Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Long time coming....

Well! This blog has been a long time coming. A VERY long time!!

Not everyone will appreciate exactly what I mean by that so I’m going so lay out exactly what led to this upcoming year in England. Many people know I’m moving there but as far as I can tell no one really knows exactly what’s going on. So here goes nothing!

For anyone out there who actually knows what has been going on, feel free to tune in next time and give this one a skip!

It Started in Ottawa

Almost 2 years ago (I honestly can’t believe it’s been that long!) I attended the Baking and Pastry Arts program at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario. Mid way through the fall semester, some people from a job placement company called Scotia Personnel (http://www.scotia-personnel-ltd.com/)came to talk to our class about the opportunities they offered with work abroad terms.

As anyone who has known me over the past half a decade can tell you, I have wanted to work in a different country for a long time. To experience different culture, work environment, not to mention the chance to travel once you get to a different country... I just wanted (and still want) to get out there!

The Perfect Opportunity

Along comes this company (Scotia Personnel) offering to find me a place to work, a place to stay, and to help me with the journey to those things. I was sold. I signed up and was contacted in December (2009) to set up an appointment in January when they were back in town. The interview went well and I decided that I wanted to wait a year before taking the plunge. January 2011 was when I wanted to leave.

Doesn’t life always have a way of messing with your plans?

I intended to spend the summer and the following fall waitressing at one of the few restaurants or hotels back home. Yeah... right. I couldn’t seem to land a job, they all wanted either their past employees or someone with more experience (how exactly do you expect me to get experience without a job?)...

A Series of (Fortunate and) Unfortunate Events
But fortunately I got a job at a place I had wanted to work at the previous summer (www.fortvermilion.ca).

But unfortunately they’re a seasonal business. By the September long weekend I was unemployed and looking ahead at four months of unemployment.

Fortunately(!) the owner of the only local restaurant that is (reliably) open all year round said she would hire me when her students went back to school and to come talk to her the Tuesday after the long weekend to talk about a schedule.

Unfortunately(!!!) the place burnt down on the Monday of the long weekend.

FORTUNATELY(!!!!!!) My old boss (old boss from before I even moved to Ottawa)called me up that Wednesday and offered me a job!

Whew! I was saved. I had a job that should last into January, at which point the 2 employees I would be covering for would be back and I’d be good to go to England.

Time to Go!
As January approached I was having the same trouble with finding a job through Scotia Personnel as I was in the summer at home. Everyone wants experience, specifically, they wanted me to have hotel experience. Did they think I had no customer service skills? I’ve been working with the public for 5 years! Just because I’ve never had a full time job waiting on tables, they wouldn’t look at me twice.

January came and went and things were getting a little stressful. I didn’t have a job in England so I didn’t want to leave my job (which my boss was so nice enough to keep me on). In the first week of February, out of the blue she (my boss) offered me what seemed like a really fun and different job at the second store location they’d acquired the previous spring. I weighed my options and went for it. I now had a job guaranteed at least until September again.

That pretty much brings us to now. I left that job at the beginning of August because I wanted to be completely available to leave at a moment’s notice for Scotia Personnel.

Now none of the above mentions what all Scotia Personnel has actually done for me. They put together “Hire Shelly” package, helped me get the necessary documents for working and working in England and they’ve been mostly enjoyable to work with.

Here’s how getting a job through Scotia Personnel works:
A hotel contacts them and they look through the applicants they’re trying to place and decide who would work well there.
They send me an email saying there’s a hotel, here’s the link, check it out and let us know what you think.
I tell them I like the look of the place (after some googling and wikipediaing).
They send the “Hire Shelly” package off to the hotel (resume, photos, references, etc.)
The hotel decides whether or not they want me.

About Bloody Time!!
This happened quite a number of times for me (see previous about experience) before they finally sent me this super-nice-looking-but-way-too-fancy-for-Shelly hotel... and they took!!!  www.lenclume.co.uk

Ok, I make it seem like I've been waiting the whole year and a half for them to get me this job since I first met up with Scotia Personnel in January 2010, but that's not true. They only started in December 2010 for about a month an a half and again this August for not quite a month. But honestly, when you're used to working all the time like I am, it's a bit stressful not knowing when your next job is going to be!

That’s basically where we’re sitting at right now. I’ll go into the details of what I’ve been doing since the hotel has hired me next time since this post is about 400 words over what I’d wanted it to be!


  1. Hey! Not to be creepy, but great blog!

    So I google-mapped this place out of interest, and it's right near the Lakes District which I went to last August. It's a beautiful place, very touristy, but lots of great walking/hiking trails and all sorts! There's also Beatrix Potter's family home to check out!

    Have a great time :)

  2. Thanks for your post! it was very helpful!

  3. I know a number of friends who have gone thru Scotia Personnel and had great expereinces too!