Montreal Dinner at Pizzaiolle

So after a work visit this week I decided to go down the street to grab an early dinner instead of heading back to the hotel right away. I considered going to a small micro brew I had gone to a number of times. However, I opted for something new.

I had checked out Pizzaiolle a number of times from the outside but never entered until today. Well, because it was still early in the evening and it was also the first day of spring I walked into a restaurant flooded with natural light.

I sat down and was promptly offered a menu. I could not help but notice homemade gnocchi on the menu. Although I have tried a few gnocchi, as looking for something else. However, I had to first text my buddy EJ who just loves the stuff.

Dinner was simple and delicious. I started with a green salad. It was fresh, tasty and the vinegret was perfect. The service g was also a decent size.

As I caught up on my digital news feeds I noticed that the chosen music was not traditional Italian music. Instead I had to ask my Android assistant to identify the music. It was Can’t Hang On by Body Language. A nice ambient dance tone.

You can’t go wrong with some beer and dance music after work.

For the main course I had a pizza, which was delicious. Paired with Panelli beer. Panelli is brewed in Quebec by the Panelli family with Italian traditions.

I will definitely have to check out Pizzaiolle again on future trips to Montreal

Web Modernization: Updating Personal Website

With my current job as a technology analyst I spend a lot of time evaluating new technologies and following the latest standards of the web.

With the 2010 court case that demanded Government of Canada websites become accessible, many in the tech analysis fields going back to basics.

My approach to learning about technology and standards is usually to implement it. Over the last number of years I have managed the websites of personal projects of mine including sites for Computers for Communities and Freeheelers United. These two sites use the content management systems (CMS) Drupal and Joomla respectively. These CMS’s tend to take care of a lot of the backend HTML coding and therefore I have grown to trust the machine.

My personal website however, is just a collection of HTML pages with CSS styling. When I first started my website a number of years ago I did not use, nor did I likely know about CSS. The last time I refreshed my HTML skills I upgraded my site to HTML version 4 and started using CSS.

Lately in my job we have been discussing various approaches to web architecture, web interoperability and web accessibility. Also, websites for governments are becoming more complex with feeds, audio, video, blogs and social tools.

This new perspective of the web means that you can shoe-horn old standards to fit the new situation or update the standards you are using. When we look at the basics of the web we are now talking about HTML version 5, CSS version 3 as well as JavaScript.

So to re-aquaint myself with the basics of the web as they stand today I have undertaken an overhaul of my personal website.

This means updating my personal website. My goals right now are:

  • Use a text editor to avoid erroneous markup from editors
  • Migrate from HTML 4 to 5
  • Remove remaining styling from HTML
  • Ensure CSS conforms to version 3
  • Strive for WCAG 2.0 AA standard
  • Learn and implement JavaScript from scratch

In order to find some guidance in implementing these standards I have been exploring many resources. To date I can confirm that there are many differing opinions on implementing HTML5.

The two schools of thougt I have come across include:

  • Strict HTML 5 that will pass validation
  • Loose HTML 5 that is easier to understand with slimmed down markup but still interpreted by browsers
  • Some are HTML centric
  • Others are XHTML centric

My solution is to find sources that:

  • value structured markup, 
  • will validate against the standards
  • accomodates cross browser implementation
  • separate content (HTML) from style (CSS) from logic (JavaScript)

I will continue to update my progress through my blog and will keep my readers posted on my progress. I will also announce any new site launches that demonstrate implementing my above stated goals.


The content of this post does not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or priorities of the authors employer as is written from a personal perspective.

Moving on over…. to the other side….. of Barrhaven

Well the last number of months have been pretty busy with life.

One major activity that my wife and I have been working on is house shopping. My wife enjoys checking out MLS on a regular basis and until recently we were only casually house shopping.

Well, sure enough a couple of houses came up we liked a lot and fit our price range.

