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I’m not jobless anymore – after 6 long months

I’ve been job hunting since pretty much last May, even before I finished my Master’s, but let’s only count the months after I got back home. Since August last year, I probably applied to hundreds of jobs, went through countless phone interviews, in-person interviews, and I still couldn’t find anything. It was especially more heartbreaking since I came so close – like I went through the final rounds of interviews – but those companies ended up postponing their hiring or went under hiring freeze. What are the chances, right?

Truth be told, I was quite depressed the last 6 months while I was job hunting. I already am suffering from anxiety attacks and asthma, and all this stress was not doing any good on my body as well as my psychological state. I knew it probably was a matter of time until I find a job, but I just couldn’t bear the stress. All my life I’ve been spoiled, getting everything I wanted if I put my mind to it – from getting into a university, master’s, friends, family, etc. But job hunting was the only aspect of my life where I couldn’t have any control over. I tried to control myself, but some days I would be just extremely depressed – there’s no other way of describing it – and I would stay in my room and just cry all day. My parents were worried about me, my boyfriend as well, and I refused to attend any social events until I got a job. It truly was the time to see how weak I am.

I was getting used to those generic ‘thank you for applying, but we regret to inform you…’ emails. I was also getting used to just silence after application/interviews. I was looking for jobs online, pulling every string of connections, dropping names, letting everyone around me that I was looking for a job. But it just wasn’t working out. It seemed like my resume wasn’t even going through the initial HR screening, and if a company wanted to have an interview with me, they were ‘looking for someone junior that can do a senior person’s job’ – meaning that they’re going to pay me an entrance level salary while I do much more work.

This was one of the biggest reasons why I was getting even more depressed. I just spent almost $40,000 to pursue my master’s from this renowned business school in Europe, and these companies were only looking to pay me even less than what I was getting at my previous job. I hated myself for having to come back to Vancouver, and I would get so upset over the fact that all my hard work didn’t end up in a quantifiable result.I heard horror stories of people graduating from LSE with master’s and they couldn’t find a job for a year when they came back to Vancouver. I’m a business person, I need my ROI!!

And the whole time, I was debating about whether I was actually being ambitious with my career plans, or I was just being greedy. This distinction between ambition and greed came down to hunt me for months. I always told myself and others that I am an ambitious person, with my 10-year plan that I am pretty much in track of. But was this all just me being greedy? What if I am not worth all those great things? And this question felt especially harder to swallow since I am a Christian, and you are told that God has plans for you from the beginning of the times. What if His plans for me are way different than my own goals, ambition, and dreams? How am I supposed to know?

Anyways, at the end, I knew all I could do was to try. Keep trying, keep applying, keep interviewing, keep asking around, just keep going. And after 6 months of having nothing, I ended up having three offers on the table. But this was only because I gave chance to companies that were offering salaries lower than my expectations. I just had to compromise with reality. Then I wrote to my director from the company I used to work at, and told him that I have these offers but I would love to come back again. We had this talk since I came back but they were not able to come up with a position in Vancouver, but now that I was in ‘demand’ they looked into it. And that’s how I found my new – old- job at my old company. I got a pretty significant raise, and a promotion.

Through all these 6 months, I guess I learned (again) that some things are just out of my control. I’m pretty sure I’ll still beat myself over it if I have to go through another job hunt in the future, but it’s just another experience. I condensed my crazy emotional roller coaster for the last half a year into 800 words, and I’m afraid it doesn’t really have any ‘tips’ or ‘short cuts’ for people still looking for a job. But I just want to say – it’s only a matter of time. Just keep trying. Don’t give up, and try your best. And soon enough you will be signing your contract for your new job.

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The agony of job searching – self-reflection

I know, I have been really bad with keeping this blog up to date. Now only have 2 more months of classes for my Master’s, and BOOM, I’m done. I will get to add four new letters behind my name, it will sound so fancy.

BUT. With graduation comes the agony of job searching; preparing myself for the next step after school. I am planning to go back to Vancouver, I already have my flight tickets purchased, and I have been applying to a lot of places because I want to have a job lined up before I go back home. So I have been sending in my resumes and applications for the past number of weeks, and all I have been getting are the ‘sorry but…’ rejection letters and/or complete silence.

This is not my first time going through the job hunting process. I remember when I was looking for a job during my fourth year of undergrad. I was surrounded with friends who already had offers from investment banks, the Big 4s, consulting firms, and bla bla bla. Then there I was, with nothing, and I was extremely depressed. I felt like a failure and was so disappointed with myself. That was the first time in my life where things didn’t go as I planned. I’ve had my 10-year-plan since I was 20, and I was on track until then. That feeling of uncertainty and disappointment put such unbearable stress on myself and even though I didn’t realize it back then, I started to have mild anxiety attacks.

Fast forward a little bit, I did end up with a job after graduation, and I truly enjoyed working at my old company with my colleagues. I thought I would never have to go through such depressing time after that. Fast forward again to now, and boy was I wrong. I’m going through the exact same phase, except that this time I’m in Spain by myself, and I’m trying to find a job in Vancouver. I know I still have a few more months to go, but I am such a plan-ahead kind of a person and I hate uncertainty.

Also, this time I have even more pressure. I’m getting a Master’s degree, for goodness sake, from Europe’s top business school. I have left everything at home, quit my job, and now in debt for this degree. And to go back home without a job – I’m not only disappointing myself, but I’m even more scared that I’ll disappoint my family. How proud my parents are of me, and how much they believe in me is not only the source of my strengths but something that I can’t let down. Then seeing my European colleagues going around having interviews – I’ll be honest, I am jealous of them.

