Tag Archives: work

Canterbury Thoughts on my Way to Work

Canterbury Thoughts on my Way to Work

Mindy M. Wara Maciolek

March 11, 2013


The cool March sun begins to break through the thick traffic.

Weathered ice, gritty with sand, leads me from the parkade.

Tailored suits and peacoats drift past as they shuffle in masses

to board meetings with their smart phones in hand.



Pilgrims weathered grooves into Canterbury steps,

polishing the marble with their knees.

They carried burdens instead of briefcases,

and relics instead of flash drives.


The ice, heavy underfoot, is worn with daily footprints

and shows no sign of melting.


First Week as Part of the 480 Group

So my first week of work went off without a hitch. I read A LOT about accounting and Canadian taxes. I haven’t met all the tenants of the “480 Group” since many are on vacation, but they will be trickling into the office in the next few weeks. Even though it has only been a week, I already feel comfortable there; this is definitely a good sign.

When you walk into the office, this is what you see:


… my desk…

You can’t see my Wonder Woman mug, but it is there.


Now I just have to decide which Valentine’s Day treat to make for next week.

I Finally Started My New Job!

Everything ran smoothly this morning: I woke up on time, my bangs didn’t do the weird thing they do sometimes, I had picked out my clothes the night before (and changed my mind this morning), I remembered my lunch, and I got to work with time to spare. I should mention for anyone who is not familiar with Saskatoon that the parking downtown is horrible. The city was not made to expand in the way that it has and because of this finding a parking spot in an expensive nightmare. I was fortunate enough to have a parking ramp suggested for me by one of the other people in the office last week so I knew where I was going. (Yup, I did a Google Earth search to see what it looked like, found directions on Google Maps, and even checked the parking website to find out that it would cost $7.50 to park there everyday.)

I was completely at ease pulling into my parking spot fifteen minutes before I needed to be in the office. Then, when I went to pay for the parking pass at the kiosk, I was hit with the sudden news that the kiosk only accepted change and credit card – it also costs $10 to park for the day and the website is out of date. Awesome. Of course, I had a few loonies in my purse, but I had planned on paying with the $5 bill tucked in my wallet. I calmly slide my debit card into the machine. It was denied twice, even though there is enough money in our checking. I plunked the few loonies I had into the machine and dashed across the street and down the block to my building. Luckily, after explaining my parking dilemma, the woman who suggested the parking ramp loaned me another $5 and I got change at the coffee shop downstairs.

After the daunting task of paying for parking, my day got much better. There are only a few people in the shared office and several of them are currently on vacations. I met four of the people in our office today, they were all very welcoming and ready to give me work right away. (I was so glad for this, since I have had so many first days of observing, training, and reading associate modules). Though there was a few things to get acclimated to (especially the phone with many lines and even more buttons), everything ran smoothly.

Since part of my job description will be “bookkeeper”, I was given some basic accounting materials to familiarize myself with since I have absolutely no background in this type of work. At first I felt smothered with jargon, but once I got the hang of it, the materials started making sense. This is the only part of the job that makes me nervous. Answer phones, greet people, paperwork, filing, and data entry? No problem. Bookkeeping and accounting? Terrifying. I am not a math person. I keep thinking of this as a challenge – a way to prove to myself that I can learn difficult material outside of my comfort zone.

I think I will be comfortable in this office. There are adults to talk to, but there is time to be alone with my work. I have a reason to get dressed up beyond yoga pants and a sweatshirt that nannying did not give me. I finally have the chance to meet people over the age of four for the first time in seven months. And there is always delicious coffee at my disposal.


1:100 Applicants

I was offered a job! I real job to which I get to wear skirts and blazers and slacks (a word my grandmother uses)! I am so tired of wearing yoga pants and hoodies while I chase someone else’s children around their dirty house.

If you regularly read my posts, you probably saw my post Today. from January 10th (it was very angsty  I can’t say that I am altogether proud of that post since it reminded me of the pseudo beat poetry that I wrote in high school and have  since grown away from – but I was really pissed off); if you didn’t here is the gist: upon returning from Wisconsin and getting married, I was greeted with a text from the family I worked for stating that they wouldn’t need me for over a month and that I wouldn’t be receiving any compensation during this time. Jason and i were in panic since we rely on my paychecks from week to week since he is currently a grad student. Our first month of marriage has been spent spending the money we received from our lovely wedding guests and with me going insane from being cooped up in the house all day every day.

