Archive for January, 2009

Informational Interviews

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Now that I’m beginning to think about where I want to take my career next, I should be digging up that most powerful of job search tools, the INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW. This was really the biggest thing that helped me get a job after I got laid off. I cannot stress to you enough how important this is in helping, nay, leading your job search.

So you’ve done the legwork and set up some “informational interviews,” so now what? Someone who you know knows a lot about what you want to know and is willing to sit down with you and talk one on one in a no-strings-attached sharing of ideas. This is a golden opportunity, young grasshopper. So what do you talk about?

Goals of the informational interview to keep in mind (all essential overall goals of all job searches)… I’ve made up three “L” words to sound catchy and help you remember:

  1. LEARN- Gather information to better prepare you for future interviews and more importantly for your future job
  2. LOVE- Make friends to set you apart to get hired and/or just have an ally/buddy who is in the same field who you can always turn to for advice
  3. LEADS- Expand your network and get to know someone who can help you and knows people that can help you

People love talking about themselves – just love it. And luckily, you have a lot to learn from them. Asking the right questions will illicit a lot of information, but also make you look thoughtful, sociable, and interesting. Here are some types of questions to ask that will make people feel special and want to keep talking, but also leads to information you need to know that will help you a lot:

  1. Start out generally: How did you get into this? What was your schooling? What was your first job? – This gets the ball rolling and lets you know what sort of path you should take to end up where they are.
  2. Tell me a bit about yourself: What is your official title? What are your main roles and responsibilities? Who do you work with? Who is your supervisor? Who do you supervise?
  3. Generally specific: What hours are expected at work? What is the average starting salary? What is the average salary of those in top positions? Is it difficult to move up? What is the vibe of the office like, strict or casual?
  4. Modelling yourself in their image: What qualities do you have that you feel are most important to this job? What strengths are essential for this position? What is your favourite thing about the job? – This allows you to reflect upon your own strengths and why you would be suited for this job. Later you can convince a hiring manager that you possess these strengths.
  5. Introduce controversy: What do you dislike about the job? What are some challenges you face? – More consideration, this time of your weaknesses and give you ideas on how you would handle common challenges.
  6. General field-related one-offs: How has/will the recession affect the industry? How has/will new technologies affect the industry? What are new challenges being faced by companies in this field? – This will give you a better sense of your search, but also give ideas on how you can fit yourself into where you are needed, thus making yourself more valuable.
  7. Straight up advice: Now that you know a little bit more about me, what sort of position do you think is suited for me in the industry? What path could you see yourself taking if you were me? What have I done right? What should I do in the future?
  8. Tapping the maple tree: Who would I talk to at your company about getting a job? What are some of your competitors who are also doing good work in your opinion? Do you know any good people you think I should talk to? – Doi! This will give you ideas of where to go next in your search. If not where they work, then somewhere else.

Does that not sound like just the most delightful conversation? I’m interested already. Keep in mind your three L-word goals I outlined above (I should be writing manuals look at me with my lingo!!!) when you ask your questions. Most importantly, be yourself. You are sincerely interested in what they have to say and what you have to learn from them so just have a nice chat and soak up as much knowledge as your healthy little spongey mind take! Bring your resume and business card to leave behind for their no-pressure perusal and go forth and interview!

movies lately

Monday, January 26th, 2009

I’ve seen a lot of excellent movies lately in theatres and there are still a bunch more to see that I think will be awesome.

Last night I saw Gran Torino and I love it so much. The story is perfect and Clint Eastwood’s performance was incredible. The only warning is about 3/4 through something terrible happens that made me bawl my eyes out through til the end. I would still recommend it for everyone though.

Slumdog Millionaire is the best movie I’ve seen in a long long time. Thoroughly entertaining and it seems to me like every aspect was strong- story, performance, cinematography, music, bollywood dancing. Just great.

I really thought Milk was a great film, mostly because Sean Penn is one of the best actors ever. Also the story and other performances were also very good, though Penn’s acting really stands out the most. It’s a good rendition of a famous story that Americans should know about too.

One really hyped movie I saw is Benjamin Button- I thought it was not that great though. The performances were ok I guess, the story was interesting I guess, but not great and kinda gimmicky. It was kind of boring in parts too. It was alright.

I saw Role Models a while back as well. It was so much better than I was expecting. Really funny and original and it had heart, but it wasn’t corny. I was really surprised and it’s been a while so now I want to see it again. Totally endearing, genuinely funny comedy.

