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Interstate Interviewing in the US

editors note: This was written on the flight home, it lacks any kind of decent proofreading – you have been warned

Yesterday I interviewed with a major international company – one that if I shared the name it would be instantly recognizable and you would probably name the CEO without a seconds thought.

Yes, that kind of company.

Interview day involved in an interstate flight followed by 6 hours of gruelling meetings where the pace and questions were perfectly structured to take as much out of you as and had you on your toes the entire time.

Before I lose sight of this I’m going to give you my commentary about how I think the role went – later on I will add a postscript as to if I got the job or not.

Because right now I’m not feeling particularly great bout the experience and I would say I’m 75-80% chance that I did not get the role…..  And seriously for someone with anxiety issues and high stress levels in a new country and trying to find their feet and to have nothing to give them a sense of identity

That’s tough, really tough……

So now I’m writing to myself, and possibly even to you to share just how much it knocks you around when you lose you go for something but you just run short.

But before we get into that, let’s talk a little about things that you don’t want to hear in an interview

[If it’s in square parentheses it’s my thoughts and internal feedback on the matter]

“I suppose we’ll just have to agree to disagree about that statement [yes, while fundamentally I agree with you that this role should not be accountable for this particular outcome, our business decided to do things differently and ultimately make me accountable – I know what I said and I know how a RACI model works, even if we fucked with it!]” – This on your last and most important interview of the day

“Great! I actually build and support the payroll system [of which I know enough about to be dangerous but not enough to have any kind of in depth working knowledge] – so let’s get down into the details!”

“Well, I’m scanning through your résumé, but the only thing I can see here that’s even close to the job you’re doing would be this short stint you did several years back [That same job I could do with your eyes closed and one arm tied around your back, but hey let’s definitely talk about that junior role!]

Those are the ones I can remember – I’m sure there are others [haha] but also writing these down makes me realise they weren’t all that bad and that even if I don’t get the job, the sky is not actually falling down … well not now.

Today is just a day when i’m growing – and growing is really hard to do.

Jump to now and I’m on a plane sitting next to another person who works for Amazon – she interviewed and found out about her job (obviously she got it) the very.next.morning – my recruiter told me that they like to get back to me within a week but due to how busy everyone is it could just be longer.

For a personality type like me – I just want to be put out of my misery – really, really just want to be put out of my misery so I can just drink a bottle of wine (or three) one night, maybe sink into my own vapid sense of self depression before getting appropriately angry at myself and then start using that as motivation to start getting my shit together and start getting action and getting my sorry behind into a job that fits in with my style and ability

(side note: wow, if I get this job I’m going to sound like a complete tosser aren’t I haha)

To add to that I’m also interviewing for another job [yes, I realise that I’ve been trying to find a job for all of two weeks and I’m at final interview stage with two employers, don’t laugh at my self-imposed depressed state!] but because of the travel and energy that it would suck out of me I really don’t want it.

I want a job where I can see my wife and one day see my children on a regular basis – I don’t want to be at airports and travelling my behind off every.single.fucking.week.

So next week I go back to square one, I go back to dealing with recruiters(1) and plugging through dozens of recruitment sites and trying not to look too hard at our budget file which is showing an increasing trend of us spending more money than we earn – and not trying to come off to my wife that we just can’t everything that we want (aside, we missed the rolling stones concert last week because we were moving, so that famous line from them is double depressing haha!)

And by the time I next write here on my blog I promise I’m going to be more upbeat, less of a whiner and overall a better human being – because while I’m sitting here complaining about it – going through this particular recruitment process has made me a better human being.

And when it comes down to it, if I talk constantly about wanting to be a better person, it means you’re going to have to suffer and fail on your journey to being who you really want to be….

Adam

(1) Not my favourite people in the world

 

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Moving in is hard to do – a lesson in economics

Hello world, it seems I’ve made it back to the surface and can still breathe.