We checked out houses mainly in the west end, Barrhaven and Kanata. Anything inside the greenbelt was outside our price range but we liked the bigger lots, mature tress, the unique house models and looks of the neighborhood. But despite these likes it just was not worth it for us.

At the same time new houses seemed to increase in price weekly. Sure enough they were soon out of reach. A few good points about this is that modern home owners tend to not want a backyard, front yard or even a driveway they own themselves. We saw plenty of large interior houses but they were mainly townhomes with shared driveways and postage stamp backyards.

This process really tested my personal environmental ethic though. I have been and continue to be an environmentalist, but perhaps more moderate than my days of living in a tent and paddling around northern Ontario 4 months of the year.

Now I do own a house, have a 2 car family, a dog , a cat and a loving wife. But I still have a nagging feeling of making the wrong environmental choice. After all we should be decreasing urban sprawl, decreasing commuting distances and trying to live better.

Ottawa does have its 20/20 vision city plan, and a strategy to increase intensification. However how this plan is panning out in reality does not look too friendly. Barrhaven is still a bedroom community, I still work for a government department not planning on moving away from its current location, the bus system still has little incentive and town homes just are not that appealing.

Driving throughout Barrhaven there are plenty of examples of where townhomes loose their appeal. Here is my running list, although not exhasutive it gives you an idea of what I mean:

  • Neighbours separate their driveway using cinder blocks
  • Some choices in colours of siding and exterior paint just should not happen
  • Some driveways are painted on one side and crumbling on the other
  • As far as I can tell there is no FIREPROOF firewall separating neighbours.
  • The houses in the centre of the row need to use a “right of way” to get to the backyard with the lawn mower, but the end units block it off.
  • The backyards are just too small
  • current occupants still hear noises through the walls

In an appartment or highrise you rarely run into these issues from my experience. So these issues seem like a big gamble with an expensive piece of property. I would have hopped that the housing market and industry would have innovated more to overcome these challenges.

Among other reasons as well we opted to not buy a townhome. We also opted to by previously owned. I fully expect our next house to have issues. I mean who wouldn’t expect something wrong? But we already know the major issues with it.

As friends that have bought new have shared, a new house does not mean a perfect house. The house settles, cracks appear, things shift. At least with a previously owned house it has done most of its shifting, cracking and settling.

Construction material was another issue for me. I am one of those “weak” people with those “environment” allergies. You know the kind caused by off gassing of carpet adhesive, mold and dust in air ducts or a poorly ventilated house cased in plastic.

Those new fancy pre-fab ‘I’ beams created using woodchips and resin? Not only do they love to off gas (yes there are high quality ones that are better), but they also drasticaly decrease your escape time in case of fire. They tend to melt instead of burn. And when all these new resins burn you’ll be lucky to survive the toxi gases in the case of a fire let alone the heat.

You CAN still build a house with “natural” materials (wood, concrete, steel), but you’ll pay for it as an extra from the major builders.

So after all this critique of new home construction, the cities dimming 20/20 densification vision and neighbours who have a difficult time getting together to drink beer and figure out how to co-exist what did we do? Where did we go? Have we sold our house yet?

Well we currently live off of Claridge drive near Woodroffe by Farm Boy and we found a nice place over on the older side of Barrhaven on Kennevale by Marry Honeywell school. We take possesion on Febraruary 28 and have yet to sell our current place. This is stressful for sure, holding tow mortgages does not sound like fun.

Our daily mantra includes the following positive self talk:

  • We bought our current house, surely someone else will
  • For 15 years someone has lived here
  • It is a great starter home
  • Thanks to the Home Reno tax credit we upgraded a bunch of stuff
  • and finaly… IT ONLY TAKES ONE BUYER.

So the waiting game continues. I may provide more updates as time goes on.

Good luck if you are shopping for homes, do some research into house design and building you’ll learn a lot.


Job Hunting Conclusion: How I Landed My New Job

This is a follow up post to my previous Job hunting 1 of 2 and Job Hunting 2 of 2 blog posts.

