Thursday, November 21, 2013

Another Bold Brigand Update

Operation Bold Brigand continues, here in my island paradise. Here's an update on some of the things I've worked on this week.

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I've been doing alright with the Arabic, with BBC Xtra listening exercises that teach me a couple of words each week. This week's gems are "المستمعين", which means "listeners", and "المشاركينا حوار", which means "Our Participants' Dialogue" - both of these phrases being endemic to a radio program like Xtra. I've been trying with slightly less luck to do regular study of the Emirati vocabulary, and I'm hoping to add some dialect additional vocabulary that I've studied before. I also tend to use flash cards, but they tend to be a bit cumbersome in circumstances as transient as my own; however, I've hit on an idea to use Excel to turn my Kindle into a digital flash card platform. More on that later.

Physical Training:

Moving right along...

Business Development:

One of my biggest efforts during my time here in Orkney is applying for jobs. Although I'm theoretically still on leave of absence with my company, the organization has gone through a lot of changes since I went on LOA - to include splitting into two independent entities. As a result, I've been actively seeking positions within both of the new branches of the organization, and I've also applied for jobs with eleven or twelve other companies and eleven governmental organizations of one sort or another. I've applied for positions back in the defense sector, in the private security sector, and for positions that have nothing to do with either. I have a handful of contacts and a number of potential employers that I have yet to reach out to. As one of my neighbors in Aberdeen, Kamloops Queen, pointed out: "All you need is one acceptance, though."

It's a frustrating process. For example, one of my buddies who's a recruiter pinged me about a position he was recruiting for, and I spent a good couple of hours putting together a fresh resume and cover letter. I was able to interview with two different representatives about the position, and although things seemed to go well, it sounds like they're likely to keep looking. It's tough to look at that as anything less than about four hours of my life that could have been better spent on other endeavours.

Nearly every job I apply for is through one online portal or another. The benefit of that is that once you have your information plugged into the system, you can usually apply for subsequent jobs with just a few mouse clicks. The drawback is that it's very impersonal, and you don't wind up getting feedback, or being able to get yourself across to the folks who are reading your resume in the first place - assuming that it even gets in front of a set of human eyes, ever. I also know from experience on the other side of the line that hiring managers and recruiters are literally overwhelmed with hundreds upon hundreds of applications for each and every position - I not-so-fondly remember digging through hundreds of resumes from grossly unqualified applicants to find six or eight qualified candidates for a single vacancy. Owing to the workings of the system and the state of the American and international job market, it won't surprise me if I hit four or five hundred applications before I land something... But I hope it happens before that.

Writing Projects:

I've done next to no writing in the last couple of weeks, as evidenced by the fact that I've barely posted anything to the blog in the last week. Fortunately, most of my current writing projects aren't time-sensitive.

World War I Research:

I've been trying to do a sort of final push on the Orcadian Gordon Highlanders Accountability Project. I've done two interviews this week (and a social call on one of my first sources). Contrary to prior projects on which I've worked, it's entirely likely that I won't wind up being the one to do the lion's share of the work, but there's also the digitalization aspect that could see me somewhat easily continuing my work in the coming weeks and months, regardless of my actual location. It's been a really fascinating project on which to work, and hopefully it will mean that my name lives on with some degree of fondness in both the Gordon Highlanders Museum and in Orkney.

Special Projects:

Just thinking about these exhausts me. Moving right along...

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There's plenty more to cover, and there never seem to be enough hours in the day to either accomplish it, or even to write about it. I'm fond of the advice I received from the classic masterpiece, South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut...

... and I intend to keep implementing it, if for no other reason than it helps to maintain my sanity.

1 comment:

  1. When you get to the interview process, just treat it like you are practicing with no intention of actually being considered. This way you will be cool, calm, and collective. You will also seem very confident to the interviewer. I know that times are tough for job seeking right now, but I can tell you that there are jobs in D.C. if you are willing to put up with the life style that goes with the location. Take care, Sam-Wise