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MaryJane

And Then There Was Me

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MaryJane

A very good day to all! Sorry I do not write as eloquently as some of my friends on this forum do but if you have some time, I hope to share my newcomer tales with you.

I'm probably not the last one of the batch, but it really felt like being left behind when all my "batch"mates started leaving for Canada...there was Syndre, Jeanne, OutofSA, freddy and others. To a certain extent, I thought them leaving would give me more preparation for when I leave. But I suppose immigration affects people differently and there is no amount of research that really prepares you emotionally for a new country.

I was very happy to have landed in December after waiting for almost a year to activate our visa. We thought it was perfect timing. I was still working till October to gather enough money to bring across. Kids were ending school in SA and it was all laid out.

It was winter and we've experienced different levels of snow. We had a look around the GTA the first few days and Montreal over the holidays. It was a break. But it didn't feel like one to me. You see, I've been out of work since November and being a bum for so long has not been sitting well with me. Of course, I neglect to mention that during this time I was also studying to take exams and packing stuff like mad.

Anyways, getting back to it, my feelings of anxiety were more compounded when hubby got a job, and family and friends kept asking if I've found one myself already. Hubby put it down to "You're not seriously looking yet, so why are you worried?" I shrugged it off but thought about it endlessly. I applied to about 5 advertised posts a day with no luck.

When we eventually came back to the GTA, I furiously continued my search. Still no luck. I moaned about it everyday to my husband. After one week, I had to change my tactic. It was slowly driving me psycho. (Remember I've been on the job hunt since the holidays...)

So I concentrated on the search less. Registered with some newcomer centres, attended some job search workshops on how to improve my resume and interview tactics. Hired a rental and learned to drive the "right" way in the wrong side of the car. With kids already in school and hubby left to start work in a faraway land, getting the licence was priority #1, then getting a job.

Don't get me wrong, I still applied to jobs when I actually sat down to it. But I did that about twice a week for about 2/3 hours (Fixing up the resume to match the ad is SOOO time-consuming. I've got like 8 different sets). Plus to pre-empt people from asking, I'd post regular updates on Facebook to tell them how we, the family, were doing. Like in about every 14/15 days. I visited the SACanada forum like almost twice a day to see how everyone was doing but did not comment as much as I was in the doldrums (I did not want to infect anyone else with my "depression"). This became my therapy.

Licence-wise, as mentioned previously, I went for my G1 on Jan 21 and passed. Booked for my G test 2 weeks later. The rental was expensive and I had to make a plan fast. Was all nervous at the test, like I haven't been driving for 15 years. Etobicoke had the reputation of being the 3rd highest fail rates in all of Ontario. :o Examiner tells me to turn right and I indicated to turn left. Of course, that was not right (pun intended) as I needed to get onto the highway. So he reminded me that I must turn right. Did some hellraising stunt on the highway like only a Joburg woman driver can...in my mini Mazda 2. In the end, he had no words to say. I looked at him crushed but he just handed me some paper and said "It's a pass". A "pass" for comments maybe?

I am thrilled at the good news.:D Went to Tim Hortons and drowned my happiness with a hot chocolate.

But of course, the crux of the matter is I was still jobless and I needed to change that. As I was not getting callbacks applying at accounting jobs, I decided to play up my other strong suit, the ADMIN. I applied for admin support, admin clerk, admin assistant, anything admin....with a bit of bookkeeping involved, naturally. Tailored my resume one Sunday evening for 3 jobs, remembered all that I learnt at the job search workshop and applied those to my resumes and cover letters. (BTW, the advice being given here on the forum are exactly similar, if not more practical, to the ones at the workshop) And my resumes were off!

Monday, every single one of them phoned for an interview. Yes! Finally my foot in the door...oh well, their boardroom/office door at least. Can't wait to dazzle. The first 2 interviews went well although it was established around midway the interview that (a) I was not suitable for the position I applied for, being admin, and that (b ) they had other plans for me anyway and they just wanted to see me. Both came back with offers although one of them offered a not-really-so-bad unpaid accountant intern position. I went with the paid one, of course. And I am happy to say that I have now been stricken from the unemployment roll....for the time being.

