Friday, September 5, 2008

A Little Bit About My Job History

Wow, its really hard for me to answer some of your questions. Employment has always been a crazy thing for me. I had my first real job at the age of 14. Before that I was baby sitting, doing paper routes and chores for money. I grew up in a home where there was no money for anything, barely enough to feed us. No second helpings thats for sure.

I ran away at the age of 15 and rented rooms in different houses. Some times I went to school but mostly I didn't. I did graduate high school on time thankfully otherwise I'm not sure I would have gone back. Instead of carrying on to school like a lot of other kids I did not have the money, resources or zest for school. I just never figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

At 17 I made my first move to Vancouver. Since then I've lived all over BC and Alberta. Working here, there and everywhere. I estimate I've probably had about 50 or more different jobs in my life. I'm in my mid twenties. I try not to do the same type of job twice but sometimes I just take what ever is available to pay the bills.

I did go to school in 2003 to be a Pharmacy Technician. At the time I thought it would be a stepping stone to a better career because I would be making a lot more money and could afford to go to school for something that would take a longer than 8 months and that I would be able to live off with the better wage.

I was a fool. I bought into one of those stupid schools that charges you 10,000 for an eight month course. I was lied to. I was told the the following year it would be mandatory for all technicians to have a valid diploma to work in a pharmacy setting and that the minimum wage for that type of job would be raised to 16 per hour. Great! Too bad it was all lies...

Soon into the course I realized my mistake. It was so bad that two teachers quit just because they felt so badly for us. I could have taught the material to myself in two weeks. It was all photo copies and no real books except one on human anatomy. The other two younger girls (class size of 10) in the class and I realized our predicament but figured out quickly we could drop out and pay the money or finish the course and have a very expensive piece of paper. I tried reporting them to the private school division to no avail. During my exit interview I told the director of the school my feelings on this and explicitly told them to never contact me again or use my name for any publicity. I was mortified!

Two months into job searching I got a lead on a pharmacy job from a friend. I worked there for 1.5 years making $2 above minimum wage near the end. It was hell! People treated you like crap, the pay was lousy and my store manager was a raging cow. Soon my hair began to fall out and I had to take heavy pills to stop me from throwing up every ten minutes. I was a wreck. I left on a medical leave and didn't return.

Since then I floated around to some more places, worked around and tried to find my place in things. At one point I took a trip to the Okanagan and met BF there when we lived and worked on a farm picking cherries. I have to say, I've had a very rough go of the things but I've learned and experienced far more than a person of my age usually has. I appreciate all the lessons I've learned.

In November of 2005 I ended back here on the Island. I was not happy about it. At one point I worked three jobs and slept 5 hours a night and also on my fifteen minute breaks at work. It was then that I decided to pay off all my debt. I had some from a relationship gone sour, a CC that went south and had to be bought out by City Fin.ancial at a rate of 36% and of course... the lovely student loans. I rented a place and that same month BF came to live with me.

When BF arrived I asked him to look for work off the Island as I really hate living here. He tried but it wasn't in the cards. So I've been stuck here every since. Honestly, the wages here are shit, there are nothing but fast food restaurants and malls. The job market is so lacking its pathetic. Nobody that can get away stays here. If you are younger you move away to make your money or go to school. The local University offers nothing of interest to me. I'm not even willing to go to school again until I have some money saved, my current loans paid off and some clue of what I want to do.

That's my main problem. In the course of trying out fifty or more jobs I have become jaded. Nothing interests me. I've tried every spectrum and I've been beaten down. It's hard working crap jobs for over ten years and then making an effort to improve yourself only to be ripped off. I need to find what interests me.

The reason I've been going for labour jobs lately is because I don't want any stress. I want to go to work, work really hard, and come home exhausted from a hard days work and not stress. I want jobs where I never think about work once I'm home and gladly collect a cheque every two weeks. Still, its not very satisfying, its just keeps me from going bald. I have to admit, I'm pretty fond of the fine hair I have left.

I am not really sure what else to tell you all. This is pretty much coming off the top of my head in an unedited post. It's the raw truth.

This is why Australia is so important to me. I just want to get away, and feel free again. I want to pack my bags, live in a van and travel from town to town picking random fruits, veggies and nuts. Maybe once my mind is clear and I'm feeling good I can really take a good look inside and find out what I want.


