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08/24/2006: "the bagpipes aren't saying "no""

Day three of pondering the Pacific Time Zone, lots of water, and trading temperature extremes for more moderate weather (rain notwithstanding). Today I talked to the recruiter, and what he said was very encouraging. Of course, I am taking my salt when it comes to dealing with him, as he speaks only for himself and not necessarily the company, but I'm optimistic.

Jannette and I have been doing a lot of due diligence on this, and thus far the answer seems NOT to be "no". That is, we aren't fully on-board yet (we can't be until after I have a GOOD chat with the company, for sure), but we aren't dismissing the idea.

What's more, it sounds like BC has more opportunities for me. The recruiter asked if I would consider working on the mainland too, and mentioned that he's got a couple of opportunities he's working on there. So even if it's not Nanaimo, per se, it could still be Richmond or Langley or something like that. At this point I simply have to wait for him to do his work on his end, and I'll hear from him by early next week.

Meanwhile, thanks for your encouragement, tips, and thoughts. Some response to your responses:

  • Yes, forestry is by definition renewable - trees grow. However, designing the machines that cut them down doesn't put me in the renewables sector, and designing the machine has nothing to do with whether the operator of said machine is using it responsibly.

  • As for looking for something that does interest me (ie., green technology), the problem is that I'm unqualified for that industry. I am qualified to design forestry machines, so if that gets me out in the thick of things that I am interested in, I can slowly work on developing my expertise until I get it to a point that I can leap out of forestry and into something truly green. Sadly, I can't just leap right into what I'd really like to do. I've tried, and thus far the closest I've come is working part-time for Gerald's.

  • There is nothing like MBET anywhere in North America, except here in Waterloo, so far as I can tell. McMaster has something vaguely similar, but certainly not the same. Besides, if I go out there, I will be putting my effort into growing into my job for at least the next 5 years or so - I've had too much hopping around to even contemplate leaving it anytime sooner, or even stopping for school. However, I could easily do the distance education program that MBET will eventually produce. That's likely the way I'll go.

  • According to, provincial income taxes are about equivalent between Ontario and BC, but BC's PST is one point lower at 7%. So while trying to calculate 13% in my head will be a challenge, it'll be like getting the GST cut all over again! (In other words, I probably won't even notice.)

  • Jerry is bang-on, I've been looking for something for the past 4 years, if not a lot longer than that. I guess I have to decide whether a change of scenery is what I need, or whether I really do need to stick around and take the MBET, or if I can do both (ie., wait for the part-time distance education program to come out). I'll admit that having a ready-made cohousing group waiting there is a big part of the draw. I guess part of the due diligence Jannette and I have to do will include some soul-searching on my part.

    We're starting to exhaust the research we can do from here in regards to Nanaimo. We know about the parks, the municipal swimming pools, the transit routes (both bus and ferry), the stores in the malls (including a Please Mum for Jannette to transfer to), the weather, the cost of living, the taxes... the only big questions left all have to be answered by the company that is looking to hire. That should come by next week, if at all. Meanwhile, I get to do the head-in-two-places dance; staying here to develop the biofuels group, the cohousing group, work with the local Green Party, keep working my job, planning for MBET... or sell the house, get rid of the car, and move everything.

    Boy - life sure is interesting, isn't it?

  • Replies: 1 Comment

    on Sunday, August 27th, happykat said

    Interesting, indeed.

    You know that I admire your enthusiasm, Andrew, and that your passion is one of your great qualities - it is what makes

    However (you knew that was coming - right?), I'm going to tell you honestly what I think about all of this, because your family (particullarly that lovely wife of yours) is very very important to me.

    I share the opinion of other poster(s). You have always been searching for something. Which you are not finding. I don't know what it is that you are looking for. I don't think *you* know what you are looking for. The right place? The right job? The right house? The right hobbies? The right groups to join?

    Who knows? The trouble with feeling "not right" is that we often don't know what it is that we were missing until we find it. And then we feel right.

    Should you consider moving to BC? Short answer - ABSOLUTELY! Bottom line - there is nothing keeping you here in Waterloo, exept for things that haven't happened yet (the house that is almost done, the cohouing group that is getting started, the MBET that you haven't started yet etc).

    Here is where the tough part starts. Moving your family accross the country to a place where you've never been before to a job at a company you've never worked at before for a boss you've never worked for before and coworkers you've never worked with before (I could go on...) is (in a word) RISKY.

    You could have problems with your coworkers, your boss, your responsibilities, the expectations they have on you, the culture may not be what you want, the job may not be what you expected (again, I could go on).

    We've all had jobs that sounded great, but when we got there...they just weren't right.

    So lets talk about minimizing the risk (financially and otherwise).

    Throughout this ever-growing post, I'm going to assume that the company is hiring (or another one is) and you get the job.

    Fist off - consider a *very* long interview process. Once they have offered you the job, consider spending a week or two or three just hanging around the office. Check out the work that you will be doing. Check out the town, check out whether you feel you are going to be happy living there. Jannette will miss you - but she'll be fine (I promise to have her over for dinner lots). But you being absolutely sure that you can work in whatever environment that they have for you is so very very important.

    Okay - so you love the job, love the town, love the cohousing group (I've checked it out online - it seems just perfect for you guys) and really feel like you want to make the move.

    I want you to consider *not* selling your house here in Waterloo right away. Since you likely will want to join the cohousing group, but they have not built it yet, you will probably be renting for a while, right?

    Consider keeping your house, and renting it out for a period of time. Perhaps a year. Just enough to cover the mortgage Will this be easy financially? Not really, but it will provide you with a security net just in case things don't work out.

    Because things may not work out. They sometimes don't. The company may not be a good fit for you. You may not ber a good fit for the company.

    This way you can come back to waterloo if you are unhappy. Heck - don't even tell the university you won't be coming fall of 2007 until August of 2007.

    So commit to try it for a year, then if you are happy, sell your house.

    I hear that your wife has a great friend who lives close by who would be happy to keep an eye on the tenants.

    Add to your soul-searching list. If you are willing to move to BC and *not* do your MBET in 2007, then how important is the MBET to you? Perhaps it was one of the things that you found when you were looking for what you were missing. But just because you found it - doesn't mean it was what you were looking for.

    Maybe this is an opportunity to check out another path - one that may lead to BC, maybe it leads to opportunities elsewhere, but maybe the MBET isn't a stop on the path - at least not in the next few years.


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