Monday, 9 June 2008

When it rains, it pours

Two weeks ago I had one job. Now, I have 3 or 4... it's complicated.

Almost two weeks ago I started browsing the job ads to see if I could find another job to compliment my technical editing work. I saw two compelling ads, one which required an Email response and the other wanted applicants to show up in person. That morning I Emailed my resume to the company who performs the station duties at the Amsterdam Cruise Terminal. An hour later I had an interview arranged for the following week. Then I responded in person to Greendayz Cafe and was hired on the spot.

I completed an orientation shift at Greendayz and got along well with the manager. It's a new business (1 month old) that offers hot and cold blended coffee drinks in many different flavours. As the only Starbucks in Amsterdam are at the airport, we are one of the only cafes in Amsterdam that offer these types of drinks. I know that sounds weird as you can buy them on almost every street corner in Vancouver, but here it hasn't quite caught on yet.

The next week I went to my interview with InterCruises and was also hired on the spot. I was hired to do passenger check-in, which is very similar to the check-in agents at the airport. There are 24 of us at terminals beyond the security check at the terminal. We will process 2,000 passengers by checking their documentation and assigning them their cabins. I went to an orientation meeting to learn the computer system, learn about checking documentation and received my security clearances.

I was hired to work almost part-time at the cafe, I already work part-time editing and the cruise ships arrive only 8 more times over the next 3 months. So I had managed to neatly pack 3 jobs into the space of 1 full-time job.

The previous week I had let Stefan know that I had taken on a part-time job, but I assured him that he was my #1 priority and I would leave those jobs if the work from him increased. At the end of last week I received an Email from him saying that he had some ideas of ways to give me more work, different work. Like clockwork, the same day I received an Email from my manager at Greendayz saying the owners were going to cut back the hours until they promoted the cafe more. That meant I went from 15-20 hrs/week to 6-8. Perfect timing.

Today I spoke with Stefan about the scope of work he had in mind for me. He wants me to start doing a few different functions including some more in-house writing. So in addition to my current work I would standardize the job postings, making one copy to post on our website without specific information about the employer. Then another version with more details and contact info for the candidates who have passed our intense screening process. The other task would be to monitor the career pages of key companies we deal with. I would cross-reference the information with the jobs in our database to see if anything new has been posted. Also to inform Stefan of jobs we still have in our database but are no longer being offered by the companies. This should increase my workload with Stefan to 30+ hours a week. So it all worked out perfectly between the 3 jobs, even with this little shuffle.

This past weekend Nina came to visit. We went to see the World Press Photo exhibit in the Oude Kerk in the Red Light District. This is the oldest church in the city and was consecrated in 1306. I had been meaning to see it and this was a great excuse. The World Press Photo is a Dutch organization that supports professional press photography with photography exhibits that travel the world. It was very interesting, but at the same time somewhat disturbing. Probably around half the pictures were related to war or violence and some were very graphic. Others captured natural beauty and were a pleasure to see. Overall, it was an interesting experience.

Saturday night Nina and I went into Central Amsterdam for dinner. I found a street that runs for 2 blocks and is almost door-to-door restaurants on both sides. We settled on an Italian restaurant that was very good. The wine, my caprese salad and veal osso bucco hit the spot perfectly. Nina ordered sole and they delivered a whole fish to her, which was a little more than she could finish. So I enjoyed the rest of it. It was delicate but flavourful with a white wine and lemon sauce. Overall we were impressed and would definitely return.

I have still been doing a lot of biking and have seen Amsterdam's wildlife. I saw something very peculiar the other day and until tonight I thought it was a totally isolated thing. I was riding my bike through the Jordaan district. I was riding alone Prinsengracht (one of the canals) and turned off into a small residential lane. Along the opposite side of the single lane road were a row of parked cars. On top of the red car stood a big blue heron, in all his glory. He was just standing on the roof. I stopped my bike and stared at him. He stared back. I went parallel to the car, maybe 4 or 5 metres away and he didn't seem to mind. It was fascinating to see him at eye level and so close.

Then tonight I was riding in a different part of town, also along a canal. Although this one was in more of a park-like setting. There were houses on one side of the street and a goose standing on the roof of a red car! Very strange. Do birds have a thing for the colour red?

There are a lot of rabbits in Amsterdam. A LOT! Anywhere there is greenery or wild grass, you will see families of rabbits. I rode to the industrial part of Amsterdam last night. There were lots of wild fields and dozens of rabbits. But strangely, I also saw a few pairs of hares. Nina had been explaining the difference to me a week or two ago and now I can clearly see it. Hares are much bigger, like small dogs and far more slender. I had never seen one before.

Well, speaking of animals, Andrew will be arriving late on Tuesday night and we will spend the day together on Wednesday which I am looking forward to. More next week...