Monday, June 25, 2007


Still in the game!

This morning I got an email from the woman who interviewed me telling me I was a pleasure to meet and that I've been shortlisted for the position! She wants me to meet with two of her co-investigators, probably the week after next.


So I wonder if being shortlisted means there are multiple people still up for the job. Or maybe it means she's already chosen me in her mind but just wants to have me meet the others before offering the position. Who knows.

Any second interview tips out there that differ from first?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

When I get a job I'm buying myself a present.

Talk about incentive...

Monday, June 18, 2007

So, how'd it go?


I practiced what I might say to the "tell me about yourself question" as I walked along andI arrived with time to spare (it takes only 25 minutes to walk from my house to this job!) Then I sat on a park bench outside watching people milling around.

When it was time I went in, up the wrong elevators where I was greeted by an awkward man and a locked door. Luckily the awkward man was waiting to be let through the locked door so I was just on time.

I didn't get the "tell me about yourself question" but let's see if I can remember what questions I did get. This job is a research job that I'll tell more about if I get it.

Why did you apply for this job?

What are three skills you think are necessary for a job like this one?

How have you utelized those skills in the past?

What do you think would be a challenge for you in this job?

Tell me about your quantitative and qualitative research experience.

What kind of work environment do you like?

What would your previous employer say about you?

What would you do if the research subjects who had agreed to participate later said they were too busy to sit down with you?

How would you approach prospective participants and get them to agree to be part of the study?

You would be doing a lot of data collection: interviews, focus groups, observation, archival data collection, etc. How would you keep it all organized?


That's all I can remember. All throughout her questions I felt okay; like I was doing a decent job and she was moderately impressed. I didn't feel like we were connecting in a particularly impressive way, however. When I had a chance to ask questions I felt like she really came alive and I was able to demonstrate my interest in the project and how I know a thing or two about this and that. Maybe it was just her own excitement about the job, or maybe she liked me a lot. I don't know. I liked her a lot, though. She was friendly and warm but professional and didn't give too much away. I can respect that.

So she's interviewing all day today, tomorrow, and Friday and will get back to us next week sometime. That's a lot of candidates. I wonder whether I've got something the others don't, considering I'm a new new graduate. I sent a follow up thank you email today and included a list of references which I'd forgotten to give her (she hadn't asked) and she replied right away thanking me, telling me it was a pleasure to meet me, and saying she would definitely be calling my references.

I want this job. But if I don't get it I'll find something else that's even better......

Interview time!

I will be leaving for my first 'real-job' interview in about half an hour. I feel jittery in the excited first-date kind of way, as opposed to the scared about-to-have-your-wisdom-teeth-out kind of way. That's good news, I think.

I've had only a few interviews in my time. My first was when I was applying to work as a lifeguard and swim instructor at Thornlea pool. I was sixteen, it was my first job, and I was ridiculous. I remember acting pathetically lame-o. But I knew my stuff, they needed people, and I got the job.

After that I had a few camp counselor interviews which I can't remember but I got those jobs. I had two interviews to work at some second-rate sporting goods store at the Promenade Mall. The first one went great. The second one not so great. I failed to get that mall job. Ouch.

Then I had a couple of interviews to work in insurance offices. I remember this one friendly State Farm agent asking me a question of when I had had experience selling something. I thought back on my swim instructor and camp counselor (and tour guide experience) and told him I had none. He kind of smiled at me and told me to think more carefully. I had been selling the campus I was giving tours to. What a good guy he was, teaching me about the art of embellishment during an interview.

Too bad I'm a pretty shitty embellisher. But I'll try!

I haven't had an interview since then, and that was years ago. Korea didn't require one, graduate school didn't require one, and all of the jobs I had while at school didn't require one.

The lesson I learned, though, from the interviews I've had in the past and the jobs I've got and haven't got (damn that sports store!) is that if I have the right exerience then I can get the job. I think I have the right experience here so let's see how she goes.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Jessica is an open book.

"You're so hilarious!" she said to me while we milled around the buffet table. It was the last day of Spirituality class yesterday and we did a full-fledged conference complete with name tags, panels, and lots of food. I talk very little in that class - in most classes actually - prefering to listen and try to pay attention to three hour blocks of mostly bullshit.

But I had just finished presenting my "paper" on why and how spirituality might be taught in a multicultural classroom like many in the Toronto District School Board.

"Really? Why??" I smiled. I like examples. Always have.

"You're just so honest. It's awesome."

She wants to be my friend, this girl.

It's true, I'm honest. Sometimes too honest/borderline rude. I don't think I too often cross the line but I definitely hover around the border. This character trait seems to be becoming one of my most noteworthy. When did that happen? I don't know if I've always been that way or if it's a new development. I don't even really know what I said during that particular presentation that demonstrates it.

But I like it.

I'm going shopping for an interview outfit today. It's serious business.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I've got an interview! For a job that would be great! I don't want to fail publically again, but hey, might as well bask in little successes like getting an interview. Who's got interviewing tips for me? I need them by Monday.

This is a fun game.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The search continues

Can't sleep, can't sleep, can't sleep. But why? Could it possibly be due to the three hour nap I took early this evening? Nahh, I say it's excitement from job-application land that's got me up.

