Friday, August 27, 2010

Back to the grind

I have decided that I'm not going to wait around for a job offer that may not come, before giving a start date to the salon owner. I will start back at the salon (at least) one day per week, until such time as there is an offer extended from the other job. If there isn't one forthcoming, I'll take a few more days at the salon.

I like the owner, and the women who work there. They are nearly all Indian or Nepali; its primary business is threading, but it offers full services. My function there before was as manager/administration/reception, which suited me fine. I like being in charge. We'll see if I enjoy it again.

When you have children, working outside of the home is always a dance. Do I feel fulfilled/make enough money to make leaving my kids worth it? Without having daycare costs, it likely will be. In the past, it hasn't been. When Big was a little person, I had no choice but to work full-time (and indeed from time to time I held a part-time job as well) since I was a single parent. Being married has afforded me the luxury of being a stay-at-home parent for most of the past eight years. Full-time school for both of the boys means that I can get out and work, bring in a little bit of money, without having to spend it all on daycare.

In other news, last night was my weekly knitting group. I now host at my house, as our former location wasn't working for us any longer. I had five of my good friends here, and it's the first time I have seen any of these lovely ladies since before I went to Canada in mid-July. It was quite nice to see everyone after so long. I had promised one of them a pair of socks for her birthday, but last night she chose a stole/wrap instead. I will cast on for that after I'm through making my Clasica coat. I'm done the back and fronts, have only the sleeves to complete. I also have to cast on for a sock project as I have joined a pair-a-month knit-along and haven't made anything for it in August. I might have this month's pair done a few days late. Good thing I'm the only knitting police I know.

Have a nice weekend. Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Interview Day

I think I knocked it outta the park. We'll see. I felt really positive as I was leaving, but I'm just one of nine people to be interviewed.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Selling myself (not in that way)

Last week, on a whim, I responded to a job ad on Craigslist. I explained that I did not have a resume, as I haven't been actively looking for work, but now that Little would be in school full time, I thought a part-time position would be right up my alley. I described my pertinent work experience and explained how I hadn't had any office experience since emigrating, and that most of the work I have done since coming here was unskilled and not worth mentioning. Explained how working at the salon was open to me so that there would likely be no chance of getting a reference from here, although that is the most likely to pertain to the job.

Well, like I said, that was last week. I didn't expect to hear from the guy at all. Would you respond to someone who didn't bother to get together a current resume, particularly one you wanted to hire for office administration? I probably wouldn't, but that's because I loathed hiring. Loathed with a capital L. Your skills might look fantastic on paper, but you've got very little chance of being hired if you can't deliver the goods in person or on the phone.

Well, that's one of my biggest strengths. I 'give good phone'. It's a skill I picked up while working as a commercial insurance broker. If you want the underwriters to take your marginal risks, you need to be able to talk them into it, and to talk the rates down. That's not something that you are born with, it's a skill. I held high dollar accounts in the NWT, Nunavut, and Yukon Territories. I administered million-dollar accounts in Alberta. I'm good at that sort of thing. I digress.

I had a phone call today from the person doing the hiring for the job. I expressed surprise that he called, and he told me that he liked my email. He got over 100 responses for the position and has narrowed it down to 8 applicants, plus me.

I have not had an in-person job interview since 1996. At that time, I was hired on at the above-mentioned insurance job in Yellowknife. Since then, each job I have had was either by phone interview, or being hired by a friend. I'm not sure how to go about this. I'm the same in person as I am online, but I don't like the idea of having to sell myself to a prospective employer.

I'll call tomorrow to set up a time. I'll let you know what happens.

Talk to you soon,

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Same as it ever was

I haven't actually forgotten that I have a blog. It's just that I haven't had a whole lot of anything to say.