Anyway, now that you are caught up, I had been applying to every position I could imagine being somewhat qualified for – I even re-posted my resume on the nanny finder websites that found me my other two nanny positions even though I really do not want to nanny any longer. I applied to be sales managers, receptionists, data entry specialists, bookkeepers, and many other positions that are not teaching. I even put my name and resume in to several employment agencies, thanks to the suggestion of my friend and former employer, Kyla (please check out her blog).

I should clarify – my work permit states that I can work anywhere in Saskatchewan – except in education, brothels, or in the medical field – awesome, since I spent seven years at the university learning how to teach.

Last week I had three interviews. One with Saskjobs to help me scratch the surface of the Saskatoon job market, one with a marketing office for a receptionist/bookkeeper position (both things I have never done before, but feel I could figure out pretty easily), and an interview to nanny for two young children. I put on my big-girl clothes, heels, and the jewelry Jason gave me last Sweetest Day (for luck and fanciness), chiseled the ice and snow off of the Jetta, and made my way to downtown Saskatoon.

At the Saskjobs interview, I was greeted by a very sweet middle aged man named Curt, who took me into my office and fawned over my resume, cover letter, and reference letters that I had collected over the past few years. Our half hour session grew to over an hour as he explained to me that about 20% of the jobs available are advertised online, the other 80% are never advertised. He gave me tips on how to conduct informational interviews to get my foot in the door and directed me to the following links (which I strongly suggest you check out if you are looking for work):

My next interview was with a marketing company, or rather, the shared office that this company in which it is located. I was interviewed by a sharp looking woman with a great blazer. I twisted an explanation for over an hour how my education as an educator made me the right candidate for the receptionist/bookkeeper position I was applying for (even though I have absolutely no experience with bookkeeping, and have limited experience as a receptionist, but I technically had my own desk and occasionally did paperwork and answered phones at the Women’s Center where I worked as an undergrad). Surprisingly, she sounded interested and told me she would be in contact within the next week. I left feeling pretty confidant.

Finally, I had an interview with a family of two professors and their two children to be their nanny. I reluctantly crept up to their house and parked across the street. The house looked normal enough and there was no red flags, but I really didn’t want to go back to doing someone else’s laundry and picking up toys for a living. Then, upon entering the house, there were the red flags. There was loud bongo music in the background, playground equipment in the basement and living room, and mounds of toys scattered about the house. The older of the two children was running around like mad and was never redirected to a different activity while his mother tried to interview me. I learned that her and her husband tried the attachment based parenting approach (which I have read about, but did not realize meant never telling your child “no” or having one second of silence). I could barely think to answer her slightly vague questions while I was asked several times to refuel the boy’s airplane or while she was breast feeding her child of nearly two. The smoke alarm kept going off since she was cooking dinner while we talked and with all the interruptions I could barely think to answer the questions. I didn’t try too hard. I knew we needed the money, but I couldn’t see myself working here for over a dollar less than I was making at my other nanny positions and twice as much cleaning responsibilities.

I explained the day of interviews to Jason when I picked him up from work, and he agreed that if I got a call from the attachment parents, I should definitely not take the position.

As soon as I got home, I got a call from the marketing office. If I could make it in, they wanted me to come for a second interview the following morning. I couldn’t believe it.

I got dressed up again, took a deep breathe, and took the elevator to the 8th floor again. I met with a gruff, but business-like man, in a green tie. He was candid. There were over 100 applicants for this position, about 80 were qualified, 4 had gotten interviews. He explained to me that I was not qualified for this job and there was another candidate that they were considering, but that I would fit into their work environment well. He was going on holiday to Hawaii for two weeks. I would hear from the woman I met with next week either way.

The next day, Friday morning, I received an e-mail asking to verify a few things about my work permit. A few hours later, I got a call from the woman in the sharp blazer. 1:100, I got the position. I start in a week.


I am beside myself.

I have been laid off in a text from wiping the asses of someone else’s children.

She hurt her back.

My husband does not make enough to support us.                                 He is a grad student.

I can’t get a straight answer about paperwork for teaching. I cannot use my degree.

I cancelled the vet appointment for the cat. We can’t afford it.

We were living off of my sad little pay check.

I have been laid off in a text from wiping the asses of someone else’s children.

We can’t afford it.

I should quit out of principle. A text?

After all I do for someone else’s children?

I have been laid off in a text from wiping the asses of someone else’s children.

We were living off of my sad little pay check.

We can’t afford it.


Student Loans?

We can’t afford it.


We can’t afford it.