Sunday, March 30, 2008

First Week On the Job

Unfortunately I don't really have that much to report about my first week on the job. That is not to say it was a bad first week because it wasn't. I guess I am just getting used to having first days on the job at this point. Because of some of the consulting work at did at my previous job I feel like I have essentially had 3 first days on the job in the last year. So I guess I am really used to the routine at this point. There are a couple things I can go over.

The Hours and the Commute

At my previous job we worked a 35 hour week. Some people did regular overtime which in increased the hours but I rarely felt the need to. As a consequence I was in by nine and out by five sharp every day. At my new job it is a 37.5 hour week. As a consequence I either have to work from 9:00-5:30 or 8:30 -5:00. I am doing the earlier shift now as I would rather come early and leave early. However, the new job is farther south than the previous job so in addition to the fact that I start earlier I also have to leave earlier because it is farther away. This isn't really that big a deal though. It's only one extra train ride that takes about 5-7 minutes.

The Office Atmosphere

The office is ok. My previous job just completed a very extensive remodel as such it was a little more modern than my new office. Also the company is spread through out the building. The elevator does not stop on every floor. My office is on the 54th floor so if I have a meeting on the 20th floor then I have to go down the 1st floor and back up to the 20th floor. Then back to the first and back up to the 54th when it is done.


My new co-workers are all pretty nice. I think I am the second youngest person in the dept. We went out for lunch on Friday to welcome me to the company.

The work

It's hard to comment on this because I haven't done much yet. I am still waiting on system access to be able to really start my job. I am not concerned. It was the same thing at Microsoft and Ford. Big companies have a lot of hoops to jump through I guess.

So that's about it. I don't really have that much to say after the first week. No complaints so far.

Next week ... Small talk.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Last days on the Job

A funny thing happened this week. Some of my now ex-coworkers found my blog. Seeing as how I was leaving I had planned to give it to some of them anyway so it's no big deal. Still I was completely shocked when it happened. As I have said before there is not really anything on this blog that can identify it as MY blog but she read some of if and figured out that it is me. I suppose the picture of "Green Lantern" in the corner is somewhat of a give away but I was still surprised. Anyway, if there are any new readers this week then welcome to my blog and feel free to look around.

Now, for my last days on the job. As I mentioned before, last week Thursday was my last official day at my previous job. It is a strange feeling to be leaving a job. A lot of mixed emotions. On the one hand I am excited to be starting something new. On the other hand I am nervous about leaving a safe environment. What I mean is that although I was obviously given a job description and have been told what I am going to be doing, I feel that the only thing that can really prepare you for a job is to actually go out there and do it. So starting tomorrow I am going to be expected to deliver. It should be interesting.

My old job does this thing called "Night shift with CSI". CSI was the department I was in. Basically it just means that most of the department would go out for drinks about once per month after work. I went sometimes but I can't say that I had perfect attendance. Seeing as how this was my last week on the job I wanted to go and it was a lot of fun.

On Thursday we all went out for lunch. I can't remember the name of the restaurant. It was one of those restaurants where they cook the food in front of you. It was cool, most of the department that worked out of the downtown office was there so I was able to say good bye to most of the people I worked with most often.

When we got back to the office I finished the last project I was working on. It wasn't a huge project but I know it might have an effect on other projects down the line so I was happy to get it done. I then handed in my laptop and security card and left the office for probably the last time.

Although I don't work there anymore I think I might still come to the "Night shift with CSI" sometimes. It is only about 5 minutes from my new job so it's easy to get there.

My first day at Wunderman was November 20th 2006 and my last day was March 20th 2008. In total that is exactly 16 months. A short time but a pretty good time I think.

In other news, I picked the Tux for my wedding. Mike and Jay I will need you to send me your measurements when ever you get a chance. The pic below is of the tux. The only difference is that the tie color will change.

Next week ... First week on the new Job.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Leaving my Job

The decision to leave a job has never been easy for me. I think this can be attributed to the fact that I have never really had a job where I hated the work or the people around me. So far the all of my jobs have been positive experiences. Now this obviously begs the question "If the jobs are so great, then why did you quit them?" This is a legitimate question but one I find difficult to answer. I guess at some point in the jobs I have had I find myself wanting more. Now what does "more" mean. Again difficult to define. Money is certainly a factor because I couldn't see myself leaving a good situation to go someplace else for less money. However, I have tried to make it a point to not let money be the only deciding factor in my decisions. When I quit "The Bay" a few years ago it actually cost me some money. I was working their part time in addition to my full time job. While the extra money was good to have, working 2 jobs for total of almost 60 hours per week was completely killing my social life. Also, I wanted to have spare time to take some courses that I felt would be of help to me in the future.

