2007 started off for me in Bellevue, where Sara and I enjoyed a rosing blow-out at our friend Sandy’s. Explosions of party-poppers and the drunk-dialing of loved ones abounded as the last incandescent new year ball dropped. I had no idea that I had passed all my courses at BCIT and Sara was wondering why I was waxing poetic because for her, the year had started back in September. I was still working my way through a GIS diploma, and even though I had a practicum all set and ready, the jury was still out as to whether I would have a job at the end of it all. The nuts and bolts section of the course had finished, so we were now studying more specific subjects like photogrammetry and object-oriented programming, and more holistic areas like presentations and proposal writing. No sooner did my final exams end did I move on to my practicum at Environmental Criminal Research Incorporated. I spent two months working out of a loft office on beautiful Granville island. Although it was unpaid, it was my first job where I was NOT an entry-level mook interchangeable with thousands of other random hipsters in the city. It was almost like I was being paid to think. I liked it.
I completed all of my development targets and pretty soon ECRI had a serial criminal detector that would automatically load up map files. I also gained the distinction of having worked on software that had military applications, which was unfortunate because I had no desire to use it to pick up chicks. When the District of Maple Ridge called me back saying I had won a 6-month contract with them, high fives were had by all. Not only was I now getting paid to think, but they also provided me with Bose noise-cancelling headphones! Can you believe that? Of course, their purpose was to drown out the rack of servers set up behind me, but Bose Headphones! The District has become my favorite place to work so far. I got to make maps, scripts and data models for departments all over the city. When I got out of school, I was afraid of getting into a specialized discipline and having to perform the same tasks over and over again. Luckily for me, GIS is a generalist’s discipline, and will remain so as long as the world keeps changing and evolving.
I could’ve spent the next 20 years working at DMR, but alas for now it is not the case. Last Friday my contract ended and once again I’m out there looking for a patron to fund my calling. It’s odd though, after 4 contracts with some very diverse companies, unemployment feels like coming home after a long vacation. Work has piled up on my desk and I’m ready to approach it with a new resolve. I don’t have any more doubts about if I’ll find work, it’s more a question of where and when. All told, this year is ending on an up note. I’ve got a host of new skills and I am better able to work on projects on my own. My family is also doing well across the board. My sister is moving in with her boyfriend in Dawson Creek, and is looking forward to a new job there. My brother Jon still has plenty of video work, his wife Amber is still making the world’s printers run, and Hannah, my niece is figuring out preschool. Sara’s sister Megan is on a part-time contract teaching kindergarten, and her boyfriend Ryan is starting a new program at BCIT. Jen is finishing her fourth year at UCFV, and her boyfriend which we call “Other Ryan” is an assistant manager at Milestones. Sara, my Fiancee, is balancing her grade 7’s at Clayburn Middle with our upcoming wedding in March, but thankfully I’m now at home with her to help. As for myself, we’ll just have to see. Happy New Year, and God bless.