For those who tripped across my 2 part blog post on the trials and tribulations of job hunting I am glad to report that I have accepted a new full time indeterminate position with the Government of Canada. I have been in the new position since early May. All the work I put into my job hunting was well worth the effort as my new job has re-invigorated me in my career. I hope others get the same opportunity.

I explain a bit about my new position at

As Canada’s economy is starting to bounce back I still see many professional and personal contacts struggling to either find work or find meaningful and rewarding work.

Sometimes you have to find a job for the sake of a job to pay the bills. I have had few of these throughout my bouncy career(s) but I have had them. They act as jumping off points to new opportunities. Now I feel as though I have a job that fits me, and one that I have the flexibility to evolve with over time.

So what was the secret to landing this job? What was the golden key? The one thing that above all else will work 100% of the time. Good question!

I don’t know the one thing but I will share my approach.

What follows is not the perfect recipe, just a documentation of some of the tactics I used.

Face it, job hunting sucks, its no fun, you feel low, it causes depression (if you are not careful) and is hard work. So you need to get psyched, pumped and GIVR hard. For me, when I telemark ski I can stand at the top of a slope and get pumped, this is needed when you are pushing the envelope with floppy heels. I also need to pump myself up sometimes before I teach with the Freeheelers United ski school. Even though I love teaching and I would be missing something without it I still need to prime my motivational pump before being in the limelight.

So GET PUMPED and get ready for a roller coaster ride. And don’t stop until you win the lottery (unlikely) or find a job (YOU WILL FIND A JOB).

I pulled out the same approach I have used in the past, I set silly goals and make it a game. That’s right, a game.

2. The numbers Game:
Many resources will give two sides of this approach. First, some sources say it is a game of stats, the more you dump your resume, eventually you are bound to find something. The other side says to build a strategy and be selective and focus your energy. Well I used both. You make a massive list of select contacts and leads and start knocking them off. And you build as you go. Each contact you meet should provide at least 2 other contacts.

I set silly limits like:
* 10 cold phone calls a week
* 3 informational interviews a day
* build a Contact List of 100 direct or indirect members of your network
* build a list of 300 potential companies (use the Industry Canada search)

There is no method to this approach, the idea is to pick a number, achive the goal and set a newer and higher number. Since my last job search included distributing 300 resumes, 17 informational interviews, 5 job interviews, 1 test (with close to 200 other people) and 1 job, I knew I had to go big again. And really those numbers were pretty straight forward to hit.

I was blown away how quickly my list grew compared to the last time I did this approach though. What is different? Last time I had more time and built it slowly. This time my network that I built every day on the job paid off in spades. In fact some of the contacts I made 3 years ago I went back to this time around. Having a professional and personal network is key, and you have to build it slowly over time and nurture it like a vegetable garden. When you are unemployed or your contract is nearing the end you harvest the fruits of your labour.

Think of your professional networks as a cash crop. Don;t ignore it or else it will wither and die. Don’t over harvest or it gets stressed.

3. Get other people working for you:
This may sound lazy, and it may very well be, but it works. Let people know you are looking for work, get them to help you find leads. Ask them if they know anyone that does what you want to do, ask for 10 minutes of their time. Everyone has 10 minutes to share their story. This sometimes turns into 30 minutes, an hour and in my case it eventually led to a job offer.

4. Go public:
Job hunting sucks, and telling the world may feel like defeat. However, the world wants to help. Have you ever helped a complete stranger cross the street, pick up something they dropped or just volunteer for the fun of it. It felt good maybe? Well let others help you, it makes them feel good, it can help get you a job which then makes you feel good again. Then you can give back or thank those that helped you, and then they feel good again.

Imagine paying someone a dollar to receive two in return. Let people give you the first dollar and they will feel good about themselves twice. People like to help other people. It gives them purpose and fulfillment.