Today I’m going to go into a little economic theory and the way I’m going to explain it is via some pictures of our recent relocation and throw in a dash of my story of woe of the effort required to meet that goal.

If you don’t care for photos or my woeful story telling…..

…. when you have a whole semi load of crap, it’s going to be awfully painful to get it all moved in – and I have the photos to prove it.

If you do decide that you want to sit here and listen to me waffle on, then boy are you in for a night of fun and excitement! …. yes we are going to take you back to Economics 101 type stuff, but this time we’re going to do it in a way that provides practical examples and

And to top it off I have the to share my pain and woe at the same time!

In this example we’re going to talk about an economic concept by the name of negative externality.

For those that don’t (yet) know, a negative externality is defined in Wikipedia as:

A negative externality  is an action of a product on consumers that imposes a negative effect on a third party; it is “external cost”

So as i’m sure you can probably tell – basically negative externality is somebody does something over here and some other person (or people) have to wear the consequences of that decision.

If John decides to pollute the river uphill, all the fish die downstream and the fisherman are in big trouble ….. anyway i’m sure you get the idea.

But how does negative externalities apply to moving house I hear you ask? (I probably, let’s be honest it’s not really difficult to work out what it might be)

In short – wife goes to work, I get left unloading a very, very big truck and every possession inside …… not.fun.people

Anyway, it’s now a week later and I have taken the liberty of photos during the first few days – after that I was just hating life and myself and decided I didn’t want to take any more photos otherwise I might have to kill someone (not my wife of course … ha …. ha)

I will post some further photos up in the next week or so once we have all the lights installed (oh yes, that’s a whole other story – they don’t have built-in lights in most rooms in houses in the US … why not, who the far-out knows, but we’ve been out buying corded lights everywhere … weird)

Until then, enjoy….

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A few more weeks in photos

I am not proud of the fact that while I have been here almost two months, I have taken very few photos.  I am always thinking I should get a shot of that but then I’m generally running the next errand and then justify to myself that it will be their next time.

Problem is that next time around it’s just normal and I forget why it was so different/noteworthy to Australians who might actually be reading this.

Alas I only have six photos of any value to add, so here they are for your viewing pleasure (or boredom, whatever)

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Times are (expectedly) tough at the moment

Moving to a new country is big …. seriously big ….. and even with all the assistance we’ve been provide it’s still a psychologically tumultuous time.

No matter what you do or how much you prepare, you still leave behind the life you had and you try to start a new one from fresh.

Now as human beings we generally struggle with change this does not make it easy and it can and quite often does bring out the worst in people – and that’s something i’m feeling up to sharing today with you my (single haha) reader.

For me, my truly horrendous moment was a couple of weeks ago when I did not get my driver’s licence the first time I tried for it.  This was further exacerbated by my wife having driven a total of 80 miles since she arrived compared to my 3,000 miles (no, that is not a typo).  Rather than be proud of my wife for passing her test – I was positively ropable and angry and despondent all at the same time.

Result: I lashed out at the one I love and not reflect on the failure that was my own doing

This was an outcome of all this pent-up frustration and fear and needing an outlet valve – it feels better when the pressure is released but the damage that can be caused while releasing said pressure – not so good.

Now it is somewhat worth mentioning that I got my license the second time around – passed with flying colours, but that doesn’t make my behaviour any less rude and doesn’t make me feel any less ashamed by it (though dealing with my shame is a post for another day, let’s just say now that I know I could have behaved better)

 

Now the situation is reversed – my beautiful wife is struggling, really struggling and i’m trying my best to be supportive of her while she goes slightly crazy at me on a regular basis.  I am working hard to be nurturing and supportive, ensuring everything is in it’s place and where it needs to be however none of us are perfect, none of us are saints and sometimes we just can’t help ourselves and we fire barbs back.

Today was one of those days.

