Saturday, January 23, 2010

Last Day

Yesterday was my last day of actuarial work, but it still hasn't really set in yet. I guess I sort of expected to feel happy or relieved or something, but I'm actually just a bit sad. I worked with some really great people, and I will miss them a lot. Everyone was amazingly supportive yesterday, coming by with words of thanks and encouragement for the future. They all wanted me to come back and visit anytime.

It was a really busy day, doing two exit interviews, finishing up all the work I had and making sure the people who would be taking them over knew where things were, and cleaning up my desk. I brought two knapsacks full of stuff to the bar with me - it's amazing how much stuff accumulates over the years.

I'm also cooking today, tomorrow, and Monday, and we're going away on Tuesday, so not having a full-time job probably won't sink in for a while. I know there are lots of things to look forward to in the future, but I guess for today, I'll just think about the past and focus on all my good memories of the past few years.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Resignation, Interview, and Olympics

Another crazy week has gone by. The biggest update is that my leave of absence was overturned. My boss asked HR about my leave and was told that policy says that personal leaves are only granted for six months or less. So I have resigned. My boss announced it to the whole office a couple of days ago. Everyone was really supportive and excited for me, which was really nice.

I have one week left, and I couldn't be more excited. I'll be really busy trying to finish everything up and pass things off to others, but it's ok because I have Hawaii to look forward to. I can't wait!

On the same day that I tendered my resignation, I applied for another job. Some of our favourite restaurants belong to a restaurant group, and they were having a job fair for jobs during the Olympics and afterwards. I went there first thing in the morning and there was already a line up of people. I expected to have to wait forever, but I was only person there who was looking for a kitchen job (everyone else was a server, I guess). There was someone there waiting to do kitchen interviews, but the executive chef from one of the restaurants we go to a lot was there and he recognized me, so he said he wanted to do the interview. We sat down and he wanted to know my story, because he was surprised to see me looking for a cooking job. But we talked really openly and had a really good conversation. He seemed to think I would fit in well, so hopefully that is a good sign. And they were looking for people in all the restaurants, I think, so I hope that means I'll be able to get something. I'm looking forward to learning how a real restaurant works.

Finally, my work schedule for the Olympics came out yesterday. I love my schedule - no overnight shifts, and I'll be working all three Canada games as well as the gold medal game. I picked up my accreditation today (my picture is pretty hideous - no smiling), but it makes it all seem real. I can't believe the Olympics is only a few weeks away. So excited!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Leave of Absence

This week has been quite a roller coaster ride. On Monday, I asked work for a leave of absence. I was really nervous that whole morning, knowing I was about to do something really huge. I thought about what I was going to say and how I was going to approach my boss, and just kept getting more and more nervous. When I couldn't take it anymore, I finally just asked him if we could talk. He saw me carrying a piece of paper into the meeting room, so instead of giving a whole speech, I just let him read it. He didn't say anything for a minute. A really long minute. So I guess he was pretty shocked. He asked a couple of questions, about why I was leaving and why I wanted to cook and the timing and stuff. But it was over pretty quickly. He had to talk to people higher up and they weren't around on Monday. So overall, Monday was an ok day.

Tuesday is when it got more difficult. My boss talked to his boss in the morning and then the three of us talked together around lunch time. They asked some pretty difficult questions. They really wanted to know the reason for me leaving, I guess to see if there was something they could fix that wouldn't involve me leaving. They were also trying to figure out whether I would actually come back or not. So I was pretty sad by the end of the conversation. They both seemed pretty disappointed that I was leaving.

I was at my cooking job that afternoon, and all I could think about was that conversation. I ended up feeling angry about it, that they were trying to make me feel guilty for leaving. I wished that I hadn't even asked for a leave of absence because quitting would have been so much easier. I also hoped that they would say no to the leave because then it would look like I had made the effort to stay but they weren't willing to give it to me.

But as soon as I got in on Wednesday morning, my boss told me that they were willing to grant me the leave, though he did also say that they couldn't guarantee what my job would be like when I got back. I was pretty surprised at that point. I guess overall I'm happy that I got it because it means they want me to come back and keep working there. But it also means that I might have to go back and say that I'm not going to come back at the end of the leave, and that will probably be difficult. But I guess I'll worry about that when the time comes.

Wednesday was also good because the one person who is going to take the leave pretty personally wasn't at work. She was there on Thursday though, and we still haven't even talked, but I know she's not happy about it at all. In the afternoon, I had to send my boss a list of the work I have to do for the next couple of weeks, and he forwarded the list to her. One of the things I wrote on my list was something that she and I had talked about giving to another colleague when the colleague returned from maternity leave. But she showed how petty she is going to be because she turned around and told me that I would have to do that work because it will be too complicated for the colleague and actually said that she never discussed giving that work to the colleague, which is a total lie. So I was pretty angry that afternoon, and I still get quite angry thinking about it now. I knew she would try to make my life difficult, but I didn't think she would be so immature about it.

Friday, I was at cooking, which was a lot of fun, and reminded me why I'm doing all this. The next couple of weeks will probably be pretty painful and busy, but I guess I just need to suck it up for two more weeks because it will all be worth it after that. I can't wait.

P.S. Happy Birthday Jo!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Protector Supporters

Over the past couple of days, I have been completing assessment tests sent to me by a career counsellor. The results of the tests will be discussed with my counsellor in an appointment a couple of weeks from now, but there was a personality test that was self-scorable. It identified me as a Protector Supporter (introvert, sensing, feeling, judging). Some frequent career choices made by Protector Supporters are service occupations, teaching, medicine, social work, or ministry health care. However, the most interesting part was a write up based on conversations with people with my personality type. The description was pretty spot on. Unfortunately, it doesn't say much about what it means in terms of my career, but I thought it was pretty cool that a simple test could capture my personality so accurately. I have written it out below.

What's it like to be you?

I like feeling I have helped someone with a concern, helped them figure out, deal with, and resolve the problem, knowing that what I recommended or advised really did help that person.

I am fairly quiet with an easygoing attitude and am modest to some extent. I do not mind being alone, although I do like to be with people too. I like having friends, and family is the most important thing in my life. I am a reluctant leader - I like to have some say in things and I am glad I am doing it, but if things go well with someone else as leader, then that doesn't bother me. Privacy is important, though it's nice to be thought of well by others. I like to have some independence; to be able to come and go as I please is nice.

I am dependable and conscientious. I have a big sense of obligation with work. Doing a good job is really important to me. Give me specifics and a plan on how you want me to do it. Brainstorming is generally harder - it's a skill to acquire. I prefer to work by myself without distractions because I like things done a certain way. It's taken me a while to learn that my work is much better quality when I'm drawing from those who see things differently. They help keep up my enthusiasm. And I get upset when work backs up - and it probably takes me longer than most people to do something because I am so thorough. But when I have learned a lot about what I do, I think I get the job done much faster and I can make difficult work look easy. I cannot stand people not doing their best job. I do what I say I'm going to do and stick with it until it's done. And I can find myself overcommitted. It's important to me to be able to say "ok, this is enough responsibility for now, I don't have to climb that ladder at any cost."

Organization has always been a real strength. I do it all internally, in my head. I am fairly detail oriented and a very structured person. I have to have things in a certain place, with a plan and things prioritized, so I can leave things and pick up the next day where I left off. Being structured is a natural thing to me, to want to have things set.

I dislike conflict. I really care about treating people with a lot of respect. It's an emotional drain when I have to deal with different opinions and reconcile everyone. I give an opinion based on what I think is fair and what's been done in the past. What's decided for one person shouldn't really be any different than for another. I respect that people are certainly entitled to feel the way they fell, but in working or living together, decisions have to be made and things have to go a certain way. I need positive feedback that I'm doing a good job and that my opinions are similar to the opinions of others, to hear "yes, I think that same thing." I worry when there's disagreement. I question myself. I've learned to challenge what I don't feel is right, especially if someone does something to me that I don't feel I would have done to that person.

Anything really major in my life can take forever to decide. I look to what matters to people, talk to them and get their ideas, then put it all together into something that satisfies everyone. I am more comfortable preparing first and then starting something, after I've pictured it in my mind, rehearsed it, and perfected it. I feel I do a good job expressing myself when I have a chance to prepare, although I do better in reflection. Answering questions on the spur of the moment can be hard too. I will take something minor and get all freaked out when it's nothing to get upset about. I'm very methodical and prefer things to be laid out. If it's a problem with me and another person, I can analyze the situation endlessly until I talk to the person again and straighten it out.

I consider myself adaptable to anyone. I feel that a lot of people think I am a nice person, and because I was always there for them in the past and willing to help, they try to take advantage of me. But as long as you are doing something okay with your life, then you are okay with me.

I need acknowledgment from people who I really care about. Compliments can be embarrassing face to face, though. A paycheque is nice recognition too. I like a day when everything works really well, when I get a lot done, people respond very positively, and there is a lot of laughter. I have an unusual sense of humour, and I like laughter.

In other news, things with my parents are a little better. We exchanged some long emails last week and I think they don't necessarily agree with my decision, but at least are a bit more ok with it. They even helped me with what to say to my boss on Monday, and it was actually really helpful.

It hasn't really hit me that on Monday my life will change dramatically. If I think about it too much, I get really nervous. I think I'm mostly worried about what my colleagues will think about me. Most of them will probably be pretty shocked, and some will be probably be disappointed. I'm getting nervous just thinking about it now, so I think it's time to end this post. Until Monday...