5. Build your web personal web presence:
One approach I used was to seriously build a person web site as a marketing tool. I happened to find my name available as a domain name, and so became my brand. I plan to keep it for many years to come. After you have a job, update it (I took a few extra weeks, ok months to update mine), then leave it and let it continue building your network.

Some may think a web site is a lot of work for little return. It worked for me to have a site. I actually had a request the other week for a position with a GIS firm in Vancouver. They saw I was an avid member the GRASS community of Open Source GIS users and they found my community profile. My profile pointed to my site, they grabbed my contact info and sent me a request for an interview. So that worked. I just happened to have already landed a job, but it did eventually work. Sometimes these things take time.

6. Brush up on some skills:
A note about my site . It still requires some touch up and is not perfect, or flashy. It serves its purpose.

I took the hard route and coded raw HTML. There are many easier routes, but I had a purpose to my approach, I actually took it as a profeesional development excercise to get familiar with the latest version of HTML markup XHTML. In my day to day job we work with applications on the web that produce their own code or are based on content management systems. Otherwise we prototype without much thought to visual design. So I thought I would re-learn the basics.

I also taught myself basic styling of web pages using CSS. When I first learned HTML the styling was included in the code, now it is separate.

Your Internet service provider (ISP) should provide minimal web space. If not then consider joining a community based Internet service provider like National Capital Freenet in Ottawa. They offer all of their members to publish free web pages. Their DSL service is also inexpensive ($30.95 as of July 1, 2010) for a decent speed (5Mb) and ample download limits (200GB/month). They are also one of the last remaining ISP’s offering Dialup modem pools.

So take your pending unemployment as a chance to brush up on your skills, develop new ones and build your web presence.

7. Volunteer:
Job hunting is a full time job, but even with a full time job we need a break. Volunteering helped me get out of the house and away from thinking about job hunting, somewhat.

My ongoing side project is starting up a community technology non-profit group called Computers for Communities (C4C). This takes a lot of my time, anywhere from 5-20 hours a week. Every second Sunday I show up to the hands on workshops and interact directly with the volunteers. This was a great way to get away from it all.

From the flip side, or the volunteers perspective at C4C, we get many people looking to volunteer to get their first Canadian work experience. They already know some of the value of volunteering. The fact some of these bright minds can’t find work, blows me away. It is not a reflection of their abilities. It just highlights that finding a job is hard. Sometimes harder than the job itself.

Due to their volunteering activities I get to learn more about them as people and what their passions are. Eventually we forge a trust, and next thing you know I am being contacted as a reference for an interview. Acting as a reference has the added benefit of raising your profile and building your network. Although volunteers are not employees, when I am called to act as a character reference others view me in the same light as another employer. This is actualy building my network while helping to forge the network of the volunteer. We both win.

So go out there and volunteer, it will open many doors. If you are in Ottawa check out Volunteer Ottawa for a listing of opportunities. If you want to learn more about computers here is a list of opportunities at Computers for Communities.

8. Set up a Job finding club:
So I double dipped on this one. Computers for Communities attracts many people in the technology sector either between jobs or looking for new work. It also attracts high school students wanting to get the volunteer hours they need to graduate. C4C also has a growing number of fresh university and college graduates looking to build their resume. So every 2 weeks I encouraged people to bring their resumes and share their experience. The ball was picked up by a couple of people and so we kept it rolling.

Even after having landed a job I am still helping to mentor a couple of newcomers to Ottawa and Canada find their dream jobs by teaching them what I have learned through my most recent foray in the job hunting market.

Those silly numbers above that I used? I now pass them on as “assignments” for other job hunters. Some think it is silly and don’t follow up, others smile, laugh and bite. They must think I am crazy. But eventually I am convinced it will pay off.

9. Go to the library
Many people are not educated in the art of finding work. They don’t offer Job Hunting 101 at school that I know of. You don;t have to spend a lot of money to get an education. Your local library has a free education in job hunting waiting on its shelves.