Now later in the day I reflect on this, why did I get so upset and what caused me to lash out?  My uneducated guess would be that my job interview with a MAJOR international company (one I happen to have quite a lot of my investment portfolio in) did not go well.  My stress and anxiety about the job translated to less than perfect skills in the conversation department and nobody ends up having a good day.

To my wifes credit she did phone me and we did have a civilised conversation – I was and am sad and managed not to be a self-centred jackass and just share that with her – so I suppose i’m going to take that as two steps backwards and one step forward today

Two steps back and one step forward still beats two steps backwards and NO steps forward – at least I hope so….

Alas, this is my blog and I am incoherently rambling – but that’s how i’m feeling today and while this is all perfectly normal I don’t want to shy away from the fact that being a decent human being, a good husband and generally nice guy is not easy.

I will reflect on today and do better tomorrow – promise.

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Reflections on five weeks in a new country

This is my preliminary view on West Coast Americans ….. I am certain that over time it will change and I’m absolutely certain that middle America and the East Coast is all a completely separate matter – that said this is my personal blog and I’m only incoherently rambling so….

But let’s get to what I have learnt along the way and what’s been happening in my world.

  • Americans are very friendly, generally very intelligent and love their Starbucks.
  • They have extraordinary mathematics skills – they need them because every price you see excludes sales taxes or tips
  • They are pretty generous all round – giving time, money and emotional energy to a number of enterprises

Put simply, who would have thought that Americans are thoughtful, intelligent and all together lovely people to meet and know?!  I mean surely my prejudiced view of the world is the right one …. right?

I have learnt that government departments are terrible to deal with and that we have it very good ‘back home’ – however I also understand that built into every Americans DNA is a fundamental distrust of government – they are all for self empowerment and self-responsibility.

Having spent all of my life living in a country that regularly hands those responsibilities over to other human beings and organisations is a big thing when you come here and nobody asks for a handout – I must admit it’s refreshing.

  • Americans are an optimistic bunch
  • They think big – they see none of the worlds problems as insurmountable
  • They don’t suffer from the tall poppy syndrome

Oh yeah, they absolutely love things that everyone else should – AirBnB, eBay, Amazon, Yelp, Skype and anything and everything that makes life a little easier – they even embrace driverless Google Cars

  • Californians are most petrol conscious than any place i’ve ever been
  • They go a little crazy over Halloween – 7 BILLION dollars a year crazy…. uhhuh
  • They love their electric cars

You can’t look sideways in this town without seeing six Tesla’s driving down the road – yes, it’s awesome

So, that concludes ‘what i’ve learnt’ section ….. now we move swiftly along to the ‘how am I doing section’

In short, i’m doing ok – actually I don’t really think I could be better

Both my wife and I have had up and down moments – we have had a few doozy arguments and had to retreat to our respective corners a few times to just get our heads straight and our tempers under control – however that is both perfectly normal and a sign that change is real, it is happening and it is in progress – and that really is a good thing.

I realise I need a job – I need a job so I can interact with other human beings.  Because not interacting with other human beings is not the greatest thing in the world for me you see..

I have been lonely at moments however I am not lonely overall.  Keeping that in mind I wouldn’t change my decision even for a second.  Learning and absorbing a new way of life here has been exciting and engaging.  Travel is always good for the soul – moving to a new country is just good for everything and it forces you to see the world through a completely different lens.

I must admit I thought it would be ‘dead easy’ to meet people – when you don’t have a job, meeting people is anything but dead easy … it’s very, very hard and the people i’ve been connecting with are the local barista (but I think he’s in it just for the tips … ) and some expats i’ve met through my wifes netball club.

Yeah, they have absolutely no idea what netball is – not exactly fans of the commonwealth you see ……

Well, this post needs some serious editing, however it’s highly likely that will never be the case – but if I don’t just hit the publish button on this it will sit here for three months, unfinished, unloved and then discarded.

So publish away – besides nobody is reading this anyway except me :)

 

 

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New beginnings or erasure of past?