I know the only thing I can do right now is to try. I’ll have to try and try and try, and try harder until I find ‘the’ job. I might be off the path for a couple of months, and I’m afraid how I’ll be able to face those times, but the only way to find out is to try I guess.

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Music Festivals in BC – Pemberton Music Festival

I have never attended a single music festival in my life, and this year I decided to cross off ‘Attend a weekend-long music festival’ off of my bucket list! Thanks to my partner in crime boyfriend, we decided to hit not only one but TWO festivals in BC this summer.

The first one was Pemberton Music Festival, happened in Pemberton, BC. The lineups were pretty good with Nine Inch Nails, Outkast, and Deadmau5 headlining the festival. One interesting thing about this one was that they had a stage dedicated for comedy acts, and the boyfriend being a big fan of stand-up comedy we chilled out there quite a few times throughout the festival. 

Accommodation-wise, we were very lucky that his parents own a house about 15 min drive from the festival ground. We got a ride every morning and night to and from the festival, which I was very grateful for. We were both quite worried about our allergies, as when we went up there a few weeks before the festival we were both suffering from severe itchy eyes and runny nose and could not do anything other than sneeze every two minutes. Nonetheless after his parents cut all the hay in their hay field our allergy symptoms disappeared and we were fine for the festival. Also, the weather was not the best – even down-poured on one of the nights, making us appreciate the roof over our heads even more 🙂 

From this festival, I was most excited to see Frank Ocean, Outkast, Snoop dogg, Blondie, and St. Vincent. I also wanted to see 3LAU and Cashmere Cat but unfortunately we missed out on those two. My favourites were definitely Frank Ocean!!! (Then Snoop Dogg and Outkast).. 

For $299 + tax + fees, it was a good weekend overall. Since me and my boyfriend refuse camping, the fact that his parents have a place close to the festival ground was one of the reasons why we went to this festival to start with. After having been to Squamish after this one, I am not sure if I will be going back to Pemberton unless they have an amazing lineup. But overall quite well organized event, no crazy lineups for both beer gardens and toilets, although I would like if they had a bit more option of food trucks. 

(Personal) Overall rating: 6.8/10

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Canada Day 2014

I’ve never really celebrated Canada Day – because 1) I lived in Maple Ridge growing up, so it’s a little too far from all the celebration in downtown and 2) maybe I’m just not that patriotic enough?

But this year I decided to watch the fireworks with a couple of girlfriends, and also my boyfriend suggested this great idea to go see the Canadians play at Nat Bailey stadium. Watching the Canadians play on Canada Day, how patriotic is that??!! So we took skytrain to King Edward station and walked a bit to Nat Bailey. It was my second time being there, and we of course got a couple of beers. Although the heat was a little tough to bear, the Canadians won the game against Salem-Keizer Volcanoes! O CANADA indeed.

Then the boys decided to go meet up with other friends, and I had to meet up with my girlfriends for a little picnic and fireworks. Since two of us live right by the sea wall in Coal Harbour, we picnicked out in Harbour Green Park for hours. Then around 9 we decided to move a bit East, so we sat ourselves down near De Dutch. Little did we know, soon after that the police blocked all walkways down to the sea wall which prevented my boyfriend from joining us for the fireworks. WOMP.

The fireworks itself wasn’t too bad, although my friend liked the last year’s better apparently. Well, I don’t really have anything to compare than my vague memories of Canada Day fireworks about 10 years ago… But all in all, it was a fun night with some action, a lot of girl talk, and beer! Happy Birthday Canada!!

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Spring in Vancouver

It’s been a few weeks since the beginning of spring. It’s been a very peculiar dry winter in Vancouver, so I’m not so surprised with all this rain now. I was expecting more of an end of world scenario with hails in size of a baseball or lightning strikes that burn down the city, so I’m willing to bear through this rain for a couple more days.

Nonetheless, it’s been a beautiful start of spring before it started to rain, and I want to share my instagram pictures of spring in Vancouver (Yaletown specifically) with you.

This was on my way back from work, on March 21st. Cherry blossom trees just started to blossom and spring began to spring!

Then five days later, they were in full bloom! Yaletown has many of these cherry blossom trees on the streets, and I love strolling down this area everyday. It’s never a busy area with exceptions of weekend nights, and looking at people walking pass me with their little barking friends makes me happy.

This is from Good Friday, on the other side of downtown. I had lunch with my bf at Cardero’s and we decided to take a long walk. It really was a good Friday – the weather was gorgeous, he even had to take his windbreaker off because it was too hot (but I thought it was perfect). Yaletown and Coal harbour area are my two favourite areas in Downtown Vancouver; Quite different crowds but I just like the vibes of both these neighbourhoods. We walked good 5~6 km that day and of course there were a lot of visitors and tourists at Stanley Park as wells as locals casually rollerblading around the seawall.

Back in Yaletown down at the seawall. My office got a day off for Easter Monday as well so I decided to walk down a couple of blocks down to the water and read my articles there. Again a beautiful day, I was actually wearing shorts and short sleeves t-shirt and a light cardigan on top!

This will be my last picture of the day. This is from only two days ago on Wednesday. On my way back home from work again, and I was so surprised to see all these trees covered in green! I swear it wasn’t this green the night before or even on my way to work that morning! It felt like all the trees just decided to put on their green leaves together at the same time because the leaves were on sale or something.

And since yesterday it’s been raining and raining, and too bad I sent over my rain boots back home. But also it’s a lot warmer so I can just put on one light trench coat in the morning and I’m good to go. Hope this rain ends soon though, because I’d much rather have the sunshine over my head than my neon-orange umbrella.

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