyone who needs someone, you know where my LinkedIn is.


In an effort to cut back on the budget, I gave up Crave but before I did, I watched Raoul Peck’s four part documentary series, Exterminate All the Brutes. Pulling from a number of historical texts and his own personal history, Peck examines the roots of white supremacy and colonialism. It’s not easy to watch but I think it’s the kind of thing that could be taught in high schools.


John Scalzi closed off his “Interdependency” trilogy last year but I’ve just got round to reading this. If you’re a fan, you’ll recognize his big ideas and humour throughout the book.

To be honest, I thought this was a self-help book for introverts but it’s actually a look at what how our assumptions underline how we deal with people we don’t know, using case studies from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to Bernie Madoff. It’s quite interesting.


Since I’m on my own in the mornings, I’m spending the time looking for job opportunities and preparing for the move. I find that I like to have music on the background that isn’t too distracting. Lately, I find Ici Musique’s L’effet Pogonat with Catherine Pogonat to do the trick. It’s a great variety of music from across genres. It airs from 8:30am to noon on weekdays.

I don’t know when the pandemic will end or, at least, be minimized so that we can return to our lives. I’d link to the latest news but it changes hourly.