Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Training complete

My training is complete.  The lady I’m taking over from thought me everything there is to know, and as from tomorrow it’s up to me to get the job done.  Oh dear, let’s hope the company survives it.

I listened to advice until my ears were ringing; peered at the computer screen until I was cross eyed; and I probably have more notes than Tolstoy did when writing “War and Peace”.

I think I’ll be okay though.  I’ve had some hands on training and it doesn’t seem all that complicated.  It was like a switch was turned on today and suddenly everything started making sense. 
Of course, the boss wasn’t there these past three days.  Once she comes back from her out of town trip everything could change.  Who knows what she all going to ask me to do!
Remember the current EA gave me her phone number and email address for when I have a problem?  Poor thing, I might flood her inbox messages and call her while she’s in the shower.

I’m tired though.  Imagine, it’s only 10:30 and I can hardly keep my eyes open.  This from someone who used to sit up until 3:00 a.m.  Of course, I didn’t get up at 5:45 in those days.

So we’re gonna keep this entry short and sweet.  My bed is calling and I’m replying with “I’m coming”.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My first day

To say that I’m tired would be an understatement.  I am exhausted, pooped, out for the count.  Going back to work after being home for nearly five months is nothing to sneeze at.

For starters I didn’t feel all that great this morning.  While being at home I used to go to bed at all hours of the night, whether that be 1:30, 2:00 or even 3:00 a.m.  So, when retiring for the night yesterday at 11:30, I wasn’t at all tired.  I lay there, counting sheep, so to speak.

Still, when my alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. I felt reasonable okay.  I’ve never been a morning person and don’t even talk to me before I had a shower and my first cup of coffee.

The new company is AMAZING.  The building is luxurious, the company modern and spacious, and my office ... oelala, I’ve never had such wonderful accommodation.  Well, office is stretching the truth a bit, EA’s don’t get a private office, but it’s not a cubicle either.  My space is in between two private offices, so it’s a cubicle and not a cubicle.  And the best thing is, I have a window.  A window with an amazing view I might add.  I can see for miles around.

I should also mention the cafeteria.  OMG words cannot describe the place.  It’s HUGE and sort of a combination between a restaurant and a buffet.  For breakfast there’s yoghurt, fruit salad, croissants and other baked goods, or one can order a warm breakfast.  There are eight different types of coffees, and of course there’s tea and hot chocolate.
For lunch employees can help themselves to a salad bar, or a light snack or have a full three course meal.
Those on a budget can bring their own lunch and heat it up in one of several microwaves, or order soup with a bread.

For decoration, one of the walls in the cafeteria holds a huge aquarium, with beautiful life fish.  And no, those are not on the menu.

The work itself ... interesting, but a lot to absorb.  I’m still in training and will be for another two days.  As from Thursday I will be on my own and euh, I’m in a slight panic if I will be able to cope.  There is just so much to do and so much to remember.  To be on the safe side, the current EA has given me her email address, her land line and her cell phone number. 
She assured me that I can contact her any time, or talk to any of my colleagues and they will be happy to help.  A nice offer, but one I’m hesitant of using.  I don’t want to seem incapable of doing the job.  Still, I don’t want to screw up either.

This being a temp job and I don’t want to get my hopes up of this turning into a full-time position.  That kind of thinking can be dangerous.  No matter how well I do, there could be an employee with a sister, a daughter or an aunt who needs the work and if that’s the case, I’m out the door.  I know what I’m talking about, it’s happened before.

See you tomorrow, I’m too tired to go on.  Tonight I think I’ll be asleep before my head hits the pillow. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Interview advice

 In keeping with the interview process, let’s see what Amada DeCosta has to say on the subject.  Amanda lives in Oman, and writes articles for and  Amanda also has her own blog which can be found at

Let’s see what advice Amanda gives for those shaking in their boots for an upcoming interview ...

How Confident Are You At A Job interview?

An interview is the stepping-stone to landing the right job. Yet, in one's quest for the right job at the right place, building up confidence in the interview process can be daunting. This article guides the reader to the more critical points that have to be kept in mind for a confident interview.