The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) has many books worth getting for job hunting. Go to your library and check it out. The OPL lets you build lists to share with others, check out my Job hunting resource list. I highly recommend reading What Color is Your Parachute, the companion workbook, and Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters

I am not a book worm, but I love the library. Free books, free manuals, free music, free movies, and now I am exploring their digital audio books. I have taught myself film and digital photography, computer programming, the Linux Operating system, computer repair, fund raising and how to start a non-profit all from books at the library. I even watched all the Shakespeare videos I could borrow because I figured high school butchered these plays that were supposed to be viewed, not read.

I am blown away how many people I know do not have a library card. If the Ottawa public Library is not a wide enough selection then what about Government libraries and those at universities and colleges. The Ottawa Public Library Smart Card will get you access to all the industry research, government reports and fascinating journals you can shake a stick at. The Smart Card is your universal library pass to many other libraries in Ottawa.

10. Buy some books
For me, my golden purchase was Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters (GM4JH). Many of the ideas I used came from this book. Some of the others came from a job finding club I belonged to 3 years ago.

There were more ideas than I could possibly use at once. They actually recommended picking a handful of approaches and not trying to do everything. I am comfortable with the web but never used is as a marketing tool, so their suggestions helped me exploit the net as one of many approaches I used. To see what web resources I exploited check out my networks.

Notice how I improvised and used some of the Canadian Governments professional networking tools such as GC Pedia, GC Connex, and GC Forums? These internal networks were great for networking with new government professionals. It also gave me a place to put my professional resume aimed at government opportunities in PDF form. This way I just had to share a link of my resume in e-mails instead of attaching PDF’s that may get lost, deleted or forgotten.

The motivation for developing an online brand at came from GM4JH. It also houses many versions of my resume, each with a specific purpose. The idea of starting this Blog came from there. Updating my facebook, creating linked in account, starting a twitter feed and claiming my profiles at zoom info; of which there were four already, were all ideas from this book.

The authors of this book said that once we find a job we are to share our experience. So I am concluding my job hunting saga by following their request and sharing my experience to help others.

Job hunting 2 of 2

Job hunting 2 of 2:

This blog post started off as a friendly post to the Computers for Communities volunteer mailing list and grew into a small rant and now into 2 blog postings.

The original post (found here: )

Hey Folks,

As C4C in its by-laws has a component for skills development I thought a short post concerning job Hunting might be of use. It is also handy that I can speak from a personal perspective as I will be out of work on May 14, 2010. I am optimistic I will find work before then, and I would like to share with you what I know about job hunting.

I know from talking with many people on this list, and also the many new potential volunteers, one of the key things people are looking for from their experience at C4C is to build experience to add to their resume so they can either get a job because they are unemployed, or are looking to develop different skill sets so they can move up in their career.

I have shared with some of you already that I have been job hunting since the beginning of March (2010). During this time I still have work as I finish off my term employment with Natural Resources Canada. On the side my usual hoby is getting Computers for Communities off the ground, but right now I am a full time job hunter. A special thanks to the other volunteers who have stepped up to help out in this crunch time so C4C continues to opperate while I find a new job so I can get back to working on C4C.

If you are in the same job hunting boat looking for a job you are not alone. My post became a little long so I turned it into a blog. A blog dedicated to all the C4C job hunters out there and job hunters in general.

Check it out to find out about some of the books I recommend and a bit about my own experience.


So I thought a job hunting post might be good for anyone looking to earn some extra cash or land their next dream job. If you are not looking maybe you can share any tips or tricks that have helkped you in the past.

Seeing as this list is focused on technology the key here is that looking for work in the knowledge worker domain may be different than others.

In brief, if you want to network this Sunday at our workshop ( bring some resumes, print off some business cards and let people know you are looking. Read the books mentioned bellow, and turn despair into a job. If you want some motivation, read on.

