25. Job Perspectives in Canada 2017

Arrochar, Scotland, 26.10.2016.

When telling people about my plan to go to Canada next year, one of the first questions they ask is usually: “Do you already have a job over there?”. Well, I do agree that having a job is very important in life but no, I don’t have a job yet in Canada. Am I concerned about that? No, actually I am not. Should I be? No, I don’t think so. There are several reasons why I am quite relaxed about that: Firstly, I am well qualified and I think it is not too hard to get a proper job quickly if I really wish to get one. Secondly, I am doing a Work&Travel year and that means I also want to travel and not only work. Why not start with the travel-part of the year and see what comes my way while travelling? And thirdly, I was able to save a bit of money in the last two years so there is no great pressure on me to start working right away.

Well, to be honest, this is just one part of the truth. Everybody who knows me a little will probably suspect that I have already done some research and planning concerning job opportunities. Very true, indeed. Although I do not have a job yet, I have already spent some time thinking about the topic and making up my mind what I could do in Canada and what I also WANT to do there. Let’s take a look at my thoughts while also enjoying some impressions of my current holiday in Scotland:

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19.10.2016: On top of the Sgurr na Banachdaich, 965m with view on other mountains of the Cuillin.
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19.10.2016: View on the Isle of Soay (left), Isle of Rum (middle) and Isle of Canna (right), southwest of the pinnacle.
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20.10.2016: Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye.
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20.10.2016: Quiraing- area, Isle of Skye, view to the east.
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21.10.2016: The picturesque little village of Plockton near the Isle of Skye.
  1. In the last 26 months, I have been working in the retail business as an area manager, managing multiple stores of a renowned supermarket chain. Although I really enjoyed many aspects of the job, I now feel that I want to do something different. This does not mean that I would categorically rule out working again in the retail business but just now I am looking for something that leaves me a bit more time for myself and that also involves working outdoors.
  2. My first thought was to start working as a Park Ranger in one of the National- or Provincial Parks. In some aspects, this job is pretty similar to what I have already done in my time in the military. Beeing outdoors, getting in contact with visitors and preserving wildlife sounds like a good thing to do to me. However, there are quite a few qualifications you need for the job. First Aid certificate, Completion of Law and Administration course and possession of firearm license for example. Nothing impossible to get but definitely qualifications I do not yet have but which I would have to acquire in Canada. This should be doable for me in between January and April next year but I do not know if this would be okay for my future employer. The job positions for Park Rangers open up in early December so you need to start applying for these jobs exactly then. In early December, I can only send an application to my future employer saying that I do not yet posess most of the qualifications needed for the job but that I am willing to acquire them once I arrive in Canada. Now, I have not worked in HR much but when I got job applications while working as an area manager, I nearly always discarded incomplete applications. I think this is just natural. Why should any HR boss consider imcomplete applications if he also has complete applications of well qualified applicants on the desk? Time is limited and at first glance it is more likely anyway that someone who handed in a complete application will be more qualified than someone who could not do that. That is why I am a bit sceptic about my chances of getting this job. As of now, I have not  decided if I will apply for a job as a Park Ranger or not. Probably, I will make up my mind about that sometime in November.
  3. While watching TV in September, I saw a CEO of a small german company doing a pitch in front of a bunch of investors in a popular German TV-show. He did not get the support from the investors but his story caught my attention. His company has designed an app that makes the management of lumber in the forestry industry a lot easier than it is now. This idea alone is already good but it was his statement that he now wants to expand to the Canadian market that really made me listen up. I then contacted him because I thought we could very well work together and I could be a good addition to his company. Now I have not yet signed any contract but we will continue talking in November and I really hope that we can work together. However, as we do not yet know anything about the Canadian market and its characteristics, this endeavour could very well be doomed from the start. If the Canadians have other ways to measure the amount of logged lumber than we do over here in Europe, there may not be any need for the company’s app and thus there will be no sales potential. But if the Canadian forestry industry has a use for the company’s app, I would be delighted to sell it to them and teach them how to use it. In any case, the forestry industry seems to be a very interesing business and I am already eager to learn all the necessary things about trees, growth rates, forests and so on. The most important upside of this job would be that I could organize myself and work mostly independently which I like very much. It would also be a great challenge to develop an unknown market in an unknown industry in a foreign country. Not easy, yes, but with my background, I think that I have a good chance to succeed. Thus, my hope is that the company’s CEO will contact me in November and we can start talking about the details of this endeavour.
  4. In case I can’t take any of the above options, I still have some half-baked work-related ideas what I could do otherwise while I am in Canada. But for now, I will focus on either becoming a Park Ranger or selling forestry apps for the small German company. We will see what happens…
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21.10.2016: Eilean Donan Castle, on the way between Portree and Duror.
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Cloud reflections on a lake.
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22.10.2016: Buachaille Etive Mor (1022m. left) in clouds before we climbed it.
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22.10.2016: View on the second pinnacle of the mountain massif while not in clouds.
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22.10.2016: View on third pinnacle of the mountain massif.
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22.10.2016: View from the top of Etive Mor through a rare hole in the clouds.

As usual, the blog entry concludes with a music advice. This time, it is a good piece of alternative rock, performed by an American Band. Enjoy.

Hoobastank – Just One

24. Why are you jealous?

Duror, Scotland, 21.10.2016.

As announced in the last blog entry, I will focus more my upcoming Canada- adventure in the next blog entries than on my current holiday in Scotland. However, I will add some pictures with descriptions to these entries to give you an idea what it’s like in this country.

