Tuesday, 19 November 2013

First Day

Isn't it funny how First Days always stand out so vividly in our heads? I can't remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday, but I can recall EXACTLY what I wore on the first day of fifth grade at my new school (Black bellbottoms, platform keds, and a Titanic t-shirt).

My first day in England was spent bawling my eyes out in the Manchester Airport Crowne Plaza. My first day at Foreign Affairs was spent flinching every time someone walked by my cubicle, terrified that someone would realize what a fraud I was and tell me to go home. Obviously, I have great First Day memories, too. The first day meeting my flatmates at Lancaster, drinking tea in someone's kitchen and thinking it was all so perfectly British. The first day of my emergency management program, listening to the teachers tell us about the industry and knowing I was in the right place (though what came after was a lot more challenging!)

Yesterday was my first official day of my new job, and I have to say--it was great! One of the benefits of my new job is that it's quite mobile, so I started off the day by working from bed (the "horizontal office", as my coworker calls it) and making a million phone calls, trying to get organized for my move this weekend.

(I need to get a block heater installed in my car--one of the not-so-fun realizations of my new location is that it's so cold my engine will freeze without one!)

I also got to take my first "real" business trip. I'm in Huron County today taking a course for my new position, so I drove down yesterday afternoon. This is a picture of my hotel room--I have a feeling this is going to be quite a common scene as my job involves a lot of travel!

Honestly--I'm so glad I decided to take this job. I know that the next few months are going to be really hard, both work-wise and life-wise. Even this week, just trying to sort out the move and my first steps, I've come close a few times to a complete meltdown. But even though I'm a little daunted by the task ahead of me,  I am completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that I've had. It's reminded me that as hard as distance can be, it is survivable. It's never been the end of my relationships before, and it's certainly not going to be this time!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

New Adventures!

As you may have been able to tell if you follow me on Instagram, I decided to take the job in Thunder Bay. At first, it was with a sort of ambivalence. I knew I couldn't turn such a great opportunity down, but that didn't mean I was thrilled about it. 

As soon as I took the job, I ran out and bought new boots. Hopefully they will be warm enough! 
Last weekend, I flew up to Thunder Bay to look for apartments, and since then, my excitement has been growing. 

Don't get me wrong--it's was REALLY cold. And apartment hunting was exceptionally difficult, because Thunder Bay has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the entire country. 

But literally everyone I talked to loved living there. And they were all SUPER friendly. And Thunder Bay has a special kind of charm, one that I think comes from being so far north and so isolated from other major cities. 

And once my new manager made the announcement that I had the job, I got dozens of emails and congratulations from people, some of whom I had never even met. It was really overwhelming but so nice. I had people telling me how wonderful the city was, how fantastically lucky I was to being doing the job, and how they knew so-and-so who could help me out. 

(Then someone made the mistake of telling me I was the youngest person in the position by 17 years. And let me tell you, if I thought before that modesty was one of my strong suits, that delusion was quickly shattered.)

So I've been getting really excited to get started. And even though packing and apartment searching and trying to get everything organized has been soooo stressful, it's a good kind of stress. Like anticipatory stress. 

This is going to be the view from my apartment. For real. 

I'm really hoping that this is the start of an awesome new adventure! 

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Big, scary decisions

I have a big decision to make this weekend.

I've been offered a job. A good job. One might even say that it is my dream job, or it was, or it probably will be again, one day.

The problem is that this job is in Thunder Bay. Never heard of it? Trust me, a year ago, I probably couldn't have located it on a map. And now I'm considering moving there. By myself. In like, two weeks.

Here are some of the factors I'm considering:

  • This is an amazing opportunity, especially for someone my age. This is not a position I ever dreamed I'd have by 25. 
  • It's also an incredibly intimidating opportunity. I'd have to confront every professional fear I have. (Public speaking. Flying in tiny airplanes. Dealing with people who don't think I'm capable because of my age. Dealing with people who don't think I'm capable because I'm a woman. Having to know stuff for sure and communicate it with confidence.)
  • I'd also have to confront a bunch of general fears (Cold. Snow. Lots more cold and lots more snow and having to start all over again in a new place with no friends and no family)
  • Did I mention the cold?
  • It's a full time job. With benefits, and a pension. If I were to stay in Toronto, it would be with the knowledge that come January, I'd be going back to part-time contract work with no guarantee that another opportunity will come along. (That's only partly true. I'm pretty smart. I'll probably find another job...eventually.)
  • It would be an ADVENTURE. This is something that has been sorely lacking in my life lately. I would get to see a whole different part of the country, experience the north, figure out what the deal with Finnish pancakes is, and be paid to drive around and visit communities that I would never see otherwise. 
  • It would a CHALLENGE. A chance to get better at the things that scare me. Maybe it will turn out I love public speaking and flying in tiny airplanes!
  • It's far. Really far. For some reason, this wouldn't be as much of a consideration if the job were 18 hours south (anyone want to pay me to move to South Carolina?), but the fact that it is an 18 hour drive north, away from my family, is probably the biggest factor holding me back. 
  • It's gonna be friggin cold, y'all. 
So that's the debate. Do I take a job I feel woefully unprepared for, in a frigid city 18 hours away from my friends and family, or let this opportunity slide and keep doing the job I've been doing with the hope that something similarly great will come along? 

How is it that either decision feels crazy in it's own way?