Two totally different worlds

The company that I work for has secondary offices in Texas. While our primary office, and most of the employees work here in Canada, there are quite a few who work in Dallas.

The company as a whole has been working from home since March 9th. That’s everyone. Those here in Canada and those down in Texas. While Canada’s cases of COVID has been serious, it’s not nearly been as bad as what the United States has seen and what Texas alone has seen.

So we’re all working from home and will likely be until September or later. While there are less than 1,000 active cases in this province right now, everyone is still being hyper-vigilant about COVID. You don’t go anywhere without a mask. Large events aren’t happening. People, for the most part, are trying to keep the spread at bay.

Texas, on the other hand, we keep hearing stories about how there’s been a surge in cases lately and that the state may have to do some form of ‘shut down’ once again due to the public health risk of so many people being out and spreading the virus.

For reference, there are presently 65,000 more COVID cases in Texas than there are in all of Canada.

So this morning we’re on a call with the Dallas team and one of them asks ‘So how was your Canada day? What did ya’ll do?’

Each of us responded with different variations of ‘absolutely nothing’ because we’re still very much not in the public event planning stage here in Canada.

Anyways, she says ‘I’m so excited for the fourth!’

‘Oh yeah?’ I asked.

‘My girlfriends and I are renting a house down in Galveston and we’re going to have a giant party on the beach. It’s going to be four straight days of barbecues and bar-hopping.’ She laughs.

‘You’re not worried about Corona Virus?’ My boss asked, cautiously.

‘Nah. That’s not that big of a deal.’ She said.

‘It is a big deal’, my boss said. ‘Please be safe and social distance with your friends!’

My boss said it in a very concerned, but very professional manner. He wasn’t trying to lecture here, but more just trying to state the obvious. Well, she didn’t like that. Her response?

‘I ain’t going to let no imaginary disease ruin my 4th of July. We only get one 4th every year and I’m going to make the best of it’.

I was trying to hide my face at this point so that I didn’t say anything condescending. I honestly wanted to. People on the video call kind of… looked away. She was like ‘Hey, if I get sick I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. And if it’s my time to go, I guess it’s my time to go. Nothing is going to ruin my fourth of July.’

I just…


I can’t.

How do you have discussions with her? How do you explain to her that it’s not just herself whom she’s putting in harms way?

You can’t.

You really can’t.

We’re living in two completely different worlds.

Our office is avoiding the human race, and each other, at all costs. Seven people have been diagnosed and they’ve all shared some very scary stories about what they refer to as the worst sickness they’ve ever experienced. And this girl? Her response is ‘If I get it, oh well!’

Paid sick leave, right?

Oh my.

Our countries might be right next door to one another but we’re living in two completely different worlds.

They like me. They really like me!

It’s been four weeks now that I’ve been at my new job. What a difference finding a decent place to work makes in one’s life. Four weeks into this job I’ve been treated better, and with more trust then I ever found in the last decade of my professional career.

I know, I know, I know: ‘Don’t get too far ahead of yourself, Vee’.

I won’t, I promise.

I’m just grateful. Grateful for the opportunity. Grateful for something to look forward too. Grateful that they’ve put faith in me.

In four weeks I’ve taken part in presentations with companies from three different continents, had an article published on an international governing-body’s website, dove head first into a brand new industry and not drown, and… had my first performance review. Spoiler alert: they like me!

In my first performance review (I have to do them every three weeks until I pass the employee probationary period), my boss said that she thinks I am intelligent, articulate, talented and am fitting in really well with everyone on staff. That last one meant a lot to me because, coming in to the company in a ‘work from home’ situation posed a unique challenge for me to try and get to know my new coworkers.

My boss went on to say that she’s so thankful she hired me and that she’s so grateful I didn’t get swooped up for another position between February when I started the interview process and May when they officially hired me.

I’ve been taking a course in software development this week. As much as I hate ‘school’ this course has actually opened my eyes to a whole new subject matter that I think will really benefit me down the line. It’s made for some long days, but I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Here’s to hoping they continue to like me moving forward and that I’ve got a long, fruitful career ahead of me in tech!

The master manipulator

The following story is from… many years ago.

I recently started telling some of people in my life about the things that I’ve dealt with at work through the years. These stories are stories that contributed to many dark years in my life where I struggled a lot with what was going on and the role that I played in it because I didn’t speak up. For many years I told myself that I needed to grin and bear it, and that if I worked hard enough, tolerating the shit would pay off. That, at the very least, it would look good on my resume.

I’m not much of a story teller, it’s definitely not one of my strong suits. But, having other’s know the truth does have a certain catharsis to it.

