I got a job!

The tectonic plates have shifted and I got a job. A really good job. Dare I say… a great job!

I just finished my first day of work. I am working remotely until COVID calms down.

I am the Marketing/Digital Marketing Coordinator for a tech company. I’m going to start their blog, ramp up their social media profiles and take control of branding and graphic design.

I’ll be looking to move in the nearish future. Once COVID calms down, I’ll join them at the office (their office is closed now and all employees are working remotely for the time being). Then, once travel is safe again, I’ll be joining their sales team as they travel around the continent so that I can help them ‘do their thing’ with professional presentations and my charming personality. Okay, I might not be serious about that personality part.

I am really excited about this job. So… here’s to new beginnings.

Prepping for the morning

We’re using Microsoft Teams for my job interview in the morning. The CEO, Director of Marketing and Director of HR will all be on the video conference.

I don’t know what’s worse – in person job interviews or video conference job interviews in the middle of a pandemic when you really don’t know what to expect.

If I’m ever going to make it out of this house and this town, right now is the time.

Wish me luck.

A glimmer of hope

Well I woke up to a nice surprise this morning. I was officially approved for EI and actually had money in my bank account when I woke up today. As someone who’s had roughly $50-$100 to my name for the past six plus months, seeing money in my bank account is a huge sigh of relief that I’m very thankful for at this point in time.

I also woke up to a second surprise this morning. The engineering firm that I was interviewing with in early late February/early March has decided that, though they’re not back at their office yet, they want to move ahead with recruitment as a measure to have someone hired to start when they do return to their offices. They’ve asked if I can do a video interview next week. I presumed that they were either going to forget about me, or cancel the posting because businesses have to be very careful with their spending in this present economy and hiring a new employee is a large investment. They still want to talk to me though… two months later… so they haven’t forgotten about me yet.

Two good things happened in one day.

I almost don’t know how to contain myself.

Taxes… le sigh.

I’ve spent the better part of the past two days doing my taxes.

Between severance, legal docs/fees, business consultancy fees, consultant revenue, working the Canadian election last year and so on and so forth… it was not a simple, nor a slow process.

If I did it right, and that’s a BIG IF, then I will get a refund. If I did it right then I paid way more money in taxes last year than I should have for the income earned.

But… somehow I always seem to end up owing come tax season. Thus the ‘le sigh’.

Despite the quarantine, despite the pandemic, life continues moving at alarming rates. Which is why I’m unsure of how to act, or react to the world. I thought I’d be so much farther by now. I thought I’d be home by now. I thought I’d be working by now. I thought, I thought, I thought…

Life.

BEWARE: Scammers are trying to take advantage of the unemployed during this pandemic.

As many of you know, I am an unemployed Canadian citizen who has been applying for jobs on Indeed and LinkedIn for throughout 2020. I was worried that, when shit really hit the proverbial fan with respect to the Corona Virus, there would be scams coming out to take advantage of all of the people who’ve found themselves without work due to this pandemic. And, recent days have taught me that this is a rampant problem at the moment.

I received the above email this morning.

I did, in fact, apply for a data entry position on Indeed 48 hours ago. Since receiving this email, I have reported this job posting to Indeed as being fraudulent/misleading and left them a comment that I believe it to be a scam.

If you are unemployed, or have found your job temporarily suspended during this pandemic, it’s important to pay close attention to any communication that you might be getting. Being unemployed can bring on a lot of stress and often times it can be quite easy to see a promising email and not look closely at the details, thinking you need to jump on an opportunity, any opportunity right away.

Please don’t get scammed.

Using my email as an example, here are some things to look for:

  • Who is the email from? In the case of this email, who it’s from is a pretty big giveaway that it’s a scam. The sender’s name is Maggie Susan whilst the email address is MarcThomas055@hotmail.com. The job that I applied for was with what presented itself to be a legitimate Technology Company.
  • Who is the email to? This might seem like a stupid thing to check for, but in the case of this email, it’s not ‘To’ me. I am not ‘iooiioioo@gmail.com’. For privacy reasons, I am not sharing my personal gmail address. But, seeing as this was not addressed to me, and I was clearly BCC’ed, it leads me to believe this was likely sent in a group email to anyone who applied for the position, in their hopes that people would glance over who it was addressed to.
  • Who is the greeting too? A legitimate job prospect, whether with a company that has 3,000 employees or one that has 30 employees, will ALWAYS address the email to your first name. If you applied for a position, they already have your name and information. Any legitimate job seeker will say ‘Hi [Insert First Name Here]’. If they do not, it’s probably because the software they’re using to group send this scam isn’t advanced enough include your first name.
  • Who is it from? Did the sender sign their name? Is the company included? Is their a company signature linking to their website or online portfolios? A legitimate job seeker would NEVER leave their name off the end of an email.
  • Is there a sketchy looking link in the email? Of course there is. Please don’t click it. This is a bait tool to give hackers remote access to your desktop. In the case of this email, what are they asking me to register for? They have my information. If they were actually wanting to hire me, employment contracts need to be signed, and those cannot be done through sketchy links.
  • Do they name their company in their email? If they don’t, why wold a legitimate job seeker leave the name of their company off an email to prospective candidates? Perhaps because it’s not legitimate.
  • Does it make your spidey senses tingle? Because if it seems too good to be true, it is.