The Perfect Job: How Confident Are You To Be Interviewed?

You've been on the lookout for a job, and finally, you've been called in to interview. For many, this is where they stumble and fail to deliver, or let's say, fail to meet up to expectations promised in a resume during the job hunt. Lack of preparation, tiredness, anxiety, and unwanted stress can play havoc to one's sense of balance and appearance at an interview. How then, is one to build confidence for a job interview? Let's take a look at a few crucial points.

1. Preparation

It is very important that when attending an interview, you are well-prepared. Being prepared means striking a sensible balance between respect for your interviewer and knowing the necessary details of your job. In order to be prepared, you might have to ask the HR department or a prospective colleague for job details in advance or look up the website of the company you are interviewing at. When you head in, you should have a good idea of why you've been called and what is expected of you.

2. Presentation

The first impression is the best impression while the last impression can also be the lasting impression. This is to say that, your presentation during the entire interview needs to be your best - from start to finish. Do what it takes to present yourself confidently. Shower and comb your hair. Dress neatly. Polish your shoes. Choose clothing that is business like, and do not choose comfort-wear or casual clothing. You should never wear a party outfit to an interview! Your hair should be arranged neatly. Make-up, if worn, shouldn't be overdone to the point that will look like you're heading out to a night club. Fingernails have to be trimmed neatly and / or polished. Teeth have to be clean. An unshaven, untidy look can be a taken as a mark of disrespect towards an interviewer. Either sport a neat beard or be clean-shaven. Many places that rent out suits for interviews. Make it a point to wear one.

3. Resume with Cover Letter

Although you may have submitted a resume prior to the interview, you may be expected to provide one or more copies of your resume depending on the number of people interviewing you. Be careful to check and double check your resume the day prior to the interview so that you are familiar with exactly what you've mentioned and are ready to turn attention towards, or answer questions pertaining to details you've recorded. A good resume is one of the main steps towards building confidence in the interview process, as it will present you in the best light possible for the job position you seek. Attach copies of supporting documents should you be asked to submit them. Your promptness to comply with their requests will be an indication of your alertness and professionalism.

4. Body language

Your body language is an indication of how confident a person you are, or how suitable and trustworthy you are too. Different postures indicate different temperaments. For example, it is not advisable to sit with your arms crossed. This shows that you are closed to suggestions and have already made up your mind about something. It also indicates that you are not one to consider another's opinion easily and have no respect for another's viewpoint. On the contrary, sit upright with your arms open and hands gracefully on your lap. Keep your legs together, and avoid slouching.

5. Ask questions

While at an interview, an interviewer expects you to ask questions. Hence, prior to the interview, you may wish to prepare a few basic questions. Such question might be, "Why do you think I would be suitable for the job?" or "What is expected of me if I am to be given this post?" Another question might be "What is the nature of the job?" Asking questions indicates that you are vigilant, following what is being explained and also ready to answer promptly and with adequate information that the interviewer seeks to obtain from you.

6. Rest

Part of building up your confidence in the interviewing process is being well-rested prior to attending the interview. Rest well. Prepare necessary things ready the day before the interview - clothes, shoes, resume, certificates, references, etc. Be fresh, active, attentive and alert during the interview while demonstrating comfort. If you are feeling nervous, it is okay if you convey this to your interviewer. The interviewer might even attempt to say something to put your anxiousness at ease.

7. Sample Questions

While you may be ready with questions you might want to ask the interviewer, you will also want to come up with answers to questions you may be asked. For this, you will have to be prepared well in advance. You do not want to find yourself stammering and stuttering over why you need this job, or what made you apply for that particular position. Prepare to answer some basic sample questions before you attend an interview.

