Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Carlo from Sault Ste. Marie

As I waited for the much expected call from the Kelly services, I hopelessly continued to plague the recrutiers with my resume and cover letters with unrealistic self praises. Whatever works - I told myself. It was one Monday when I received a request for inteview from a software company. Yahoooo! No, that wasn't an ad for the software giant. That was a victory cry, of course. However, the interview couldn;t have gone any worse.
Within ten minutes of arriving there I met two gentlemen - a DBA and a UNIX administrator, both seemed to have some kind of agenda against the USA based work force because they literally started to hammer me in their areas of expertise when I believed I was interviewing for a test lead position. My expertise was in test automation and performance testing but due to lack of demand I often worked as a System Integration test lead. My knowledge in UNIX and Databases were workable but definitely could use some sharpening. Anyway, I didn't have to be a genius to figure out when I was joining there. Never.
I digested that graciously, tried to. More resumes flew through electronic highways. Another poor soul bought my self- proclaimed expertise and extended an invitation to show up for a discussion. Now, this one went better than I ever expected. After three hours of interview with several different people the lady manager seemed to be very happy with my in depth knowledge and was very eager to consider me for the position but I would have to come back for another three hour interview. Hey, that sounded very positive. My hopes ran high. When do I come back for the next one? Next week - as always.
Once back in the apartment a lot of planning ensues - starring Mili and I. The money that we had was sufficient to carry us for a few more months - so there was no immediate danger. However, we really wanted to create a safe buffer zone. A month has passed by and no money flew in. This was very stressful. More resumes.
Before the week ended I heard from another recruiter. This was a contract position with Ontario Lottery for six months. The job location was in Sault Ste. Marie (pronounced Soo Sent Marie). I had no clue where it was, never heard about it, but spent no time in accepting the interview request.
The interview was short and quick. QA Manager Carlo, an Italian man, tall and balding with a really friendly face and fast speaking trend was quick to make up his mind.
- You know where Sault Ste. Marie is, right?
- Oh yes. I checked the map. Salt S.T.E. Marie is located in North West Ontario right by Lake Superior.
- It's pronounced Soo Sent Marie. It's about seven hundred kilometres from Toronto. You are okay to go there?
-Oh yes. I love to travel. I have been in many places when I was working in USA.
I eagerly pointed out at my resume.
Carlo was easily convinced. - When can you join?
- Anytime.
- Okay. How about next week?
- Perfect.
Carlo promised to get back to me by the following week.
I braced myself with hope. A second interview with the first company went well. The issue came up with the salary expectation. The full time offer was too low and I opted for a higher number believing that the manager was still awed by my depth of knowledge. Just because I was desperate for a job didn't mean I couldn't play the burgaining game. I was promised that I'll hear from them, soon.
Days passed by. The following week came. I heard from none. Mili was mad with me for asking too much. I was about to tear my hairs off when Kelly services called. They had a job for me. Two three days a week. Starting form the next day. I would have to show up sharp at ten to this manufacturing plant. What the heck! I tried to take it lightly. This was defintiely temporary, I told myself.
The following day, dressed in my worst jeans and a tee-shirt as I was about to leave the house came a call from Ontario Lottery. I was offered a contract position for six months - just as Carlo said. Mili had mixed reaction. Taking this job meant packing up and leave for Sault Ste Marie. There was no way we were going to get separated. She was coming with me. I knew it was going to be difficult but we were already used to it. Since our marriage four years ago we had already went through five adobe changes. This could have been just another one if the region wasn't so unknown to us. None of our friends in Toronto had any idea about this town, none could actually pronounced it even half right. Nevertheless we made up our mind. It would be an adventure - we tried to look at the bright side.
Incidentally, the other company also came up with an offer couple of days later. Unfortunately, the money was poor, especially in comparison to what the contract job offered. Even though we really wanted to stay in Toronto as that's where we had some acquaintances the extra money was too much to ignore. Three days later we packed up as much stuff as we could in our four-door 1996 Toyota Corolla, locked our apartment and hit the unknown roads. I had already rented an apartment using the internet in Sault Sent Marie. Once settled I would come back and get our stuff from Toronto. A two months notice was already given. There would be some monetary loss but not agonizingly too much. We looked forward for the new town. The only person we knew there was Carlo, the QA Manager. It was indeed an adventure.

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