The job…

Back in February I interviewed for a job that I really wanted. It quite excited me and I was pretty disappointed to be pipped at the post by someone with experience in a similar role.

On Moday this week I got a call from the ‘headhunter’ who originally found me for the job. He told me that the company had contacted him and asked for me specifically to fill another opening. They didn’t want to advertise the job if I was available and interested. I said yes, I’d like to talk with them about it again. Wasn’t entirely certain that I would want to get back into the commute routine (I know I don’t like it at all) but thought I’d probably regret it if I said no. After all, it’s exactly the job I’ve been wanting to get for the past few years. Even turned one, with a different company, down a couple of years ago because it involved too much travel.

So I met with the manager yesterday. All went very well. He emphasised how difficult they found it to make the decision last time. The job is mine, they just have to make the formal offer. I told them I can start on Aug 1st. Walking in there yesterday and talking to the manager again just confirmed in my mind that this is the job (and the type of company) I’ve been aiming towards for the past few years. I won’t like the commute, I know that (the job is in Nedlands so it will mean a train ride then a short bus ride), but hey – you can’t have everything!

So…you ask, “what is this job?”

Support and Training Consultant for a mining software company. Job responsibilities include:

  • Client support (phone, email, face-to-face)
  • Training to current and new software users and in-house training for new staff (in-house, onsite, and at 3rd party venues – but not a huge amount of onsite training). This includes organising everything related to conducting the training.
  • Product development – Liaise with the product development team and software users during the software design cycle.
  • Assist the Sales and Marketing teams by providing technical support during sales demos, etc.
  • Development and update of course materials. Their current course books are fabulous. The layout is great – great templates, and their development process is a good one.

It might not excite all of you out there, but it excites me enough to draw me back out of my cosy existence of doing a little bit of work when I want to, walking dogs, doing tai chi and whatever else I feel like doing on any given day.

Painting and other things…

It’s been a little over three weeks since my last post and so much has happened.

I had a call from a recruiter who found me via my LinkedIn profile. He wanted to know if I was interested in a full time permanent job. It turns out that the job was exactly what I’d love to be doing and definitely exciting enough for me to get back into the full time commute routine. The job was software support and training for some mining software. I had a great interview and then had to wait two weeks until they interviewed their other candidate before I had any news. Unfortunately I didn’t get the job. The feedback from the companty was great but I was pipped at the post by a geologist with experience in a similar role with a competitor company. I’ll always lose out to a geologist in this type of role. Oh well, yes, I was disappointed but I’ve moved on. I have too much else to do right now.

We got the new garage door. It’s great. So quiet and it doesn’t make a racket in the wind, either. Looks so much better than the old rusty cracked door.

We also chose some floor tiles that will (hopefully) look good with the existing tiles. They are different, but should be complementary . I got a tiler to come and have a look at the sample that I brought home and to give me a quote. He liked the tile and we liked the quote so we have him scheduled to do the work later this month. It should be finished a week before Stephen’s mum arrives. The only problem with that plan is that Stephen left for two weeks in South Africa (for work) on Friday night. He arrives home the day before the tiler comes in. That means we had to get the carpet pulled up before Stephen left. To pull up the carpet we had to move the heavy furnitue out of the rooms e.g. unstacking bookcases, moving them and restacking. We left most of the furniture in the rooms and just moved it around, cutting and pulling up the carpet in stages. Pulling up the tack board was a real pain with all the nails into the slab, but we got it all done. We’ll do the final emptying of the rooms on the day Stephen gets home. Things will be really cramped in the other rooms when that happens but it should only be for a few days.

Some before photos of the lounge room:

Early lounge room

Early lounge room

Lounge room before

Lounge room before

Lounge room before

Lounge room before

There was an incredible amount of beach sand under the carpet. We don’t know how long it had been down, but obviously some of that sand came out of our dogs – even though we always rinse and brush them after we’ve been to the beach and before they are allowed back inside. Since the carpet has gone I’ve really realised how much hair Anzac sheds and how much the carpet caught. I’m having to vacuum billowing clouds of grey and white dog hair every day. I know how much dust we get in the house and all that settles on the furniture must also settle on the carpet, so it’s definitely a good move to get rid of it.

