Monday, December 3, 2012

Guest Post - Halifax


I'm taking a break! This time of year is already pretty full on for me but with so much extra happening I decided I'd get some guest posters for my blog to 'ease the strain'. I'm still looking for guest posts so if you have an idea pop me and email or tweet to me.

I first read Ben's blog after he'd commented on one of my posts. While very introspective I find his prose easy to identify with. He is a great example of someone who reflects on what they want out of life and how to go about making that happen.

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I had taken a few trips to Halifax before.  It was “the city” when I was living in Pictou, Nova Scotia when I was a kid.  It was a destination for special outings in high school, including a performance by my high school’s folk music and dance ensemble on the local morning show.  It was an opportunity for rendezvous with friends I hadn’t seen in a while.  A few extended stays in the city over the last year and a half made up my mind, though: I wanted to live there.


When I was laid off from a call centre job in Miramichi, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try to get work in a bigger city.  I know from experience that I am not a small town person, and I was getting restless: part of the reason was because Miramichi was always intended as a temporary stop, and I felt I was falling into a rut that I wouldn’t climb out of.  I took a few trips to the city to look for work; unfortunately, nothing really happened on that front.  As my unemployment dwindled, I started to worry that I would be forced to stay an extra year on top of my two years there.   

I had been too careful.  I’ve never been one to take risks, preferring to get out of life as unscathed as possible, but I knew from experience this was getting me nowhere.  The last time I had been as committed to the safe route, I had ended up staying in a job years after it was clear that the money I made was no compensation for the toll it took on my mental health.
I had to make a big move.

I ended up finding an apartment in the city for October 1st.  After moving down here, I found I was getting more results on the job hunt than I had been even after changing my cell to a Halifax number and borrowing a friend’s local address.  While taking a week-long job search workshop, a temp agency I had gone to the week before let me know that they found a placement for me that started the next Monday.

It’s not a glamour position, but my job ended up being the break from call centre work I had been hoping for, and I find I take to data entry and clerical work a bit better.  My daily commute to work goes past the storefronts of the Hydrostone, while my bus ride home lets me see the sun go down over the hill where my apartment building sits. 

I’ve been trying to take advantage of what the city has to offer.  I have to be mindful about money, and know I still retreat to my comfort zone too much for my own liking, but the last month and a half has seen me get out of the apartment a fair bit.  I’ve attended an art exhibit opening and watched a friend participate in a cyclocross tournament.  I’ve gone to a retro dance party.  I even took pictures for a local AIDS fundraiser. 

There was a big risk that moving here wasn’t going to pay off fast enough to keep me in food and shelter.  So far, taking that chance more than paid off.

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