So I think this has been long enough. I now have to go out and celebrate and buy myself a Tim Hortons. I think I'll go to the newcomer centre and just hang out. Can't go update my FB status because it's only due on the 15th :D . Maybe I'll keep this for myself for now. I'll look at cars instead. I'll do some more research, going through SACanada forum for car buying, 'cause there's free printing at the centre. Plus my daughter just SMSed to congratulate me and is hitting me for a $25 weekly allowance now. So I'll go klap her one.

PS I think the last one of our batch might be annied.

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Freddy

Congratulation MJ and wishing you the best on the job.

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Lovely, humorous, true-to-heart-&-life and uplifting account! I enjoyed reading that and hope we hear more along the lines of your adjustments to and settling down in Canada.smile.gif

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Nelline

Great!!! Such good news!!!

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Dedré

Mary-Jane, SO SO happy for you and congratulations.

With regards to leaving almost last... it was the same for us. One-by-one we saw people off at the airport and there was no joy for us in the future.. (or so I thought). That feeling of some-day and then dusting yourself off again does prepare one a bit more for Canada, don't you think?

Now that you have "lots" of money, go to the shops and buy clothes on sale. Be picky. Now is the right time to buy. Retailers make space for their spring stock. Yesterday I picked up a pair of black suede jeans, that was marked off from $65 to $7!!! Its skinny, but I like it! Go treat yourself for all your great hard work!

Being able to choose your job out of 3 is a great joy. GOOD JOB!

Glad you are feeling better!

Oh... since you love hot chocolate... try Starbucks next time, take the cream on top and ask for extra caramel drizzle on top... MMMMmmmmm. I love it. But one can only do that once a month... :( Not because of the price, but because of the calories!

Have fun. Congrats again and you did a GREAT job.

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

With regards to leaving almost last... it was the same for us. One-by-one we saw people off at the airport and there was no joy for us in the future.. (or so I thought). That feeling of some-day and then dusting yourself off again does prepare one a bit more for Canada, don't you think?

I remember those days for you guys.hug.gif

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Merv

Good for you guys MaryJane, will you be coming through to the get together at the Niblick in Oakville tonight?

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Jules

A very good day to all! Sorry I do not write as eloquently as some of my friends on this forum do but ...

I think your name should be Pinocchio.

;-)

You are a very good writer. Thoroughly enjoyed that.

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Wolverine

great story. the way you put it is fun but also so real.

congrats on your job

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MaryJane

Good for you guys MaryJane, will you be coming through to the get together at the Niblick in Oakville tonight?

Hi Merv

Sorry I won't be able to make it tonight. But you guys enjoy!

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MaryJane

Thank you guys! I am most grateful for the encouraging words. :blush:

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OutOfSa

Hey MJ

Awesome news about the Jobs, I think I need to PM you for your secrets - my wife was also doing accounting stuff - which we downgraded to Admin. She's still struggling to get the interviews. The simple truth about being here is it's REALLY TOUGH! Others have said it before - 'immigration is not for woosies..."

Congrats on getting your G licence, that was smart.

I don't want to go back, but some days Canada can come at you with hob-nail-boots on and really give it to you. Then you have to lick some wounds for a bit and come back for another beating. They tell me the beatings seem to lessen with time, and I believe they do, it's just rough.

I liked your story, it has a happy ending.

BTW, I love driving in snow - it reminds me of being a teen on sand roads, back in the 80's in SA. I was a hooligan then :D

As for the 'crazy Joburg Chick on freeway' - ah, what a beautiful image that placed into my head ! :lol:

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Dedré

Hi Craig, (sorry to hi-jack your thread MJ), please hang in there. Some people have it way harder than others, and I hope and believe it would not be for you guys. You will have a happy ending soon. We are rooting for you and pray for the best. You are here now and will get a job. Money is probably running out now and all that stuff... so I know its easier said than done, but you are a tough guy with strong motivations and can do this. Praying that its all coming together soon! (((HUGSS))) to your wife if its hard for her too.

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ENGinCT

Mary Jane, congratulations - the way you went at the job-find process, and adapted your tactics to suit the circumstances, is a great lesson! Well done!

I think I'm one of the last still here from our approximate 'time-batch' - AnnieD now has one foot firmly in Halifax already - but am finding the 4 months I have left to be very crammed already... so much to settle or end off :-)

OOSA - hang in there, things will turn very soon. You've already taken care of all the essentials, and well too.

