Category Archives: job

The Pros & Cons of Working from Home

I started working from home for Airbnb in late September. It’s been about a month now and I’m starting to understand more about the job and what it’s like to work from home.

Sometimes it’s great, but sometimes it really sucks. If you’re considering working remotely here are some things that may help you decide…

 

Pros

  • No commute! I used to carve out 2-3 hours a day commuting to and from my job. Now I just roll over and turn my laptop on.
  • Fancy laptop from the company
  • This fancy laptop is a Macbook Air 13″ and she’s a beaut! Fast as lightning and under 3lbs it makes moving around the house, working at a coffee shop or even traveling easy!
  • The ability to work from anywhere as long as you have internet
  • No need to get dressed up or observe hygiene (within reason)
  • Flexible schedule – I can have lunch or take breaks almost whenever I want
  • Ability to multi-task. If things are slow I can get stuff done around the house while I monitor the computer
  • As long as I’m near the comp and not too busy I can have friends over!
  • Costs associated with working outside the home (eating out, extra transportation, alcohol) are virtually non-existent. Even though my hourly wage is puny, at least I’m saving a lot by staying home so much!
  • Less stress, I don’t have to worry about people watching me every moment

Cons

  • Dang, it gets lonely. You become a bit of a hermit because you’re not out in society anymore
  • At times you can be tethered to your job and working insane hours just because your computer happens to be there. Work/life balance can still be hard to achieve
  • No reason to dress up anymore :(
  • Your home can actually get messier because you’re at home all the time now
  • Potential weight gain from sitting so close to the kitchen all the time
  • Still hard to get up in the morning. Just because your commute is only 30 seconds now doesn’t mean you can show up late!
  • Lack of direction and discipline can become issues

There are more pros in my list than cons, but the loneliness factor is a huge one. I really feel isolated and cut off from the world. I try to get out more, but this isolation breeds more isolation. I’m more of a homebody than ever before! I’m having issues with the lack of routine, as well. It was much easier to fall into one when there were other people around. Now that I’m at home all the time, some days I don’t even get dressed. I love dressing up so this is very disappointing for me!

I’ve been trying to establish a routine that involves waking up at a good time, eating properly and getting outside for a walk or something every day, but frankly, I suck at this. The crappy weather may have something to do with it, but I think it’s mostly my own laziness and resistance. Somehow I’ve developed these habits and routines of laziness without even knowing it. Ruh-roh.

I used to hate the people when I was working in advertising (ok maybe not hate but I didn’t like most of them) and now I find myself missing people the most in this new job. I can still technically talk to my coworkers through Skype and video chats, but it’s just not the same. I guess I’m struggling with this change.

What would you do in my situation?

Off to see the Wizard!

Well, the time is nigh. I’m off to San Francisco on Sunday to begin a week of training for my new job with Airbnb. I’m quite excited!

They’ve got us staying in some Airbnb listings (of course!) and mine looks pretty darn nice: click. Three of us are staying there together, but I think there will be 10-12 of us in training this week. I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone!

I only wish that I had more time to explore San Fran. They told us that we had to fly in on Sunday and out on Saturday so I will only have a little bit of time in the evenings to go out and explore.

Krystal has already suggested a burrito place to check out, but what else could I do in an evening? I’m staying in the Mission area of town.

Suggestions?

The Big Idea

I haven’t been around much lately, but for good reason this time.

I have been spending my funemployment time working on a business idea that I hope to launch in the next couple of months.

After much soul-searching, I decided to take a break from the corporate world and do something that I really wanted to do. Truthfully, that would be travelling and adventuring but I don’t have the money. So instead I thought I’d finally get my act together and become an entrepreneur.

I was always the persuasive kid selling something — lemonade, cut flowers, anything I could get my hands on to make some money. In high school I ran a web design business with my friend and actually turned a profit. I also ran a Junior Achievement company and also turned a profit there. I was invited to an exclusive business camp for young adults, even though I had never taken any business courses. I excelled in college as well (Faculty of Business, of course!) and graduated with a 4.0 and a bunch of awards and recognitions.

I always knew I would end up working for myself, but somewhere between college and my dreams I got sidetracked, and sucked into the corporate world. I’ll be honest here, it didn’t really suit me. I was always chafing at the restrictions and felt like I was never valued. I didn’t get to be creative or really grow all that much. It just really wasn’t a good fit.

