Sunday, November 18, 2007

Life comes at you fast.

I was at a pretty remarkable party last night... a co-worker (old job) had moved his family into a bigger apartment, and he had a party to celebrate. They are from Africa and so were about 2/3 the other party-goers, the rest being people from the far-flung corners of the world they've met since emigrating to Canada. The African women had taken it upon themselves to prepare a feast; and there must have been 15 or more different dishes, from salads to stews to rice to various meats to samosas to exotic desserts. What a banquet! What a joyous gathering, people speaking a half dozen languages, people who didn't speak a word of English dancing through crowds of people who spoke nothing but.

That is the kind of experience that made the job I held for the past ten years so enjoyable, and which made up for the days when I hated the politics and poverty of NGOs. I'm lucky - I am leaving on good terms and everyone at my old job wants to keep in contact, in fact I am having coffee with my former co-workers next Friday; so I am not leaving that world behind entirely. And I'll always have the network of friends I made in the immigrant community over that time.

Meanwhile, I am feeling a lot like the woman in the Nationwide insurance commercial these days - the one who discovers that life comes at you fast. I've been involved for a while now in a testing program to create a pool of future employees of another government department, also related to my field; they're doing it in preparation for the fact that about half their employees will be retiring in the next 5 years. I wrote a "Language Comprehension" test and a "Situational Judgement" test, just silly beaurocratic hoop-jumping, really. Last week I got a notice to take a knowledge test - knowledge of two government Acts that govern the department's work, and knowledge of the whole range of the department's programs and services.

Could this come at a better time? The handbook they refer candidates to is 96 pages long; and I don't know how long the two Acts are because my printer is out of ink after printing it. Sheesh! I wrote to ask if there'd be a second round of testing; I am starting a new job, I am intensively studying French every night, and I am commuting between two cities 1.2 hours apart. No dice, they said; there is no other testing in the foreseeable future and if I want to stay in the pool of candidates, I need to take - and pass - the test week after next. They would, they said, arrange to have me take the test over an extended lunch hour in Moncton, which was kind of them, because they didn't have to do that; an employee in Moncton is volunteering to oversee testing for me alone.

What could I do? I said yes. I considered dropping out - I'd almost rather not take it and exclude myself than fail it and have them boot me; but my attitude has always been that when life offers you an opportunity, you take it. So now on top of everything else - I am going to be studying for a 2-hour exam! Part of the rationale is that this is a department which I have a history of working with (in my NGO capacity) and which I have a strong chance with when positions begin opening.

If I don't fail the bloody test.

Nothing happens for years, and then tout d'un coup...!




Blogger Xtreme English said...

hey....many prayers for your success on that test! i'll email my friend martha. she doesn't believe in god, but god believes in martha...she's one of the most effective pray-ers i know.

bonne chance, indeed!!!

6:56 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My knees aren't up to being knelt on, but I've had a lot of sitting and even lying-down prayers answered so can get on it right away.
Too bad the Acts aren't on tape to listen to during your commute.

12:36 a.m.  
Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

I think you'll be glad you decided to go for it! Not making the cut would be a disappointment, but there is just NO lousy feeling like wondering "what if" you'd tried!

Oh and thanks for the link to the "Life comes at you fast" ad which led me to realize i hadn't looked at jibjab in ages and there was all kinds of fun stuff there. Which caused me to overcook dinner. You owe me 2 hamburgers. 8~)

9:18 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Oh, thank you all so much! Since I got back from Moncton I've been studying, studying, studying! Keeping my fingers crossed! Thanks for your support.

8:35 p.m.  

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