The carpet removed

The carpet removed

I’ve been flat out painting since the carpet started to come up and I’m taking as much advantage as possible of Stephen’s absence and of having less furniture and no floor coverings in the lounge and main bedroom to get as much painting done as possible. Choosing paint colours is painful – even choosing white. There are so many different whites! I finally found one that we’re happy with for all the internal doors. They were painted in a high gloss white that had yellowed with age. I chose to use a semi-gloss. The trim is fiddly and getting a smooth, even finish on the door surfaces isn’t easy. Our doors are just cheap, hollow core doors with the flat untextured surface. They’d be easier to spray paint and even easier if painted before they were hung. I used a gloss roller, which was easier and looks better than my first attempt which was with a brush, but I’m not really happy with them. They will have to do, though; they’ve all had two coats and I’ve had enough of painting doors! I’ve moved on to the walls in the loungeroom. I’ve been filling cracks and chips, sanding back repairs that were poorly patched by the previous owners, and washing down.  We knew about the cracks and chips and the jerry-built repairs (including an unbelievable TV cabling job), but after a while you don’t see them any more – until you start trying to fix them. That’s when you realise just how much there is to do. There was also a wallpaper dado border that I had to remove. That was much easier than the vinyl borders that I had to remove from the bathroom and toilet when I painted them.

The previous owner told us he was an electrician. This is cabling for Foxtel

The previous owner told us he was an electrician. This is cabling for Foxtel

Choosing the wall colours was a real pain as well. We wanted something with a touch of colour, but not something too bright; and it has to match the tiles. I tried six different colour samples before we found one that we think we’re happy with. The wall was starting to look like we were painting it in camoflage pattern. Just what the paint will look like when the whole room is covered it is another thing. Experience tells me that paint never quite looks the way you expect it to when it’s on the walls. Hopefully two coats will be enough. Currently the bottom half of the walls is an apricot colour and the top half a lighter pink with yellow undertones. I should be ready to start cutting in tomorrow.

I’ve also chosen the paint for the family room/kitchen/hallway area – just an off-white shade for that area – but I don’t think I’ll get that done before the mothers visit. Stephen’s mum will be here for two weeks and then mine for four. They’ll overlap for a few days. On one of the days that they are both here we’ve booked a Swan Valley vineyard tour. Our neighbours run a business called Perth Luxury Tours. A couple of weeks ago they took us and two other of our neighbour couples out for the day on a Swan Valley tour. We had a great time and decided to do a similar tour with Maggie and Mirella.  I highly recommend one of their tours to anyone visiting Perth, or to anyone who wants to see more of the Perth area. They conduct a variety of personalised tours.

While I’m busy advertising I’ll mention my hairdresser. He’s now working from his salon in his home in Tapping. If you live close enough to give him a try I doubt you’ll regret it. He’s a great hairdresser (for both men and women) and is very reasonably priced.  Hair by Ben Williams 0416 019 922.

In between all of my painting and prep work I’m required to throw the ball for Anzac every few seconds for about half an hour to an hour at a time; then he sleeps for a while – or lays looking out the front door, watching the world go by – then we start again. Without the carpet on the floor the ball does tend to roll under the sofa. Anzac tries his best to get it out, but can never quite get to it, so I have that job as well. We’ve also been getting up early and walking down to the park each morning. We do a few circuits of the park; Kaz just wanders and sniffs and says hello to the other dogs. Anzac wanders and sniffs and says hello to the other dogs, and chases the ball. He doesn’t often bring it back because there are too many distractions so I always throw it in the direction that we’re walking and he gets planty of exercise chasing it.

Speaking of Anzac, it was his first birthday on Friday. I bought them a couple of new toys, a cockatoo and a pelican; of course I had to give them a toy each, but they do share.  The toys are very popular, they honk when they are squeezed and the have plastic in the wings which makes crinkly, scrunchy noises when its chewed or tossed around.

Birthday Toys

Birthday Toys

We also went down to the beach on his birthday. It was a hot day so we all went into the water. Kaz is funny, though. She doesn’t trust us not to take her right in for a swim. She wanders back and forth along the shallows, but turns her back on us if we turn to look at her. If we call her or move towards her she heads off in the opposite direction. She won’t let us get close enough to get hold of her.

