The problems with finding a new job were much bigger than I thought. I was over 60, and that was a barrier. Who hires someone who, from day one, is thinking about retirement? It wasn’t my case, but that was the point. And you could easily guess my age when it was written in my RESUME that I graduated from university in 1980. I took this information out, but too late, my RESUME was already posted on all job-seeking sites.
Then, the first interview question would have been, “Why did you leave your previous job?”
Whatever I said didn’t sound right; who is crazy about leaving a job when they are only a few years away from retirement?
And there was something else. I was unemployed. At all the other interview jobs so far, I was still working, and I said that I was interested in their projects, it’s convenient to reach them from home, and things like that. I didn’t have that leverage either.
Three months passed, and nothing came of it, not even an interview. I had to change something. I read all kinds of articles, and it seems the solution was to try working as a consultant. With the experience I had, there were quite a few small and medium-sized companies that needed help quickly to solve a problem. With a contract of a few months, an expert could fix the problem, then goodbye.
So, I incorporated a company, posted my RESUME on Indeed (a job search site), and sent it to a few placement agencies.
Consultants are paid 30-40 percent more than full-time employees, and you can deduct expenses from your taxes. Dream big until life kicks you in the but.
Those agencies interviewed me immediately, but there was another problem: I had no experience as a consultant. That pissed me off. Once in front of the computer, what matters is what you know, not what is written on a piece of paper.
Anyway, a month after I had my company, I went to an interview where I signed a 3-month contract with the possibility of extension. The pay was very low, about a third of what I got at my last full-time job, but hey, it was my first consultant job, I had to start all over again.
The job was at Sunnybrook Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in Canada. A team of kidney researchers had an IT team of 4 people (one of whom was the boss and didn’t do technical work). I was hired to finish a project where the developer left just before the implementation.
The project was to gather data from other hospitals and medical clinics that provided information on patients with kidney problems. The database at Sunnybrook was SQL Server, so no problem. But all the data at data providers was coming from another kind of database engine, MySQL, which I had never worked with. MySQL is free, it made sense, I know that hospitals and medical clinics don’t have money. MySQL is not that powerful, but it is enough to store an acceptable volume of data; at least that was the case back then.
Anyway, all I needed to know about MySQL was to connect and extract the data from there. It was 2015, and everything you needed to know was on the Internet. It only took me 2-3 days to understand enough about MySQL to understand what the developer before me did and continue to finish the project. I modified the program a little (very well done, by the way), because the programmer who left forgot some test values, which I replaced with variables to specify the source where the data comes from.
About a month after I signed up, data started coming in on external USB sticks. In two weeks, I imported everything, and that project was finished, I waited for the next assignment. The boss invited me to the hospital cafeteria to celebrate the successful completion of the data transfer.
There I found out that he ended my contract, saying he thanked me but had nothing more to give me work. As compensation for the rest of the contract, he paid for my coffee.
I think everything was planned from the beginning, hand in hand with the placement agency. He wouldn’t have found anyone for the money they offered, such a low pay for a 6-week contract.
So the man made me understand that I had to take my bag and go home. There was nothing in the contract for such a situation, so I did the following: I took my bag and went home.
Once bad times started, the problems keep coming.
Where it all started: