Finding my niche

[A little aside: I pronounce ‘niche’ as neesh, not Nitch. My way is French and the second is American. Not sure which Canadians use?]

All good things come to an end unfortunately, and the past few weeks have been dominated by the usual soul sapping job hunt. Waa. Being a stay-home-Mum is a fun, rewarding, exhausting full time job, but sadly the salary is abysmal! Carl and I have done remarkably well living off one income (ie: his. Again.) since March, but every month we are down to pennies in the account, and it is so frustrating having to be so, so careful all the time. Sometimes it would be nice to just go and have a beer without worrying, or to be able to get Carl some new shoes without having to work them into the budget a month in advance! I am also itching to do something constructive to keep my grey-matter alive – not that raising my darling daughterling isn’t productive, but the hours and hours of “Go Diego Go!” make me want to pull my brain out through my ears, and I swear I know the Octonauts scripts off by heart now. And most of her bedtime stories too. So, the time has come to find meself a job again.

I am fairly confident that I could find myself more coffee shop work quickly and easily, but – and this is a huge admission from Doctor Coffee herself(!) – I don’t think I want to do that any more. Well actually, I just don’t want to do that for other people any more. I’ve had more than my fair share of bad experiences and terrible bosses, when all I really want is to open my own coffee shop again and do it properly!!

But this time, I am going to give myself a realistic time-frame (I know, I know, realism and pragmatism are hardly my strong points when I get Inspired), I reckon a good couple of years, which would mean Miranda would be in school, making life a lot easier too – and hopefully allowing me to work towards acquiring a plausible budget as well. If about $30000 just fell out of the sky tomorrow, I’d start immediately – I’ve even got an idea of the venue, but that is rather unlikely to happen….

I sent Marianne some old pictures of Doctor Coffee’s Cafe in Darlington, and this was her response:

LOVE YOUR CAFE!!! WANT ONE HERE NOW!!!!

The above was done on the minutest of tiny budgets, and the whole thing would have been infinitely less stressful if I’d have a bigger investment to begin with. I think I did damn well, considering!! So, with a better budget and more preparation, I’m sure I could work miracles bringing cafe culture to Regina,  however, there has to be Sensible Saving Up type activity first.

This does hamper the job search somewhat. Whatever I do, it has to pay well enough to cover the cost of sending Miranda back to daycare (waaaaa!), AND allow me to save up. That sort of salary rules out coffee shops, unfortunately. Instead I am applying for marketing, communications, project management type jobs since I’ve racked up quite a bit of experience in that sort of thing over the years, and also research ones, which are usually confined to local government or the university.

Annoyingly, I must have sent off over 20 applications for what my mother would deem “proper jobs” (oh how I hate that phrase!) and I’ve not heard a squeak back out of anybody. I was really gutted about not hearing from one in particular, working for Tourism Regina, trying to plug the city as a great place to be, both for tourists and for business investors. I even mentioned this blog on the application! Obviously this isn’t professional enough… Waa! Would have loved to do that.  It is this sort of thing that makes me realise that by Canadian standards at least, Regina is still a small town. Geographically, it is huge compared to what I am used to, but population-wise it is still small. And in this small-town environment, you really have to know the right people, it seems. And I don’t. I am still ‘new in town’ I guess. Many people have warned me that local government jobs are particularly hard to get hold of because so many vacancies are filled internally. I just can’t seem to get my foot in the proverbial door!

Still, I console myself in the knowledge that at least there are jobs to apply for. It’s not like there are hundreds of vastly over-qualified people fighting over a handful of minimum wage jobs like in Darlington…

And I am working! My facebook alterego managed to spot that my local icecream parlour, Dessart Sweets,  were hiring, just part time work and only in the evenings and weekends – PERFECT! I commented “I could do that”, handed my utterly over-the-top resume in the next day, and now I’m gainfully employed as a “Candy Expert and Icecream Scooper”. Which is the best job title I’ve had in many years, second only to being a “Gypsy Liaison Officer”!! It’s actually really fun, they are a great bunch to work with, and the money keeps me afloat without having to worry about interrupting what passes for Miranda’s routine. The owner’s reaction to my resume was “Well, you’ve certainly had an interesting career” – very diplomatic!!! Pleased she used the C-word at least. She is actually very inspiring to me – started the shop herself ten years ago, and runs it on top of looking after two daughters, and obviously cares a lot about it, but the best thing to my mind is the way she trusts and respects her staff. Everyone responds by being very loyal and genuinely enjoying working there, and that is the sort of work environment that takes a lot of hard work to generate in retail. The contrast with my experiences at 13th Ave Coffee House is immense!

Dessart Sweets is also home to the Bacon Breakfast Sundae (with real bacon!). How could I NOT work there?!
Dessart Sweets is also home to the Bacon Breakfast Sundae (with real bacon!). How could I NOT work there?!

So, for now, I am happy and solvent enough scooping ice cream, enjoying the summer with my beautiful beastling, and emailing off virtual resumes into the inevitable blackholes of corporate HR departments while I find my niche in Regina.

Something will turn up, it always does! (How many times have I said this on this blog? I’m never wrong, just impatient!)

Oh, and my facebook alterego has also taken up writing trashy erotic novels since there is likely to be more profit in that than my serious sensible coffee books.  And it amuses me. You have been warned, world……

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