Archive | Careers

10 Things You Shouldn’t Share On The Job

Posted on 27 October 2016 by admin


Canada’s largest career site for job seekers and a leader in HR technology for employers.

Here are 10 things you shouldn’t share on the job:

Your political views. OK, maybe your politics are a big part of who you are, in which case you go about knowing that trumpeting your opinions might affect your personal and professional relationships and are OK with that because being pro life/pro choice/anti-gun/libertarian is more important. But if this isn’t you, avoid political discussions with your colleagues and superiors. You don’t know the political opinions of the people who can affect your career and discussion can lead to all kinds of problems.

What you think of them (if it isn’t positive). If you don’t like someone, there is no need for them to know that. Keep it to yourself. This means being nice and polite to that person and giving no indication of your dislike.

That you hate your job/boss/office/coworker. Similarly, there’s no reason for anyone to know that you can’t stand your boss or the guy who sits next to you. If you really have an issue, such as harassment, go to HR or find a new job. Don’t talk about it. Even people who seem sympathetic to your position can turn around and stab you in the back.

The reason you can’t get the thing done that needs to be done. Everyone hates excuses. If you want to get ahead professionally you will take care of your responsibilities, deliver what you promise and do what you are asked. Nobody needs to know that you didn’t sleep well or have the sniffles or had a fight with your partner. Only in very rare circumstances — a serious illness, death, or accident, should you be excused from your duties. Not because your printer wasn’t working.

The condition of your digestive tract/rash/foot fungus. If you are going through a serious illness that will affect your attendance, job performance, and/or morale, by all means let your colleagues know what is going on. But don’t give a daily play by play of your aches and pains or digestive processes. You never know who you might make uncomfortable.

How much you make. While some companies have transparent salary policies, be aware that knowing what other people make can sometimes lead to bad feelings and jealousies. If you think it will bother you to compare yourself with others (and vice verse), resist the urge to ask and to tell.

Why you need a raise. If you’re asking for a raise, keep the request about why you deserve it and not about why you need it. Nobody cares that you took out a second mortgage. You’re not a charity case. Prove that you deserve it by listing your accomplishments and showing your value.

That you have a sexual attraction to inflatable animals, or cars or whatever. You know what I mean. Even if your sex life is fairly vanilla, keep the details to yourself. While you might be a sharer, not everyone wants to be shared with, and a lot of people can be sensitive, squeamish, or guarded about that sort of thing.

That you’re mad. I know a few people on social media who are always outraged about stuff — from big hot button issues, like large game hunting, to small things like random sexist comments from anonymous strangers on small blogs nobody reads. It is super off-putting to be up in arms and angry all the time. It also makes people afraid to talk to you.

That you’re job hunting. If you’ve decided it’s time to shove off, don’t let your colleagues or boss know. Your boss will figure it’s time to start looking for your replacement — which might mean it’s also time to hurry you out the door — and your colleagues might tell the boss. Keep your job search on the down low or you could wind up jobless before you’re ready.

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5 Reasons Employers Hate Your Resume Before They Even Read It

Posted on 05 October 2016 by admin

Peter Harris

Is your resume failing to get the response you’re looking for from potential employers? Maybe they’re not even reading it.

There are some common resume blunders that can turn employers off even before they get to the sections describing your skills and experience.

These details can make or break your chances of landing an interview just as much as your credentials — because it doesn’t really matter what your credentials are if the employer already dislikes you before even reading them.

Here are five reasons employers might reject your resume without even reading it:

Your file name

I don’t mean the title at the top of your resume — although that does matter, and I’ll get to that — but the actual file name of your document. Many people simply call their resume resume.doc or resume.pdf. If an employer is receiving hundreds of applications for a position and saves the top candidates on their computer or in a shared folder — how are they supposed to keep track of all the

I’ve written about this before because it perfectly illustrates the problem with filenames. I once received an application for an editorial assistant with a resume called something like Paul_WriterJobsResume-2012_updated.doc. Think about that. Before I even open the document, I get the impression that Paul applies for various kinds of positions and this is his ‘writer jobs’ resume, and that he may or may not have updated it since 2012.

