Now what??

So I had come to the conclusion that I didn’t enjoy working in retail, especially with a bachelors degree, but I wasn’t getting many interviews, despite applying for 3-5 jobs a week. Around the same time a wonderful boy, and some new friends came into my life. Many of them had just graduated as well, and had fallen into full time jobs through temp agencies. I saw this as my way out of retail, and into the working world. 

I contacted two temporary staffing agencies in Calgary, Robert Half Office Team, and Mark Staffing. I was interviewed by both agencies, and completed skill testing for my computer program skills like Microsoft Word and Excel. I aced the tests, and both agencies seemed to really like me. I was well on my way to being a full time temp employee, and hopefully landing a full time job, or so I thought. It took a few weeks, but I got a call one day from Office Team that they had a job in a big company’s HR department for a six-week contract. Before they gave me the companies name I had to accept the job, so I did, and learned I would be working at Shaw Communications for 6-weeks with the possibility of my contract being extended, or the job becoming permanent. So I gave my notice to the Gap, and prepared to start at Shaw, a company that has been high on my list of companies to work for since I started university.

I started at Shaw, and was given a really cool project within an awesome team of ladies. Shaw was going paperless in some of their HR reporting, so my job was to validate the hierarchy within the organization. That involved managing a hierarchy validation tool, as well as contacting all the leaders in the organization or their assistants. On a daily basis I was communicating with the CEO, Senior Vice Presidents and Team leaders within the organization of over 15,000 employees. Once the validation was completed, I was in charge of creating a new hire package that incorporated the new branding that Shaw had recently started using. I was really enjoying my time at Shaw, and made some great connections while I was there. One of the people I met with was the Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility. She was great, and I think she would have loved to hire me if she had it in her budget to do so. 

Six weeks flew by, and before I knew it I was meeting with my boss to discuss my future at Shaw. Once again, she said she would have loved to hire me, but unfortunately, with it being the middle of their fiscal year, there was no budget left. My contract at Shaw would be ending on schedule, and starting the next Monday, I would be unemployed. No Gap and no Shaw. Later on that week, I got a call from a job I had applied for before I even started at Shaw. Decidedly Jazz, was finally looking at interviewing for the job they had advertised a few weeks before I started at Shaw. 

I had a few days to prepare for my interview, and was a little worried going in that I didn’t have the qualifications required. However, they wanted to interview me, and they knew I didn’t have all the qualifications, so maybe that was okay. I got to my interview, and knew almost instantly that the job wasn’t going to be mine. The lady interviewing seemed to like me, but it was clear through her questions that I wasn’t experienced enough for the role regardless of my passion for marketing and non-profits.

I left my interview, not very optimistic, and with a fire under my bum to find a job that I was qualified for.



Where my troubles all began.

So I finished off my last post with my return from 2 months in Asia. I had an amazing time, met great people, tried some delicious food, and saw some of the wonders of the world! I also returned with a maxed out visa at $7500, a $1000 over withdrawal limit on mt debit card to dip into, and no job or paycheck anywhere on the horizon.

I solicited my housework slave for hire skills to my family and friends, and luckily have wonderful grandparents and parents who let me clean their garages, basements, walls and floors for some money while I spread my resume around anywhere I could. I also contacted my former boss at the Gap who was kind enough to “interview” me and hire me as a part-time sales associate. Boy was I ever putting that hard-earned management degree to good use! (not.) So I worked at the Gap, usually from around 6 or 7 am until 3 or 4 pm. I came home from work and job hunted, wrote cover letters and applied for jobs. I was making just enough money to survive, and chip away a little over the minimum payment at a time on my credit card when the best thing happened towards the end of August (a month and a half after I got home from my trip). A company wanted to interview me!! YAY!

So I arranged for the time off work, as I had to drive to Edmonton where the head office of the company I would be working for in Calgary was located. It was a small digital marketing company specializing mostly in website design and development. They were looking for some young blood, as the account manager position that I was being interviewed for had seen a lot of turnover in the past 2 years. They wanted positivity, creativity and energy, perfect for me!

The interview went well, they informed me it was an account management job with a sales undertone. I was to manage the accounts and make the clients happy and try to bring in some new clients on the side. It would be easy because the account management team in Edmonton had been doing it from a distance for months. I was told that with being the only account manager in the Calgary office, the opportunities for promotions and even to become a partner in the company were quite likely. They offered me the job, with a not so good salary, but I would make 5% commission on all sales I made which would bring my salary up to around $55,000 if I had my monthly targets. So I accepted the job without a second thought, and was SO excited to be starting my career.

The first month went pretty well, I exceeded my sales target by $7000. My boss was so impressed and talked about it being the best first month any account manager had had, sweeeeet, I was going to rock this job! Then month 2 came around, my only coworker in Calgary informed me he had given his notice and would be leaving the company by Christmas. I was worried because my current position had sat vacant for 4 months, and I was not keen on being a brand new employee managing an entire city’s clients on my own. I also started hitting some walls within my job, and really struggling with the constant “no’s” I was getting from my mandatory 100 cold calls a week. I realized I wasn’t passionate about selling websites, and the cold calls were getting more and more difficult for me, especially when I wasn’t hitting my sales quotas, and I did not enjoy business trips to Edmonton to stay in a hotel by myself for a job I wasn’t enjoying or good at. Sales, in this scenario, and with the prospect of being Calgary’s only employee, were not my thing. So I made a very risky, and potentially regrettable decision. I was going to quit my first career job 3 months after starting.

I called up my manager at the Gap, and begged for my job back. She promised hours over the busy holiday shopping season and thought I could get about 25-35 hours a week after Christmas, but couldn’t make any guarantees. I sat down with my Dad and told him about my financial issues. I was slowly paying off my credit cards, but with my bills in my new condo, and the prospect of losing my salary, I was worried. We came to an agreement that instead of him contributing to my savings fund for the year he would erase my debt for me, so long as I promised that when I was financially stable again I would contribute that $5000 back into my savings account myself.

So I started working at the Gap again, was getting pretty consistent hours, and for a while wasn’t really minding it. At some point in early January, I got really frustrated, and this may seem silly to many of you, but hopefully a few of you will also understand. I got so sick of coming to work and being asked to sweep or vacuum the floors. It just hit me all of a sudden one day that I was a university graduate, being asked to sweep the floors by people who I could have been managing if I’d gotten a job at the Gap corporate office right out of university. This was not a realistic job for me, or even one I wanted, but just that thought, to me was the breaking point.

Back to the beginning.

I guess I should start off by telling you a bit about myself. I’m an ambitious 24 year old, who graduated from university almost 2 years ago, and I can’t find a job to save my life! I can’t say I’ve made the smartest decisions in my life, but I have been 99.9% happy with the decisions I have made.

I went to university at the ripe old age of 18. Freshly legal and excited for the next chapter in my life, I started by Bachelor of Management degree with a major in Marketing. I was going to change the world of advertising one brilliant idea at a time. My first semester went pretty well, I got good grades, made great friends and had a blast! Second semester didn’t go so well, my grades started slipping, by best friend and boyfriend at the time didn’t go to the same school as me, so I was preoccupied with driving back and forth to Calgary, and didn’t focus on school as much as I should have. The end of second year is when you can apply to enter your faculty, which in my case was the Faculty of Management. After my first year of up and down marks, I had A LOT of work to do, in order to have a high enough GPA to enter the program. Miraculously, and with a lot of hard work, I got in by the skin of my teeth, and it was pretty much smooth sailing from there, at least as far as school goes.

I fell in love with my marketing classes, discovered a Social Responsibility minor that changed the course of my career goals, and continued to have the time of my life with friends and the overall university experience. Second year for me was in 2008, the year the recession hit, and for most of my friends and classmates the year our future careers and life paths became a lot less certain. I was lucky to still have 3 years left in school, and the situation could have been a lot worse, but this event was definitely a contributing factor to the situation I am currently in. The co-op program, which is basically a summer internship program, was a pretty much a guarantee the year before, but by the time I could apply, the jobs available had dropped by about 60%. I applied for every marketing job that was posted through the program, and had quite a few interviews, but with very few jobs, and the economy so uncertain, jobs were hard to come by, and I wasn’t chosen for any of the jobs.

By the time 4th year came along, which happened all too fast for my liking, I was getting pretty steady marks in the B+ to A+ range. My classes were making sense, I was so excited to get out in the real world and use all my expensive and new found knowledge. Best of all, I was accepted to the International Work Study program through my university that allowed me to go work abroad in Malaysia for 6 weeks. This was great, since the co-op program didn’t work out for me, I would still graduate with some work experience under my belt, and in a foreign country to boot. Read about my work study, and travel experiences in my previous blog here. Upon my return from my 6 weeks in Malaysia followed by 3 weeks of traveling in Asia, I was officially a university graduate and ready to take on the world. I was excited to job hunt, move out of my parents house, and get on with the life I had pictured.

So the job hunt began. I was working 2 jobs at the time, luckily one of them was at my Dad’s office and part of my job description was to job hunt for at least 1 hour a day. I applied for quite a few jobs, was second pick for many of them, and still had no job about 6 months later. This is when I started to make some not so smart (but so worth it at the same time) decisions. For example… going traveling to Asia for 2 months very little money (since I was just finishing paying off my Malaysia trip), no savings, no job to return to, and a $7500 visa limit. Apparently that was not the smartest money/life choice, but like I said.. so worth it! I returned after having the time of my life, with no money, no job, $7500 on my visa, a lifetime full of great memories, and wonderful pictures.

And this is where my troubles all began…

If you are interested to hear the rest of my story, and keep up to date on my never ending search for a job and financial freedom tune in for my next post in the next few days!