Thursday, February 26, 2015

Job search


Job searching, and all it involves, stinks.

Updating resumes, searching for job postings, sending e-mails, spending hours going place to place in person, waiting for responses, enduring awkward interviews, waiting for responses... It's all incredibly stressful and it is probably one of my least favourite tasks in the world.

Crazy as it sounds, the next worst thing, after doing all the footwork of updating your CV and finding offers that interest you, and sending off your information with much trepidation, and then the anticipation of waiting for a response... After all of that, the next worst thing is when the responses start coming in, and more than one place you applied to is interested, so now you have to choose...

Speaking as a true introvert, choices are the worst!

The last week of January was the most stressed I've been for a very long time, as I had, what I thought was, two interviews: one first tier, via Skype, the other second tier, a sort of practical exam. I was completely freaking out about the practical one, but the Skype one had me very nervous as well. Because, as you can imagine, doing an interview via telephone or Skype generally means the job is too far away to zip in for an in-person interview... I'm always nervous about going somewhere new. I wouldn't not take a job because it was out-of-province (otherwise, why apply in the first place?), what unnerves me is the idea that it might not work out, and then what? Job security is practically an unknown concept in my world.

So, I continued pounding the pavement (difficult with all this snow!), and I endured the short and awkward Skype interview, and made it through the practical interview. Looking back, I've only been finished school for just over 2 months, and I only started job searching the second week of January, so it's all worked out very quickly, really. But you know how things always seem much bigger when you're in the middle of it... I hadn't wanted to say anything to jinx it, just in case, but I think I can now safely share with you all that my hard work paid off.

I am now working part-time as a Pastry Chef for a small up-and-coming restaurant in Sherbrooke's centreville. It's two days a week, not huge hours, but it's something, it's a start, and I get to make yummy desserts - which is what I enjoy. There is no set dessert menu, it changes frequently, so customers have to ask what's available if they want a dessert! ;) For my first month on the job, I was making dessert perogies (stuffed with a sweetened cheese mixture, served with caramel and chocolate sauces), lemon poppy seed loaf (served with honey mousse), and a blueberry & goat cheese pie (which turned out to be a huge hit!). There was a special menu for Valentine's Day, so I also had to prepare 125+ chocolate bowls for that one-time event. If you will remember, the chocolate module was one of my least favourites as I had a terrible time tempering chocolate. The Valentine's Day menu was no different. But, in the end it all worked out and people apparently enjoyed them.

I will also be taking over, in the next week, a replacement position for a local Meals-on-Wheels program. The Head Cook is unfortunately unwell, and the current replacement has other responsibilities. So, my name got passed on through a friend of a friend, and I went yesterday to meet the staff, check out the kitchen, and help prepare the day's meal. The program offers three hot lunches a week to approximately 50 elderly/convalescent people in the area, and so it should work out perfectly with my position at the restaurant. My job will be to plan the meals (salad, soup, entree, dessert) and confect the soups and entrees. Not my field of study, not what I enjoy doing per se, but, it is more experience, it's a help to the local community, and it's a higher wage than my current job. :D The staff and volunteers are really sweet and laid-back, and I think I'm really going to enjoy working with them (once I get past the overwhelming idea of preparing 3 meals for 50 people every week...).

I've slowly been getting a few orders on my own - the stuff I really like to do. I did some Mickey & Minnie Mouse decorated cookies this month, I have a tea party themed birthday cake to do in March, wedding cupcakes in May (I think? Still need to confirm the date...), and a few other cake possibilities.

I also got my Pastry Diploma in the mail last week. The picture I posted on Facebook got the most "likes" and comments than any have for a while, which was both flattering and a little confusing. This is my fourth diploma, not including High School, so it wasn't that big a deal to me. Maybe it's just because I've never posted pictures of my other diplomas! Anyway, I'm glad people are happy for me. :)