Archive for April, 2011

Placement is over.

School is over.

I’m currently volunteering at the rape crisis centre, working as part of a coalition of women against honour killings, writing a policy paper. I will also be training as a volunteer in the Energy Exchange program at a local yoga studio, so I can get me some free yoga (stoked!).

And I’ve been cruising charityvillage like its my job, looking for work. Like, REAL people jobs. Yes, it is time for the transition from student life to the real world.

I’ve been in this position before, 2 years ago, when I completed my Masters and thought I could easily get any job I wanted. Boy – was I wrong. So, so wrong. And now I’m here again.

So I’ve thought up a few tips and tricks for applying to jobs, and keeping my sanity in the process.

1. Winning is in the details — It can be incredibly time-consuming and tedious editing and catering your cover letter and resume to each job and its specific requirements, but it is well worth it. The Executive Director at the rape crisis centre I volunteer at, told me that if she reviews an application, and the covering letter does not include the qualifications listed in the job advertisement, she does not even bother looking at the resume. So use what the job advertisement gives you to write your cover letter.

2. Not the exact job you want? Apply anyways — Even though my ideal job is to be a counsellor, I have been applying to administrative positions that are for organizations I can see myself working at. Because when a counselling position opens up in that organization, I will have the advantage of already knowing how the organization works, of knowing the hiring members, and have access to internal postings. Admin might not be the job you want, but it is a sure stepping stone to the job you do want.

3. “Hi, my name is Rachel, and I am looking for a job” — Spread the word to everyone you know that you are looking for work. You never know who might have a connection that can help you out. I once got a contact name and number from a woman working in a butcher shop who happened to have a friend in my line of work. Random help from strangers does happen!

4. Use your free time to try different things — While you could spend every waking minute at your computer searching job postings and firing off resumes til your fingers fall off, you might suffer from application-burn-out. This is quite common. Instead of this approach, try getting outdoors, picking up an old, forgotten-about hobby, visiting friends and family you’ve neglected, and trying new things (cooking, exercise, exploring your city, gardening…). Given the frustrations that often accompany the job search, it is a good idea to keep a level head by taking time for self care.

Wish me luck folks! And if you know of any jobs in counselling, refer to #3 and pass me the info!

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People tell me that I am lucky for not being able to smell. They say that most of the time things either don’t smell much like anything, or what they can smell is not pleasant. One friend even said that 70% of things she smells aren’t enjoyable.

But just a few weeks ago, while I was at placement, I opened up my lunch and BOOM, I was hit with the sweet sweet smell of fresh strawberries and bananas! I kid you not when I say that I literally ran into the neighbouring offices to make sure everyone knew that I was able to smell the sweetness of my fruit salad.

It seems then, that my accupuncture and osteopathy sessions are working.

Except at the moment, cause I’ve got a cold and my sinuses are blocked. Really, really blocked. But it IS working!

I’ve had around 8 or 9 sessions by this point, and the body work is usually the same thing: 1-2 needles in my left hand, one in my right hand; sometimes a couple needles on my arms between my elbows and wrists; 2 needles on either side of my nostrils; 1 between my eyebrows; and around 6 needles on various spots on my head.

The Pin Cushion Queen will smell again!

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I recently escaped to Varadero, Cuba with my family. We had fun. I took a few pix.

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This past week, Bitch Magazine, in conjunction with Feminist Coming Out Day, led a campaign known as the “click moment” — or when you first realized you were a feminist. It allowed self-identified feminists to showcase their faces/voices/words/thoughts on the internets, and to tell their “coming out” stories. The faces and voices of feminism, I just love it!

So what was my “click moment”?

I spent a lot of time this week thinking about when the click happened, and I couldn’t really pin it down. It’s like trying to figure out when you really bonded with your best friend, or when you started liking chocolate (duh, since always!). I do know that I was actually a little hesitant to define myself as a feminist, even though it was clear that I was. During my formative years my favourite television shows were BUFFY and XENA. In Grade 12, we had to do a book report assignment for English class with Mr Beckett, and I chose Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte…

“It is a novel often considered ahead of its time due to its portrayal of the development of a thinking and passionate young woman who is both individualistic, desiring for a full life, while also highly moral. Jane evolves from her beginnings as a poor and plain woman without captivating charm to her mature stage as a compassionate and confident whole woman. As she matures, she comments much on the complexities of the human condition. Jane also has a deeply pious personal trust in God, but is also highly self-reliant. Although Jane suffers much, she is never portrayed as a damsel in distress who needs rescuing. For this reason, it is sometimes regarded as an important early feminist (or proto-feminist) novel.”

Ummm, closeted-feminist much?

Going into my 2nd year at UTM, my mum convinced me to take Intro to Women and Gender Studies, despite my hesitation and uncertainty, and wouldn’t ya know it, I kinda fell in love. There wasn’t a moment when I said “Well damn, this is for me” — but I guess it was just falling into the community, reading the texts, listening to my profs, and chatting with classmates.

So thank you, feminism, for introducing me to a community of lovely people and activists, teaching me, and providing me the tools and the language that I had unknowingly been searching for.

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