No, I haven' t found a job nor have I even had an interview, but I have managed to find some jobs that actually seem interesting. Like a research position in a Toronto rehab hospital. I would be working on a project testing how a drama and arts-based treatment program works with dementia patients. It starts July 3rd. I want it! Another opening that caught my eye is a cejep faculty member teaching sociology. In Montreal. Would I be professor or Miss?

For both these positions I meet the requirements but I lack some assets. Like a background in health, for example. And post-secondary teaching experience. But I remain hopeful, and awake.

I sent my resume and cover letter to some people for editing and my dad called to give his constructive criticism. Man, my immediate response to advice from my dad is to tense up and become defensive. But I forced myself to be open to feedback and now my resume is so much better off. He knows some things, my dad. Why was this particular experience useful? Why am I a good candidate for this job because of that experience? These are things I hadn't thought about.

So, this first real job search in the life of Jessica has begun and it's rather exciting. Less scary now than before, and more exciting. Wouldn't it be great if I never reached the discouraging stage. Or the disappointing stage. Or the, "oh shit, I have no more money and need to pay my rent... maybe Subway is hiring" stage.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Gimme a break.

Someone left a fat kit kat in my room about five months ago. Actually seven months ago. It was in a shoe box dedicated to that person until three months ago when I found that shoebox. Inside was a pencil and a fat kit kat bar. I put the kit kat bar on my book shelf, unsure what to do with it. I found its purpose tonight, at 3:00 am when I returned out from a birthday celebration. Its purpose? To be eaten and loved!!!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

early evening buzz

I always thought the sangria at future bakery was weak. Turns out it's not. A pitcher between two people is just fine.

I have a car!

I am not driving it right now, fear not.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Isolating grad school

I have one month left of my masters. And I still don't actually know whether I'm supposed to use an apostrophe or not for my degree. I'll rephrase - I have one month left of my MA.

I've been feeling a little bit down in the dumps the last few days, and am reminded of my first few weeks of grad school before my RA and TA work started up and took over my life. I'm lonely and isolated. During the day I often don't have class until 2am and stay at home, sleeping, reading, lounging around, until it's time to get to school. I walk to school alone, sit through two hours of class, and then head to the gym and home.

Now with my still-swollen and mildly throbbing ankle I can't even go to the gym. I'm sad. I can see how a life of academia can be a very isolating career choice unless you make the effort to reach out to the people around you. Luckily I didn't make that career choice. I should still reach out more.

Also eating at me is my impending nothing-to-do that will spring upon me in July. It's looming nextness, my friend says. Mixed with incessant laziness (which translates to lazy job searching), I don't know what's to become of me. A job isn't going to just fall into my lap.

Things usually fall into my lap.

Hey job! My lap is waiting! Hey happy, exciting, fun future life! My lap is waiting!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Almost Monday

My internet was broken all weekend! It was near panic-inducing but I also liked it. Remember the big blackout of '04 or whatever it was when people actually sat outside and talked with their neighbours? It was the first and last time I had any kind of real conversation with one of my then-housemates. People got together and were merry. This weekend I read a book for pleasure! I went outside and hobbled around on my sprained ankle! I played games on my computer that were NOT web-based! I drank a corona on a patio. And I did other things too. Oh, I went to the mall in the suburbs. It'd been a while. All those stores in one easy location! Air-conditioning! Spending!

Why are people allowed to smoke on patios? Aren't the no-smoking rules to do with second-hand smoke prevention? I don't get it. Smoking causes cancer, people! Didn't you listen to the cop with the drug suitcase back in grade 6? I did.

The ankle is getting better each day but it's still swollen, awkward to walk on, and purpley. Not very hot. Not very good for my workout regimen. Not very good for my frisbee team. Not very good for putting on pants while struggling to balance on one wonky foot.

There's not much going on this week. I was supposed to ride rollercoasters and waterslides all day long on Friday but that just may be cancelled.

Falling asleep. Good night.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Failure and future plans

Dear Applicant,

Thank you for applying to be a volunteer teacher with the GET Programme on Peace Boat. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer you an interview for the 59th voyage.

The competition for this voyage was particularly high and we had a very difficult time making our decision.

Thank you once again for applying to the GET Programme. We would like to wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.


Man. I've failed to get the first thing I've ever really badly wanted; the first thing I've put my all into applying for. It's disappointing but, surprisingly, not crushing. Maybe because I had a feeling it wouldn't work out. Maybe because I'm tough like overcooked steak. Maybe because I'm an emotionless freak-a-zoid.

The scary thing is that now I have to make up a new plan. I finish school in July and without Peace Boat to occupy me from September to January I am stuck finding a real job and getting into real life. But I don't want to... but I know I have to. I have money. I can use it to travel the world. Instead I think I better do the responsible thing and save it. Or find a job that allows me to start sometime in the distant future and travel for a while.

So many options.

No options at all.

I search for jobs on sites like workopolis and monster and I don't even know what to use as my keywords. A master's in sociology isn't so conducive to applicable careers. Durkheim doesn't generate any results. I've been using "journalism", "journalist", "sociology", "sociologist", "research", "qualitative". But few if any interesting jobs come up.

It's scary to leave the protective walls of school. Pretty damn scary.