In the last weeks, I have told many people about my intention to go to Canada and leave Europe for at least a year. And how did most of the people react to that? Well, many of them were surprised about my plans but they almost always said that they were happy for me and thought that it is a good idea to do that. However, many of those people also said something like:

“I must say I am a bit jealous. I would also love to do that.”

At first, I did not comment statements like this at all. Then, after having heard this kind of statement several times, I started to think about it and eventually I also began to discuss it with people when they “challenged” me with it. I think this statement touches one of the most sensitive and important subjects of our life: The fact that our life mostly depends on the decisions that we make each day. Decisions like: Where do I want to live, in which job do I want to work, how do I want to spend my money, etc. So why is this relevant for the above statement, what has this got to do with people’s jealousy? Well, my argument is that these people may feel that they are missing out on something and that they may have made the wrong or suboptimal decisions in life. But life is really a result of very many and different decisions and most of them are a product of current circumstances and preferences. In the end, the sum of these decisions lead to the current situation we are in. Thus, everyone is more or less responsible for their own current personal situation. The problem with this is, that many people are probably rather unaware of this. How often do people really think about their personal situation and about the options they have in life, no matter how strange or unrealistic they may be? I would argue that many people may not be overly happy with their job, their apartement or their relationship but that they rather continue as usual instead of considering a more radical change. Problems with the current boss? Well, we will survive his reign as we have already outlived other stupid bosses, right? It is always easier to keep doing what you are doing instead of considering other options that may entail a greater risk but that also promise to provide greater levels of happiness. I think that this behaviour is a product of our fear to lose something and due to the fact that most people are rather risk- averse. Thus, most of the decisions that we make are focused on conserving the status quo or to make improvements to the current situation while maintaining what we already achieved. Basically “adding-on”. But I do not want to criticize this as it is a reasonable behaviour that probably suits a lot of people’s way of life pretty well. Once you settle down with your partner, found a family and buy a house, it does absolutely make sense to protect and maintain your current status in life. In the long run, you will be greatly rewarded by doing this and you will probably experience a lot of happiness by doing so. However, this behaviour also comes with a cost: You lose flexibility and the chance to experience something new and different. Maybe you could be happier in another job, maybe you would rather live rurally than in the city, maybe you would rather like to travel regularly instead of staying at home to watch the children or pets? Anyway, the point is that you are the master of your life and that your very own decisions led you to the situation that you are actually in. However, most of the people do not realize that. Thus, I always respond to people telling me that they are jealous somehow like this:

“Look, there is no need to be jealous. You have made decisions in your past that led to the situation you are currently in and they were reasonable and good decisions in the moment you made them. You probably already own a house or apartment, you are happy in your relationship and you possibly also have wonderful children. So why are you jealous? You simply decided to take a different way in your life and you have done pretty well so far, haven’t you? Yes, you won’t go to Canada soon but you have all the other things that make you happy, right? If not, you should simply sit down, ask yourself what would make you happy and do exactly that. As strange as it sounds, but you can change your life every day. You can hand in your notice today, move out of your apartment, get in your car, drive somewhere and start completely new in another country, city, job and/or relationship. So if you are jealous now because you won’t be able to go to Canada, I can only respond: You could also do it but you simply don’t want to. Thus, as this is your decision, there is no reason to be jealous.”

It is possible to radically change your life but most people do not consider this. I think that people fear the unknown and do not want to lose everything that they already achieved. Leaving behind all of their friends and their family may be the biggest challenge if you want to change your life radically. Yes, that is not easy, true. But this is just one side of the coin. On the other side, you can always meet nice people wherever you are. I have met many interesting and friendly people wherever I went. If you are open, interested and friendly, you will not have greater problems meeting new friends and people you can trust. But instead of considering bigger changes in life, most of our daily decisions will be somewhat like this: ‘I will go to my office today and do my job, I will return home after work, I will not look for a new apartment, etc.’ These are rather unconscious decisions but they nevertheless give direction to our lives: In most cases, they manage how we live in our accustomed environment. However, we should not forget that it is possible and sometimes also necessary or advisable to break out of the daily routine and do something completely different as this could lead to an overall happier life. Bottom line of this discussion: Be aware that you yourself are responsible for what happens in your life and that you are able to change it every single day. Don’t be afraid of change as it does not only entail sacrifices but it also opens up new chances and opportunities.

Now let’s have some pictures of our Scotland trip:

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14.10.16: Fort George, big military installtion north of Inverness. Biggest Fort in England. Impressive.
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15.10.16: Start of the Coigach Half Marathon. 39 runners overall. My time: 1:44 in light rain and strong winds. Pictures: https://www.facebook.com/CoigachHalfMarathon/
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16.10.16: Hiking tour to the top of Stac Pollaidh, 612m.
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16.10.16: View from the top of Stac Pollaidh.
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16.10.16.: Achmelvich Beach. Never thought that I would find such a beach in Scotland.
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Water was really really cold. Still, Glenn jumped in. Must be wonderful in summer.
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The 1000 faces of Scotland. Beautiful country, undoubtedly.
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17.10.16: Landscape on our way to the Isle of Skye. Contrast between sun, shadow and clouds.
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18.10.16.: Neist Point on the Isle of Skye.

Initially, I also wanted to write a bit about my personal plans for the Canada trip next year. But as this blog entry is already long enough (too long?), I will write about that next time.

The following German song is about finding out and doing what you want in life and about one’s willpower and identity. Thus, it concludes the topic that was dicussed in this entry.

Böhse Onkelz – Wenn du wirklich willst