Being laid off/quitting my last job may have been a blessing in disguise. I didn’t “die” like I thought I would, and was given a chance to really think about what I wanted to do with my life. Do I want to be another cog in a machine, or do I want to strike out on my own and make history–if only in my small circle of friends?

I think you know where this is going.

Long story short, I am currently working with the Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC) to apply to the Ontario Self Employment Benefit Program (OSEB). Essentially OSEB pays your living expenses for 42 weeks while you undergo intense business/entrepreneurship training and get your business off the ground. For the past month I have been hustlin’ and bustlin’ to get all the paperwork filled out, meetings attended, etc. so I can get myself into this program. For this point in my life it would be a real boon to be part of it.

And you know what? I have an absolutely excellent chance to get in. My drive to succeed, marketing and business know-how and interest in all the workings has already set me apart from everyone else I have met at the TBDC who are also applying. I’ve got an edge, and I’m going to make this happen no matter what.

So what is my big idea?

Not so big, really. And not totally unique, either (there is more risk in completely unique ideas vs. an established model with a twist). I’m opening an online store that will cater to folks like you and me who love creative, crafty things, handmade stuff, or just plain cool stuff. Jewellery, housewares, accessories, books, whatever seems right will be sold in the store.

I’ll be curating the collection and working closely with the artisans to bring the best stuff to the front. There will be a blogging/community component and the model will be beneficial to both myself (the business) and the artisans I work with.

There are still a lot of details to work out (including the name!), but going through this program will help me craft a realistic business plan to seek funding if I need it. After this program (or during, since I’m so eager!) I’ll hook up with the Canadian Youth Business Foundation and see if I can get a loan and/or mentor from them. Other avenues will also be explored.

Right now, I am putting together a presentation for my final evaluation on Friday. I have to present some topline research and my business idea. This is where I need your help!

I have created a quick online survey to get some demographic and psychographic information on my potential market… aka YOU. The anonymous data will help me with my case, and will also show me what my customers really want. I’ve even thrown in a few name choices!

PLEASE, help me by filling out the survey and passing it onto your friends and family.

It doesn’t matter what country you’re from since I’ll be online. Any age or gender is ok!

To make things easy for you, the link is here: http://svy.mk/lXxJxr

And if you would like to help out by tweeting/posting as well, here you go:

I’m helping @gingercorsair create an awesome business! U can contribute too with this quick survey! http://svy.mk/lXxJxr

 

As I said, the more people that fill this out, the more it will help me understand you and what you would like to see from my store. The survey includes a brief summary of the idea (which may change!) and is completely anonymous.

As added incentive, when I launch this business, I’ll be doing my big “reveal” as well. You’ll be able to meet the real me, see my face and everything. No more hiding behind anonymity anymore!

…but this only happens if and when I get this puppy off the ground. Let’s do this!

Managing my budget while unemployed

I'm not *quite* there yet...

As many of you know, I left/was laid off from my ad job this past Tuesday. I’m not thrilled that I don’t have a job anymore, but it wasn’t too bad of an exit. They didn’t really want to let me go, but there wasn’t any work at my level, and I couldn’t get caught upon the nitty gritty kind of work they needed fast enough to justify my salary.

So we mutually agreed that this situation wasn’t working out. They have paid me through to April 15th and my benefits continue until then, but I left on Tuesday (nothing to do at work). I will also get a reference from them for the right job. Nice people, it’s really too bad it didn’t work out.

Anyway, this is pretty much the first time I have ever been unemployed, so it’s a whole new world for me! I’m going to take some time to figure out what I really want to do with my life —  advertising/media was ok, but I found myself increasingly unhappy in it. I think the universe is giving me a kick in the pants, telling me to find a better career path. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Monies

So how am I going to manage my money situation while I don’t have regular income?

1. Employment Insurance

Since I was laid off, I qualify for EI in Ontario. I applied the day after I ended my employment at the agency, and I hope to hear back soon. I’ve never applied before so I’m not totally sure what to expect with this process or even how much I will receive. I think the maximum per week is around $400, which would be great if I can get that.

2. Watch the pennies

I’m going to have to be much more diligent in budgeting in the coming few months. Luckily I don’t really need to shop for anything but food coming up, but there are always going to be unforeseen expenses, so I will try to pare things down as much as possible to accommodate.