Want to see:

The Wrestler- I know I’m going to love this from the previews and from what everyone says.

Revolutionary Road- When I saw the preview I thought it looked pretty dumb and pretentious, but apparently it’s awesome… I don’t know. I will probably read the book first.

Neither a boat nor a house

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Last night we took a trip out to Kitchener to a lovely little venue in Victoria Park called the Boathouse.

Here we saw opening act Carly & Mark – Carly’s got a sweet/strong voice and Mark can play a mean guitar oh boy can he ever! They did a cool cover of Radiohead’s “Creep,” I thought. Way better than my version on Rock Band for Wii.

Next surly, lyrical genius Donovan Woods thrilled audiences with his accoustic set or oldies but goodies as well as songs from his up-coming album. He was accompanied by his drummer Dave MacDougall, which sounded real nice, adding some punch to the oft-used guy and his guitar routine.

Last but not least singing-songwriting rock star sensation Andrew Austin took the stage with his whole band. They had enormous energy and brought the house down. Everybody was bopping along to the music, singing along, smiling, and loving the music. Andrew played his classic blue-eyed soul tinged rock songs along with some new soon-to-be hits which are sounding more and more country influenced. It’s a surprising, but excellent growth for Mr. Austin, who has in the past been known for his motown influenced tracks, dominated by challenging vocals. This harder edged, folkier sound with wailing guitar solos is very contemporary and eclectic. All in all it was an excellent live show not to be missed if he ever happens to be touring near your area.

And that this girl’s unbiased review.

Email from my mom

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

To close she wrote:

“love you,  don’t forget sleeping is important – t.v. is not.”

Looking for doll eyes

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

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I finished up this little crocheted teddy bear months ago and he has been sitting in various area of my apartment sadly head unattached and incomplete. You’ll notice he’s pinned and he’s got yarn tales hanging off of him ready for attachment. The only thing is I am having a real problem with the eye part of this little guy. Eyes are really really really important to the whole look of this little guy so much thought must go into this (in case you thought I was over-thinking – I AM NOT). Please bear with me as I discuss eye choices for my bear:

The pattern calls for these specific dolls eyes that are impossible to find. They look like this:

real eyes

I have searched high and low believe you me they are no where in Ontario available for purchase. Craft stores only sell googley eyes and I REFUSE those goofy looking things. But I can’t find the good ones. So what to do what to do???An option would be to leave him with no eyes. He’d still be pretty cute, eh? Simplicity is good. Or I was thinking of sewing embroidery floss Xs but that makes him dead and so too morbid… however, that style is quite popular these days. Cute/dark? So hot right now. And I can’t find internet pictures, so it might be a unique idea. Don’t copy me!Felt eyes are an option and look pretty cute:

felt eyes

Hmmm…..

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Redlight Special Tonight

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Purrr

Purrr played Rancho Relaxo last night. An acoustic set nonetheless. It was pretty rad getting to hear them play with much less electricity. Seriously though, they played great. Special thanks to Chris for acting as my tripod (with 2 legs) – he’s v. steady. Checkout “Redlight”:

I guess it’s a little annoying that you can hear some loud person singing along with every single word of that song… but also it’s kinda awesome that they have such great fans… like REAL FANS. Fans who know every single word and proudly sing along. People were there wearing Purrr-branded t-shirts too. It was pretty awesome. Another popular Purrrr memorabilia item is the undies which read “Make me…” on the front crotchal area and “PURRR” on the buttt. Get it? “Buttt”? Anyway, I bet lots of people were sporting those bad boys last night.

Purrr and Purrr tshirt

scarf-mitts-toques-and-sweater-season

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

People must think I’m awfully rude because I stare at them. On the streetcar, out at restaurants, walking past them on the street, I do so unabashedly. Not to be mean or make them feel uncomfortable, though that is the result, but it’s because they are wearing scarves or mitts or toques or sweaters that I want to look at. My thought process is “Oh that’s nice. Could I make that? I could definitely make that. How would I make that?” and by the time I have decided the pattern and changed the colours, measured the needles in my head I’ve looked too long and they are offended. This must happen to all people when they first realize they can make things and become obsessed, especially knitting in this case. And I wonder if it will go away when I grow accustomed to this new and wonderful feeling. Maybe once I have made every pattern of scarf, mitts, toque, and sweater I will no longer stare.