Keep in mind the fact that you come out and volunteer on your weekends, work hard and have lots to contribute to C4C makes you marketable for your dream job. However, if no one knows about this hard work how are they going to offer you your dream job. I would expect to see your volunteer work highlighted in your resume.

If you job hunt alone, you will last 2 weeks of job hunting before getting extremely stressed and probably depressed. This happens to the best of us, even us high energy keeners and big dreamers, it sucks when we crash. So avoid the crash. If you have some help you will last 2 months. If you build an army you can last 2 years looking for work. But with an army you will find your dream job in far less than 2 years.

I have always known that without technology, the job hunting process is even harder. In my jobs I have saved 1000’s of dollars for employers by leveraging technology. I have increased productivity by factors of 10’s by leveraging technology. So why should my job hunting be any different?

When I step out of the house to go meet someone I must make sure that all the tech tools are working 10 times harder so I don’t have to. I think of job hunting as something that should take care of itself. Just like a Python script that will automate a process I want to automate my job hunting. But first you need to invest and build the system. Better yet, build as you go.

All through my youth and after University I was almost a professional job hunter. I would get contracts here and there for months at a time so I was constantly on the look out. This time is only different in that I have more experience and know a bit better what I want out of a job. I have also refined my tactics.

If anyone wants to talk about Job hunting or do some networking with the group on Sundays by all means, make it happen. Maybe the job I am looking for someone else already knows about.Maybe they have found a posting for my dream job but they are not qualified or interested, so they ignore it. Maybe one of my contacts is looking for someone just like you, and I am not the right fit and i don’t know you are looking. having talked with over 20 people in the last month I have come across lots of opportunities that don’t fit me. I pass them to to those I know and trust or discard them and move on to the next target.

As well as networking, part of what I find works best, is not to do what your high school guidance counsellor taught you. Don’t only look for job postings and wait for your job to come your way and be called for an interview. They call it JOB HUNTING for a reason. You have to go hunt. It is not called JOB WAITING. Once a job is advertised you are competing with everyone else that sees the add. You need to find the job BEFORE it gets posted.

Think of a big game hunter, maybe hunting for a lion. The hunter does not lie down in their tent and wait for the lion to lie down next to them, roll over and let their belly get cut by a knife. There is a hunt. You are the hunter. Your dream employer is the Lion. Go after it. Better yet, devise a plan and execute it. Don’t run all over the jungle, you’ll tire, starve and die. Think it out.

Two books I highly recommend for developing your plan and add different tools to your arsenal include:

First off check out “what color is your parachute”. Should by a copy in the library and I bought the most recent at chapters. This helps define your key characteristics. I found it quite handy because I always thought of myself as a generalist and jack of all trades. “So what I can program in Python” I would think. This books helped to bring my key qualities to the surface. I am a problem solver, and the Python language helps me as a tool to solve tech problems. I am an idea generator, problem solver and initiator. I am not a maintainer, and sometimes I am a poor follower.

So i need to match my job to what I can offer. I now market myself as a problem solver, project manager and innovator working towards middle management.

Second, “Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0” (GM4JH). When I started Computers for Communities (previously Free Geek Ottawa), I got a hold of another book from the same folks “Guerrilla P.R 2.0”. That book helped us as a group get the organization off the ground and word on the street.

It worked so effectively in fact I quickly filled my garage with computers to the roof and ran out of working space. I then used the same tactics to develop the partnership with Boys and Girls Club. We have now outgrown that location. So these tactics worked once. I was curious how it could help my job hunting.

GM4JH has helped me refine my job hunting tactics this time around. The job market has changed since I last looked for work. When I was in university all my buddies were getting high tech jobs that were well paid. I chose a canoe and the wilderness for 4 months of the year.

After school, I jumped around to contracts and short term gigs. Now i have a wife, a house, pets and bills. The game has changed, I needed to learn how to play. That is where GM4JH comes in.