In my last post, I was still working for the indie yarn dyer/friend. In December, we parted ways, as she needed more hours than I was able to give to her. Since then, I've been spending a lot of time with my kids, and being a stay-home mom. Little (who is five) was attending a half-day pre-kindergarten program; Big (who is 16) was struggling with high school. I hope this year won't be such a struggle for him. When the boys are back in school in a few weeks, I will return to work, but at a salon where I worked previously. The job is sort of a combination of things, being manager, reception, secretary, and personal assistant to the owner. I liked the job well enough but left when I realized I had not only a conflict of hiring practices with the owner, but that most of my salary was going toward paying for daycare. As Little will be in full-day school, that won't be the case any longer; former boss and I have also come to an agreement on hiring.

In mid-July, Little and I headed to Canada to visit with my family. I am Canadian; I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and raised in Alberta. My mother and step-dad are in Barons, a very small town in Southern Alberta, my father and step-mother are in Edmonton. Each year (save one) since I moved to Maryland, I have made the drive to Mom's and taken about a month of vacation. The idea is to drive up, spend a few weeks going around to visit all of my old friends and family, and then be able to bring home things I can't get down here. It rarely happens that way. This year, I drove to Mom's, and spent a week not seeing anyone but Mom and Dad. Then there was a huge family reunion near Athabasca, which we spent four days at; then two days spent with my best girlfriend and her husband in Edmonton. That's it. And that was fine, really. The rest of the trip was spent doing a little bit of gardening in Mom's garden, picking berries, making jams, canning fruit, and shopping with Mom.

Each year but the first, I have had my husband help to drive one way; he'd drive up with me (as was the case the year we drove to Yellowknife so he could experience it for the first time) and fly home, or fly up to drive home with me. This year, I did it all on my own. I drove to Chicago my first day and spent the night with Tasha and Bill. The next night, I drove to Bismarck, North Dakota, and the third day to Mom's. Three days to drive 2500 miles. Thankfully, Little is quite used to traveling like that, and made good use of the portable DVD player and his Leapster. Big is usually a very good helper along the way, but this year he had a summer job lined up and couldn't go with us. Also, his immigration status is in flux and there may have been an issue getting him back into the US after we left. He is both Canadian and American, but we are awaiting his American citizenship papers and his green card was issued in his birth name, incorrectly, after my husband adopted him.

An entire month away from one of my kids and my husband is a very, very long month. It was wonderful, as well. I was really conflicted to enjoy myself so much and miss them as well. However, Big had a fine time here; he spent a week at camp and one of his best friends came back to town to visit after having moved away two years ago. Mister is self-employed so he could be here for Big when he needed him. I think that not having me here for that time helped Big to mature in some ways, as well, which was quite needed. I think that we tend to infantalize our teens more than necessary. At Big's current age, I was living away for the summer and working in Banff National Park. No way is Big mature enough for that, and it makes me a little sad.

On to now... I've been knitting all along, of course. I knit my mother a February Lady Sweater from Paton's Classic Wool in "Woodrose Heather" (a medium pink) and took it to her. She loves it. My niece also needed mittens to match her handspun hat and cowl, so I obliged. I've also knit at least one pair of socks each month this year. My husband adores Bugga! socks, and has reaped the spoils of my employment with The Sanguine Gryphon last fall. I currently have Clasica Coat (Interweave Knits cover, Fall 2009) on the needles, made from Fisherman's Wool in "Oatmeal". It's a very boring colour. I was halfway through the back when I realized that what I really wanted was a red coat. I'm going to finish this in the current yarn, and then dye yarn for another coat.

I've also been spinning. I just finished 8 ounces of merino wool dyed in yellows and blues dyed by Chimera on Etsy, called "Starry Night". I think I've got around 350 yards of it, in a tight 2-ply twist. In May or June I did another 8 ounces, also from Chimera, in a red-yellow-blue-green dye. Quite pretty. I suppose I will have to start taking pictures and posting them.

Today I was stung by a bee, went to lunch with my husband, and took Little to a birthday party at a bowling alley. I will now spend the balance of my day knitting on my coat and watching Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who on the dvr. There's a new "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" (Jeremy Brett series) episode which I haven't seen. That's really unusual!

Talk to you soon,