I got a job! Mind you, it’s a contract and not a permanent job, but I think any new graduate will agree that even that is a feat when looking only within Canada, and being at least somewhat particular about what job to accept. In light of the whole process, I thought I would reflect a little on various aspects of getting and starting a job.
I think it’s important for every person to decide on what they want in a job before applying to everything. Totally common sense I’m sure, but strangely for me, it took some time to really figure out what I wanted in terms of:
- type of position – willing to take anything? including non-professional positions?
- location – willing to move? what regions? urban or rural?
- type of organization – libraries only or other information organizations?
- salary – is there a minimum amount?
I’ll not spend time on the application and interview parts of the process as I’ve covered them before in other posts. I will only say that while it’s important to be flexible, you might think about whether you’re willing to spend money on flying somewhere if the organization will not pay for you.
My interview was a particularly interesting situation as due to the available times, I ended up doing my interview after a 10-hour flight which I was sick on, 1-hour train ride, 20-minutes car ride, and a few hours to prepare and feel better. We also had a couple of technical difficulties, but I took them in stride (always have a back up plan!) as well as I could.
I also got asked a lot of questions about things that I honestly just did not know about. JAZZ? REST? Huh? Others I knew, but had absolutely no experience in, like AJAX, ColdFusion. I admitted to being unfamiliar with them and tried to emphasize that I am willing to learn (though I felt like a little bit of a broken record by the time I was done). Still, I think the important lesson is not to be daunted by the questions, since the questions are asked of all the interviewees.
Negotiating a Contract
As a new graduate, I was very nervous about negotiating my first professional contract. Thankfully, I had just finished my management class, so I took the advice of my instructor and inquired about:
- vacation/sick leave
- professional development
- higher than minimum salary by considering my student work
Some things were a simple ‘no’ as mine is a contract and not a permanent position, but then I would never have known without asking. I think the last is especially important since many graduates may think that their work as a student will not count towards their salary, and while at some organizations it may not get the same level of consideration, that does not mean it will not be considered at all.
Starting a New Job
It’s important to know where you’re going and what time you’re expected the first day (oh and knowing what to bring for HR form filling), but beyond that, I think it’s okay to just take your time getting into it. Certainly, I’ve been a little worried especially since there are various technical things to take care of, but thankfully, people seem very understanding of needing some time to settle in.