So I have just spent the first of a number of attempts to cull down the number of posts that are on this blog.  This is of course in stark contrast to actually investing the time and emotional energy to write something of value and to at least provide some kind of meaningful content that people may wish to digest.

But i’m not sure that is, or has ever really been the point of this blog….

This blog has served – with some significant gaps in places as a outlet for me to vent who am I am and what my place is in the world.  It is a journey that has been filled with enormous joy and some pretty serious pain along the way.  That pain however is a reflection of the battles one must face into if they are to be (hopefully) become a respectable human being – well at least that’s what i’m telling myself.

Going back to the culling of posts though, as I walked around the beautiful Getty Museum in Los Angeles this weekend, a guide was sharing with us her thoughts on art and particularly the process of returning pieces back to one version of their former self in order to publish them in a gallery – the challenge is of course is which version of the truth is the right one?

Is your past version of the truth the right one, or does reflection provide for a more meaningful message?

I am pondering on this question now – I had/have around 800 posts on my blog – I would comfortably say that less than 200 of them have any value whatsoever, but in deleting 600 posts do I lose sight of what I was writing for in the first place, a chronology, unfiltered of my life at that moment in time.

I don’t have any answers – however at 36 I must admit I look back at some of my earlier work and I literally cringe – and I can’t help but think of my career (what if a potential new employer were to read this!?!)

So, sanitation will probably win, though I do wonder at what cost…..

So apparently i’m back ….. and living in the US … and re-married … and stuff

So to jump right on in the deep end – an extract of the email I wrote today to a work colleague and friend.

(more to come, promise)

———

Thank you good sir – paperwork is now on it’s way.

We’re settling in well – my days are filled with grocery shopping, cooking and dealing with government departments – I am literally living the dream :P

Christine is doing ok with the new job, needs to settle in to culture and different management style – however we knew that all along.

Government is making things challenging – mismatch of Christine’s middle name on her visa is delaying her Social Security number application. No social security number = no apartment to rent, no credit, no loan for car, no nothing …. so that’s nice. However we can’t say in good faith that we didn’t know that was going to be an issue – particularly as CA is broke and therefore services have been cut to the bone.

Overall for all the differences California is remarkably similar to Sydney/AU in terms of consumer laws and protection so not feeling overwhelmed at this point.

Off to SF for a weekends exploring and just not to think about paperwork and settling in for two days.

Also nabbed myself custom fitted ski boots yesterday from Berkeley – they be nice :)

Talk soon my friend – oh and just to let you know that our seasons passes just added another ski resort in Utah – Park City …. one more reason (and one of the best 5 ski resorts in the continental US) to come visit my friend …. skiing starts in December :)

Adam
p.s – wow, i expected to write two lines as a reply, apparently I had something to say ….. how unusual of me ……. :)

Another day, another half marathon completed

I suppose the title says it all really.  Today it was the SMH Sydney Half Marathon , attempt #6 and another successful one at that.

Starting off at the briskly time @ 7:30am, we (Hools, Lucy and myself) started on a good pace however this time around I was not feeling the 100% mentally that I usually feel, but more on that later.

Kilometres 1 through 5 went relatively well, though these are what most runners know as the hardest of km’s.  This is the time when your legs aren’t quite firing on all cyclinders and your brain is telling you that ‘you really don’t need to be out here at this time in the morning, just quit now and go back to bed!’ …. and I promise you every time i’ve run these things i’ve seriously considered it.

Kilometres 5 through 10 is where things started to get rough for me.  

….But before I get into that I want to provide short set of history on how I got to feeling dehydrated.  Over the past 4 months, our personal trainer has been providing advice and support on food, nutrition when running, dealing with psychological barriers and how to keep your body in one piece to see another marathon on another day.

So today, instead of having a Gu (energy food in liquid form, once you get used to the taste they’re quite good!) before I started the race along with a decent drink of water before I go to bed and before I get up, I listed to the PT and did neither of these.