If you’ve found yourself without employment during this time, please know that you’re not alone. Please, please, please be diligent in where you respond to your emails. Pay attention to the small details. It might sound stupid when you read it, but A LOT of people fall for scams just like this one. With everyone in a hard enough situation already, I do not want you to get taken advantage further.

Thanks for reading.

Don’t get your hopes up. Doooooon’t get your hopes up.

I had an impromptu phone call with an Engineering firm this morning.

My phone rang at precisely 8:30 am. (After the call I googled the company to see their office hours and they’re 8:30 – 4:30) The first thing the hiring manager did when she started work this morning was call me.

Yeah, I was the first call.

Okay, that’s an assumption, but I’m sticking with it because I need a win.

I spoke to the Hiring Manager on the phone for 14 minutes. She ended the call by saying that she was conducting pre-interviews by phone all next week and that they were shortlisting and notifying candidates next Friday, March 6. She said ‘If you don’t here from me March 6th then you won’t here from me’.

I don’t put much value in deadlines people give me, that being said I did appreciate her frank and straight-forward language.

I hung up and went about my day.

A couple hours later I was at the Cancer Clinic with my mom and they called again. You’re not actually allowed to use your phone in the cancer clinic, so I had to ignore it.

As we were leaving the cancer clinic I noticed that I had an email from the firm. The email, time stamped just four minutes after I didn’t answer their phone call, was from the hiring manager. Her email said

Hello Vee,

I had a conversation with our Director of Marketing about you and we would like to interview you next week. Are you available on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday?

We are still conducting phone interviews next week, but our Director of Marketing was impressed with your resume and during our conversation about you she expressed that she would like to meet with you sooner.

Naturally, I wrote them back. We had a conversation via email and now I have an interview on March 4th.

I’m not going to get my hopes up, because there’s no point in that. But, I am counting it as win that I was shortlisted before the phone interviews were even finished being conducted.

I’m counting it as a win.

I’m not getting my hopes up, though. I promised myself that I am not getting my hopes up.

OH H-E-Double Hockey Sticks

I dubbed this the theme song of 2020

Today was hard.

Today was a vinegar and baking soda kind of day. And that’s okay. They can’t all be good. Sometimes you have to experience the bad so that you appreciate the good days that much more when they finally do arrive.

It is 8:00 pm and I’ve gotten nothing accomplished in this day. Well, not unless I count beating myself up as an accomplishment. Which… I’m not.

To address a couple of emails I received after I published my post last night, I just wanted to say that it is illegal and extremely inappropriate for a job interviewer to ask a candidate when she plans on having children and/or how many children she plans on having. One’s family status should play no bearing in whether or not they’re qualified to do a job and thus should not play into any hiring decisions.

In a society that has long undervalued women and treated them as less-than in the workforce, there is no good way for a woman to answer that question when asked. Think about it. If I answered the question, they’d presume I’d be having children in the near future and that could count as a strike against me in the hiring process. And they’d never have to admit that it counted as a strike against me. If I called them out on it, told them it was none of their business and that it was illegal to ask me that, I could come across and stand-offish with unruly behaviour, which could also count as a strike against me. And again, they’d never have to admit that publicly because they know that the average woman isn’t going to go and take them to court over not being hired.

Essentially, it’s backing a woman into a corner with no way out. And how is that fair?

When a man becomes a father, he’s almost treated as though he’s more valuable to a company at that point. He’s the man of the house, he needs to provide for a child now so the company ‘can know’ that he’s going to be a hard-working employee. When a woman becomes a mother, it’s still often treated as career suicide. God forbid they have nine months of doctor’s appointments to look after the health of their unborn child so they’ll be in and out during weird hours for the foreseeable future. And, living in a country that offers one full year of maternity or paternity leave, most employers see it as paying out an employee to sit on their butt. You can argue with me on that sentiment, but it does happen… a lot. I promise you that if you sit down and chat with a group of women about it, you’ll be surprised as to how often it happens.

No one looks at a man and thinks ‘He’s going to ask for paternity leave so I better ask him when he wants to have children’. So, why do women get asked?

Anyways, I realize that people are going to either agree or vehemently disagree on this and that’s totally okay. I’m speaking from experience, and from what I’ve heard from my friends, family members and coworkers over the years.