Vasbyt!

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Tracey22

The newcomer centres can provide useful opportunities. I have done mentoring through my company's volunteer programme, at a couple centres either through churches or at the newcomer centres themselves. Where we have seen potential in immigrants, we have given them opportunities to interview for jobs with the bank. We offered 2 people positions about 3 months ago.

Edited by Tracey22
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annied

It' me, I'm here

Got back from halifax last week. It was wonderful

Hubby is still there, he has converted his diving ticket, so now he can work in canada. He is looking for work and rentals (that allow dogs) and tackling his drivers licence etc

There is SO much admin stuff to do once you have landed

I plan to return at the end of June

I must pack up the house and sell the cars. We will be renting out the house at first and then put it on the market next year (after painting it etc)

I also wanted to "rake in extra cash". It is financial year ends now and IRP5 time. I have to make enough money to cover the cost of the container and my (and the dogs) plane tickets

Feb-may is the most profitable time at work, and I haven't given notice yet. Oops

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Dedré

Wow, sounds like allot to do still. Good luck!

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MaryJane

Awesome news about the Jobs, I think I need to PM you for your secrets - my wife was also doing accounting stuff - which we downgraded to Admin.

Hi Craig, I might indeed have a secret or two to tell.....

I've been told to customise my resume to the ad. And after a while, I just copied and pasted exactly what it said on the advert onto my resume. Yep, you read it right. "Copied and pasted", no originality at all. Felt bad at first but in the end, I thought " what the heck!"

I don't know if that helped or not, but certainly got me the interviews. And that's all I really wanted. Didn't think I'd get the job. I just thought of the interviews as feedback to what was lacking in my resume and what I needed to enhance/makie it stand out more.

I also tried to target and apply for jobs that were directly posted by the company themselves.

No offense to anybody working for employment agencies here, but I found them the least responsive to my resume even with the "cut and paste" technique. I went as far as trying to register with one of them, "Accountemps", and was told straight up over the phone that I needed Canadian experience to be registered with them. No use having all these years of working if they're not from Canada. And since I couldn't really manufacture some Canadian experience at that time, I left it at that.

I had my resume on Monster, Workopolis, Jobbank....and although wary, I occasionally looked at Kijiji. (BTW, one of my interviews came from here).

And what Tracey22 said is true. The newcomer centres were a big help. I was gunning for the mentorship program. There were also unpaid internship available but they were only starting in March. See, I was even considering going unpaid just to get the Canadian experience. As long as of course, it is not too long, like 3 months or so.

Edited by MaryJane
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MaryJane

Mary Jane, congratulations - the way you went at the job-find process, and adapted your tactics to suit the circumstances, is a great lesson! Well done!

I think I'm one of the last still here from our approximate 'time-batch' - AnnieD now has one foot firmly in Halifax already - but am finding the 4 months I have left to be very crammed already... so much to settle or end off :-)

OOSA - hang in there, things will turn very soon. You've already taken care of all the essentials, and well too.

Vasbyt!

I stand corrected indeed. ENGinCT, you are the last of the lot! :lol: Wait till you get to the last month, week, days....everything will start coming to you all at once. But take it all in, it's a good ride!

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MaryJane

It' me, I'm here

Got back from halifax last week. It was wonderful

Hubby is still there, he has converted his diving ticket, so now he can work in canada. He is looking for work and rentals (that allow dogs) and tackling his drivers licence etc

There is SO much admin stuff to do once you have landed

I plan to return at the end of June

I must pack up the house and sell the cars. We will be renting out the house at first and then put it on the market next year (after painting it etc)

I also wanted to "rake in extra cash". It is financial year ends now and IRP5 time. I have to make enough money to cover the cost of the container and my (and the dogs) plane tickets

Feb-may is the most profitable time at work, and I haven't given notice yet. Oops

Can't wait for your stories next.... :P

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Dedré

Mary-Jane, you are so right with your approach. I have been told by a very good friend here in Calgary that when you apply for a job at the City of Calgary you need to paste the add at the end of your resume and say: "I am applying for this job: '...' ". Apparently because they use search engines (which makes sense) that look for certain key words in your resume, and only print it to be placed on the hiring managers desk once those key words have been found!

