38. Starting to work

Vancouver, Canada, 24.03.2017.

As announced in the last blog entry, it will not make a lot of sense for me to continue writing this blog as frequently as I used to. The main reason for this? Well, I won’t be doing that many extraordinary things in the future anymore. Starting this Tuesday, I actually started working for the BC Liquor Stores and it looks like some kind of everyday life routine has returned to my life. Which is a good thing because I wanted it that way and it may be a good foundation for the next chapter in my life.

So how were my first days at work? Well, honestly? It was great and I enjoyed every day so far. I met a lot of interesting and nice people and I already learned a lot about the BC liquor market and the company’s procedures and policies. Quite a few things are very similar or even identical to the working environment I got to know in Germany and England so not everything is completely new for me. Today, my line manager, who was also one of the managers in my job interview, visited the store I’m currently training in and we had a good chat about a few things. I think I will get along with him quite well in the future so I am happy that he is my line manager. He told me that I will start working in my own store on April 10th and that surprised me a little. On average, a store manager at Lidl Germany will receive roughly 6 months of training until they get their own store. At Lidl UK, the training of a new store manager takes less than these 6 months but is very rare that someone gets a store with less than 4 months of training. Now as a former Area Manager who has trained store managers in the past, I feel that I don’t need that amount of time to be able to do the job properly but only having 3 weeks to learn everything is a challenge. However, I’m not afraid of this and I think I’m be okay with this time frame. Of course I will not be as knowledgeable and experienced as my fellow colleagues after 3 weeks of training but if I have any questions or problems I can always pick up the phone and ask my current trainers for advice. Still, it feels a little bit strange to be be given this amount of responsibility so quickly right away….

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Even at work, I find a lot of traces of my German heritage…. “Home sweet Home”…. 🙂

Before I started working last Tuesday, I moved out of Dawn’s apartement and into my temporary AirBnB suite here in North Vancouver. The transition was smooth and it didn’t take me long to pack and move my stuff. However, I also noted that I have already accumulated quite a few new things since I started living in Canada in January. On April 1st, I will finally move into my own apartment in the very east of North Vancouver and then I hope that I don’t have to move again anytime soon. Dawn’s cat Whippcream seemed to be a bit sad about me leaving the apartment when she sat right next to the last load of my stuff. Also, Dawn phoned me and told me that Whippcream seems to be looking for me in the apartment. I really miss her too because she is a lovely and low maintenance cat and she was a great companion to me during my stay at Dawn’s apartment. That is one of the harder things in life: To say goodbye…

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Whippcream sitting next to my stuff when I was moving out of the apartment.
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The fuzzy little girl sleeping on my lap.

Aside from me moving out of Dawn’s apartment and starting to work, nothing overly exciting happened since my last blog entry. With regard to my application for permanent residency, I got my university degrees translated and I also already sent copies of it to a Canadian certification agency. Once I have their assessment of my degrees, I will be able to apply for permanent residency but I think that will probably take another 2 or 3 weeks. But that is okay since I have enough time left here in Canada and there is no need to hurry. And what else did I do in the past days? Well, just the usual stuff that I love doing here in Canada: Playing Board Games, climbing, jogging, you name it. I’m really looking forward to go hiking again but I think I will not start with that until I moved into my new apartment. This weekend, Verena and I will be at the YukYuk’s one more time and we’ll also go and visit the carnival at BC Place (the big stadium in Vancouver). That’s gonna be a whole lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to doing that!

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Nice little game: The Networks.
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Preparing for the Vancouver Marathon in the nearby rainforest.
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Is this the place the Trump administration referred to??? It’s right in my Neighborhood…

As there is not much else to report in the moment, this blog entry is a lot shorter than usual but that is okay. Let’s finish with another music advice. The following song is a truly great metal balad, performed by one of Germany’s best Rock bands. Absolutely worth listening to again and again:

Scorpions – Send Me an Angel

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