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Chapter Ten - Job hunting......

This was also an education. As soon as we possibly could we unpacked the computer and set up letters and resumes for Alan. We started getting local and national papers and Alan went out every day for hours, dropping his resume off at every place we could think of - from restaurants and hotels to stores, job agencies and conference centres. We sent of more than 130 resumes. Alan traveled to cities and towns throughout southern Manitoba but seemed to be getting nowhere.

There were jobs available, but most of them were seasonal. Six months stints as a chef at a golf course or resort. There was no way we would be able to get a mortgage that way. Once again we were beginning to wonder about the whole move. Weeks were going by and our money was going fast too.

Then he finally managed to get in touch with the Restaurant & Chefs Association and things started to change. Through word of mouth he heard about at least three jobs that were not even advertised. Again there was silence for a couple of weeks and then he was offered three jobs at the same time. But! A word of warning - he was never offered much more than minimum wage and appalling hours. Bear it in mind if you are in the hospitality industry and considering moving to Manitoba.

Having started work, he heard from many other people he had approached in those early weeks. I also managed to get a job - again not through any of the normal avenues - papers, job agencies - but rather by contacts and word of mouth. I too was kept dangling for weeks and weeks not knowing for sure whether I really had the job or when I should start or even what the job entailed. In a later job I held I heard from others some of whom had been called for interview six to nine months after applying. Odd.

We have finally figured out what this means. They are a bit laid back in Manitoba and maybe in other parts of Canada. If a Manitoban says 'I will get back to you on Tuesday.' DO NOT make the mistake we did. You see, we assumed they meant the following Tuesday. This is often not the case. The will, indeed, get back, and it may well be on a Tuesday. They didn't say which Tuesday. It might be a Tuesday three months hence :o). This attitude goes throughout life there, with two notable exceptions which I will explain in a sec. Overall life proceeds at a leisurely pace. The important things there are not work related. The important things there are golf, or fishing, or weekends at the cabin, skating, skiing., etc. They never let something as mundane as a deadline or work interfere with that - grin. The two exceptions I mentioned: They use couriers a lot to get things from A to B as fast as possible. Having got it, they don't act on it for a week or more, but at least it got there fast. The other thing is, they drive like lunatics, an amber light in Winnipeg means 'I'm coming through fellas!'. Come to think of it, red lights seem to mean this too as long the light had been amber or green once!

The final lesson I think is that although you can find jobs through services, agencies and newspapers, your best bet is to network as much as possible.
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