When I left my job at flagship the goal was to make somewhat of a shift in careers. I was working pretty much entirely as a programmer and I wanted to do more database work. Wunderman allowed me to do that. However, after about a year and a half i feel that I want a change again. I think i want to manage larger projects. I want more responsibilities. That is not to say that I am ready to completely divorce myself from technical stuff. I just feel that I want more control. I want to be involved in decision making, and have greater influence on the final outcome, success or failure of whatever I am working on. Now this is where it gets sticky. I told this to my manager at Wunderman a few months ago. And he actually explained to me that that there was a project coming up and that I would be able to really take the lead on and be the face of the project. However, there was no set time for when this project would start. All I knew is that it was scheduled to start in the new year. Well, in January after a few weeks passed and the project hadn't started I got restless. I thought maybe I could just test the job waters so to speak and see what's out there. I applied for about 8 jobs that looked interesting to me. I didn't make my resume searchable and I didn't send out scores of job apps. Just a few specific cases where I thought I would be a good fit. I was surprised by how quickly I got a response. I had a phone interview and then over the course of the next 3 weeks I had 3 in person interviews. By the end of the second in person interview I knew I had the job if I wanted it. This was around late February. At this point there was still no major movement on the project I was suppose to take over at Wunderman. Then BMO made me a really good offer which was a substantial pay increase over my salary plus the potential for bonuses and other perks that come with working for a bank. I accepted the offer on my lunch break, went and signed the papers and went back to work as normal. The offer was conditional pending a reference check and a security and credit check. This was an awkward situation. Once you sign an offer acceptance you can't help but to mentally check out a little bit. However, I could not officially give notice until after I passed the checks. It was very awkward, I would be in meetings at Wunderman talking about upcoming projects and what my role would be when I knew that I had already signed else where and would be quitting soon. Then things got worse. The day after I signed the offer my manager called me and a few other people into an office and said that the major project that had been mentioned before had finally received client sign off. The plan was for me to be project manager for this project. I felt about 2 inches tall. I was very quiet in the meeting. I had signed an acceptance else where but could not really say anything yet. If that's not bad enough it got worse. A few days later I was in a one on one meeting with my direct manager to go over goal setting for the next year. Goal setting is where your manager talks to you about what your goals for the next year are and what he/she can do to help you reach them. I was just fumbling my way through the conversation. When the meeting was over I went back to my desk and checked my personal email. And there was the note from my new job finally saying that I had passed the security checks so I could officially give notice now.

I got up and took a walk for a few minutes to clear my head. Then I went to manager that I just had the meeting with and told him that I was leaving Wunderman. So basically, all that goal setting stuff we were talking about earlier was bullshit because I am quitting. Needless to say he was shocked. But to his credit he took it well and said he understands my reasons.

So that's why I left Wunderman. I do not regret my decision to leave, I only wish the timing could have been better. When I left my previous job I was working on a project and I made sure to finish that project before I even looked for a new job. This time I am kind of leaving in the beginning. It could be worse of course, I could be leaving in the middle of the project. But then again I don't think I would do that. BMO is a very large company and there is plenty of room for advancement. My hope is to be able to stay there for at least a few years because I don't want to be seen as a job hopper who can't stay still.

That's it for this week...
Next Week ... My last days at Wunderman and a little wedding stuff.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Big News ... Sort of

Well as promised this week I have some news. The reason I added the "sort of" to the title is because I am no longer sure the news really is that big. I say this because a comment on last week's blog was comparing my supposed news to my upcoming marriage or the possibility of a pregnancy. Let me clear the the air right now. My future wife is NOT pregnant.

Now, on to the news. I got a new job. Seeing as how this new job will be only my third professional, career type job, I thought it qualified as pretty big news. Anyways, my new job is at BMO Investorline. For the purposes of my American readers I allow me to go off topic a bit.

In the US, basically any group of people with a pot of money can get together and decide to open a bank. Conversely up here north of the border there are essentially only a few banks. These banks are known as the Big five Banks. They are (in order of market capitalization)

* Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Financial Group)
* Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank Financial Group)
* Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)
* Bank of Montreal (BMO Financial Group)
* Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

So as you can imagine, because there are essentially only five real banks in the country they are among the largest employers in the country. I should note that there are technically other banks but they are so much smaller than the big five I won't bother to mention them.

Anyways one of my new years resolutions was to be more aggressive with regards to my career so, I think this fulfills that requirement.

I will give a more detailed break down on why I decided to leave and what my last days at Wunderman were like in the next post. I can't do it now because my last official day at Wunderman isn't until March 20th. I tried to be a professional as possible so I am actually giving them almost three weeks notice. Short of not quitting at all I don't think there is any more I could do.

Next Week... Why I left Wunderman and the advantages of BMO

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Wedding Update

I know I promised big news this week, and I do in fact have some big news but it is not 100% confirmed yet, so I will next until next week to dispense the news.

So instead I have decided to give an update on how my wedding planning is going. Actually I am very pleased with the progress we have made so far. I have been very hands on and have been involved with just about every decision. I know a lot of husbands to be kind of shy away from the responsibility but I want to be involved. After all it is my wedding too. That being said I have no interest in turning into a groomzilla if there is such a thing. Here are a list of things we have taken care of so far.

Reception Hall
Organ Player
Wedding Dress
Dress Alterations
Brides Made Dresses
Park Rental
Live entertainment for reception (Steelpan player)

Here are a list of things we still need to take care of.

Suit Rental
Wedding Flowers
Wedding Cake
Make up Artist
Church Programs
Thank you gifts (Bonbonnieres)
Marriage License
Wedding Bands

I am pleased because the only things on that list of things we have left to do that I feel are time dependent are the flowers and possibly the cake. That meaning if we don't get them soon they might be booked up on the day of our ceremony. Next week we are going to look at tux's for myself and my groomsmen. Mike and Jay if you are reading this I promise to choose something tasteful. There will be no hot pink vest and tie like at certain wedding we went to a little while ago.

If anyone can think of something that is missing from my list of stuff to do please feel free to let me know.

That's it for this week.

Next week ... Big News (I promise)

p.s. John, I watched Knight Rider. Feel free to delete it from your PVR without watching it. The car looked OK but overall the story was week and the action was poor even for a made for TV movie based on an 80s TV show.