‘And then we had sex. Great sex. Damn good sex!’ She exclaimed with a smile on her face.

Not the exact topic of discussion I thought would happen when my new boss invited me out for dinner just a few days into starting my new job. But hey, sometimes you have to roll with the punches, right? Clearly she thinks that I give a damn, that I want to partake in girl talk… that I think she’s a good person. Clearly she didn’t catch my eyes roll to the back of my head. So pretend. That’ll make this end faster.

Though it had only taken me about forty minutes on my first day of work to determine that my manager at the new company I was working for was a manipulative bitch, it only took her four days to actually openly brag about being such.

She took me out for dinner, under the guise of it being a ‘working dinner’ so that she could tell me all about the professional hockey player that she had just hooked up with this past weekend.

A grown woman having sex with someone and then bragging about it to her friends? Why it happens a lot, actually.

A grown woman (38 years old) having sex with a professional hockey player (who was just 18 years old at the time) and then bragging about it to the newest employee that she oversees at the office, whom she’s only known for four days, because she thinks it will give her clout and make the new employee look at her in a more positive light, that it’ll make her new employee look up to her… well I don’t know how that happens.

To add even more of a twist to this nightmare of a working dinner, my new manager, who was at this point going into great detail about where she and this hockey player met for sex, for how long they had sex and the positions they tried that she, and I quote, ‘had never dreamed of doing’, well, my new manager was telling me this story as she twirled her engagement ring around her finger. The engagement ring that was given to her by another manager from the office.

Yes, she took me out for dinner to brag about how she cheated on her fiancee (who was our coworker) with a professional hockey player who was 20 years younger than her because she felt, in her bizarre head, that made her sound cool.

Four days on the job…

If she was trying to get to know me, or get a feel for who I was as a person, bragging to me about cheating on her fiancee, someone who also worked in our office, wasn’t a great place to start. Furthermore, the fact that she thought I was going to provide her with praise and accolades for managing to sleep with a professional hockey player truly showed me how much character this woman lacked.

And there we were, smack dab in the middle of this restaurant, my awkwardly staring at my food, thinking this dinner couldn’t end sooner. She, on the other hand couldn’t read body language or acknowledge that I hadn’t participated in the conversation for nearly ten minutes now. She just kept continuing on about how she would leave her fiancee for said hockey player if she truly felt there was a future and that it is, and always will be, one of her biggest goals in life to be a ‘trophy wife’.

Listen, I’m all for people having goals. Goals, desires, dreams… these things push us forward. They give us reason to be better. Honestly, though… if one of your biggest goals in life is to be a trophy wife, you should be aiming for a lot fucking higher. If you’re having sex with someone solely because of what their profession is, and you think that makes you cool, you should be aiming for a lot fucking more in life. And, if you think it’s alright to cheat on your fiancee when ‘someone better offers’ then you shouldn’t fucking be engaged and planning a wedding.

The cap to this glorious dinner came when her work credit card was declined and she made a joke about just how much that hotel room cost where all of her glorious sex took place. Begrudgingly, I paid for the meal and was promised that she would expense it and have me paid back by the following Friday. At this point, I was just relieved that I could leave. I was about ready to walk into the restaurant’s kitchen and fall on some knives.

This dinner was the very beginning of what turned into five years of manipulation, lies, intimidation, so very many occasions of her asking me to cover for her when she was cheating on her fiancee (who eventually became her husband), and her siphoning tens of thousands of dollars away from the charity’s bank accounts and onto her personal credit cards

She never did pay me back for that meal.

In the grand scheme of things, that dinner was a small fry. But, to this day, that night shines as a perfect example of the sheer demon I was facing at work. People, and by people I largely mean senior management, always wondered why I couldn’t just… get along with her. Why couldn’t we be friends? Two women working in a male dominated industry, in the same department, for the same company. Why couldn’t we be allies?

Well, call it a difference of character, or her lack of character. Call it my stubbornness if you want. Whatever you call it, just know that management isn’t always right. And they’re definitely not the moral authority. At least not from my perspective. Respect is earned, and if someone doesn’t earn for it, they’re definitely not going to get it from me.

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.

Anyone has the power and possibility to do anything that they set their mind to.

Yes, read that again. Because it’s true.

At 12 years old I was listening to a presentation from (now former) NBA player Steve Nash. Nash said ‘Raise your hands if you want to be Prime Minister of Canada one day’. Only a couple of kids in the room raised their hands. Nash then said ‘Raise your hand if you think you’re going to be Prime Minister of Canada one day’. Only one girl, a girl named Rachel, kept her hand up. Nash then said ‘Rachel is the only person in this room who will be Prime Minister one day’. A few of the boys in this room took aim at this statement and responded with ‘No she can’t because she’s a girl’.