DogAteMyFinances said...

I worked in a hospital pharmacy all through college. It had some rough days, but usually it was the most chill job I have ever had.

In the US at least, hospital pharmacy gigs are great because you have full benefits, good pay, and even better pay if you work a night shift or weekend shift.

Dolly Iris said...

Yes, retail pharmacy is much different than hospital pharmacy. I do not have some of the qualifications to work at the local hospital. (Another lie from the school).
Also, the pharmacy I did work for was across from the hospital and was the busiest pharmacy in town. I was also in charge of methadone clinic which was a huge responsibility.
You have to remember that in a hospital pharmacy you aren't dealing with sick people who have already waited an hour in a doctors office and who just want to get in, get their RX and get home. The experience is COMPLETELY different! :D

Arual said...

this is a beautiful post...I like raw ones that show emotion and are not planned out. You have had a lot of experiences that helped make you who you are and probably help you appreciate what you have in life. You can never lose that.
I worked in a pharmaceutical warehouse in Calgary...I probably shipped drugs to you :) Small world in deed.

Right now you want Australia. So it doesn't really matter where you work, as long as you get paid. I know this probably isn't going to be viewed as amazing advice but I say you keep the job you have now which pays more. And put a picture of Australia in your wallet or at your work station and remember that every aching bone or long day is just so you can get to your dream faster. I say you pretend you took the job that pays less and live off what you would have made there every month, and put the extra away towards your dream. You may be tired and sore and sick of working, but in a year or a year and a halfs time, you will be on a plane to Australia laughing.

Also, you should look into work programs. Travelcuts by my place has a program (sorry only kind of scanned it) that sets you up with a job in Australia for a year. They may have great deals on plane tickets too and housing.

Good luck with your decision Dolly.

Shevy said...

The pharmacy program that has left you with a lot of student debt is a big problem. My daughter-in-law has a similar problem with a legal secretarial course at one of these places. But I think the toughest thing you face right now with regard to getting a better job is your job history.

It has to be really working against you when someone sees that you've had 50 jobs in about the past 10 years. Their automatic assumption is likely to be that there is some underlying reason why you average 4 or 5 jobs per year.

The employers who aren't bothered by that are probably the ones with a high turnover who are just slotting you into an empty spot and aren't thinking about your potential for advancement--they'll be happy if you show up again the day after payday.

Breaking the cycle of low-paying, unsatisfactory jobs is critical. I know you feel pretty burned out by all the different things you've done but sometimes it helps to make a list of aspects of the jobs that you've enjoyed.

Try and make the list as long as possible even if some of the things on it seem dumb (like having a good staff cafeteria, or having air conditioning in the building). Then you try to figure out what jobs to apply for based on the things that you know you enjoy.

The other exercise I did once was the Ideal Job/Job From He**. You either write out what your ideal job would entail from the length of your commute to the shift you'd work, the type of job responsibilities to your co-workers, etc. If you have problems coming up with that you write about the worst job you could have. I did that one and realized that pretty much everything described the job I had at the time!

I was clearly under too much stress and had a couple of very uncongenial co-workers, but felt I couldn't leave because I needed the job security (I was a single mother with 3 elementary aged kids at the time). I was eventually laid off in an industry recession. So much for job security.

But I really think that, before you make another move, you should try to really plan it out so that you are comfortable staying there until your trip to Australia.

Fabulously Broke said...

I hope you find what you're looking for. Your job history has been really rocky - I feel so happy that mine was much easier.

Dolly Iris said...

Arual - Thanks so much for your comment. I think its a great idea to post some pics of Australia up at work to keep me motivated.

Shevy - As far as employers know I've only had a few jobs over the past five years. I am very discreet about this.

FB - Yes, rocky indeed!

Canadian Saver said...

You've worked at more places already than most people do in a lifetime and you are so young!! From the short time I've known you through your blog, it's obvious that you work hard and you aren't one to sit around at home doing nothing. Hang in there, the right job will come along!!!

It'll be very interesting to see how your work history here will help you in Australia... I wouldn't worry about getting something down there as you've already done so much :-)

Good luck!