OK, so it was a bit of a rough morning…

February 18, 2010

When was the last time you had one of these mornings? You know, the kind where someone else sets the alarm for 5:30am when this is the one morning you don’t have to be up till 7:00am – the kind where that someone sleeps through 6 snooze alarms, then somehow expects to be cajoled gently into wakefulness by a sweetly saccharine wife.

Yes, t’was the kind of morning where you take the bus – rather than walking – to work because you know it would be cruel and inhumane to force anyone to spend 45 minutes trapped alone with such unabashed hostility, let alone your own self! T’was the kind where you make yourself even later by waiting in the lobby for the coast to clear, so you don’t have to share an elevator and risk an awful reaction to some poor hapless coworker’s “Good Morning.”

I thought I was doing quite a good job handling the situation in a mature and dignified manner. We all get into Grumps sometimes – no need to spread the toxicity. On the crowded bus, I kept my Klingon Death Stare fixed on a piece of black lint stuck to the fellow in front of me’s jacket, rather than on the twerp beside me – one of those lovely souls bereft of any concept of personal space. I didn’t avert my eyes from the (exactly 3.4mm diameter) fluff even when the bus lurched round a corner and I (lacking any extra footspace) had the uniquely excruciating experience of feeling my wrist bruising in real-time as one square inch of skin was crushed between my full weight and a metal pole.

I covered the few short blocks between the bus stop and my office with my brim pulled low down over my eyes. It was a public service, really, preventing my Medusa glare from laying waste to any number of unsuspecting commuters on the streets of downtown Calgary. But, on the last street corner, my conscientiousness backfired.

Out of nowhere, a trio of thin blue ribbons caught me around the neck. I was doing so well too, but when something tries to strangle you on the way to work (with or without warning!), some fine line of universal decency is crossed. I broke – my stride, my composure, at least one of the ribbons…

There I was, at 8am on a busy Calgary street corner, thrashing madly at three innocent helium balloons tethered to a “don’t you wish you lived here” folding sign. “AAAAAAARGH!” I let it all out. It was a brief, all too public, display of what it really means to be human. That, or just some crazy chick going psycho on modern marketing. I’m not proud of my little spectacle, and I can assure you there isn’t the least bit of satisfaction in railing on anything that’s essentially lighter than air, but I don’t regret it. Better three balloons than one alarm clock setter’s nose~wink.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…

November 17, 2009
click through for a closer look

The tome in all its glory ~click through for a closer look~

Which would you choose? This tome was waiting for me in the middle of my desk one recent Monday morning. I’d already been offered the promotion, but the spiral bound beast of a book made it suddenly real. Robert Frost’s poem – along with my life – flashed before my eyes. Was I really going to become a geophysical technician?

Almost everyone I surveyed pushed for “Yes!” Huge pay increase, new skill-set, broader career options… how could I say no? Not to mention give up the unprecedented honour of being the first Printing Supervisor (aka Paper Roller) to ever be given the opportunity to start training up the geophysical food chain. Flattered? Yes. Tempted? Sure.


There’s a reason why people say they “fell” into their jobs. Do I want a passive, accidental future? Do you? We live in an incredible era of choice. While it’s true that such freedom can be crippling – the studies have been done –  we may as well take advantage of our post-modern culture while we can. For the first time in human history, there is enough flexibility, in terms of our basic survival, for us to pursue our passions. There is a cost, of course. Once one takes an active roll in one’s future, there is that heavy, inescapable pressure of having to back up words with work – hard work. What to choose?

I said no.

What now? All I can do is keep listing to that little voice, the one that wants so badly. What’s yours whispering in your ear? Mine wants to write, to challenge, to design, to explore. I don’t know what happens from here, but I have faith in the future. And as long as I keep writing towards it, I’ll know I’m on the right road.

Note: Yes, that is Will Wheaton – aka Wesley Crusher from Star Trek TNG – straddling my office moisturizer. How does that intro go again? To boldly go where no one has gone before…  how apropos.

A ‘Sign’ of our times…

June 29, 2009

A 'sign' of the times on a Monday morning in Calgary

A 'Sign' of our times - as seen on a Monday morning in Calgary

Our Albertan economy is finally feeling the pinch after decades of unchecked growth. Everyone knows someone who has lost a job, or worse. About a month ago on a rush hour city bus, I overheard a conversation between two well dressed business men. One was lamenting over how his high risk investments had virtually vanished.

“Why did you buy into them in the first place?” the other asked.

The man’s answer was spoken matter of fact, with an honesty not often heard on public transit, especially during rush hour…


He shrugged his shoulders, and quickly changed the subject.


The best way to stay motivated during this time of economic flux, is to push forward with our career plans using creativity to set ourselves apart. Make a list of all your soft skills (ie: social, organizational), to add to your more easily resuméd hard skills (ie: Microsoft Office, masonry). Try to make connections between both sets to expand your general skill set. You’ll be surprised to discover what services you can offer as a uniquely experienced human being, rather than simply a _______ graduate with x number of years working in _______ . Now is the time to market yourself creatively, as a whole person, as… You!

Speaking of marketing…

To my dear SavingCymbria readers, and to those of you just breezing by, I am now available for all your Creative Problem Solving needs. Freelance writing and design (fashion commissions, graphic design, & web applications) are my specialties, along with photography and general creativity consulting for both individuals and businesses. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and thank you all for dropping by!

It's time to get creative with our personal marketing!

It's time to get creative with our personal marketing!

Revolutionary Way To Post An INTERACTIVE Resume Online

May 13, 2009

You need every edge in this difficult economy, and first impressions are everything. I discovered this revolutionary way of connecting with employers while I was setting up my wordpress blog two years ago.  This will guarantee prospective employers the most comprehensive introduction to your qualifications, when compared to your competition’s antiquated plain-text resumes.

Step One: Title one of your wordpress pages “Interactive Resume” and paste in your resume, with proper formatting and a picture. Now here’s the fun part…

Step Two: This is your chance to showcase your proudest achievements by using the “link” function, so your readers can click through to everything from pictures of your school and work projects, your previous employer’s website, your blog, samples of articles you’ve written, pictures and write-ups from volunteer work, all the way to… (the possibilities are endless).

Step Three:
Link to your new interactive resume whenever you apply online (ie: Workopolis, Monster, Mediajobsearchcanada). Remember to write strategic blog posts to draw wordpress readers from your field, because you never know who will bring you your next big opportunity.

It’s time to start aggressively exploring how we can use the internet to give us an edge in our “real” lives. You’re welcome to use this interactive resume technique in your next job search. So go ahead, get creative! Good luck!