Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Open to Experiences

My new job starts Monday. I am filled with fear, trepidation.

I worry that I will not know everything, that I will be missing key knowledge. While working at my other job, I heard people around me talking about programs that I have yet to learn, things which are important for moving up at The City... Things which I could have learned to further my career with them...

But this also excites me, and gets my motor going. If I am missing key info that I should know, I will have the opportunity to learn. That means that I am still finding something to do, something to jam into my head... If you're not growing, then you must be shrinking away right? Is there such as thing as static existence in regards to humanity? Learning is proof of vitality. People who are 'over' the thirst for knowledge... To me it comes off a bit like giving up. As long as you're pushing forward somehow, then you're making progress.

My new job involves communicating with factories in Mexico. I took some Spanish in high school and college, and traveled in south america, but I am no where near fluent. I am hoping I will have a chance to take some more school, or even some Rosetta Stone self learning to become better able to communicate with my counterparts. Additionally, I want to do some hard core learning of some things which I have not mastered to do with my field- further classes in Illustrator, Photoshop, pattern plotting via autoCAD type computer programs. These are all things which I have worked with for school, but I now have a paying reason to keep my head in the game and my eye on toning my big grey muscle.

Learn Learn Learn. This is my new mantra. Kind of surprising that this still keeps me going, and I am done school.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New World!

Ok, so blogger uploaded these pics backwards. The blue coveralls are the original, and they look weird and orange when they are post burn. But cool, right?

That's right friends. I fell off the blog-wagon again. I will not be deterred, I will continue on as a fledgling online rambler, if not only for my own ego (or something) but to encourage myself to keep my design directives in mind in all I do.

I was offered a job in my field, and I took it. This adventure begins November 1. Currently I am working with the City of Edmonton, as a 311 operator. 311 is a great service that lots of cities have, they help you plan transit routes, they will help you get your kids into swimming lessons, call out zoning inspectors or advise you on permits, or renew business or pet licenses... anything that falls under municipal jurisdiction is handled at least in the preliminary stages by this call center. It pays well, it's easy, I could probably get on as permanent (I'm currently temporary) and work there or move up with the city and retire and ... be utterly bored with my job. So when I received an e-mail from on of my profs, I was eager to apply, but terrified of getting my hopes up.

The job itself is a mixed bag- I will be taking over responsibilities from the COO and design manager of a small apparel company which is growing, and to encourage that growth, I get to deal with smaller operations related to production. I will be doing a lot of the planning and maintenance in regards to production, ensuring that the spec packs (the information packets which contain all design details to the utmost minutia) are correct for each order, and communicating with the manufacturers in regards to delivery dates and product quality. There's a whole whack of other little stuff I get to deal with, but I will learn and chat more about that when I actually start the job.

It's a way in. It's technical experience related to my degree. My convocation is November 17, 2010. I have beaten the odds to have found (nay, be sought out to fill) a related career building position before I have technically even graduated. It is a matter of personal agency- do I see this as an opportunity, or stick with old reliable- The City and all the security it brings.

My family is a little scared for me. As a newer company, this is not necessarily a secure place for a new grad to be. If cutbacks need to be made, would I be on the chopping block? Maybe. Is The City a better choice in regards to guaranteed wages, the promise of benefits, security of just staying put and be paid more after time because I have seniority? Yes, The City is a safe route.
Recently, my regional manager at The Castle (yes I am still there too, for work clothes discount, the staff, and some money) mentioned that I could have my own store (as manager). I know that there are safe, fairly easy to access options which would provide a more secure position than the one I will be starting November 1, 2010. I also know that I would be capable of running a retail chain store with nothing but my high school diploma and work experience, and the same goes for The City. I am looking for a challenge. Something that actually utilizes my degree, even in the smallest way, or in a way that I wasn't expecting. And I have found that. Whether I work there for two years or twenty, this company is giving me the opportunity to geek out on fabric science and work in the apparel industry. The experience is priceless, because even if long term things don't work out, I will have something to put on my resume which shows I have kept up my skills, and am capable of working in this industry.

The job itself is absolutely an adventure- I am a new addition, not a replacement, and the COO would like to keep building and growing, developing a team to manage the things I am doing, once they get big enough to merit more employees. Until then, I am going to get a lot of experience in a lot of things, and be a scheduling maniac and organizational genius. Naturally.

The pay is competitive- comparable to starting wage at any company here in Edmonton. I am making slightly less than I was at The City, but I don't pay union dues, I get full time hours (I was PT at The City), I will work office hours instead of shift, and I do get benefits after three months. All in all, not shabby for an almost graduate.

The rub: Professional life meets personal: I was not the only new grad who was up for this position. One of my favorite people in the whole wide world applied, interviewed, and was not successful. Sure, I am happy I got the job, but this was not a fun experience. It flat out sucks that one of my best friends didn't get her dream job, not to mention that I did, and that it was the same job. We had to reassure each other that regardless of outcome, there would be no hard feelings, we would maintain that as a professional issue. That doesn't mean the hurt isn't there, that she isn't affected by the opportunity going to someone else. It means she's being strong about it. Which is a lesson I would rather learn with her, together in this situation, because I know we are close enough to muddle through the awkward bits. Other friends I would worry about anger, or pettiness. So I guess that's the bright side.

Anyways, I have to get all fancy for my weekend job, slinging clothes to the masses. Have a wonderful day all, and there will surely be more to come.