Wow, what a year so far!

What a year its been so far. Yeah, I know, I already said that in the title.

I think for now I'll write a quick post, then when I have time I'll go back and write a few more posts to fill in the details, fair enough?

So, we start at the beginning of 2011.

I had my little store, in Ryley. Sat there on the main street, and learned that I really didn't want to be on main street! I'd been there a few months, actually did manage to more or less break even by working on some websites for people, and squashed a few virus too.

I think its just a matter of you don't really know what to expect, until you get in there. I could have taken a poll, did some advertising, and all that, but when you get a store front on main street for $350, its a pretty low risk to just try it out right?

By February I'd closed the doors, taken down the sign, and went back to the farm. The economy in Alberta had been showing signs of life. This is good, because when I came back to Canada in November 2009, things pretty much sucked, job wise. I'd sent out hundreds of resumes and job applications, and only got 2 hits.

Finally, by May, I was ready to get off the farm and see what else there was. I hit the job boards, and found something that looked interesting. One of my challenges when it comes to finding a job, is that I'm actually kind of good at lots of thing, but I don't have any certificates that are useful.

For example, I was an aircraft mechanic in the US Navy. I worked on airframes, so basically the airplane itself, not the engines, or the electronics, or the weapons systems. I did that for 9 years, and have a lot of experience with hydraulics, metal work, and painting.

Sounds great right? Except I can't go work on aircraft now, with out further training, because the civilian world doesn't recognize my military training or experience. In the US I'd need an A&P. Which is Airframes and Powerplant. Its apparently fairly easy to get, but it costs money, and I'd be starting out as a newbie again. That's not entirely true, of course, at the job they'd look at what I knew and I'd probably be a super newbie!

Likewise, I've worked in security, which is where lots of military veterans work.

I'm not really a mechanic either, as far as working on cars, because I've really never done that, except a bit on my own cars.

Anyway, I see this job at Western Truck Body, in Edmonton. WTB builds trucks that are used to service heavy equipment, like in the oil fields, etc. I lok at their website, and think to myself, hey, I could do that! So I put together a quick resume and cover letter, and email it. By the next week I'm working! One resume, and I'm working, as opposed to 18 months earlier where I sent in hundreds of emails and got nadda!

So I started in May. Here's what the trucks looked like:

Cool right?

Well, it was really an awesome job. I got to do a lot of fun stuff, learned some new tricks, and have to say its one of the most fun jobs I've ever had. Great bunch of people too! But after a while, I started to think its maybe not exactly perfect. I mean, sure, I got to use things like the Oxy/Acetylene Cutting Torch and a Plasma Cutter and air tools and stuff. Sometimes I'll miss all that!

But I used to be a computer tech. I'm more used to doing... clean stuff! And there were times by first break that I felt like I'd just fallen off a tractor on the farm.

As a "creative release" I decided to relaunch my wedding video business. That helped a bit.

So within about a 2 week period, I went from deciding I wanted to start doing wedding videos, to buying a camera, registering for a booth at the wedding show, then doing the show. Talked to around a thousand people. And eventually did actually book a job from the leads. But the interesting thing is I've booked more jobs from my free ads online. So, don't think I'll be doing another booth at the January show, considering the cost of the booth was around... well, lets just say it was a lot and leave it at that ok?

As I said, I ran some free ads, some on, and some on Kijiji. When I was in Seattle, a high percentage, maybe 40% some years, of my jobs came from CraigsList. I've found that very few people here in Canada use CraigsList, which is odd. But there was one cool thing that came from the Craigslist ad... it got me recruited for the new job I just started!

I can talk about it a bit more now that I'm officially working at the new job. I've been talking with them for a while now, maybe almost a month even. Time is being weird for me this year. Like I was at Western Truck Body for exactly 6 months, down to the day. Didn't seem that long.

The way it worked out, someone at "corporate" saw my ad. Apparently they're always looking for hot leads? They emailed me, and asked me if I'd be interested in applying for a job in "presentation services". To me at the time, it sounded Clean, Dry, Warm, and relatively safe! Digging around on my computers I find some old resumes, did some quick copy and paste, a short cover letter, and hit send on the website. Poof. Oops, maybe I should have printed out a copy for myself. Oh well.

Just a few days later, I get an email from corporate, they'd like me to interview, later that week. My choices were Tomorrow, or the next day.

Ok, holy crap. What did I write on my resume that made them so excited? And of course, I didn't save a copy of it either. Dude, I'm screwed. I mean, really, what did I over promise on, that I don't remember?

I start emailing the Regional Director, who I will be interviewing with. Make plans to do the interview after I get off of work. I make sure he knows I'll be coming straight from work. I pack some clean clothes, but of course get off work late, and have to hurry to get there on time. Walk into the interview with dirty shirt, dirty jeans, dirty work boots, and I find out later, dirt on my face and in my hair.

Want to know what was on my resume that got their attention? Sure, the 10 years of being self employed as a wedding photo and video guy helped a lot. But what the Regional Director liked best, according to him, was that I grew up on a farm! Farm kids don't get breaks, we get up early, work all day in the field, and get to bed late. We get the job done. We're used to hard work, heavy lifting. And then when the job is done, we can kick back till the next job. We spend time getting our gear ready, making repairs, etc. Showing up with dirty face and dirt in my hair was actually a good thing, for once in my life. How crazy is that?

I may have stumbled onto the secret of winning in a job interview. Don't look like you need the job!

Think this is a good place to stop for now. I'll write the next post pretty soon, and try to pick up where this left off. Deal?

Thanks for reading!

By Carlin Comm posted on 2011-11-19