Beach fun

Beach fun

Anzac is absolutely loving the water. He swims out to Stephen without any hesitation and isn’t phased by waves splashing over him. Luckily he doesn’t feel the need to swim out on his own. He likes to keep checking on Kaz  and us and any other dogs that go past.

Swimming fun

Swimming fun

Snoozing in the car on the way home from the beach

Snoozing in the car on the way home from the beach

All in all he had lots of fun on his birthday.

Garden, lizards and business…

I’m a bit behind on my daily posts. I’m thinking that perhaps I shouldn’t have committed myself to daily.

Over the last couple of days I’ve started to feel a bit overwhelmed by the enormity of my venture into the world of training. While it’s not very big in the grand scheme of business ventures, it’s a huge thing for me. Thoughts of getting my manuals printed, my inability to find some office supplies and furniture that I want and a call from the insurance advisor conspired to get to me. But no, all is well and it’s not so difficult at all; I was just having ‘one of those days’. Of course if I want to develop my own training materials, I’m going to have to get them printed. That’s no bigger job than ordering pre-printed manuals. Why is it that it seemed bigger than the actual development of the resources? The office supplies are a small thing, and the insurance issue should easily be solved by wording things a little differently. Thanks to a long chat with a good friend everything looks clearer again.

Speaking of insurance, we received a cheque in the mail from AAMI for our share of the fence, made out to us as a cash payment so we can pay the fencer whenever the job is complete. AAMI have been so easy for us to work with. We’ve been with them for a little over a year now and we’ve made two claims. Both have been easy to settle with no questions asked and only the slight hicough when they thought we hadn’t renewed with them. That question was solved by them before I could even look up the payment details myself. Now, hopefully I’ll hear from the contractor in the next couple of days with a start date.

I’ve now sent off my application for registration of a business name and I’ve paid for the first semester of  my Graduate Diploma of Information Design. I’m committed to both I now have to stop procrastinating with my TAA upgrade and get that out of the way. I don’t think the projects that I’ve been set are all quite as necessary as I’ve been led to believe. I’ll look back through the materials that I have on hand from when I used to do computer training in Jabiru and see what I can come up with to cover as many of the requirements as possible and next week I’ll put my head down and get as much of the rest out of the way as I can.

Now on to more interesting things.

I’ve been looking for a new pair of sandals, something comfortable, casual but a bit nicer looking than my old Birkenstocks. I found a very comfortable pair of El Naturalista sandals on sale and snapped them up.

El naturalista Ikebana Cuero

El Naturalista Ikebana Cuero

The garden has shown it’s pleasure at the cooler weather and the little bit of rain we had through the week. There are lots of buds on the roses.

Pruning roses

Pruning roses

The pink flowering gum has been covered in buds and they’ve started to open.

Corymbia ficifolia (summer beauty)

Corymbia ficifolia (summer beauty)

The white plume grevillea (smelly socks) has also made a last show with a few small flowers. It’s looking quite fabulous with it’s tall canes and popped seed pods.

White Plume Grevillea (smelly socks)

White Plume Grevillea (smelly socks)

The birds are loving the height and the other grevilleas that are currently in flower. We’re currently seeing a lot of New Holland Honeyeaters and a variety of other honeyeaters. There are lots of parrots around at the moment but we rarely get any of those in our garden. So far we haven’t seen any Black Cockatoos in the garden, we did have a couple come in for a drink at one of the birdbaths last year.

We did have a visitor to the yard today. Anzac made it obvious that there was something attracting his attention. He barked a couple of times but was mainly focussed on something in the bushes. It turned out to be another blue-tongued (shingleback or stumpy-tailed) lizard. This one wasn’t as pretty as the Christmas Day visitor, but looked just as healthy.

Blue tongued lizard

Blue tongued lizard

We finished the day with a very windy walk along the Burns Beach pathway.  The water was pretty rough with lots of lines and white caps. Our walk would have been nicer without the wind, but was enjoyable anyway.

Out walking

Out walking

Kaz

Kaz

Anzac in the sandpit

Anzac in the sandpit

Business essentials and raindrops…

We’ve had some lovely rain today.  It’s brought the temperature down and made the garden and the birds very happy! And most of the residents of the Perth area as well, I’m sure.

