The Reluctant Gypsy

Beyond The Transit Pass
In order to look for work beyond Kitchener, I’m going to need something with far more kick than this Grand River Transit pass!

On November 9th, 2013, I made a decision, a VERY big one in fact, to leave my home Toronto and move to Kitchener. I capitalized the word “very” for reasons other than just dramatics. It was a very big decision based on a recipe consisting of one dash of hope mixed in with a list of ingredients composed of assumptions.

The hope was one of finding more work in Kitchener where my aggressive job search in Toronto failed to secure.

The assumptions are a little more complex in terms of number, so I’ll have to itemize:

  1. I assumed if I worked a series of temporary jobs in Kitchener, both my social network and the recent work history would expand, leading to a feedback loop of getting more jobs which in turn increase my social network that would land even more jobs. Think of a snowball rolling down a snow-laden hillside.
  2. I assumed the scant number of people that I did know would pass on my name to others who in turn would contact me, thus expanding the number of avenues to search for work.
  3. I assumed Kitchener’s reputation of being in the middle of a technological makeover in order to escape its manufacturing and rural roots would greatly enhance my chances of finding information technology jobs.
  4. I assumed my employment assistance centre contact would be at my back no matter what, a welcome change from the previous 4 who were not while I was in Toronto.

That was 5 months ago. So how did that work out for me?

Keeping with the recipe metaphor, if this was an attempt at cooking a turkey, it certainly deserved that name. My attempt to find work in Kitchener not only failed, it stunk. Disastrously.

For point 1., the best I could come up with was a flyer job, a de-collations job, and cleaning out a storage room, all while being on the on-call list of no less than 6 temporary agencies..

For point 2., a lot of people took my contact information, yet a scant few even bothered to help.

For point 3., the technological movement consists of mobile app and web design, skills for which I do not have. No problem, I thought. I’ll apply for Second Career funding to pay for post-secondary education in order to get those skill-sets. That failed for both personal living reasons and lack of qualification.

For point 4., I discovered my supportive contact at the employment assistance centre at Northern Lights quietly closed my file without telling me. Maybe she saw the writing on the wall sooner than I did?

So what am I going to do now? What’s going to happen to me?

On Saturday April 26th, 2014, I will leave Kitchener, to begin a search for work that will involve a lot of travelling between many cities. I’ve called up a few friends I know in both Toronto and Cambridge to arrange temporary lodging of varying durations so I can continue my job search.

My job search radius needs to change. I can’t look in just one city any more. It has to include many cities, an entire region in fact. The one thing that will not change is this blog. I’ll continue to post on a regular basis, letting you know where I am in the search so far.

The (bitterly) funny thing about all of this is that I wrote both a blog post and recorded a two part video [1][2] about my reluctance to becoming some sort of wandering gypsy travelling the landscape in search for work. It appears, despite my protests, that I have no choice but to do just that.

Thanks for reading (and wish me luck! I’m certainly going to need it!)


P.S. If anyone has any tips on how to live out of a suitcase during my travels, and also where I can get very affordable (if not free) places to stay over for a few days, let me know!

P.S.S. To the people of Kitchener, from Mayor Carl Zehr all the way down to the common folk like myself at Tim Horton’s who made me feel welcome, thank you for your kindness.



2 thoughts on “The Reluctant Gypsy

  1. David, once again I wish you the very best of luck with your search. Many people have said good things to me about Couchsurfing, though I haven’t done it myself. You could also consider HelpX which is a network offering places to stay in exchange for work. The work isn’t always thrilling or easy, but it might give you a foot up if you can find a match. Again, I’ve heard lots of good things about the community. One of my friends organised her year abroad doing HelpX.

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