Expanding the search

Edvard Grieg, In the Hall of the Mountain King

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After another day of trapsing the streets distributing resumes, still without a single call-back, I've had to come to the realisation, that I still may not have got anywhere a month from now.

I went into a bar/restaurant to hand in a resume today. And the girl I spoke to had a clear English accent to me. So that gave me an 'in' to start chatting to her, because as I've said 100 times already, picking up what little grains of inside knowledge you can from people, can be what leads you to work. Because the realisation of what Victoria is right now, is a place with 100 times more job seekers, than there are jobs available.

And speaking to this girl, she was telling me that she got this job a week and a half ago, at a job fair they held. There were 200 employers there apparently. And since then, well all the jobs have gone. And the job hunters have arrived in their thousands. So the reality of the situation, is that that little week I had socialising with druggies in Vancouver, may well have cost me my best opportunity to find work here.

Then back at the hostel, I was speaking to a guy who found a job just a couple of days before I arrived. He got this job simply by applying online. And since then, in the last week or two, he's been told by his managers to just stop calling them everytime someone comes in looking for work. They simply don't have the time to talk to everyone, because they're getting so many people everyday.

This English girl told me that they took in 15 resumes yesterday. And today was a very eye-opening day, because I came to the realisation of the magnitude of the task ahead of me. One of the reasons I came over here instead of Vancouver, was that I figured it would be a much quieter place in the Summer time. People flood to Vancouver, but I figured that Victoria didn't have the same reputation. So I'd come here. It'd be smaller and quieter. Less jobs, and less people looking for them.

The reality is quite different though. Less jobs, yes. But there are literally thousands and thousands of job seekers here. And I think getting work will again come down to little more than luck. If you happen to walk into a bar 20 minutes after they've just fired someone, then you'll get a job. If you hand in a resume, then you're going to be on a pile with 10,000 other names. So it's just a case of being out there all the time. And just hoping that you happen to walk into a place at the right time.

But the reality of the situation is, as I've said, that if I don't happen to be in the right place at the right time anytime soon, I may not be able to find work for a month. Or longer. We're in a recession. And although I don't think they'll say it officially, over here people will look after their own. Meaning that they'll give jobs to Canadian's ahead of foreigners. So today was very eye-opening. The magnitude of the task ahead of me, really came to light.

Had I been here a week earlier, then things could have been very, very different. I didn't realise it at the time, but that week of deliberation in Vancouver might have been very, very, costly.

And everyone goes through this. I said I expected the first 2 weeks to be hard. It's just now it might be longer.

The guy in my dorm, who got a job online. Well he was in the same boat not long before I arrived. He says he applied for upwards of 80 jobs over the period of about 10 days. And his phone didn't ring once. And then, he suddenly got calls from 2 different part-time jobs. But he was telling me, that back then, he was beginning to face the same reality that I'm beginning to see. That he may not have been able to find anything. That he was feeling that degree of hopelessness. Just waiting all day for the phone to ring. But it never does. Until all of a sudden, after 10 days of nothing, it did.

Well that was only about a week and a half ago. And the game has got a lot harder since then. The jobs all went just before I got here. And everyday, more and more people arrive. So the longer I go without work, the worse my chances.

Afterall, each day that goes by, is a day nearer to my visa expiring. And the less time I can offer an employee, the less employable I am. Plus, with each day that goes by, more and more people are arriving in town looking for work. So it's just a tough time right now. As I anticipated, admitedly. But that still doesn't really make it any easier. The only thing that makes it more bareable, is that this is exactly what I went through in Vancouver 4 years ago. So I know what to expect. But it doesn't really make it any more fun.

Because right now, I'm essentially working a full-time job. Job-hunting is a full-time job. In the daytime I'm on the streets looking. In the evenings I'm online looking. It's just a full-time job, with no pay. So I have no sympathy when people get back to the dorm after a days work, all tired.

The reality of the situation, is that this process could go on, for a long, long, time though. Which brings me to the fairly self-explanitory title of this blog.

It's a bit of a cunt being effectively stuck in a hostel right now. I could have moved out into an area I didn't want to live in. Miles from downtown, to get out of the hostel. And yes I could now be living with 3 hot 21-year old female students. But to be so far from downtown would just piss me off. So I decided to stay in the hostel. Even if sharing a room with 5 other people isn't ideal.

But you make the most of the situations you have. And the one thing I get given by staying in the hostel, is freedom. I'm not tied down to Victoria right now. And although I would love to settle down here for the Summer... I even detailed my Summer plans yesterday. Although I would love to settle down here, I've had to face the realities of the situation. So I'm going to be widening my job search.

I still hope to stay here. And I still think it's likely that I will stay here. But when I'm looking at jobs online everyday, I come across a lot of jobs located outside the Victoria area. Other places on Vancouver Island, other places in Canada. Wherever. And in the past week I've been dismissive of these, just because this is where I want to be. But I don't want to be here, without work. That's no good to me. So although I'm not actively searching outside of Victoria, the reality seems to be that there are a fuck-load more job hunters here than anywhere else. Probably with good reason. It's a nice place to be. But employers know this. This guy in my dorm was telling me that having so many replacements walking through the doors everyday, has him on his toes. He knows that he could get fired one hour, and be replaced 20 minutes later. It's the reality of a recession. It's an employers market. So maybe in this environment, you wouldn't get treated so well. And with so many people arriving here, the realities of the accomodation hunt aren't too pretty either. Although if people can't find work, I'm sure a lot of places will open up.

So I'm not dismissing other areas right now. Like Northern towns on Vancouver Island for example. Some I've probably never heard of. But then neither have other people. So there'll be less competition there. As with places like The Yukon. Because the reason I think there's so much value in talking to the people you meet to find out what you can, is that any other information that I'm privvy to, such as on Craiglist. Well so is everybody else. So there's so much competition that way. But if you hear about a position via word of mouth. Perhaps one that hasn't been advertised yet, then it gives you an advantage.

But this is proving to be, a very long and strenuous process.

Now admitedly I've only been here for 6 nights so far. So 5 days of job hunting. Which may not sound like much. But it's just that when your phone is so quiet through all of this... it feels much, much, longer. So I've got to be open-minded. I've now paid for the next 8 nights at this hostel. So I have a minimum of 8 days more job hunting here, by which time, if nothing's turned up, I may have to consider relocating. In which case not finding accomodation really will have been a blessing. But job hunting is a cunt. It's the worst part of any job. And I'll be honest, if my phone had rung 10 times with rejections, I wouldn't mind so much. It's just the silence that bugs me. It's the not knowing. Not having any feedback what-so-ever.

So I'm going to continue looking. Hoping. Just get my details to as many potential employers as possible. And just hope that one day soon, my phone starts to ring. But times are desperate. And this is no holiday. This isn't fun.

And just to make things more fun, I need to move rooms tomorrow. Which may be a good thing. It'll mean 5 new people who's brains I can pick. But apparently by the time I went to re-book yesterday, they'd already given away my bed. So I have to go to another dorm. It's about 10 yards down the hall. Despite which, I still have to check-out at 11:00. Log all my bags down 3 flights of stairs and put them into storage. Until I can check back in again at 15:30. And log my bags back up 3 flights of stairs. And for some reason, they couldn't just move this new person into the room I'm going into. Save all of that. They had to do it the hard way. Which is a pain. But I'm looking at it as an excuse to have a day off. I'm not going to wear my one and only shirt to haul bags around. Because that'll just crease it up worse than it is. So handing out resumes is out tomorrow. I could just spend that time online. But I think I'll relax for the day. Maybe buy some beers and sit on the beach in the sun. Do something that's not look for work.

Because the reality is that this week already feels like a month. Job hunting isn't fun. And if I don't take some time to focus my brain on something else, I'm going to go mental. So having to change rooms just gives me the excuse to take a day to relax. Not that I really have the time to do so. But just for my sanity. And who knows? Maybe I'll get put in a dorm with 5 bikini models currently hiring someone to help them oil-up...

I'm just saying. It could happen. Opportunities arrise from the people you know. I've said that already. So I've just got to keep my fingers crossed. Look on the bright-side.

And if things really aren't going well in a week. And the prospect of a job seems a long way off. Well this hostel hires people to do things like housekeeping. And in exchange gives them board, and 'Ocean Island Money'. That is money that can be spent around the hostel. On pretty much anything. Food. Beer. Internet time. So if nothing else comes up, I could have a word with the front desk. And although it wouldn't be ideal. I definitely wouldn't be saving money. It would be feesible to live, wholly out of this hostel. I could live here, not spending a penny outside. Food, drink, Internet, laundry... Any essential daily errand can be purchased with Ocean Island Money. So not an ideal scenario. But a possibility if all else fails. At least a way to ensure I'm not eating into the money I have. Even if I'm not saving it.

And there's a guy who was in my dorm when I moved in. He moved out, perhaps 3 nights ago. But we got along well when he was here, and exchanged contact details then. And I've since run into him in the employment centre. And last night in the bar, where we had a couple of drinks. Well the place he moved into, isn't what he thought it was. I think staying with a friend or something. But he's on their couch. So we've kind of informally said that if either of us finds a place to stay where we need a flatmate, well we'll give the other a call. So I don't know if that will materialise to anything. But we'll see. He's a really nice guy. Chilean, so could help me learn Spanish as well. And just to give you an idea, the first time I saw him, I though it was Mitch from the movie Old School. He looks just like him.

So we'll see how we go. I'm locked to Victoria for another 8 nights now. Or at least I've paid for non-refundable accomdodation. So I'll most likely be here another week. We'll see how we're going after that. And if not so well, then I'll have to start looking at my options. But all it will take, is a single phone call, and this whole blog will be obsolete. It's exactly 17:00 now. I could still have a job by the end of today. Then again, I might not have one by the end of next month. That's just the way she goes. Just got to keep on working and hoping. It's all I can do.

This is the time I regret leaving Pano. I said it would be. Now we just need to find out if I regret it long-term.

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