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10/17/2006: "unequal goodness"

I guess I've been pretty quiet of late. Truth be told, my mood has been all over the place, and I simply haven't felt like trying to express how I'm feeling. I'm feeling a bit more level now, so I'm able to go over the past almost-week and share what's been going on. There are good things to do with cohousing, good things to do with working, but still a lot of bad feelings about the state of my working.

Let's get the bad over with so I can end on a happy note. In all honesty, I feel like my career is entirely in the toilet, if not already part-way down the drain. My resume is now a clogged mess of short-duration "full-time permanent" positions, which is probably 95% of the resason employers take a pass on me before even bringing me in for an interview. (I have thought of revamping my resume, take it from the reverse-chronological format to a skills-based format, but I've never seen an example of that I like. In fact, I've only seen one example. I didn't like it.) What's even worse is that in general I have nobody to blame but myself for it all, save for being laid off and getting fired. I should never have left Woodstock. Sure, I'd have been out of a job as of April this year, but with 7 years of experience in one job under my belt, and within the John Deere organization, no less. I could have cherry-picked a position. Sigh.

At this point, I have two options; tough it out, find a position that plays to my experience, and just ride it out for 5 years at a minimum. That means either commuting or moving, likely. The other option is to do whatever I have to to pay the bills for a year, and then head to school and hope and pray that my "broad" experience and an MBA-like degree will open new doors for me. I guess one thing I have to determine is, short of Gerald's, what opportunities will await me after graduation locally, if any? If the answer is "none", then perhaps I should just move now and settle into a job somewhere. It would be a lot cheaper to do that than go through school.

In any case, let's get on to the good news.

Keeping with the work vein, the two interviews I've had both went extremely well. Today I had the second interview, this time in Burlington. It's about an equal drive, the traffic might be slightly better, and the company is just as good. I impressed them as well, I will be quite surprised if I don't hear back from them with an offer after they go through the rest of their candidates. It would be nice to have a choice. One good part is both are willing to give me contracts up to my starting school, and would also consider taking me on full-time as well. Choice is good. Now if they can just get on with making their minds up so I can start earning a living, all would be swell.

The most excitement over the past week has come from my cohousing adventures. Well, perhaps "adventures" is the wrong word, as I haven't actually gone anywhere. In any case, there's been some very encouraging activity with the group.

First, I got an e-mail from someone living in the EcoVillage @ Ithaca, NY who is relocating to a job here in town. Not only are they VERY much interested in the project I am trying to kickstart, but their experience as members of the EcoVillage will be useful in the penultimate extreme. What's even better, they have already agreed to speak at our first public information session, to be held in November. Whee!

I've been feeding them all sorts of information to help their relocation, for which they are quite grateful. I'm actually going to get to meet the wife tomorrow. She's the one switching jobs, and she's in town for a couple of days working a few things out. I called her up tonight and we agreed to have her over for lunch, just to finally see face-to-face. Up until today it was purely an e-mail thing, and only tonight did I talk to her on the phone. It will be nice to have another family in the cohousing group, and another potential friend or two. Oh, and a babysitter! They have a daughter who is JUST getting into babysitting age. I joked that we'd have to tell all our friends and family that we *imported* our babysitter.

Next came an e-mail from someone who already has a group semi-formed that is interested in cohousing, in the Toronto area. In this case, he's going to be retiring in the next few years, and has decided to move here for his retirement. This is good - we don't have any retirees in our group yet. This adds quite nicely to our diversity. What's even more interesting is he asked, "Are you any relation to Stu?" I answered that I was, but questioned how "Stu" could be a member of his group in Toronto, and still be my brother out in Calgary. The answer, he isn't! Yes, my brother has a retired namesake living just outside of Toronto. It would be very cool if I got to meet him and compare family histories.

Oh, one other good point to note: I'm FINALLY going to be getting a drainwater heat recovery unit. I bartered with Gerald to get one: I wouldn't invoice him for the time I worked for him last week, and he'd give me the unit I need in return. He was all for it! Now it's just a matter of seeing if he has the unit I need in stock, and then getting the beastie installed. I'm very much looking forward to that.

I had my first meeting with the new small group from church that Jannette and I joined. Funny thing is that we joined in April, and this is the first time I've managed to make it out. In any case, work was on pretty much everyone's minds that night. There's me and my sordid story. Our hosts both have stories to tell, one of not getting many supply teacher shifts, the other about the corporate head-butting going on at his job and how his new position is right in the middle of it all. Another couple is dealing with issues of productivity and working from home. Another guy is trying to find a better job - he had a good interview for a bad position, but at least he felt good from having the good interview and the fact that they did want him for the position. Perhaps it's coincidence, but it sure seems like the employment landscape is undergoing a shift. I guess I have to decide whether to anchor myself or hop on a surfboard. Hmm.

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