Some basic questions may be:
  • What was / is your job profile or description of work for the position last held?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What are your expectations from the company?
  • How would you describe yourself as an apt candidate for the post?
  • What are your main strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why do you want to leave your current job?
  • Tell us about yourself.
8. A Confident Handshake

One of the major aspects of building confidence for a job interview that is generally overlooked by candidates is a firm, confident handshake. The handshake is the first connection between interviewer and candidate and it speaks volumes about the confidence of the one seeking a job. A handshake that is limp and sweaty can be an instant no-no for the interviewer as he might see you as non-confident, insecure and lacking professionalism. On the other hand, a good, confident, and firm handshake with direct eye contact to the interviewer can set the tone for a more convincing interview that you are right for the job. A good handshake should also convey your friendliness and openness. A double shake is all that is required to get your interviewer in the right mood.

9. Be Yourself

Last but not the least, be yourself. If you dislike Math and are not comfortable with accounting work, convey that to your interviewer. On the other hand, should you have a great interest in public speaking and possess the skills necessary for working as a public relations manager, make this known! Also, do not pretend to be somebody you are not. Providing incorrect details can only get you into trouble and lead to your disqualification. Convey your weaknesses about a particular skill if you have to, especially if it is one that may drag you into a post that you may not be suitable for. Let the interviewer know who the person is that he or she is interviewing. If you can take the trouble to fabricate a whole different picture of yourself, surely you also have the capacity to highlight the talents and skills that you are already bestowed with. Let the interviewer know the 'real you'.

If you want to read more of Amanda's advice, be sure to visit:

Friday, August 26, 2011

To start things off with

There are a ton of articles (including some of my own) on-line how to handle a job interview.  As someone who has been on both sides of the interview table I consider myself – if not an expert – someone with advanced knowledge on the subject.  

As this blog will be about my new job, and employment in general, I think I should start off with the interview process.
My outfit was corporate: black suit, white blouse, black shoes and handbag.  Hair styled in a bun, make-up applied with a light hand, a minimum on jewelry, no perfume.

I arrived at the company with time to spare, went up to the 13th floor and met with Francine who needed an assistant.  It was almost as if we had a relaxed conversation, rather than a job interview.  Unfortunately, we hit a snag ... Francine had an allergic reaction.  With what little breath she had left, she asked me if I perhaps had a cat as she was extremely allergic to cats.  Before I could answer she had to rush from the room.

For the first five minutes I waited patiently, but then I started to wonder if Francine was coming back.  For all I knew an ambulance had to be called to give her emergency treatment.
Eventually I decided to leave and walked around the office looking for an exit.  I couldn’t find one but I did spot Francine across the office.  She was feeling better and suggested we continue the interview.
“Are you sure?” I asked her.  “I have not one but five cats, so obviously if you are allergic to cats, I’m not the best candidate for the job.”
Francine felt different and gestured for me to sit down.  Alright then.

After the interview I called the agency that sent me and spoke to my consultant.  “I don’t stand a chance,” I told her.  “The woman is allergic to me.  Well, not to me but to my cats.  She had an attack while I was there.”
“Oh that’s too bad,” Jeanine said.  “She never said anything about that in the job spec.”  Yeah well, I guess allergies don’t really come to mind when recruiting for an assistant.

Back home I had barely taken my coat off when the phone rang and Jeanine told me that I had the job.  I think I responded with a “Whah?”  I was so stunned you could have knocked me over with a feather. 

So now Monday is D-day.  I wonder ...

A third blog

I have two blogs already, but I figured a third one wouldn’t hurt. 

The first one, Under the Toronto Sun ( deals with all kinds of things related to the city of Toronto.  What happens in the city, what happens at home, at the bowling alley, etc. 

The second one, Feline Corner (, deals - as you might have guessed - with cats.  It’s a blog written through the eyes of my cat Chanel.

This third one deals with employment.  I’m starting a new, albeit temporary, job on Monday or Tuesday and I thought it might be nice to share first impressions and experiences.

On days when nothing happens, which is unlikely but okay you never know, I might make an entry that’s related to employment: How to look for a job; How to dress for an interview; How to write a resume that grabs attention; that kind of thing.

Let’s see how things go, shall we?