Many of the tools in GM4JH rely on the internet, but only to facilitate you hitting the pavement, getting the face time and making the phone calls. They are too numerous to go through all of them but I will highlight a couple.

I started with revamping my website (hosted by and grabbed my own domain (still in the works). You do not need your own domain, but for $12 or something for the year a new salary will pay that off when I get a job. Check it out:

One interesting thing is I receive an e-mail every day with a new video or audio clip or key website as a bonus which is kinda handy. A great bonus included with the purchase of the book. They have even let me share some with you.

This was in todays e-mail “The 30 Day Job Search”:

This was yesterdays e-mail video of building the ultimate “Guerrilla Resume”:

Lets just say I no longer have a 7 page resume. It was tough letting the long resume die (or at least for now). That resume got me into numerous competitive processes and landed 4 years at NRCAN which were great. I started as an EG-02 and finished up as a PC-02. So a 7 page, in-depth resume works for automated job processes. It does not work for humans.

The books all say the same thing, but I wasn;t buying that a shorter resume would get me more jobs. Here is what taught me that lesson.

A number of months before receiving my letter of termination, I posted volunteer positions for Computers for Communities on the Volunteer Ottawa website (
As founder, president and CEO of Computers for Communities I wanted to find more volunteers, my target was to grow from 30 to 100 volunteers. So the volunteer postings made sense.

I started receiving resumes, cover letters, references and though it would be great until people sent me their resumes that looked like mine. A month later I was also looking for opportunities of my own and started reading GM4JH. I thought my resume was fine despite what all the books said.

I quickly learned why no human would want to

So I asked managers and co-workers to provide feedback. They kept saying, cut it down, focus, narrow in.

But I do offer multiple resumes in different formats. including one you can see in google earth (KML). Eventually it will show all my locations where I have worked.

I also developed a fresh outlook on all these gimiky social networking tools that are out there. I now understand how to make them market me and make them hunt for work while I am out on the street meeting with people.

Marketing yourself effectively using todays social network tools is not playing on facebook for 2 hours, but having an effective and consistent PROFESSIONAL network of people that can help you. Now I actualy use those networking tools for networking. I have met with people I had in my networks who work for the companies I want to work for or learn more about

Check my current networks. Each one fulfils a different need. GM4JH explains more:

When I started this process I googled myself and it took a while to find me. I had bits and pieces all spread out. Now when I google “David Sampson Ottawa” I show up as the second hit for twitter, and fourth hit for Linked in. A few more tweaks and I think I can get my website to the number 1 slot. “David Sampson Canada” I am the first hit with my Linked in Profile, which is linked to my site and my resume. And “David Sampson Resume” I am also the first hit.

Employers and headhunters have lots of tools to use to reasearch you before they ever consider calling you back or responding to an e-mail. Why not control what they learn about you.

Yesterday alone I was talking with 4 people in a position to either offer me a job or provide more networks and contacts. I have a call list of about 50 people right now and it grows by 5-10 people with every new person I meet to talk with.

My last Job hunt included 300 Resumes, 17 cold calls and 10 informational interviews. The result led to finishing off a buddies contract with the government as he went back to school. That experience led to 3 years of term work with Natural Resources Canada.

This time around I trust I will find my next dream job.

So if you want to network this Sunday bring some resumes, print off some business cards and let people know you are looking. Read the above books, and turn despair into a job. The fact you come out an volunteer, work hard and have lots to contribute to C4C makes you marketable for your dream job. If you do it alone, you will last 2 weeks of job hunting. have some help you will last 2 months, build an army and you can last 2 years looking for work, but will find your dream job in far less than that.

See you Sunday

Job hunting 1 of 2


This blog entry is dedicated to all those job hunters I run into at Computers for Communities (C4C).

I founded C4C for many reasons, but one that I was most passionate about was to provide an opportunity for people who lack access to home computer technologies and the Internet to gain those exact skills and access those technologies. The idea is that you volunteer for 24 hours and you get a free computer. Or if you build 6 computers you also earn a computer. The theory is that there is a mis-match between those who have too many computers and those who don’t have any. I happen to be the former and wish to bridge the gap to the latter.