I spent this morning researching topics to put into my Intro to Computers course. I want to put together a set of modules so that I can easily tailor the course depending on the learners needs.I also looked into the Information and Communications Training package to see which units I think I’ll be able to incorporate into the course. There are a couple of options there.

Then I looked into options for business cards. I went to OfficeWorks and priced cards that I can print myself. $50 for 200 269gsm cards, plus the cost of ink and the time it would take to print them myself. And then would I end up with a professional looking product? I don’t think so. 260gsm seems to be the heaviest weight card you can get to go through the inkjet printer. A professional printer would probably print on 360gsm card. Quite a difference; and quite a difference in finished product. I priced having them done at a printer. I can get them done for $99 for 1000 cards, plus GST and the cost of artwork which will probably be about $50. All depending on how fancy I want to get – not so fancy at all.

I also emailed our accountant for some advice, and spent some time on the ATO website looking at information on starting a small business, paticularly on record keeping. There’s a good guide to record keeping that the ATO puts out for small business.

Still a lot of work to be done, but it’s keeping me busy and out of trouble.

Right click, left click…

My New Moon Eclipse horoscope, by Kim Falconer, today said:

The New Moon Eclipse is all about creating a powerful new intention for the upcoming year and you ‘eclipse’ is happening in your 10th house of career and public image. If you ever thought you could vision your dream-come-true occupation, now is the time. You could fly to the moon with this energy. Get up and go for it!

Wow!

I received an email from the Community Development Officer at one of the local councils. He wanted to discuss my ideas for hiring their computer lab and offering computer classes that would complement the basic classes that they already run. I went over and met with him. He was very enthusiastic and encouraging and is certain that there’s a big demand for the types of courses I want to offer. I’ve offered to do some volunteer training for them and he’s offered to work with me however he can to support my business. He sees it as part of his community development role to offer his community options that the council can’t actually provide by linking with a provider who can offer those options.

Their computer room is bright and airy and the hire is very reasonably priced.

Now I need to put together my bread-and-butter course. I’m going to start this slowly and make sure I get every stage as right as I can before moving on to the next. I also need to set up all my business stuff – business name, insurance, business cards and brochures. I also want to sit the MS Word exam that I’m eligible to sit thanks to the course that got me moving in this direction.

There’s learning  to be found in every experience and there can be good outcomes from even negative experiences.

Tech writing and telework and study…

We tested the ball retrieving this morning on our walk. There was a little bit of improvement, but the distractions were almost overwhelming. There are always such good smells at the park…and then there are the other dogs…

I worked some more this afternoon on my tech writing marketing then spent time researching courses I want to do and catching up on the mailing list messages that I missed while we were away. There was an interesting and robust discussion that included the reluctance of some companies to accept remote workers. This is something I recently came up against myself. I’ve worked remotely in the past, with a great deal of success, but the company I was most recently working for wouldn’t hear of it. They had all sorts of excuses, but nothing that washed with me. They were the same excuses that other people were being given by other companies as well. I started exploring telework options and articles and came across an interesting post on the Break Down the Walls blog: Telework bill just a signature away. There’s plenty of other information out there supporting telework including Telework Australia. It’s obvious that encouraging remote work is, in many cases, a good business and economic decision for a company. Admittedly it works better for some occupations than others and for some people than others. Tech writing is one of those occupations that is perfect for telework. A business can easily use productivity vs costs as a guage of whether telework is a success or not.

I found a few courses that I’m interested in and also some good technical book recommendations. On the topic of courses, I was enrolled by my employer in a self-paced upgrade to my Cert IV Assessment and Workplace Training through Productivity Places Program (PPP) for Existing Workers Govt funding. I’ve received very little assistance with this and I’m supposed to be finished by the end of this month. At first there was no dedicated ‘self-paced coordinator’ at the company. I had no clue for the first three months just what the process was, I was given no information at all. I was eventually given a manual and should have had regular contact with a coordinator. It didn’t happen. They employed a new coordinator just before we went to New Zealand and she was supposed to give me a call last Monday to set up an appointment to go over what I need to do and plan how I’m going to get it done. I’ve heard nothing from her. I know I’m partly at fault in this for letting it go, but I’ve had no guidance at all and I did try to press for some help early on. I doubt I can get it completed now in the required time and if I want to try I guess I’m going to have to start pushing again.