The two things Steve Nash said next have stayed with me ever since.

Firstly, he looked at those boys who took aim with the idea of a female Prime Minister and said ‘My hope for you is that as you move into your teenage and adult years you adopt a way of thinking that measures a person’s value on who they are, not what they are. A person’s gender matters not to whether or not they are capable of a job, any job, and your discounting Rachel based off the fact that she’s a girl is a disservice to all women and girls around the world. You are not superior simply because you were born male. Please remember that’.

Secondly, he said ‘The only person in this room who can be Prime Minister one day is Rachel. I say this because she’s the only person who wants to be and she’s the only person who thinks she can be.’ He went on to say ‘The only limitations you have in this world are the ones you put on yourself’. If these boys over here don’t think she can do it, are they going to stop her? No. If Rachel wants it bad enough, she’s going to make it happen regardless of who says what to her. If Rachel doesn’t put a limitation on becoming Prime Minister, I see no reason why she cannot grow up to be just that’.

‘The only limitations you have in this world are the ones you put on yourself.’

Anyone has the power and possibility to do anything that they set their mind to, so long as they’re willing to work for it. So I guess the question is, if you’re not willing to work for it, do you really want it?

Also, it’s important to stop passing on the notion that people are less valuable to our society because of their gender, age, ability/disability, skills, intelligence or anything else that people use as a means to discredit or undervalue someone. Even at twelve years old the boys in my class had already had it ingrained in their minds that women couldn’t do what men could do. We need to remind ourselves, our friends, our family, that a person’s worth to this world is not measured by statistics. It’s not measured by the things we cannot control.

If Rick Hansen can wheel over 40,000 kms through 34 countries on his own, in a wheelchair and Terry Fox can run 5,300 kms on one leg, if Susan Wojcicki can be the CEO of Youtube, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg can still be sitting on the Supreme Court at 86 after beating cancer several times, and people all over the world can defy the odds (the odds we put on ourselves no less) then the future really has limitless possibility.

Remember that next time you judge someone based on their appearance, their gender, their age, or any other reason you think is an excuse to devalue the potential someone brings to this world.


There’s a gentleman that I follow on twitter that I knew from my previous life, prior to 2019. This gentleman is extremely intelligent and an entrepreneur. He claims to be self-made, though I don’t believe that to be true. In my own opinion, you cannot be self-made if your parents hand you over the business. I’m making it a point to share this fact because I believe that everyone starts from somewhere. Some have more advantages than others starting out (and I see nothing wrong with taking advantage of that) but everyone starts from somewhere.

So this particular gentleman, he started out by having his business handed to him. He didn’t buy it. It was given to him. And he’s taken it and turned it into an even more successful business. One that has a large social media presence and that garners a lot of referrals for employees through his social media platforms.

Personally, he has several thousand followers on his own accounts and his own accounts are heavily intertwined to his business accounts.

This gentleman, when he receives emails from job hunters that have spelling or grammar mistakes in them, he likes to blur out the email address of who it’s from and post screenshots of the email to his twitter account to make fun of the person without naming them.

The thing is, because he has several thousand followers on his personal account, and his personal twitter is heavily intertwined to his business twitter, and his business twitter brings in a great deal of attention to his business, there’s every chance that prospective candidates who have been emailing him are seeing him making fun of them and their application on twitter.

We all have to start somewhere. I mentioned that in the first paragraph for a reason. He may have started farther ahead than others so he doesn’t understand these honest, naive mistakes from youngins just starting out.

I’ve personally never applied for a job with this company, only because it’s completely in an unrelated industry to any skill that I bring to the table so it’s not worth trying. That being said, I’m not really sure how I’d feel if I logged into twitter and saw the head of a company posting an email from me to twitter, making fun of my application. Likely, I’d be very upset and disheartened. The names might not be there, but I’d still know he was making fun of me, specifically.

So think how these potential candidates must feel.

I feel like, as a boss, your role should be a leader. Your role should be to empower people. And these people may not be your employee now, but they can certainly be empowered by the choices you make and the way you go about responding to them with constructive information rather than making fun of them on twitter.

Powerful people empower people.

So how about, instead of posting these emails to social media in an attempt to belittle these people (where they can likely see it and feel bad about themselves because of it) you offer some genuine helpful feedback? How about you take the time to be a real leader and tell these prospective employees how they can improve upon their first impressions? How about you take that entrepreneurial title you hold so dearly and be a good boss. A boss that cares about people whether they’re your employee, prospective employees or complete strangers.