…. and that gets us back to kilometres 8 through 10 … I was becoming dehydrated ….. and that’s not a good thing to be doing less than 1 hour into a 2 hour run.

By the time we clocked the 7 kilometre mark, Hools (poor thing) was starting to suffer with a sore knee and a body that just wasn’t coping with strain of having it pounded with hard bitumen for kilometre after kilometre.  And so at that stage, Lucy and I broke away (after a quick debrief with the fiance!) and that’s actually where things started to go wrong.  My body was firing on all cylinders, but the brain was feeling it has has never felt at the halfway mark, it was emotionally drained, finding it difficult to concentrate and completely lacking in motivation.

And once you’re dehydrated, there’s absolutely no going back.

Kilometres 10 through 15 turned bad for me as around km 11 Lucy started to break away from me and psychologically I couldn’t make myself keep the pace that was required to stay with her.  Of course once she disappeared around a corner, my spirits started to plummet and things started to head bad….. I actually walked for a total of 5 minutes over this break…… sad …… (that’s never happened before!)

Kilometres 15 through 21 were painful as this track is a dual-loop (a format that i *hate*) and I now knew how far we had left.

The only shining light in this was that The Picture magazine had a model who was getting her (very impressive) rack out for mini-lap-dances and taking photos for an upcoming shoot in the magazine.  While I was completely shocked with this it still gave me a bit of a smile (it was @ km 20, so close to the finish!) and I pushed on until I rounded the last couple of loops and onto the finish line.

I believe my time will run in at about 2 hours 9 minutes, and while that doesn’t seem like a great deal off 2 hours 6 minutes, it is a damn sight shy of 2hrs and 54 seconds that we ran 2 years ago.

My hope for today was around 2 hours 3 minutes – 2 hours 6 minutes so that I could trim down to sub-2-hours when we hit the Gold Coast half marathon in July (it’s an all-flat course so you probably save 3-4 minutes just from that in itself), alas it wasn’t to be.

As for Hools, she struggled and did some pretty serious damage to her knee which will require a few days of compression, ice and TLC from our chiropractor.

However, this is part of our bodies getting older, and while we choose this sport we need to accept the consequences.

c’est la vie!

Adam

I did something tonight that I should have done a long time ago…

I registered a new domain for myself, and started a new blog….

(and no, i’m not telling *anyone* about it).

I realise now that in some ways I made a grave error when I first registered this site. I told people about it.

And by doing that, all the great benefits of anonymity went flying out the window, leaving me in a position where to get the things off my chest that are really going on would be to compromise myself in ways that were both not in my best interest, but more importantly could and would be perceived by others as something completely outside of my ‘real’ reality.

And almost certainly hurt people unnecessarily.  And that’s just not cool.

(i’m not sure if that makes sense)

So i’ve done the best thing I can do, i’ve registered a new space and i’m not telling anyone about it.

And now that I have ….. i’ve started to write again …… and I realised how absolutely and utterly delightful it is to just write what I feel and not have the repurcussions other than to get it out of my crazy headspace, turn it into a pseudo-reality and then from there … discard it as exactly that, the crazy and incoherent ramblings of someone who’s just human, who has learnt to deal with most of his limitations but still fucks it up sometimes and somebody who’s not the bad guy, just needs to have his own headspace once in a while.

It feels good to write and only be accountable to myself, and by writing about all the craziness, i’m freed from it.

And the best thing is that all the people I love and care about won’t have to deal with me (so much) when I decide to have an unnecessarily selfish and crazy bout of self-doubt, self-destruction and self-loathing.

And i’m already starting to feel better about it.

So from here on out i’m going to try to write more about my life, try to use facebook less and write about the things that are good, that are interesting, that are hard and that are what I work for.

And i’m going to keep the insanity to someone where only I can find.

Hope you still drop back here from time to time to read about my ‘normal’ life.

Adam