I am trying to cook more at home, as well as cooking from scratch. This will be a good chance for me to explore/practice cooking some new dishes! Since I eat so little now (due to weight loss surgery) I’ll either have lots of leftovers, or the ability to invite friends over for nice meals now, with no extra cost to me.

3. Put loan payments on hold

Luckily my current loan (to pay for my surgery) was through my granny. She is sympathetic to my loss, and I am allowed to put my loan repayments on hold until I get a full time job again. Thank goodness! If the loan were through the bank it would have been a different situation–but I would never have borrowed from a bank for this purpose to begin with.

4. Find other ways to make money

I’ve been quite involved with my bed & breakfast, and hope to continue at a decent rate. My goal is to earn $500 per month through bookings. I have started tracking all my bookings and earnings and it’s not looking too bad! If I can make at least $500 per month, it will really help me cover all my expenses.

Obviously, I am also looking for a new job. If I can’t find anything decent soon, I will start to look at part time options in industries I am interested in. If that doesn’t pan out, then I’ll start looking at retail/service-type positions (ie: Starbucks, Chapters, etc.) but I hope it doesn’t get to that point.

5. Emergency Fund

I’ve got an EF for exactly this kind of situation. It is not quite as large as I would like it to be, but it could cover my rent for 3-4 months. Combined with EI and/or B&B income, I would be able to live for that period of time or longer.

 

So, that’s the plan for right now. Keep costs as low as possible, and create as much side income as possible until I get a full time job. While I am prepared for a few months of living expenses, I don’t want to rely on them. I’m going to pretend that I’m hanging on by a thread so that I’ll be more motivated to find a job. A fellow blogger was prepared for a year of unemployment, but found that because she had that safety net she was less inclined to spend a lot of time and effort looking for a job. I don’t want to fall into that trap!

Parting Ways With Employment

I am about to boldly go where no Ginger has gone before… the world of unemployment.

I had the official sit-down with my bosses yesterday and I’ll be unemployed as of March 31st. I’m actually looking forward to it a little bit.

Many years I have toiled fruitlessly in the media industry and I’m glad to bid it adieu. The decision to part ways with my employer was mutual. I have a background in the greater concepts of communications planning and marketing, but they needed someone with a more granular background in media planning and buying.

We gave it a good shot, but it just wasn’t meant to be. They really liked me though, so are making my termination as nice as they can.

  • I finish work on the 31st, but will be paid through to April 15th
  • My benefits will also be extended to that date
  • I am allowed to leave work for interviews at any time
  • The bosses are going to call around and see if anyone is looking for someone with my talents
  • I can use them as a reference for the right kind of job

All in all it’s not a bad way to leave work. Few bitter feelings. But it’s still a little awkward. No one really wants to lose their job or be told that they’re not right for the position. Why hire me in the first place?

 

Anyway, I’ve got to switch into recovery mode now. I’ve started the job hunt, but no bites yet. Currently I’m looking at social media-esque positions, and also admin stuff that pays well.

(Not that you can always tell on this blog, but) I’m incredibly good at writing and editing. I can spot typos from a mile away. I would love to do more communications or writing jobs, but so many of them require a comms, English or journalism degree that I don’t have. And really, I don’t feel like going back to school would give me much more of an edge. Sure there are a few things I could brush up on (proper proof-reading notes, etc.) but with practice I would meet the level of my peers in simpler journalism.

How does one convince a person to give them a chance? It’s tough.

I’m looking for just about any job right now. My goal for the next year or so is to get a stable job with stable and sufficient income. I need to make around $22 hourly or $40,000 a year in order to pay for my apartment, lifestyle, etc. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

While I work my nice, stable job I can work on my personal self. I need to get my eating habits in check (currently not eating enough nor correctly) organize and follow an exercise regimen and also increase my social life. I also want to do things that I’ve been meaning to do, such as take up pottery and sewing again.

Basically I want to feel satisfaction and fulfillment in my life.

I think this is going to be the year of change. If anyone has any advice or job suggestions I am all ears.

About The Job

I started my new job in October and a lot of you have had questions about it!

I’ll tell you what I can :)

The place

It’s a small boutique media agency which can sometimes be tricky but seems good so far. I learned everyone’s name the first day and am getting along with them all. The accounts are decent and everyone seems really committed to their jobs and often work through lunches and into the night. I hope that with my arrival the work is spread more evenly so we don’t have to do this all the time.