All I am saying is… there’s two ways to go about this situation and the route this gentleman is taking, I think it’s the wrong route.

People screw up. They make spelling mistakes. They naively use the wrong words and they can do things that can be embarrassing at times. Shaming them over social media, being named or not, is not an acceptable response to those situations.

Everyone’s got to start somewhere. And these prospective employees emailing you, they’re starting right now. Be the guy that helps them. Be the guy that teaches them. Be the guy that provides positive, constructive feedback that will contribute to them being more successful in the future. You don’t have to hire them to help them. You can help them with guidance.

Don’t be the guy who makes fun of them on social media.

All work is noble.

A woman slowly, carefully, collects her strength and steps her way out from behind the counter, purse in hand, hair net still on her head, and walks towards the door. It’s been 13 hours since she got to work this morning. Her feet are aching and have been for hours. And she just kept cooking. She always keeps cooking. Every day she wakes up hours before the rest of the world and she works hard, all day. Why? Because that’s her job.

Just down the road a man is working his second shift for the day. As he lifts up the trash can and dumps it into the compactor truck that he’s driving, his muscles strain just a little bit more. Some put their trash in bags, others don’t. Some put lids on their cans, others leave theirs to spill out over the street. And he collects it all, every time. No one acknowledges him. No one ever says thank you. They just expect him to do it and he does it. Why? Because that’s his job.

As a society we tend to decide one’s value in this world based on what their job is. And, the people in this world who work the jobs that society doesn’t necessarily value, those are the are the people I have the greatest admiration and appreciation for. Why? Because they keep our society going. They keep our world functioning. The work HARD. All of the fucking time. Whether their feet hurt, their back aches, their stomach grumbles, their arms quiver, they just keep working.

Cooks, garbage collectors, cashiers, waiter/waitresses, construction workers, plumbers, janitors, and so on and so forth (I really could go on forever), these people work hard, all of the time. They keep us going. They’re there for us when we need them and they ensure that our lives function properly. I don’t think people really understand how much they bring to our lives and how thankful we should be that they do what they do. Example: people don’t pay attention when the garbage collector comes, but they sure as hell crank when the garbage collector doesn’t come.

I think if there’s one thing I can teach the people in my life it’s that I want them to be thankful for those people who do the jobs we all take for granted. I want them to place value on all work, and not just their work. I don’t want my family member’s to think their kids have to end up with doctors or lawyers, I want them to think that all jobs are noble and they’d be lucky to have a son-in-law or daughter-in-law that is simply passionate about what they do, no matter their job.

Doctors and lawyers are very valuable to society. They absolutely are. But, I want the people in my life to understand that so is the cleaner who keeps your house tidy, so is the cashier who keeps their register open ten minutes late to ensure you can purchase your food even after the store closes.

All work is noble work. Remember that when you see someone walking with a slight limp because their feet or so sore after they’ve been on them all day. Remember that when your garbage is collected or your house or office is clean without your having to do it. Remember that when your brother or sister or son or daughter, or even you, are searching for love. All work is noble work. Everyone plays an integral role to pushing our society forward.

Life and times and unimportant things.

My thoughts are all over the map tonight. I just need to write some of this down to get it out of my head.

If I could sum up job hunting frankly, it is a lot of trying to prove your worth and value in this world to people who really don’t deserve your time.

I was denied Unemployment Insurance due to receiving a severance payment from my last employer. It really doesn’t matter that I paid 1,000 or more, per year, every year for the past decade to Unemployment, for (god forbid) an instance in which I did find myself unemployed. They took my money and now I don’t get it back. Oh well, I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles. What I have left is what I have left until I find a new job.

I was also red-flagged medical insurance from two separate providers. See, here is the flaw in the system. When you don’t get medical insurance through an employer, you’re required to fill out a lot of forms and explain a lot of things about who you are, what your health is like and what your family history is like. So when they ask for me to list every medication I’ve been prescribed in the past 12 months I’m given a giant red-flag to the company. They’re not telling me I can’t have insurance, they’re just never going to tell me I can. Oh well, I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I will pay for what I have to until I find a new job.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately. Job hunting is really weighing on me. The Hiring Manager for a job that I was passed-up for well over a month ago has been revisiting my LinkedIn page and I can’t help but want to send him a message saying ‘You know I can see you’re viewing my profile repeatedly, right?’ That’s a definitely struggle I have with the older generation. They can’t seem to clue into these simple concepts. If you’re going to turn me down for a position with no explanation or reasoning why, after you’ve told me I’m one of the final two candidates, why are you reviewing my LinkedIn page three days in a row, over a month later? Feeling bad about the person you hired? Or do you just genuinely not know that I can see you’ve viewed it?