2009 in review

My intentions to blog regularly started off well, but died a slow death. Ah well, they were good intentions.

Front Yard Nov09

Front Yard Nov09

We started the year with mum here. We thoroughly enjoyed her visit but it was inevitable that she’d go home – as she did in mid-January. Then in February we got the not-unexpected news that Stephen’s job would move to Brisbane. Most people in the technical department have been given a ‘move to Brisbane’ ultimatum. At first we were told we’d have to be gone by the end of financial year, then it was by the end of the year. We decided we’d better take a look at BrisVegas to see where we’d like to live. We spent a nice 2 weeks in Redcliffe and decided that we’d like to live in Sandgate. You can read all about the trip here. Of course, the type of house we’d like in Sandgate would be ridiculously expensive so after we came home we settled more on the area between Caboolture and Burpengary. We could get a nice house on and acre (or more) in that area for what we could sell our house here for. As it turns out we won’t be moving – at this stage anyway. Stephen will probably have to work fly-in/fly-out of Telfer as a result. It’s a price we’re not very happy to pay, but our choices are limited, so we’ll give it a try. We wouldn’t mind living in Brisso, but we’ve only been in Perth for just over 2 years now, so it’s a bit soon for a move – tho’ I would prefer to live on the east coast.

In April I started going to Tai Chi.  I used to do Tai Chi many years ago and I’m really enjoying it again. It’s far more challenging than most people think, especially as you advance though the levels and the moved become more complicated and take more coordination and balance. Bev, the instructor, is great. She’s very patient and very encouraging to everyone.

Back Yard Nov09

Back Yard Nov09

Our garden has grown like crazy. It’s been a great success. The native plants have flowered and grown and given us a great deal of joy. Oh sure, there’ve been a few failures, but not many when you consider that we’ve planted over a hundred different varietes on our small suburban block. We think that both front yard and back yard are looking pretty spectacular. Our attraction of birds into the yard progresses slowly, but it does progress. Hopefully over the next year we’ll see more differing varieties as the plants get larger and offer more shelter. Of course we overplanted so the spaces would fill in faster so we have to keep on top of the pruning if we want things to keep looking nice and not get too tangled and woody.

Veggie Garden Nov 09

Veggie Garden Nov 09

The veggie garden has been both abundantly productive and challenging. There’s always something ready to harvest. We grow organically with no chemicals. The only things we spray are Bt for caterpillars, soapy water also to combat caterpillars, occasional horticultural oil on the citrus and pyrethrum for aphids on the roses. Ok, that’s roses, not veggies, but we keep it all organic. oh, and there are the mousetraps we’ve had to use recently to catch the rats who’ve been competing with us for our veggies. We are not growing veggies to support a rodent population. We’ve caught a few small ones, but not as big as the large rat I found dead in an empty water bucket! We’re not using greywater at this stage. I have doubts about the true safety of ‘greywater safe’ detegents and have heard many stories of deaths of trees, roses and shrubs thanks to the mid-long term use of untreated greywater that has supposedly only had ‘safe’ detergents added. Installing a greywater treatment and dispersal system isn’t an option for us in this yard. It would mean digging up the yard to install and is a very expensive option. And of course you can’t use untreated greywater on food crops, so it would be no use on the veggie garden, which is where we really need the watering help. Perhaps by next winter we’ll have some rainwater tanks put in. We just have to figure where we’d put them. We really have very little room for a realistic size of tank capacity. There’s not much point in putting in a piddling little tank that’s going to fill in a shower or two.

Rose Garden Nov09

Rose Garden Nov09

The Brisbane trip was our only holiday this year. It has been almost 3 years now since we had a ‘real’ holiday. I wasn’t working for much of the year, thanks to the economic downturn, but now have a quite good, if somewhat frustrating, job as a technical writer, writing training manuals for a company that does training for the mining industry. The people are nice and I’m close enough to walk from home if I really want to, though riding my bike is the planned option.

