Download “Second-Hand Dreams”, a short story.
Browsing: Working in Canada (and elsewhere…)
Last September’s tornado acted as a premonitory allegory of fall.
Maybe it’s not too late to pick up another harmless activity—knitting? Rock climbing? Blogg—oh, never mind.
Here I am, very candidly asking for your help. The stats tell me this blog receives about 1,000 visits a day. Maybe you work next door to a publisher, maybe you’ve heard of a publisher accepting non-solicited manuscripts, maybe you know an agent.
I know that despite hard work, chances of socially acceptable success are slim.
If there’s one lesson I learned over the past few years, it’s that when people offer help, you just take it.
It’s only now, as I’m querying publishers, that I realize I may have missed a crucial step in the process.
Do you know that moment when you put your iPod on shuffle mode and start questioning your taste in music? Editing your own prose feels like that.
Who am I to grow impatient with a publisher? Oh yeah, I know why. Because of Quiznos.
The different jobs I had taught me practical skills but also provided numerous clues to decipher Canadian culture.
“Oh, an unsolicited query letter! Awesome, I needed something to clean up the coffee I’ve just spilled.”
This summer, I’m celebrating the six-year anniversary of my company, Maple World Translation. I’m still a full-time freelancer and despite the ups and downs, I love my status.
I’m familiar with the resume-writing exercise. I’ve seen it all, from professional list of accomplishments on glossy paper to handwritten resumes (!).
For years, I advised immigrants who couldn’t find a job right away to give staffing agencies a call, at least to gain work experience in Canada. Today, I’m not sure I would give such advice.
I can’t stress it enough—having people willing to act as a reference and vouch for your work skills and personal qualities is often the best job-search weapon you can have.
You’ve just received your work permit or you are about to land in Canada with the permanent residence status? Congratulations! After settling down and going through the practical steps of moving to a new country, you will probably start looking for a job.
The “mute” button was our most handy tool. Especially when we needed to take a break to laugh at a particularly weird customer, or share the details of a funny call with a co-worker. Some couples in the middle of a divorce were calling us to argue about points splitting on a joint account. Some folks yelled at us because their Petro-Canada credit card application had been denied. Some callers had an accent so thick we couldn’t understand a word of what they were saying.
The first lead came early December. MaxSys, an Ottawa-based staffing agency, was hiring call centre agents for a short-term contract. The “language skills” section of my resume had caught the eye of the recruiter, who was desperate for francophones.
Employees will never embrace budget cuts but they can understand them, and most would go quietly and with some dignity.
But they aren’t given the chance, and the degrading treatment they are subjected to is certainly the ugliest side of the North American work environment.
In “Working in Canada: the Good”, I highlighted a few perks of the North American workplace. But the Canadian way of life also has a number of downsides, which you should be aware of as an employee.
Even though I chose to return to freelancing, I did enjoy being an employee in Canada. I got to know the work culture, and workplaces have a number of positive sides I enjoyed.
The transition from employee to freelancer reminded me that, when it comes to getting your first job in Canada, the challenge never ends. I’m now on “contract-hunting mode” and despite my relevant Canadian experience, it feels like starting from scratch again.
My work experience is France is fairly limited since I left when I was 18. I basically embraced the Canadian work culture—I didn’t really have a choice anyway. It’s only when I talk with my family or friends back home that I notice the many little differences that exist between the two cultures.