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Jeanne

CONGRATS Mary-Jane, welcome to the working force. You did very well believe me.

It took my husband 6 months to get a job and we are really blessed with the excellent offer he got. We are way better off here than we've ever been in SA. You are so right, being unemployed really sucks. My husband commented the other day that he would definitely NOT do this again. He's also an accountant - so called people that only take calculated risks, or so he thought, nothing can prepare you for immigration though ;).

I firmly believe in making use of all the help you can get. I got 2 jobs through The Centre (http://thecentre.on.ca/) and would recommend these centre's to anyone. Free of charge and extremely helpful.

Keep on posting!

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MaryJane

Okay, so we've passed the 6-month mark without anything major happening.

Found a job for hubby out here in Mississauga and coaxed him to come for the interview. I don't know what it is but he makes getting a job look so easy, I am jealous as hell. Always gets it the first time. Within a month, he was back in Mississauga.

Started off living in 2 rooms and we have now gotten ourselves "underneath" the house - a walk-out basement apartment. Living smaller than what we are accustomed to in SA, but certainly much bigger than the 2 rooms we had for a while. Dressing the house was a bit of a shocker. Had to buy beds, couch, TV, you-name-it, etc. etc....Both hubby and my credit cards were smoking by the end of our shopping spree. Not to mention that I had to top it all up the same night so that we could use the cards again in the morning.

Slowly realised that without credit history, it's a bad, bad world out there. I couldn't even get credit to buy a TV at BestBuy. Got mad at the retailer for declining me credit. But couldn't resist and used my bank's credit card to buy the TV on sale.

This goes without saying that we will not be buying a house....not just yet. Without much credit history, we decided not to risk it. I couldn't stand another rejection...or eventually going into negative points on my credit check, whichever one comes first. So we will wait it out a year or two. We will rise from the ashes and save more deposit for a house.

Went to Ikea for their crazy summer sale a few weeks ago. Made arrangements not to pick up kids that afternoon. Hubby was at work and couldn't accompany me. So I ended up hauling 2 cabinets all by my lonesome that evening. I don't know....something about going to crazy summer sales make a lady more loco than usual. Very grateful for the guy waiting for my parking spot as he helped me load the cabinets onto the car.

3-month review came up at work. Employer said she was happy with my work....blah, blah, blah....although she does realise that she is underpaying me for the work that I do, the pre-set miniscule salary adjustment will only be coming on the 6th month. This made me sad. I agree with her that it was low and it was becoming difficult but I don't go on. I don't nag. I don't demand. I'm a doormat.

Decided to keep my mouth shut but my options open. Ain't gonna go anywhere soon. Not until I get something else anyway. Tried to remember how difficult it was to find a job when I first started out - the agony, the endless wait, the silence of getting no feedback.....and then I thought, "nothing to lose now, what the hell". Started visiting jobsites again, posting resumes, applying.

Weeks go by. Nothing. On a chance saw an ad posted on LinkedIn (of all places). Sent prospective employer my resume and some heartfelt truth about me. Had a phone interview. Had a face-to-face interview. Had another face-to-face interview. Got the offer. Not underpaid anymore, hahaha...now only just slightly. Haven't gotten par with SA salary yet, but getting there. And the best part was that the office was an 8-minute drive from home.

Resigned yesterday. First words out of employer was that she was gonna give me an increase. Told her it's not about the money. Distance to office, picking up kids from school, etc. etc. Used all that I knew about SA HR arsenal about reasons for resignation, without mentioning money. Got offered some more money. Got offered even more money than I can dream of (at the moment). Got offered a personal nanny for my kids....?

I stood my ground. I've done this many times before. Which actually sounds bad but is not meant that way, eh? Just being candid.

On my way home, the skies open up and cry with me. Tears of joy, I think. And I'm off to the unknown.

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Sideline

thats brilliant, sometimes its not all about the money, but about what makes you happier.

Imagine the other side of all that sudden increased offerings, along with a personal nanny? More hours expected out of your flesh to "make good" on your new salary? Maybe not what you needed after all :ilikeit:

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Tracey22

Your mention of IKEA, makes me think of the ad with that crazy woman telling her husband to drive (before IKEA relaises they undercharged her)!!

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