My next blog post will be a mailing list post turned blog post to the volunteers of the Computers for Communities mailing list

I know I have a lot in common with the volunteers that come out to our now weekly workshops ( and recently I have joined the ranks of job hunter. I have already met many volunteers who are looking to spruce up their resume with recent experience and C4C offered that opportunity for many people. About 2 months ago we started a volunteer recruitment campaign to increase our volunteer base from 30 to 100 volunteers in the Ottawa area. We posted opportunities to the Volunteer Ottawa website (). A few weeks after posting the opportunities () I received a letter of termination for my current job. I was lucky to receive 60 days notice which runs out May 14, 2010. Others are not so lucky, but at the end of the day we all face the same goal, find a job.

The flood of requests to volunteer came fast and furious. Next I knew I trying to manage a volunteer recruitment strategy while also hunting for a job. Over loaded and stressed I had to focus and strategize.

This post is for all of us in that same boat as job hunters or even those wanting to make a change in their career but feel stuck or blocked.

Job hunting is not new to me. I am in that 30 something demographic that will see many careers in our life time. Jobs used to mean 3-4 months of employment before pounding the pavement for the next job. Sound familiar as a university grad?

Looking back I have already retired from 10 years as a wilderness instructor and have now been in the geomatics technology field working with geography, web maps, remote sensing, Goggle Earth, Spatial Data Infrastructures and Geographic Information systems along with a whole list of other terms and acronyms any geek could learn to appreciate, for 8 years now. And here I am again, back looking for work. No matter when it life it happens, it sucks. No two ways about it. Its tough, challenging, demoralising and a knock to ones ego.

The last time I was switching careers I found myself underemployed, collecting EI and dreaming of past days in a canoe or leading a hike. I found an opportunity to join a JOB HUNTING CLUB so I tried it out. This was a three week program that was right down my ally. Nothing ground breaking from what I was already doing but certainly a nice boost and kick in the but.

Each day started with showing up to the club at 9:00am and “working” a full day. When they say job hunting is a full time job, we practised that to a ‘T’. We did many different directed and self directed activities. In the morning we focused on in class stuff including examining the hidden job market. We worked and re-worked our resumes and we did mock interviews. This was regular fare.

The really great part that I loved (and thus was good at) was the cold calling in the afternoon. This club location had a room we called the “boiler room” that had a bank of phones and study cubicles like what you see in a library. Each participants prepared a list of numbers the night before and proceeded on the cold calling. Of course I had my list and in a short time saw results. I went to meet people to learn about the geomatics industry, gain more contacts, learn about courses and training and that eventually led to landing a job.

In three weeks I sent out 300 resumes, did dozens of informational interviews (aka meet and greets), had a hand full of job offers and ultimately landed a job working for a not for profit over an hour away from my house on the shore of Big Rideau Lake.

This was about 8 years ago. My situation has changed in life style, work experience and life lessons. However being out of work sucks when ever it happens.

I thought that just like before, working with a group of people to find work might benefit myself and my volunteers at Computers for Communities. So I started writing a small e-mail to the mailing list which quickly grew to an essay. I started off wanting to recommend two books and it lead me to thinking of writing a blog. But before that blog was to happen I thought giving some background might be appropriate. Thus this blog.

So now that you have the backgrounder please stay tuned for my next blog for my attempt of setting up a quasi job hunting club for a non profit organization whose goal is to see people get technology into their home and develop skills. The next part of the equation is to put those skills to work in a job so we can all contribute to our society.

To learn more about or goal at Computers for Communities or to become a volunteer to get those skills for your next job please go to

Now I have run out of time for now and will post the other blog soon. Stay tuned, follow my blog on RSS or check out my twitter. Heck check out all the other networks to follow me on