Co-op Woes

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Well, things have been a little stressful lately, and as such I have two stories to share. They’re completely unrelated except for the fact that they both occurred recently, but that’s okay. My blog has always been pretty random.

Anyway, the first event is actually still in the process of occurring, but I think the worst of it is over. As a co-op student, I’m forced to go through the horrible process of job interviews every eight months or so. It’s a painful process sometimes, but on the bright side, I have plenty of experience with interviews now. I no longer get nervous before them, which may be a good or a bad thing – I don’t really know. At any rate, for the first round of interviews, I only applied to five jobs. In hindsight, that was a little dumb, but my rationale was that a) I’m in third year now, so I should have a decent chance against some of the younger students, b) I have more Psych. experience which should help me land a Psych. job, which is what I really wanted, and c) there simply weren’t many jobs that I was really interested in anyway. Due to the whole economic catastrophe, there weren’t many jobs available, so it was somewhat of slim pickings. I had also had a plan in place to talk to a bunch of professors and try to land a job outside the Jobmine system, but as it turns out, the co-op term I was going for is in the spring, and most profs don’t hire research assistants in the spring since there aren’t as many students to run through experiments.

At any rate, once interviews started up, I ended up with two interviews out of the five. That wasn’t great, but it was decent I guess – a 20% response rate is fine. The one job I was only somewhat qualified for – I figured it would likely go to a Computer Science major if there was a good one that had applied – but I thought the interview went pretty well. The other job for the Department of National Defence was one I really wanted, but I completely bombed that interview. Their questions were difficult, to say the least. I went in there prepared to answer questions like, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and got asked, “Based on what you know about our line of research (which was not much, since their description was horribly vague), is there anything you would suggest that might be added or a specific area we could focus on?” Umm. Gulp. Well…let me try and stumble my way through a long, rambling answer and hope that something in it makes sense. At the end of the interview, I left not knowing at all how it went. I knew I did badly, but I was hoping that with questions like that, everyone else would do badly as well. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

Well, the interview process ended and rankings opened. Of the two jobs that I had interviews for, the first one cancelled the position, and the second one didn’t even rank me. That kind of stung a bit, and I was pretty angry, but I had gone into it expecting to go into the second round of interviews. I was hoping to avoid it, but I had planned for that, anyway. So right now, we’re just in between first round and second round, and this morning I went and looked at the job postings that will be opening up tomorrow. Five Psychology jobs. Five. I couldn’t believe it. I looked through some of the other categories that I might be qualified for – Arts & Business and General Arts – and there was very little. All in all, I found two jobs that I was even mildly interested in, and that I qualified for. Two! Needless to say, that put me in a bit of a panic. I had to evaluate what my options were. I could apply to those two jobs and hope for the best – but considering my luck in the previous round, that option wasn’t too enticing. I could send off an email to a couple of my previous employers and see if their positions were still open or not. That was a decent idea, but I had been really hoping to avoid that. Or I could try and find a job outside of Jobmine. Well, I decided I’d send off an email to my previous boss at WatPD and at least see if there was an opening, and then go from there.

I headed off to my afternoon class with a furrowed brow. During the (long) class, my mind kept wandering back to the question, Where am I going to find a co-op job? Or am I? I thought about the consequences of not getting a job this term – it wouldn’t be disastrous, as I only need four out of six co-op terms in total, and I already have three. But obviously co-op gives me a) valuable experience and b) money to pay tuition, so I had better darn well be trying to get a job. I also thought about some sort of volunteer position. They’re pretty easy to find obviously – everyone loves people that work for free! – but looking back to benefit (b), volunteer positions don’t help me pay my tuition. Or rent. I figured if I volunteered somewhere, I’d try to do it back in Brantford so I could live at home and save money on rent and food and such.