My mom seems to be in good spirits the past few days, which is nice. I wouldn’t wish on anyone what she’s been going through and I know there are people in this world who have it so much worse and have had it so much worse. I’m glad to see her spirits lifting, and I’m glad to see a smile on her face again, even if it is only for a few fleeting moments at a time.

Derrick, the aforementioned roommate, has continued on his streak of making stupid/bad decisions this week. I’m beginning to think that he just prefers to make stupid decisions so that people take pity on him and do things for him. I could be way off, but it seems like he’s mastered the art of getting other people to do things so he doesn’t have to.

I’m still annoyed/bummed/frustrated that my autoimmune blood work came back negative. Though I was exceptionally anxious for the results, I was most definitely hoping for a diagnosis. At least with a diagnosis, I could finally know what is wrong. At least with a diagnosis I could learn what to do to fix, or minimize the issues I’ve been having. But no, now I have another test that says, on paper, I’m an otherwise perfectly healthy human being.

I got really pissed off at a rude Hiring Manager the other day. She was being exceptionally callous on the phone and I was trying to, as they say, ‘kill her with kindness’. It wasn’t working. It reached a point where she said ‘Tell me why you deserve this job’. I responded with ‘How about you tell me why you deserve my talents, expertise and intellectual property?’ It’s safe to say after a response like that that I won’t be hearing from that company again. Oh well, employers who take the high-and-might platform aren’t that great to work for anyway. #JobHunting

I broke my toe a few weeks back and I’ve really been having a frustrating time waiting for it to heal. I’ve been trying to not walk too much, but now that it’s finally spring, I really want to get outside and enjoy the nice weather. It’s not too too cold in Canada, so it’s time to take advantage of the fresh air. Heal toe, heal. (No pun intended)

Unrelated – I want to find friends, or at least acquaintances, who watch Jane the Virgin. I’ve been obsessed with that show since it first came out. Now that the final season has just started airing, I need someone to gossip with about the show and make predictions as to what’s about to happen. If there’s any Jane the Virgin fans out there – holla at me!

Does anyone else struggle, at times, with simple actions? This morning I had a really difficult time just crawling out of bed. I’ve been feeling myself slip deeper into a depressed state as the months go on, but I’ve been trying to fight it. Today though, today was a rough start for me. I wouldn’t say that I’m suffering from depression itself, I would just say that I’m struggling to cope right now. I need an outlet, or a sign from the Universe to let me know that everything is going to be okay.

Okay, I think that’s enough confessions for one night.

Not afraid of what’s to come.

Normally people talk about having ups and downs in life. From my perspective, the past eight weeks of my life have had a lot of downs. I won’t lie, there has been a few good moments. But, it’s seemed as though the bad has far outweighed the good. For me, bad things don’t come in three’s, bad things come in eleven’s or twelve’s.

Nevertheless, life goes on and we must learn to deal with what is put in front of us. For me, for the first time in eight weeks, I am feeling hopeful. At least I think this is what hope is.

Today was a really good day. Nothing overly special happened, it was just a calm quiet Sunday. I think that’s why I liked it so much though. Calm and quiet are good things to have right now.

This week I will be getting some blood tests done to test for autoimmune diseases. I’m not afraid of being diagnosed with something. At this point, I would actually really like to be given a diagnosis. At least with a diagnosis, I could have proof that my symptoms aren’t in my head. Also, with a diagnosis, I could say ‘okay, this is what it is, lets work towards minimizing my symptoms and the toll it takes on me’. Wish me luck!

In other news, something really cool is happening this year that I haven’t really talked, or thought much about the past eight weeks. My two younger brothers are identical twins. This year, they’re having babies… just two months apart from each other. They’re going to become dad’s for the first time, right around the same time. I’m excited to see what the future holds for them, I am excited to meet the newest little additions to my family and I have been really enjoying shopping for adorable baby clothes for them. The babies will be technically both cousins and half-siblings (DNA of identical twins being the same). How cool is that?

This week I am determined to make farther steps to getting a new job. I’m tired of being unemployed. I don’t need work to feel as though I have a purpose, but I want to work to feel as though I am contributing to something. Furthermore, I want to travel so I need to work to save money. All things said, I NEED A JOB. Vee does not want to tolerate being unemployed any longer. I am a badass, intelligent human being with a university degree and ten year’s experience working PR for a massive organization. I CAN DO THIS. I CAN. (That was a pep talk to myself, in case it wasn’t clear)

It’s 8:30 on a Sunday night and I’m already considering curling up and calling it a night. Is this what being a grandma is like?

Rest easy, world.