My biggest obstacle in finding work in Kitchener, my new home, is my network. This was quite apparent during one Christmas party at my sister and brother-in-law’s place, which is where I am staying until I get back on my feet employment wise. While I had a good time, most of the people there were those who I never met before. It was really tough trying to strike up a conversation with any of them save for two that were very computer-savvy. Once the subject of computers comes up, good luck trying to shut me up.
Shy moments like these have a potential to put a crimp in my network rebuild strategy were it not for my frequent visits to Tim Horton’s, where the interiors are either half or a third the size of the ones I’m used to in Toronto. In Toronto, you have no trouble getting a place to sit even during lunch time: in Kitchener, the lineup extends OUTSIDE onto King Street West or Bridgeport, depending on which T.H. I go to. While it’s a pain to wait outside in the snowy cold for my large-single-cream-no-sugar coffee and my cheddar-cheese bagel — and a place to sit to enjoy them — the spartan seating arrangement is actually an aid to my job search.
It’s easy to explain. What happens when you are forced to share space with other people, like on a crowded bus during rush-hour, or in my case, a small Tim Horton’s coffee place consisting mostly of window-ledges and counter-tops? The first thing that happens is that eye-contact is made. Assuming no one has an attitude problem, smiles or nods are exchanged. Soon a conversation follows, hesitant at first but as more words are exchanged it becomes more natural and comfortable. That’s happened to me on several occasions: sometimes I initiate the conversation, other times the person asks me about my binder carrying my resumes or my shopping cart used to deliver flyers (a tale to be told in a later blog post). We talk about Kitchener, Toronto, our past experiences, the weather, my job search, etc. I’ve met some rather friendly people who I’ve exchanged contact information with and filed away for future reference. My most enjoyable and memorable meeting was with two men, Andre and Vernon, where we discussed the possibility of taking Andre’s trucking experiences into a video or blog format. I told Andre about WordPress and how to set up an account there.
(Point To Note: if Andre becomes a famous writer or video celebrity on YouTube, I want a cut)
Will such chance encounters lead to friendship and thus an expansion to my social network in Kitchener? Only time will tell but it beats the awkward moments at Christmas parties.
Thanks for reading!