The location of the office is a bit unfortunate for me. My commute time is way longer now and puts me at the mercy of the subway. If something goes wrong (and something always goes wrong) on the lines, it can make the commute torturous. However the office is close to a grocery store, shopping center and a bunch of other shops and food places so it’s not too bad overall. Just far from my home.

Money & Perks

Since I’m back in advertising/media and all that jazz (I thought I would get out of it… *sigh*) I DO get some perks again. I’ll be working more with reps from all kinds of media (TV, radio, magazine, online, etc.) so as my reputation builds I’ll be taken to more lunches, events and sent more gifts. I’m already going to events and have received a few of the generic gifts already (no big ticket items yet since no one really knows me).

I’m also getting more swag bags. I’ll have to post some photos of the things I’ve gotten!

As for salary… I got a 33% raise from my last salary! 33%!!! That’s pretty damn impressive. I also negotiated 3 weeks of vacation plus the Christmas holidays off. In the summer we also get the Friday before a long weekend off which is a nice perk.

The People

This place has a very “family” feel to it. The owner and her husband both work here, and some other family members do, too. But thankfully not many or that would be awkward. Everyone is very friendly and warm and I feel like I fit in here.

The president herself is pretty cool. I’ve been having random lunches with her since I started (we just happen to eat at the same places!) and we chat as if we’re friends. It’s kind of a nice bond. I’m also getting to do special projects with her and she’s totally cool with helping me learn everything. What a lucky find!

I’ve organized a cookie swap for the holidays and almost everyone is on board. That’s a huge change from the other places I’ve worked at. Everyone was so cold and impersonal, or very cliquish.

Overall things are going pretty well. I didn’t really want to work in media again at all (the last place left a bad taste in my mouth) but this was the only place hiring. Personally I think it’s going to work out better than anticipated. I’m actually enjoying myself and not dreading going into work each day.

I’m really tired most of the time since learning everything is exhausting, but hopefully that will pass soon. I’m glad I found this place, it’s probably better than working a reception job!

I still plan on opening my own business and am still in school for it, etc. but I’m glad I can make more money working here and that it’s not crushing my soul while I get my shop plan together.

Still Looking

Aside from the tea party, searching for a new job has been on my mind the most.

Ever since I got a new boss and realized that I hate my job and it’s going nowhere things just seem to keep on being craptastic.

There’s nothing quite like dealing with the stress of a job that you hate (one that sucks your soul and you don’t get appreciated for) while trying to be positive and find something new.

I’ve been on a couple of interviews in my industry, but no bites yet. I really want to either get into social media (which is at least interesting and related to my skills!) or finally start a business of my own.

Lately I’ve been reading the Four Hour Workweek which is inspiring me a little, and I’ve also been doing some research on starting a small business. There’s so much to learn and consider!

I know I can do it… but I didn’t think I would really start working on it in earnest so soon. But I guess there will never be a convenient time, right?

Right now I’m trying to figure out exactly what I want to do, and then how I can start to make it happen. My idea isn’t really new or too unique, so I don’t mind sharing it with you all.

Ideally, I would like to open up a small shop and sell beautiful handmade or funky things. I get lots of compliments on my taste and style–I always seem to find the cool things before anyone else does. Why not capitalize on that? I’ve got the marketing background which is so critical to running a business, it’s just figuring out how I translate all my big-company thinking to a smaller scale! But I think it will be a lot of fun.

So now that you know the general idea behind my shop, what do you think? If you were my customer, what kinds of things would you like to see there, or what could I do to stand out? As I mentioned, I won’t be the only shop to offer handmade one of a kind things.

I’d like to make it accessible though. I find a lot of those stores cater to the more affluent people, and shut out the folks who can’t afford a $300 beaded necklace. I want to make sure that everything I sell is reasonably priced; style should not be reserved for only the rich!

I would carry just about anything, from jewelery and accessories to home decor, books and maybe even clothing. Just cool stuff in general. I want the store to be an experience when people walk in! I will have a strong focus on customer service and would be involved with the community by supporting local artists, events and charities.

Now I just need to figure out how to make this happen! And also think up a name :s Oy!

Hmm. I started this post with the intent to complain about my job and lousy luck in the job hunt. Oh well. I’d rather think about my dream business, anyway 😛