MEC

The last time we checked in with our intrepid hero, he was whining about something!

But since then much time has passed, and not much has been done. I’ve been looking for work and had many interviews. Some on the phone, some in person, and for the most part it was fruitless. 

I should just point out how much I don’t enjoy looking for work. It’s a lot of effort and anticipation and usually ends up not going anywhere. But, as I am not independently wealthy, my quest has to continue. All the way into the new year. 

The process would go something like this(for those that are sorta new to looking for work):

  1. Submit resume
  2. Get a call/email about an interview
  3. Have an interview over the phone with someone that’s not qualified to hire you
  4. Have another interview, on the phone or in person with someone that is qualified to hire you
  5. Wait
  6. Wait
  7. Wait
  8. Get some update stating a good thing or a bad thing(usually bad)
  9. GOTO 1.

But sometimes step 8 doesn’t happen, and you’re left in some kind of limbo. This can happen after step 3 as well. If step 8 happens, and it’s not good news, then there’s an excuse as to pay, fit or something else (like age, but they don’t admit that). But it’s those that never respond that annoy me the most. 

Actually, the only thing worse about people not responding to you about interview results are the ones that dangle hope in front of you, like some kind of cheesecake. Not sure why you would want to dangle cheesecake, but I think I just want cheesecake. Anyway. 

It’s happened to me. The hiring manager said all was a go…. then there was a hiring freeze. Then that freeze was over, then they didn’t know how to hire me(result of a corporate buy out) but said they still want me and are coming up with a plan. They didn’t, but called later to tell me that they still wanted me. Then called later still to say that they couldn’t possibly do anything until the end of January, but still wanted me. 

Any guesses that they called near the end of January? Yea, no. Oh, and it all started at the end of October….

So I went back to step 1. 

As I was doing this, I had a guy over at a recruitment company looking for me as well. In fact, most of the interviews I got were from him. The advantage there is that I tend to skip the phone interview and go straight to an in person one. So that’s what happened with MEC. 

Before I go on I have to be honest and say that if it wasn’t for the recruiter guy showing me this job, I never would have considered MEC, or any other retail chain for that matter. It never really entered my mind that they would need IT support help. So there’s your thought of the day, everyone needs IT support. 

The first interview was with a hiring manager, not the manager, but one of them(the actual manager was on vacation). That went well, we had a lovely chat about all sorts of things, all the while being bounced from one meeting room to another as she didn’t feel like going up to the fourth floor. We ended up in the lobby to finish. And at the end she wanted me to meet with the other manager. This is always good. 

And the next week I did. And we chatted, but stayed in the same meeting room. I should also point out that not a lot of technical stuff was discussed, mostly process and attitude. 

Then I get a call saying they want a third interview. By this time I can make the drive without GPS. I meet with a manager and someone from the team. Again, not a lot of technical discussion. This was the shortest of the three. 

I drive home in time to pick Liam up from school. On the way back I get a call stating I have the job! Now to do some paperwork (had to get a business license again). 

It’s starting out as a three month contract, but from the getgo they stated the wanted someone full time. I suspect that this is their way of doing probation. Likely easier to not renew a contract than to fire someone. And that’s ok with me. 

So I’m working at MEC headquarters in Vancouver. Something I never thought I’d say. And it’s great. I can’t stress that enough. From the first day I felt really welcomed, and even after nearly two weeks I still feel that way. The people are friendly, helpful and always thanking each other(and me) for the work that is being done. I honestly think that I’ve gotten more positive feedback now than I have over the last 8 years at IBM. 

Oh, this is a thing you should know. The people at MEC headquarters pronounce it like M.E.C, like you would IBM. Not MEC like mech(or eyebim). Although they are starting to accept the other way. 

The building is beautiful, all wood and glass. 4 floors and coffee on every level(espresso on 2 and 4). Not a lot in terms of free things, like snacks or other food, but I’m good with that. Other places seem to push that a little too much. Probably subitly suggesting how long you’re expected to stay each night. MEC really seems to push the work/life balance thing. I don’t see any late night emails(and I can even check that, if I wanted) or even a lot of protocol for working remotely. There is a department laptop in case of travel (I guess) but that’s it. I have a desktop again, and not even full admin access(which I kinda miss). 

The commute is also something I’m getting used too. No more rolling out of bed and into the kitchen to work.  I actually have to travel. By SkyTrain at that. And that’s working as well as the train almost takes me to the front door. Only about 5 minutes of walking. Tara picks me up after work and is starting to drop me off in the morning, and then about 45 minutes of travel in between. 

So all in all I’m very excited to start this new chapter in my life. It’ll take some getting used to, but I think I can make a good home here and provide well for my family. 

No news on discounts yet, I’ll ask about that in three months 😉

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DTE

Like most newer vehicles the van has various display settings that I can cycle through, like trips, temp, speed and DTE, which I assume stands for Distance Till Empty. 

This is the setting I’ve been using the most on this trip as it’s a good idea to know how much has you have left when deciding to skip a gas station. 

It’s been working rather well until the day before last. Trying to make up some time I skipped a gas station knowing i had about  100km left. Well, the next town had no services. Neither did the next town  looking diwn, I had about 40km left. Then, it stated LOWFUEL. Last time I looked, that wasn’t a number. And there was no way to change it. 

So it was 20km to the next town. Did I have enough gas?

LOWFUEL 

Dunno. 

Maybe it was a Peril Sensitive kind of setting. “you don’t really want to know how little fuel you have left”. But I did! But it won’t tell me. Then the low fuel light came on. Awesome, I’m low on fuel, let’s check the DTE to see how much I have left. 

LOWFUEL 

Yes, I know. Very helpful, thanks. 

I did manage to drift to a gas station. And it appears that I have a 70 litre tank. Good to know. 

Go West

Life is peaceful there….

And now it’s stuck in your head, you’re welcome. 

It is a surreal feeling to have all of ones physical possessions packed in a trailer and driving west to a new start. 

I almost feel like a pioneer. In a minivan, and unlikely to die of dysentery(unless I have too much Tim Horton coffee). 

I’ve been waiting all day to write that, and it was worth it. 

Driving in the prairies after three days in Northern Ontario is so peaceful. Just flat(ish) land and a big sky. It just goes on and on, and I can’t wait for more of it. Also, terrible thunder storms and a little fishtailing. But we’re ok. 

Spent part of the day in Winnipeg at the Assiniboine Park. Very cool place and wish we had more time t check it out. 

Tomorrow we’re off to Medicine Hat. 

Did I mention it was odd driving in three different provinces today? Because it was. And now a fourth tomorrow. 

Ever closer to our destination. 

Or

You have died of dysentery

Three days in Ontario 

The end of day three is here. 

I’m sitting in a hotel room in the dark while Liam and Evelyn are sleeping. This is the second night with separate hotel rooms, and I think we’ll keep it this way. 

I snore and Tara is a light sleeper these days. We’re at our best if we sleep in separate rooms. The first night was rough as we were in the same room and Evelyn was having trouble sleeping as well, so it was a bad night. Last night was a late check-in, but rocking rooms (Northern Lights motel just outside of Wawa, totally worth it) and we all just crashed hard and work up refreshed. Tonight we were supposed to be in one room, but decided against that at the last minute. 

Not to say that this Best Western is the best choice, but it’s what was available. 

We’re in Dryden, did I mention that?

Tomorrow is a two stop, two three province trip. First stop is Winnipeg and then on to Moosomin. A lot of driving, 7 hours total, but a nice stop along the way. 

I think the next day is a little lighter, 6 hours through the prairies which is much easier than Northern Ontario by a long shot. Should save a little on gas too. 

Anyway, there’s been a timezone change and I’m starting to feel the effects of the original time zone, so off to bed. 

Final Goodbyes

The trailer is rented, the final packing is under way, and we’ve made some trips tot he dump and the domation centers to help clear out the house.And through it all I haven’t really had much time to take it all in.

People keep asking me how I’m doing, and honestly, I’m just tired. It’s a full time job(currently my only one) to get this all done and really, there’s just no down time. I’m really looking forward to driving for 6-7 hours a day because it doesn’t involve packing and will likely be more relaxing than anything that we’ve been doing lately.

Tara should be given all the credit for organizing and getting things done. I’d like to think I’m the heavy lifing guy as all my past moves have gone so poorly. And of course she’s running on empty as well.

So how do I feel about all this?

I’ve been in this house for 10 years and there’s a lot of memories wrapped up in here. and it’s going to be hard to put them all behind me. It’s also going to be a big shift in”freedoms” that I enjoyed here.

Like not always having to wear pants. I liked that.

So it’s getting hard to say goodbye to all of this. And it’s not just the house of course. I’ve been in Ottawa for 26 years, and I’m finally starting to know my way around the place. Now I’ll have to start all over and find the good places to be. At least with that I’ll have some help.

And of course the people. Some tell me they are envious of what we’re doing. Going off, starting fresh. They wish they could do the same. They feel locked down where they are. And well, they might be right, but they’re here for a reason, and that reason is always a good one.

We’re moving for our own reasons, not just for the sake of moving. And they’re good reasons too.

So tomorrow morning, we double check that we didn’t forget anything, lock the house up for the last time, and say goodbye.

Feeling weird just writing that….

Starting Over

In just over one week, we pack everything we own into a 6×12 trailer and drive across the country to our new home in BC. When we land, we’ll land with family, but land jobless and probably tired.

We would leave behind family and friends, our own home and jobs that no longer exist.

It’s both terrifying and exciting, and I can’t wait to start the journey.

Tara and I have been planning this for more or less two years. It was during a dog walk in February, I think it was about -30 outside, when we both looked at each other and said “Who the hell colonized this area?!?” When we got home we spitballed the idea of moving out west, the money we would save and the future we could create. It was supposed to be a 5 year plan; we would live on my salary and bank anything Tara made, then move back and try to buy a house outright.

It was a good plan, and would have likely worked really well. So we got moving on it. We had someone come in to give us an assessment, and then we planned to make some improvements ourselves to squeeze a little more out of the market. Tara got pregnant, the improvements took longer than we thought, and time marched on.

Then it all really came to a head during Christmas. We flew out to BC to spend time with Tara’s family and realized that this was the place we wanted to be. So when we got home we committed ourselves to make this work. And we did, off and on, make it all work. There were some setbacks(flooring mostly) and we got on the market a little later then we planned.

Oh, and I got laid off from work(my last day is 3 days away) so that kind of put the fear of the future in us. But we got on the market, and with what we did, the market responded by having us sell our house in two days.

Two Days!

All of a sudden we were “This is really happening, holy crap, what do we do next?”

And that’s how the last month has been. Sorting and packing, letting go of things and arranging travel across the country.

That’s part of the exiting bit. We’re gonna drive, and it’s going to be great.

We’ve planned out about 7-8 days of driving across the country as I don’t think the kids can take 12 hour drives just yet. It’ll take us a little over three days to get out of the province and then the same amount of time to make it across the rest of the country. We’ll see Northern Ontario, the plains, the Rockies, all in a weeks time. And I hope, for Liam at least, it’ll be something he’ll always remember.

The whole lack of job thing does worry me. But not worried enough to put the brakes on everything. In fact, it makes more sense to get out there now so that I don’t have a whole house to support. The utilities are cheaper out in BC, and the rent isn’t bad either. So we’ll be able to make the money stretch out a little longer if we have to. I don’t see it taking too long for me to find something as there is a good IT industry out there, and who knows, I could end up working in the movie industry(a boy can dream!).

I’ll be trying to post here more often, but things like twitter/facebook/instegram make life so much faster and easier, so look there as well.

So I have ADHD

There, it’s said.

I was officially diagnosed last week after two sessions with the psychologist. It’s been something that I’ve been meaning to have done for a little while now, and I’ll be honest, it’s nice to know that whatever is in my head can be corrected or at least worked on.

And for this I will be taking some medication to hopefully correct the wiring in my head to make me a little less, well, distracted. And of course I have a book, written by some guy that has studied this for some time now and is the go to guy for ADHD. With the two of these things I should be able to get my life back on track somewhat.

Not that life has been bad, I have a lovely wife, a good job, cool kids, but it’s a daily struggle to keep it all, um, straight.

Having ADHD is hard to describe as it’s all I’ve ever known. This might be easier after a couple of weeks of meds and the like so that I can compare.
I mean, I never really thought anything was wrong with me, nothing out of the ordinary at least.
I was just that disorganized guy. My desk/room was messy(but I found things) and my work got done, just not necessarily on time or the best way that it could(work harder, not smarter was my motto!). I just assumed that everyone was kinda the same, just others were better at organization that I was and just let it be.

This clip from Malcolm in the Middle is probably the best answer that I can give(go ahead, watch it, I’ll wait. Heck, I’ll watch it with you!):

And I think that, had life turned out a little different, I would never really have noticed. But I did notice, or more to the point, other people noticed.

It’s not until I had a family of my own that I really noticed problems with myself. I mean, being disorganized is one thing, but when you are constantly forgetting things, not following through on your promises, and not being a self starter, then there’s something else going on. I mean, either I had something wrong or was just a complete jerk, and no one really thought the latter.

So the years went on and at times things were ok or good, but then the bad got to become more and more and I had to do something. So I went to the doc, they referred me elsewhere and I talked to some smart people and took some tests.

She diagnosed me with Moderate ADHD – Inattentiveness, and by the sounds of it I’ve had it all my life.

You have no idea what a relief it was to hear this. It means I wasn’t just a jerk looser, that there was something off in my brain that I could deal with. I mean, who wants to be a jerk looser? No one.

I’ve also been prescribed medication, Ritalin actually(or the generic version) and I start that soon, so we’ll see if that helps at all.

The funny thing with ADHD meds is that they’re stimulants, and some from the amphetamine family(Ritalin is not, but close) and what this does is speed up certain parts of my brain that were slower than most people.
So…I take speed to slow down. It’s an odd thought but it’s what works apparently. Of course there’s side effects, there’s that for everything, but we’ll see where this all takes me.

So I might start blogging more about this, or, as usual, this will be my yearly entry, hard to say 🙂

But I’m ok, and soon will be even better.