Honeyeater in Grevillea Georgiana

Honeyeater in Grevillea Georgiana

We have explored the Perth surrounds a little. The day trips haven’t been frequent, but have been enjoyable.
We visited Yanchep National Park, which is a small park close to home.

Yanchep National Park

Yanchep National Park

We drove up to Toodyay and then home via Gingin. A lovely day wiith WA’s famous wildflowers starting to come into bloom.

Toodyay

Toodyay

We spent another long weekend at Margaret River where Molly and Kaz had a ball chasing rabbits.

Chasing Rabbits

Chasing Rabbits

We spent a pleasant day in New Norcia, the Benedictine monastery town. We’d been planning to visit for a while, but it’s definitely not a place to go in the summer – it’d be way too hot and there’s very little shade.

New Norcia Monastery Gate

New Norcia Monastery Gate

The biodynamic festival at High Vale Orchard was very enjoyable. It’s easy to see that in another couple of years that will be huge.

High Vale Biodynamic Orchard

High Vale Biodynamic Orchard

Our girls are still healthy and happy at 9 years old – loving the beach and digging holes in the back yard. They are dogs after all!

Quinns Rocks Beach

Quinns Rocks Beach

They do have their own digging patch but prefer to dig the lawn just outside their sandpit. Molly has developed a particular passion for hunting bees – she does love flowers in the garden. Kaz still has to be as close as possible to a scratching hand or a rubbing foot – she does love attention.

Kaz

Kaz

Molly

Molly

We’ll be spending a quiet Christmas at home and then we’re off to visit mum for 2 weeks in the New year. – the only holiday we currently have planned. What 2010 has planned for us is anyone’s guess, but we do know that it will be interesting!

Deb and Stephen - RMS Christmas Party

Deb and Stephen - RMS Christmas Party

Merry Christmas to all!

I’d be good at this…I know it…

I went for an interview yesterday for a job I’d really love. It’s a business support position – supporting a company’s various offices in their use of their computer systems. I’d be working with lots of different people in different offices around Perth and doing lots of different things; both software and hardware. I really enjoy support roles and teaching people how to do computer ‘stuff’. This job is in an industry that I’ve had no experience in before, so there’d be lots for me to learn and that’s exciting.
I don’t know how many people were interviewed but I do know that originally this was intended as a graduate role. That means that the money’s not great, but it’s enough to make me happy. I’m not looking for big money, I’m looking for a job I’ll enjoy. They also expressed some reservations about me being overqualified for the position. Once again, I emphasised that I applied for the position because I want a job that I’ll enjoy.
I’ve been asked to send an email over the weekend with a paragraph or two explaining what I would bring to the job – why they should employ me rather than someone else, I guess. This is something that they’ve asked of everyone they interviewed. I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about this and putting into words this afternoon. I’ll give myself a chance to think on it a bit more overnight before I send the email.
It would be so nice to have a job that has a future and that I can see myself being happy in for the long term.
Wish me luck. I really want this job!

[update]
I just got a call to say that I didn’t get the job. It was good of them to call and not just send an email. Apparently it was a very difficult decision and I made it to the last 2 or 3. Oh well. I’ll keep looking and if anything else comes up that I’m interested in I’ll apply.
[/update]

Get a job Sha-na-na-na, Sha-na-na-na-na…

I know I owe an update on the Brisbane trip. I promise it will be forthcoming…soon…

I’ve spent today polishing my resume and crafting cover letters for job applications. I’ve applied for 5 jobs so far.  I have 3 more on my list that I need to contact recruiters and find out locations, and 1 for ECU that requires addressing selection criteria and also requires inclusion of 2 referees who I have to just confirm before I give out their details.

None of the jobs are web development jobs. It’s just not an option for me right now. For the most part, the jobs I’m applying for are admin/reception jobs. I have to face the fact that with the 4 year break my commercial development experience level is just not current or high enough. My previous employer has been unable to provide me with more than a few hours of work in the past month. And realistically I’m not a freelancer at heart and would prefer to be working in a team environment. I would love to remain amongst the vibrancy of the web development industry, but know that I’m better if I’m working with people. One of the jobs I applied for combines both those – client liaison manager for a web development company.

Please cross all fingers and send positive vibes!