Anyway, I’m going into way too much detail on this, but I’m already this far so I might as well continue. On the bus on the way home after class, I started mentally making a list of people that I could talk to. I figured that I knew some people who might know someone who worked in a decent-sized business that might hire an intern or assistant for the summer. I know some people that seem to know everyone, so I started my list, and when I got home I quickly wrote it all down so I could talk to them when I go home this weekend. However, I turned on my computer, and in my inbox was sitting an email from my previous boss saying that there was one opening left, and that if I wanted it I could have it. Phew! What a relief! I was dreading the idea of having to take shots in the dark to find a job on my own. So…while I haven’t yet replied to the email from my boss (I figured I’d sleep on it first – not literally of course), I think my plan at this point is to go back to my last co-op job. It’s a decent job, although not exactly where I want to go since it’s not related to psychology, but it also pays well. That’s a big plus. I’d rather have a decent job that pays well than hunting around for a job that would likely end up being a crappy one for crappy pay (can anyone say filing?). Or maybe not one at all. That would be bad. I think I’ll take the security and good pay, please.

At any rate, that was far too long for one story. My second story will be shorter, I promise. It’s not really a story at all, actually, but it happened recently. In my continuing endeavour to become cultured and refined (and catch up on all the movies I heard about when I was younger but never actually saw), I watched the movie “A Beautiful Mind” the other day. I have to say, it’s a great movie. Amazing, actually. I highly recommend it. I don’t really want to give anything away for those who might not have seen it, but it’s about the story of John Nash, a guy who came up with a revolutionary theory that completely changed economic theory. It’s not a movie about economics at all, though – it’s more about psychology than anything, really. But I found it fascinating, and highly engaging. The end almost brought me to tears, and I’m not one who generally gets emotional when watching movies. It’s about a guy who comes into some serious hard times, and about his wife who sticks with him and stays by his side through it all. It’s a great movie. Buy it, rent it, borrow it, steal it – just get your hands on a copy of it and watch it. I think you’ll be pleased you did.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say. I told you the second thing would be shorter. But yeah, so now that my co-op job is most likely found, my next concern is to find a place to stay. Although I’d be in Waterloo, I want to find a place that’s either a bit cheaper or a bit closer to the university, or both. I like the place I’m in now, but if I can find better than I’ll go there instead. So hooray. One hurdle is (in all likelihood) crossed – finding a job – and now I can get on to the next sometimes-painful hurdle – finding a place to live. After that, it’s just smooth sailing. Oh wait, then come exams. So never mind. Looks like my university career is nothing but hurdles. Bah.

4 responses to “Co-op Woes”


Good looking, hardworking, sense of humor and cries at movies. There is a lucky girl out there somewhere for you my friend.

Me and my wife went and saw Slumdog Millionaire last week and she cried.

That would actually be an interesting poll, what movie made you cry?

I had one interview in my whole life. It was for a job that paid about $5.00 an hour. I must have really been something ’cause I got the job. I think the interview went something like this, Boss: Do you have any outstanding warrants? Me: No Boss: When can you start?

P.S. I’ve seen some of your latest stuff over on D.C.. Good stuff.

Peace out, feeno


Ah, lovely job interviews. Aren’t they fun? Let us know if you got the job. Of course, I think I’ll see you Saturday anyway…

A Beautiful Mind is a brilliant movie. Yes, everyone should watch it.

Perhaps you could study the psychology of “Signs”. It’s kind of Alfred Hitchcockish with a side of “what the heck?” At least that was my interpretation.



@feeno: Teary-eyed, I said! Teary-eyed! Haha I have to keep some sense of my masculinity here…

Heh sounds like a great interview! Mind you, if all they’re looking for is that you’re not a criminal….hmm, maybe the job wasn’t so great? I’ve had sort of a similar interview – it was longer than that, but at the end of it he was like, “Well, sounds good, you’re hired!” I was pretty shocked, since that was my first job. I later realized that he hired pretty much anyone…but oh well 🙂

@Corinne: Well, yep I got the job. My boss had emailed me back and said she’d love to have me back, and so when I woke up the next morning I figured, what the heck, why not? So I emailed her back and agreed. So I’m working in Waterloo for another co-op term! I like not having to move around…

Hmm, I haven’t seen Signs. I’ll have to put it on my list of movies to watch. Then I’ll analyze it for you 😀