THE WOW FACTOR!
[This post is a re-post of one we did in 2005. It was drawn from interviews with a number of women who’d immigrated to Canada at that time.]
Making a success of your move to B.C., I believe in part, is due to the WOW factor. I am talking of course about the Well Organized Women! Let me share some of the WOW’s tips from the women themselves.
So what makes a WOW? They all do or have the following in common.
THEY DO RESEARCH TRIPS
The WOW gets herself/partner/family involved in a research trip. They are internet savvy, have access to a lot of information before they come over, make appointments and set up meetings and accommodation in advance.
One WOW brought her whole family over whilst she went for a couple of interviews, and looked at areas, housing and schools. She went back two weeks later with a job offer. Her husband had also found himself a job during that two weeks as well.
THEY ARE WELL ORGANISED
All the WOW’s I have met have one or several of the following:
- Alphabetical file of contacts
- Maps and regional information
- Spreadsheets or budgets (which they stick to)
- Daytimers/filofaxes/Blackberry or iPhone with all their useful contacts on it.
- Mobile (cell) phones – usually tri-band to make calls in both countries.
They are women who are used to organizing their careers, homes families and juggling several different aspects of their lives.
One WOW told me “By the time I got to Vancouver, I felt I could organize a small country”
THEY VISIT AT DIFFERENT TIMES OF THE YEAR
One WOW came over in January to see what the winter was really like. She said “If we could live here in the depths of winter, we will settle here, I know”
THEY ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS
- What is the neighbourhood like?
- How to I get my child into school?
- How far is the commute to work?
- Where is the nearest rec centre/swimming pool/hockey rink/dance class?
THEY KEEP AN OPEN MIND
WOW’s visit different areas and look at how they will live there. After looking at a lot of different areas one WOW found an area that reflected her lifestyle. An area close to nature trails, national parks, hiking, kayaking and skiing. Then she went looking for an affordable house in her chosen area.
One WOW loves the urban downtown life and picked an apartment that enables her and her partner to walk to everything on offer, visit cinemas, museums and shops and be in the thick of things.
THEY ARE FLEXIBLE ABOUT THINGS (LOTS OF THINGS)
When she was offered a new job, one WOW told me “My company gave me a cheque for relocation expenses and said ‘see you in Vancouver on the 19th’ – now that is not much time to get from one end of Canada to the other, find a place to live and start a new job!”
When one WOW found out that she and her partner could not afford a town house in any of the areas she had chosen, she went looking for an apartment in an area that was up and coming, which would be easy to rent out at a later date. She told me, “It is a nice place to live and a great area and when we are ready to move on, we will have this as an investment for our future.”
THEY FIT INTO THE LIFESTYLE AND NETWORK
WOW’s get involved with their local communities when they get here. They join the PAC (equivalent of the PTA) at the school. They join in clubs and weekend activities to meet like minded people. They get out a meet people socially though work and other events and join in the Canadian networks. One WOW was even offered a job from another woman she met in the playground during her first week. Networking works!
THEY ARE PROACTIVE – EXTREMELY PROACTIVE IN SOME CASES
One amazing WOW sent out 400 résumés before she came to Vancouver and had arranged 4 interviews before she got here. She was successful in one interview and worked at her job for 6 months. During that time, she made many more contacts and found a higher paying job with a promotion which was much closer to her ideal job.
Another WOW, landed in Vancouver on the Sunday and attended job interviews on the Tuesday and Thursday. She was offered one job and started the following Monday.
I find meeting and working with WOW’s very inspirational. I don’t want to suggest that men can’t be WOW’s too – though WOM’s hasn’t got quite the same ring!
I hope you too find these WOW’s inspiring. It shows what can be done with the right attitude.