Monday, June 26, 2006

2 More Sleeps!!

I can barely contain my excitement.

Yes, it's going to be a lot of work to unpack everything. Yes, I have a lot to catch up on (wedding thank yous being the #1 priority). Yes, our monthly 'outgo' is going to be very close to our monthly income.


only two more sleeps!


Thursday, June 22, 2006

A rant on wages...

A few weeks ago, a local business columnist spoke to a group of professionals who are actively seeking meaningful work (me included). He told us about how a group of business leaders had met and discussed their challenges: finding good people to work. He cited one business owner who had 40% staff turnover a month, or some such ridiculous figure.

We all jumped in and pointed out that it was no mystery for us -- obviously the guy paid shit. It's all about the money, unless the work is totally rewarding in some intrinsic way to an individual. Oh, it might be the benefits, the flexible hours, the perks...but if the money is too low, why would anyone stay?

In the lovely valley where I now live, the businesses were enticed in over the last 20 years with the promise of cheap labour and beautiful environs -- and people were told, when they complained about low wages, that it was a 'sunshine tax'. [From "Okanagan Sustainable Prosperity Study" 2004]

Another feature of sustainable prosperity was the upward growth in wages. Historically, the Okanagan had been known for its “sunshine tax” where jobs simply paid less in the Okanagan than in other places because people took a pay cut to experience the quality of life. Unfortunately, that strategy had started to create disgruntled workers and frustrated employers who were not accustomed to paying the salaries necessary to get qualified people—even if those people assumed
a pay cut based on salaries in Toronto.

Well, that time is over, but businesses are still figuring that out (the study cited above says the transition from "sunshine tax" to a living wage has been relatively painless.) Stores can't get/keep service staff. There's a huge need for skilled labour. "Help Wanted" signs are peppered all over town, some companies are raising their starting wage, but it's still not enough. It is more and more expensive to live here, and the rental market is tight.

And with the right skills, the labour market is wide open -- with fierce competition for the right workers. A career coach with a column on (the Central Okanagan news site) says:
I’ve recently spoken with a recruitment company who are seeking Class 1 Drivers
with air brake tickets. This company has been contracted to find lesser paid
drivers in the interior of BC to go work in Alberta’s oil patch. In particular
this company is focusing its attention on the Okanagan Valley. The reason for
looking in the Okanagan is because workers have been paid less than elsewhere.
In the Okanagan workers have experienced something known as the “sunshine tax.”
Say goodbye to the “sunshine tax!”

The local paper had two articles this morning that were related: one about illegal basement suites hopefully being legalized to help with the rental market. The other was about entry level service jobs being so plentiful here that teenagers were finding it easier to wake up with a hangover after partying all night to just go find another job than to call their old job to quit.

So folks....think of going into skilled trades if you're not already there, and don't live in the United States of America, where the Senate, in its overpaid 'wisdom', has voted to NOT increase the minimum wage of $5.15/hour to $7.25/hour -- to have come into effect gradually over 2 years!! Some bleeding hardship that woulda been.

I can't really think of anything scathing enough to say...


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

7 Days!!

I can't believe it! Next Wednesday, at noon, we take possession of our house. That afternoon, we have movers booked to pack up our storage unit, and transfer it all to the house.

Want to see another couple of pictures?

The hot tub on the deck.

The kitchen.

The living room, with its gorgeous front window, and lovely (yes, trendy) colour.

And the master bedroom, with the patio doors opening on to the deck, and the hot tub!


Not soon enough.


Friday, June 16, 2006

When is not getting the job a good thing?

Okay, so not a good thing, but not such a terrible thing....

In order of icky, the first being the ickiest:

  1. your application is ignored, lost in the ether, no acknowledgement, no human contact
  2. you don't get an interview, but you get an automated response
  3. you don't get an interview, but a human is involved in the response (has to print off the form letter, saliva on the stamp)
  4. you get the interview, teach the sample lesson, give them an hour or more of your time, and you have to call them because you've heard nothing for weeks
  5. you get the interview, but screw up somehow, are deemed inappropriate, and get the 'we've gone with someone else' phone call
  6. ?
  7. ?
  8. ?
  9. ?
  10. the least icky of all, is you get to the second interview, but still don't get the job. I don't mind not being hired after the second interview. Now it's no longer personal, you didn't screw up, it's down to skill set/experience...and that's understandable.

Of course, the un-icky version would be to get the job...

But ya can't win 'em all.

(So ya, I didn't get the job, but I did get called back for a second interview.)

And I have another interview next Friday morning.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A mountain side...

We went to visit friends this weekend on their substantial hunk of property on Hwy 3a, on the way to Keremeos.

Some of their horses are wandering around out there...Now, that's the life!

These three came thundering home from the range as we arrived.

They rested, got some attention, and then were let loose again.

Of course, Metro was helping to build a fence while I was appreciating the environs...


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Job Hunt Irony

Have you ever noticed how ironic/annoying the job hunt is?

The "can't get the job without experience, can't get experience without the job" is the rage of the 19-year-old out of high school.

The "can't get work without the right attitude, can't maintain the right attitude without work" is the reality of the I-didn't-choose-to-be-between-jobs group.

Women still have to play the high heels and stockings game in a lot of arenas...but then, men have to still wear the portable noose, otherwise known as "a tie."

Then, if you're in career transition and you need a cash flow job until your dream job comes along, you're stuck in the "You're overqualified" trap.

But then, when you're at that stage, your dream job will likely not be advertised anyway, so you're stuck with the "hidden job market" bullshit...companies who know, or don't know, they need help, and you have to convince them that you are the One.

Now, it's a matter of planting the seeds of a network, watering it, watching it grow, and harvesting it at the 'ripe' moment -- even then, you'll not know the quality of the fruit until each and every lead is (oh, so casually!), squeezed for all it is worth.

I have the luxury to not be desperate for work, due entirely to my rather traditional man who satisfies some Maslow-ian need in supporting me.
(But where in the hierarchy is it?)

But I have my own ironies to add...Me, a woman who has gone through a slew of books & counselors on the subject of getting hired, and who has been carefully applying the principles, had an interview today for a position as an Employment Facilitator -- essentially someone who helps others find work.

Sort of a meta-job.

I'll keep you posted.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Garage Sales

What is it about garage sales that warps the human psyche? Why do we suddenly feel the desire to own a used karaoke machine for $20? or a pipe cleaner book with no pipe cleaners for $2?

Metro and I went cruising garage sales today...We were driving around, looking for signs on telephone poles -- and suddenly, there it was: "Garage Sale at ...." OUR NEW ADDRESS!

What does one do in that situation?

Well, we went. I parked half a block away, just in case they recognized our car from the frequent drive-bys we make, and we walked up.

They had absolutely nothing of value on sale. If we'd bonded with them, we may have introduced ourselves...but, no.


What would you folks have done?

Oh, and what was your best garage sale find ever?


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Okay, okay...

I did it. I started another blog: a book blog in -- thought I'd learn a new system while I was at it.

So, please visit the cheesily titled Lori's Book Nook (how Dr. Seuss is that?). Only one (real) post up so far, but the musings will continue.