9 Ideas for Landing your First “Proper” Job

Got an email from my sister-in-law this morning:

“So Andrew graduated from university this spring, a B.Sc. in chemistry.  He has a summer job for now. Do you have any advice or suggestions for Andrew on how he should go about the process of job hunting for a chemistry job?”


(1) Don’t be desperate. For a job in chemistry. For a job. For anything. Desperate people make bad decisions. Desperate people aren’t thinking, they’re just reacting. Desperate people are trying to satisfy someone else’s expectations. Desperate people only think as far as scoring the next goal, then find they’ve scored on their own goalie.

(2) Don’t be desperate, but do be eager. To make a positive difference in the lives of the people right around you. The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation (Thoreau). If you can provide a comforting hand on the shoulder of those desperates around you, if you can keep your head while all those around you are losing theirs (Kipling) . . . your career will take off. Hang on for the ride. Continue reading

To live or die? Hmmmm.

Do you want to live or die?

Think carefully before you answer.

Don’t be silly. Of course I want to live.


Do you want to live in the real world? Or the one you think is real?

The two are rarely the same. (Though there might be a good measure of commonality.)

I just got off the phone with a recruiter. He wanted me to work full-time for a client of his, who was a long drive away. (I didn’t. I might if I was desperate, but I’m not.) Continue reading

My forecast for your life: Bad stuff. Do you want the details?

I have a brother who has a thankless job.

He’s a severe weather warning meteorologist, covering southern Ontario in Canada.

Whenever there is severe weather, be it expected or unexpected, I can find him in the news. He’ll get interviewed and quoted by journalists (most recently, at time of writing, here).

Tornadoes, lightning strikes, blizzards, hurricanes . . . . . for all of them, he’s the face of Environment Canada’s weather forecasting service.

Get the forecast right, and he doesn’t get thanked, he’s just doing his job. Get it wrong . . . . . and he gets it in the neck.

What peeves me about this most recent blizzard event in New England is not that the forecasters got it wrong. They didn’t. They predicted a blizzard, and there was one. It just wasn’t as severe (in New York City, at least) as their mathematical models and scientific judgement predicted.

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It may be another year before we remember, but . . . . . Thanks.

It seems fitting today to shout out to all the good men out there who are determined, dedicated fathers.

You get taken for granted day after day.

You have loved and forgiven, again and again. And again.

You’ve been tested to your limits by mood-swinging (or maybe just swinging) partners. And sometimes beyond.

When they abandoned you, you kept the channels open.

No deadbeat dad, you. You paid out, and still are.

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Fear! The city is rife with it!

Fear is really just a chronic disease that we’re all afflicted with.

Potentially, but not necessarily, fatal. No cure, but plenty of treatment for the symptoms. You can develop terrific coping strategies, if you listen to the right specialists and advisors.


(Hint: That might mean ditching your current specialists in favour of new ones.)

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When Time Stands Still

Driving into the office most mornings lately, I’ve had Diana Krall’s The Girl in the Other Room on the CD player, playing over and over.

The CD was a birthday gift from my wife, not long after we’d heard her perform one Saturday night on Michael Parkinson. (Diana Krall perform, that is. Not my wife.)

I cannot figure out what draws me to it. I can’t quit playing it.

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There’s No Such Thing as a SMALL Mercy

I wonder to what extent Yahweh (or the Great Divine Being, or Whatever Else You Like To Call Him) redistributes illnesses amongst his loyal subjects according to their needs?

I suffer from (!!!!) pretty good general health. I get maybe one or two cold/flu bugs a year, lasting maybe 3 days each. And then I’m right as rain.

My wife and my kids, on the other hand, seem to get far more than their fair share, comparatively speaking.

But this year? Continue reading