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Repatriation Dating Diaries: Cartier’s Hot for Teacher

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Photographer: Josh Willink

Up in the Air – Not Exactly Dating on Cloud 9

Settling back into life in Toronto hasn’t gone exactly as planned.  My career didn’t quite get off the ground the way I expected.  I just settled into a condo downtown and now have to move.  Everything’s just a little bit up in the air right now.  Dating is no exception.  Everyone at the bar is swiping left or right while in a perfectly lovely meet market.  Tinder is for hook-ups.  Bumble is allegedly for “serious dating” (sure).  Meeting people through buttoned up/ tied-down friends is nearly impossible.  I’ve now been on dates with a commitment-phobe real estate developer, a self-obsessed rocker, an UBER driver (yes – he drove me home and then we went out), a blogger who recently carbon-copied my latest post on The Toronto Seoulcialite, and a Tinder I had been out with 4 years ago.  The conversation barely changed and he definitely didn’t clue in.  Dating is depressing.  Oh – and I went out with my old calculus teacher.

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Hot for Teacher – Dating isn’t Calculus, it’s Chemistry

When you were in high school, did you ever have a crush on a teacher?  How about that hottie who wasn’t much older, but just enough that the difference in age/ power balance would have been inappropriate?  Imagine my surprise when the Facebook algorithm encouraged me to reconnect with my old calculus teacher 14 years my senior.  I can’t imagine he’ll mind my writing about this.  The probability of us meeting as we did was low, and the probability we’ll ever meet again is practically non-existent.  He was my teacher for all of 3 weeks (and change) and we bumped into one another locally and in Kingston for all of 3 minutes each time.  This round, after a lovely date, a hesitant goodnight kiss, and a few text exchanges promising to see one another again, it only took him about 3 days to ghost.  Dating isn’t algorithms or equations, it all comes down to chemistry and the space-time continuum.

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Photographer: Angello Lopez

Dating Derivatives

While it would be lovely to meet someone who had the raw, passionate, primal masculinity of Adonis, or the “jamais seul” nature of ex-Co-P, it’s summer.  Dating in Toronto doesn’t really ever seem to be clear or direct – just derivative of our parents’ and grand-parents’ generations.  In the summer it’s the least likely time for any of that to change.  Our diluted and deluded perspectives of responsibility to one another make me believe that I’ll always be house-hurt from carrying the weight of rent completely alone.  Owning at all is a pipe-dream.  White picket fences are a thing of the past.  There’s plenty I’m tempted to try.  Did I learn anything from scratching off this bucket-list item?  Not really.  Just that I think I’ll keep my interests outside of the classroom.

Repatriation Diaries – Hiring Managers: The New FCKbois?

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The New Fckbois = Job Gatekeepers

How do you get a job in your old city/ industry when you’ve been out of both for over 3 years?  It took me 7 weeks from the time I arrived back in Toronto after Bali to my first day of work.  My method was to cast a wide, wide net and see what came out of making a full time job of finding full time work.  The first couple of weeks were frustrating as I’d see hiring manager after hiring manager check out my LinkedIn profile, but no communication beyond that.  I updated my resume a gazillion times so it would be more appealing to the digital media and advertising industries.  I was using my jet lag and night owl status to adjust and apply (and boy, did I ever apply for everything), but it felt like I was getting absolutely nowhere.

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Master of None

My recruiter told me that my career background read as unfocused even though it highlighted a lot of desirable skills.  Having been away from my home and my industry for 3 years I couldn’t exactly walk back into a director-level role, and my level of seniority was too high for most of the jobs for which I was actually eager.  I would have been happy to take on something that would have looked like a step backwards, as long as I was learning rapidly and equipping myself to move forward with a company.  The goal was to become an expert in my role, rather than a Jill of all trades.

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Living out of the City

For the first month and a half I felt like a hobo.  My parents moved to a small town when I was in my 2nd year of University.  When I finally started coming in for interviews I felt like I was on the “inconveniencing my friends” tour.  I couldn’t commit to hanging out because just to get into Toronto I had to bother my parents for a 45 minute ride to the Go Train station, then spend $10 to get unto Union Station, then get the subway with all my junk.  That’s if I had booked an AirBnB or had a friend’s couch on which to crash.  I was trying to survive just on wifi (cause you can, for the most part, in Korea).  After 2 weeks I realized that my savings from Korea unfortunately didn’t amount to much and I’d have to start spending.

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Waiting by the Phone

From my online applications, I had plenty of “no response” responses, a whole lotta “more appropriate backgrounds needed”, and some straight up weird replies from hiring managers who didn’t know the job from Adam and were just trying to get the placement $.  I was asked to complete several phone interviews and a pile of “assignments” (aka FREE WORK).  By applying online I got a bunch of garbage, but also a couple of interviews.  Pair that with the few interviews I got through personal references, and I was starting to feel hopeful again.  How can you sound positive once you finally get the interview when you’ve been dealing with rejection after rejection after rejection? Image result for gif master of none

Dealing with Job Rejection

When I left Toronto I had my finger on the pulse.  My hire-ability was off the charts, but I couldn’t get a guy to take me out for coffee to save my life.  My, how the tables had turned.  In my most successful interview, I was told that I would hear back within a few days about next steps and meetings with the CEO.  Some of the recruiters/ hiring managers even promised offer letters within the next week.  I started looking for an apartment.  My friends started taking the idea of me sticking around pretty seriously.  Then, each and every one of those fckers ghosted me.  I even saw one of them from a pretty pathetic excuse for a communications company at a PR event.  I’ve never seen the “run fast ’cause I never called that broad back” face on a woman before, especially one with whom I had had a job interview!

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I did it! – Well…kinda

Like Dev, I did it…with plenty of help!  I actually got really, really lucky.  When I use the word “luck” I tend to mean a combination of timing + preparation. There’s a little element of magic that comes along with it, too.  I was walking out of one of these horrible cattle call job interview situations.  Picture pizza, a poorly-rehearsed speech from the child CEO, and sorority large-recruitment style “interviews”.  Then, I got a call from someone within my network.  I had sent her my resume weeks earlier.  Her friend had posted on Facebook about an immediate need.  Within 10 minutes I was on the phone with the gentlemen who would become my boss less than 24 hours later.  Sure – it’s only a contract for now, but it’s my foot in the door to work for an amazing organization doing some pretty creative things.

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Avoid the fckbois to Find a Job

Just like in dating, I met with a lot of fckbois.  In the end, I completely bypassed the fckbois (the recruiters) and found a diamond in the rough (the job).  Reach out to everyone in your network.  Don’t be afraid to annoy someone by asking to send along your resume.  Chances are they were once exactly where you were.  You can’t avoid the recruiters and HR managers hiring for positions they know nothing about.  You can  cast a wide net and let several of them work for you at once.

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May the odds be ever in your favour, Repats.