Archive for the 'jobs' Category

Career direction

I enjoy my job (for the most part) and I’m really interested in the sector the company is in (technology/finance). So much that lately I’ve actually been thinking that this is a career path I’d like to pursue and trying to figure out how to go about it and wondering if I should consider going back to school to get the skill set I need to progress.

That said, I just completed this Passion Puzzle activity I stumbled across and surprisingly enough the results are pointing me back towards my original plan of starting my own business. I’m actually quite surprised because just earlier today I wrote a long journal entry about how I might be giving up on that dream and trying to pursue this new career direction. But the passion puzzle has made me realize that I shouldn’t give up on my original plan.

I need to take some steps to make that happen.

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Salaries and freebies.

Given my recent contemplating of salaries and negotiating and the like, I found the discussion following Krytal’s post on her 3 month review very interesting. I found this comment to have some good pointers I’m going to have to keep in mind next time I face a salary review.

It was also interesting to read people’s comments on expectations one should have after a 3 month review. For my first salaried position I got a bit of a bump right after my 3 month review. It was an unexpected surprise, but it’s funny how it lead to the expectation that that was the norm. When I negotiated my salary for my current job, I kind of assumed that there would be a 3 month review and I’d get a raise. After the position was offered to me I was a bit disappointed to find out that salary reviews only happen once a year, so unless I change to a different position, the salary I negotiated is the one I’m getting for the next year. A bit of a bummer since it was the lowest I’d be willing to take. Lesson learned.

Squawfox has a good post on why freebies are for the birds. This past week-end I had to scramble to use a $25 gift card that expired on Sunday. I got the gift card when I made a purchase at a clothing retailer back in March. At the time I thought I was being so clever to get the gift card, but it came with all kinds of restrictions and in the end I spent it on a $30 scarf. I love the scarf, but in real life I would pretty much not ever spend that much on a small piece of fabric. So yeah I got to use the card, but it wasn’t really saving me money on my original purchase (which is the way I’d spun it in my head) since it’s money I wouldn’t have spent if I didn’t have the gift card.

Paying myself back

Ok so I got paid on Friday (yay!) and had a fun week-end. Now it’s time to get down to serious stuff… Paying myself back. I basically took all the spare money I could ($775) and socked it into my Cushion fund. I don’t want to call it an emergency fund because I don’t really think of it as such. I want to get my cushion fund back up to $5000.

I’ve got $37 in my wallet and I’m not going to a bank machine until I get paid next. Granted that’s only a week away. If my pay days seems wacky it’s because it’ll be my first pay for my new permanent position. So after my next pay I’ll have a better idea of what my take home pay will be and I’ll be able to seriously start budgeting.

While it’s a relief to finally be able to count on a regular paycheque, I still have such a nagging feeling that I should have negotiated for a higher salary. I’m trying not to think about it too much because obviously it’s too late now. Instead what I should do is start keeping track of little victories at work so that down the road when I’m up for a review or a new position I’ll have lots of ammunition as to why I’m great and deserve more money.

Job perks

I’m always impressed by the pf bloggers who have good full-time jobs but decide to go out and get a part-time job on top to supplement their income. I personally don’t think I could do it, but if I did the thing that would sell me on a part-time job would be the perks.

Case in point, I’ve been short on cash lately but still I’ve been managing to keep busy. Last week-end I went to the Vancouver Aquarium for free because a friend of mine works there and free passes for her friends is one of her perks. When I lived in Toronto I worked at one of the major tourist attractions there, and got a generous allowance of free passes (worth $35 each) to give to friends/family, on top of being able to get into virtually any other tourist spot in the GTA for free, and often get a friend in for free too. Hello free harbour boat tours! That was a fun one that I’d never have done if I had to actually pay for it, but for free, why not? Another good friend of mine worked at GM place for a few years, and when she first started I remember her telling me how surprised she was at the number of professionals like teachers etc. working as ushers there. They did it for the free hockey games and concerts.

So if you’re thinking of getting a part-time job to supplement your income, don’t just consider the pay. The perks are important too!

Getting organized

Ok. I’ve been doing my research, getting organized to try and start putting together a business plan, and trying to find resources available to people wanting to start a small business. Unfortunately it’s becoming apparent to me that it will be pretty tough trying to access some of these resources while working full time, since most of these services are offered during regular business hours. For example, Small Business BC seems to have a ton of great resources, but they’re basically open M-F 9-5.

My business idea will definitely be part-time to start, so I’m going to have to be working another job to support myself. I could just try to look for a part-time job, but thinking about how little I would make pains me. I know starting a business should be all about following my dreams but the thought only making enough to live on for the next few years (?) while the business hopefully grows into something lucrative does not appeal to me. I still want to earn enough income to be able to put money aside to invest and save.

The problem with working part-time is twofold. The part-time jobs I can think of and would qualify for are in service or retail and therefore don’t pay much at all, and the low hourly wage combined with part-time hours just isn’t going to provide much of an income.

The ideal situation would be to find a full-time job that offers flex-time. But it doesn’t seem straightforward to find that kind of situation. Last week I had an interview and it was only at the interview they told me they would like the job to have flex hours, this wasn’t mentioned in the job posting at all. Needless to say, I’d be thrilled if I was offered that position, but until that happens I have to rethink my job hunting strategy if I want to focus on positions that offer flex-time.

Eating out is expensive.

Ok, I know the subject of this post is common knowledge, but yesterday just really reminded me of that. I was lazy and didn’t pack a lunch for work (even though I’m usually really good about that) but I knew that since I’d be working downtown there would be decent options a plenty for food. I ended up spending about $6.50 on sushi, which I thought was reasonable for a filling lunch.

On my way home from work I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some produce for meals this week and when the cashier told me my total was $4.50, I was surprised at how little it was! I wasn’t buying much, but definitely enough to cover at least 3 meals, and all for less than the price I paid for my lunch! A definite reminder to be making my lunches and not eating out. Although eating out is a nice excuse to get out of the office, and unfortunately the office where I’m working now has a really sorry and depressing and generally unpleasant lunch room. So if I bring a lunch, I’ll probably end up eating it at my desk and that’s not much of a break. This experience is definitely making me appreciate companies that make the effort of providing their employees with a nice lunch room.

Tips for phone interviews

I’ve got a phone interview for a job coming up and since it’s my first time being an interviewee in this kind of situation, I figured I should do some research. Here are a couple of articles I found on the topic:

There’s also a Job Interview Questions Database that I’ve been looking over and writing my own practice answers to questions. Hopefully it will help!