Bitching Brew

Sunday, October 22, 2006

And over a month has passed.

Sleeping is giving in, no matter what the time is...

That's an attitude I've been (re-)adopting recently, to the cost of my health!

One question arises again and again: "Why would I ever want to go home?" I know that seems a little naive. Canada isn't perfect. Most of my friends and family are across the ocean. I could be earning twice or thrice as much back in Ireland, or perhaps in London. And yet... why would I ever want to go home? How can someone change so much in five weeks? Well, it's happened. My priorities, and indeed my general outlook on life, have undergone a radical shift. All ex-students undergo these shifts, but normally not at such a pace.

I was going to take a stack of photos today, but it's been miserable. So here's two shots out the front window, and one of our Thanksgiving dinner.

I love this city. I'm already putting down tender, youthful roots. I've settled in incredibly well thus far - to the point that I feel like a permanent immigrant, not a temporary worker. An example: one of the reasons I came over here was to avoid being snared by the corporate world between my degrees. I planned to mix up different kinds of work: retail, temp office, cafe, etc. The thing is, wages here are very stingy compared to Dublin, and probably Western Europe in general. A retail job - one without the possibility of commission or tips - normally pays as little as $8 an hour. After tax, that translates to €4.44, or £2.97. While living costs are somewhat lower here, how could one live on that?! So I'm actively pursuing "career-related" jobs. I need the money. Yes, this is supposed to be a fun cultural experience, but it won't be that if I'm living on ramen noodles for the rest of the year. I'll take my salary from 9-5, and my fun and culture during the rest of the week. And so it follows that my work attitude is not "happy-go-lucky Irish traveller", but professional to the core. It's all about impressions, folks. And ok, competence too. I'm chuffed to report that I seem to making good first impressions everywhere I go, whether it be socially or professionally. Confidence is sky-high!

I've been temping for the last week at a printing firm out in North York. It's a long, long way from home. Put it this way - an hour and twenty minutes on Toronto's efficient, quick transport system. The work wasn't exactly stimulating, but at least the staff were friendly. I, of course, put in my best performance - professional, diligent, friendly, self-motivated and showing initiative. On my second day, they offered me a long-term job in a more challenging position, which would involve some training in computer programming. Can't say I wasn't tempted; I gave it a few days' thought. In the end, I declined, due essentially to the poor location. I need to be working much closer to home, and secondly, to be in an urban setting, rather than an outlying industrial estate, with no facilities.

It felt strange to be turning down a good job. I guess it's a reflection of my self-confidence right now. To be offered that on my second day is a great credit to me. There's another thing you learn in Canada (and presumably in the US too): you have to sell yourself. Modesty is for mugs. Play every card. Use every contact. And show just how good you are.

As you may have guessed, I didn't land the non-profit job I was aiming for. I think I came across well in the interview, but the woman who got the position had far more experience. C'est la vie. I have an interview for another, longer-running, temp job next Thursday. The pay is better, the work is more interesting, and the location is fantastic: Yonge and Adelaide. No reason I can't get it. Even better, I've made a high-up contact in one of Canada's biggest banks, which might lead to something quite decent.

Enough of work. Last night, I ended up in a club which can only be described as Copperface Jack's meets Doyle's (upstairs), with a higher proportion of punk in the playlist. 'Twas interesting, to say the least. It had a mixed proportion of crazies, hotties, losers and hipsters. I've added it to my list; I think I'll go there when I'm feeling lazy. Both dressing-up and effort are optional...

Love this city.

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  • Nice crib!

    I can understand why it would be quite impossible to live on the minimum wage in Toronto, since it's the most expensive city in Canada. I remember seing a tv report about a single mother who was making $15 an hour as a daycare worker in Toronto and she was living in poverty. In fact, she had just been thrown-out of her appartment and was sleeping in shelters with her son. I was like "What the fuck!" Here in Montreal, nobody making $15 an hour is sleeping in shelters, that's for damn sure. Especially since the province of Quebec is where the price of housing is the lowest in North America.

    At $15 an hour and 40 hours a week, that's $600 a week before taxes. Just as a point of reference, the rent for my two bedroom appartment is $533 a month. So as you can see, nobody making $15 an hour is living in shelters in Montreal.

    By Blogger Sonia, at Mon Oct 23, 03:14:00 a.m.  

  • I could live comfortably on $15 an hour, but there's no way I could support someone. The best I've earned up until now has been $12 an hour, which has made life very tight. Happily, I've just been offered a new job until January, which pays $13.75. On the downside, after tax, I'd still be earning more on Ireland's minimum wage. BUT - on the positive side, since I can pay for all the essentials with $12, the extra $1.75 is pure luxury money. :)

    I can't believe your rent is that low! I'm renting one room in a three-bed, and I'm paying $550! The cheapest you can find anywhere in Toronto itself is $450, and most of those places are like slave quarters. Without the amenities.

    By Blogger Martin, at Fri Oct 27, 02:06:00 a.m.  

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