30 January 2006

This is freakin' fantastic!

I love Canada. I love living in a country where comedians like Rick Mercer and Mary Walsh have access to interview the Prime Minister and other key politicians.

I'm told that we're very unique in that our sense of humour and sarcasm filters into all aspects of our lives.

Which is probably why two disk jockeys thought it would be really funny to play a prank on the French President Jacques Chirac.

Read about it:

27 January 2006

Looking for a reason not to shop at The Bay?

Other than the mostly over-priced clothing, cosmetics, toys and... pretty much everything they sell?

While Zellers and Home Outfitters (also owned by the Hudson's Bay Company - HBC) aren't far behind in terms of service, quality and price, they were never much different than other Canadian retailers.

Until now. The Bay and other HBC companies aren't Canadian anymore. If you haven't already heard, an American bought and is already messing with Canada's first major company and oldest retailer. And I can't even blame Stephen Harper.

Read more:

21 January 2006

"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming"

I've been telling my sister to hang on in a shitty job for months now. A stressful, emotionally exhausting call centre role with zero job satsifaction. But I knew she needed to build experience and she was unwilling to participate in any actual career planning beyond, "I'll figure out what I want to do once I'm working."

Now she's finally ready to figure out exactly what type of occupation she'd like, do well and survive off of. And I've got the formula. I realize this knowledge is hard-wired into many of us, but for those of you who've never met a career counsellor and didn't already know, here's the equation:

A - aptitude over I - interests = O - options. Alternatively, A and I can be plotted on on a grid to reveal O as the area where they overlap/intersect.

1.) Many career questionnaires apply this formula. Pick one. Once you've obtained at least 3 truly viable options, plug each possible career into your labour market database of choice. Average wages will be listed for each career area. Choose the occupation with the highest average wage (this will apply to 90% of a random sample of North Americans with the exception of a few overly idealistic, emotionally stunted and/or genuinely stupid people).

2.) Develop a list of keywords related to this occupation. Search job listing sites accordingly. Apply for the postings where the wage is high enough and the skills and requirements best fit your personal profile including education, training, willingness to relocate, desire for advancement, etc.

3.) With a remotely reasonable resume, X - the amount of time it takes to find employment will be directly proportionate to Y - that person's open-mindedness and diligence.

Sample Assessments/Questionnaires:

Labour Market Info:

11 January 2006

Fat bear in a rubber coat...

Today I bought my first vending machine toy in - I don't know how many years - and it felt great. For the bargain price of a Toonie, I got a plastic Winnie the Pooh in a canary costume. He was pretty cute, stood about an inch and a half tall, so I popped another coin in for bear #2. This time he was wearing a pink bunny suit reminiscent of a Christmas Story.

Dozens of Poohs wearing a variety of removable, stretchy, anime-inspired costumes are still sitting in that machine in the Bay Centre food court. I might just go back tomorrow.

I get addicted to the stupidest things. Fortunately this time it's a cheap trinket. If I cross my fingers, maybe Pooh will cure my more costly habit of buying funky new body jewellery. Maybe.

08 January 2006

Is BC really changing?

This evening I emptied my wallet to engage in the routine destruction of my latest receipt collection. Paranoid that some person may perpetrate identity theft with my credit card, I black out the numbers then tear up the receipts. I've been doing it for years.

What was new tonight was that a London Drugs receipt had a header that read, "Looking for work? www.londondrugs.com".

It dawned on me that I can't remember a time when I saw so many help wanted signs, ads... pleas really. Having spent several recent years working at an employment centre, and living as a very disgruntled student before that, I was paying attention. Not that I found a job advertised by a cheesy sentance in a store window appealing, but I still made involuntary mental notes.

Granted, no part-time, entry-level, retail, service or admin job is going to bring financial or personal salvation to any one person - let alone a family. But it seems like an improvement. A small one, but something in the right direction.

So I'm wondering, has there really been a ripple of improvement in our economy and I'll wake up one day able to afford a home and a summer holiday? Or will it be that I've just gotten through the unexpected angst of my twenties and I managed to not screw up too badly?

I don't think any one person or event could convince me either way, so it's pointless to wonder, but that's what I do. I dwell.

01 January 2006

Something new to point and laugh at

Are you one of the many, many, many people who finds Chuck Norris to be obnoxiously cheesy, fake and boring?

If you're also a fan of the ridiculous, you'll like this site: