I’m getting itchy feet already. I should be finding jobs but instead I’m dreaming up trips for later on, a road trip through Utah and Colorado, a month in Vietnam, Cambodia, Puerto Rico… The gypsy blood. But this is why I came to Canada. To travel and work, I’m just not doing so well on the work front.
On Friday I had my first taste of work here. I signed up to a temp agency – it seems to be really common here, but something I would never even have thought of trying. The same day I get a call late in the afternoon, could I do four hours the next morning. Yes! Super keen! I haven’t even asked what the pay is. Maybe I jumped in too quick…
It was a reception job, for a law firm downtown. I didn’t really think it through. The girl with social anxiety, terrified of answering the phone as anyone who has ever worked with me before may have noticed. And now here I was sitting in front of a phone with 14 different lines trying to juggle answering the phone, saying hello to anyone who turned up, work out how the hell to transfer a call, send to answer machine, pronounce any of the bloody names. Stress.
I turned up early hoping to make a good impression. But half an hour later and I was still sitting twiddling my thumbs looking awkward. I was the reception, so who the hell do I ask where to go. Emailing the agency, a girl angry and stressed, shouting down the phone comes out into the reception area, ‘Are you Rachael?’, can I say no?
They didn’t realise I was coming. That I didn’t have any experience as a receptionist. I’m an analyst by trade, and practically to the core. Now here I am trying to understand how to manage a switchboard and I’m in trouble. I don’t even know how to log out of my phone back in Scotland! After losing multiple phone calls, apologising repeatedly, accidentally hanging up on clients, and forgetting everyone’s names I finally get the hang of things. Now I just need to work on sounding half professional.
By the time I finish my measly four-hour shift I’m left feeling completely demoralized. All a learning experience, but maybe just a little too much of a push in the wrong direction. I did manage to fix their terrible excel spread-sheet. None of the names matched the order on the phone, and the thing bugged me so much I fixed it. I might not be able to answer phones but give me an excel table and I’m golden.
I left sheepishly, practically ordered out the place by the regular receptionist before I could mention anything. And honestly I just wanted to run and hide by this point. But forgetful me had to leave something behind didn’t she. As soon as I walk back in the door her expression is totally different, ‘Where did you get this?? You need to show me’. So at least I can feel slightly accomplished now.
Toronto is very like a European city with its subway and street cars. There’s something familiar about it, always something on, a festival, markets. This weekend I went down to the Food Truck Festival in Woodbine Park. Everything from tacos made from waffles, jerk chicken to squid on a stick. In the excitement I pay a whopping $10 to drink some pineapple juice out of a pineapple. But you gotta admit it looks pretty fun. Before eating Tacos filled with brisket fresh off the BBQ, and finishing with the most amazing ice cream. I’m completely dead.
Mm tasty ribs cooking on the BBQ
Chimneys, aka Doughnut cones
I’m still struggling to kill the urge to pack it all in, max out my credit card, book a flight to Vietnam and travel for a month or two. Return home with my tail between my legs. ‘I tried’. It sounds all too appealing right now. But it’s not as strong as it once was.
I just need to get out of here, find something else to do besides job applications. I’ve started planning my escape already. Soon.
Hopefully very soon.