It Takes a Village to Raise Employment

My clients know me: I listen to all of them and work my best to help them. All of them have moved from their countries to Canada pursuing a dream: to have a better life for themselves but most of all, for their children. And one of their priorities to make this happen is to find a job: stable, full-time, well-paid and that utilizes their pre-landing skills and experience…

But this is not the case: most clients end up with what is known as “survival jobs”: temporary, part-time or shift-jobs where they are not only underpaid and with no benefits, but also fail to use my client’s experience and skills.

They also know what I stand for: during my workshops, I make my “bias” very clear: I think the oil, gas and carbon industries need to invest in a quick shift into renewables (which probably will generate more direct and indirect jobs, as training and certifications will be needed), and I also think that governments at all levels need to be seriously planning and implementing EDAPs: Energy descent Action Plans.

The times we are facing are difficult, to say the least, and everybody, including “fossil fuel” companies know this (read this report from Shell to get an idea).

Individuals should also be thinking in reducing their consumption and debt in general, but more when it is related to energy and raw materials: every thing we buy or use has been manufactured thanks to the exploitation of raw materials and/or the use of energy coming from sources that are not only not renewable, they are damaging the environment in such a way that (not stopping their use on time) will cause the mass extinction of many species and the collapse of our civilization.

That is why reports such as this reassure what I already know: A Closer, Deflating Look at BC’s Natural Gas Jobs Claim…I have been telling my clients that the claim of the 100,000 jobs from LNG or the bigger claim on 1,000,000 new jobs is just political, misleading, cheap propaganda.

While I continuously hear from clients that employers are increasingly offering them to “volunteer” for weeks or even months (taking advantage of their despair and the fact that they don’t have Canadian experience and references), or paying them under the table, paying $11 for engineering jobs, asking them to work extra time without any benefit, changing or increasing their shifts or caseload without consultation or pay, etc. I have only common sense advice to offer:

  • When reading or watching news, use critical thinking: read between the lines, read from alternative sources 9not only mainstream news media), talk to people in the industry, follow real trends, connect the dots. Do not accept digested “news”
  • Do not accept “volunteering” for for-profit businesses and companies. If you do want to volunteer, make sure you understand and agree with the guidelines, time-frame and conditions. You should also receive something in exchange: training, references, the opportunity to network, the opportunity to be considered first if an opening for paid jobs appear, etc
  • Be intentional: Volunteer to upgrade your skills, increase your network and learn about the Canadian labour market. And allow for time off to continue your training and job search
  • Be intentional and proactive in your job search: if you only apply occasionally and online, you may not get enough interviews. Attend industry-related events, conferences and presentations. Take related and strategically chosen training for your profession (don’t know what? Ask me!)
  • Build your references in Canada: there is no magic bullet to accomplish this: meet your neighbours, talk to people, volunteer, work in a part-time job, take related training, all this builds relationships
  • Work on your resume and cover letter: make them stand out, highlight what you have special
  • Explore the labour market by meeting with people already working in the industry: this will tell you where the market may be heading and whether is safer for you to explore career changes…


Other suggestions, not directly related to job search and career planning but that make you and your family more resilient in the times to come:

  • Do not commit to big expenses until you have more cash available. No job is “safe” these days: do not buy big items such as houses, cars, furniture, etc
  • Pay any debt you have
  • Do not make long term investments: keep some cash readily available for rainy days
  • Simplify your life as much as you can
  • Start growing your own food. If you don’t have a patio, deck or balcony, join a community garden. If none in your area; meet with friends and approach the Food Action Coalition, we can help you start one!
  • If you don’t already know, learn to ride a bike. Buying a bike for each member of your family is the best investment you can make these days.
  • Research about practices that make your life more enjoyable, resilient and self-reliant, such as Permaculture (I also offer short introductions to Permaculture for groups or minimum 12 people and organizations. Contact me here)
  • Take an Emergency Preparedness workshop (organize one and contact me, I am a specialist in this! Check out my blog or contact me for more details)
  • Review your priorities in life and what your spiritual side is asking you and follow your heart. Life is not an accumulation of stuff, nor a 7/24 work towards competing goals. Life is for living.

Most immigrants are very resilient and knowledgeable about how to “do without” because we all come from places where things were not so good as they are here…keep those skills and transfer them to your children: they will need them

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