Do hiring managers a favour. Save your resume as your name and the name of the job you’re applying for. Paul for example should have saved his resume as PaulSmith_Editorial-Assistant.doc. Easy fix. Much better first impression.

Your resume title

This issue is equally easy to fix. Your job title at the top of your resume should be the same as the title of the job you are applying for. Make the change every time.

If the body of your resume can’t back up that job title, then you shouldn’t be applying for it. If it is a stretch that your past work experience can set you up as a candidate for the role, then do the math yourself. Write the description of skills and accomplishments to demonstrate how they are assets to the job you’re applying for. Employers won’t make that connection for you.

If your resume title doesn’t match the job title you’re applying for it can look like you’re applying for the wrong job — or you’re simply using one generic resume to apply to just any or every job. Don’t do that. Customize your resume for every job application. Start with the title.

Your email address

Sometimes you can tell a lot about a person by their email address. (And if that is the case, it is usually all bad.) For example, if your email address is or, you look out of touch. Nobody should be using a shared or ‘family’ email address — especially not to be applying for jobs.

If your email address is at the domain of your current employer, then it appears as though you’re applying for jobs on your boss’s time. That’s not a good impression to make with your future boss.

We don’t even need to discuss what’s wrong with your or addresses. Email is free. Get an account that is just your name — or as close to your name as possible, and use if for applying to jobs.

If you have a common name and need to add a number to it to secure a distinct address, choose wisely. For example, using could give the impression that you are 60 years old. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you don’t want potential employers judging you by your age before they’ve even had the chance to look at your qualifications.

Physical address

Many employers have a bias for local candidates. If your residential address is in another city or province, they may be less inclined to consider you as a viable candidate. There could be added costs involved in bringing you in for an interview or relocation costs if you’re hired. There could be delays as to your availability if you have to move your family to a new city and set up residence before starting work. It just seems faster and cheaper to hire locally.

I once worked at a downtown office with a VP who wouldn’t even consider candidates from the suburbs. His reasoning was that sure they could commute, but would they want to stay late for a product launch? Would they pull an all-nighter with the rest of the team at crunch time? It wasn’t fair, but suburban candidates just didn’t suit his vision for the cool downtown team he wanted to build.

If you know you’re relocating to the new city for certain, consider getting a phone with the local area code in advance, so that you can use the local number on your resume. It’s not dishonest if it’s your actual phone number, and you won’t be asking the employer for travel/relocation costs.

Another strategy is to use the address and phone number of a local friend on your resume, and have them take messages for you when employers call. This is slightly less honest. However, the key to both of these solutions is making sure you’re available for interviews (or starting work) without added delay. You’re not necessarily trying to ‘trick’ the employer, you just don’t want to get ruled out for perceived inconveniences that won’t actually occur.

Some recruiters recommend remote candidates just list their email address as contact info. This can work, however some hiring managers say that they consider the lack of a physical address to be a red flag.


Since employers receive many more applications for most positions than they can possible consider in depth, let alone hire, their first reading of resumes is generally only between a five and ten second scan to determine which ones to reject outright and which to set aside for further review. (That’s why all the details at the top that I’ve just mentioned are so important.)

Finally, before even getting into the content of your resume, employers can be turned off on that initial scan by the formatting. If it isn’t easy to see at a glance where you have worked and when or what your recent job titles have been, employers may simply move on to the next, more reader-friendly, applicant in the pile.

Make sure your resume is all in the same font. Use short paragraphs and bullet points to make key accomplishments pop. List your work history in reverse chronological order starting with your most recent job. That’s among the very first things employers will be looking for.

Paying close attention to the file format, title, and contact details will go along way towards getting employers interested in reading the more important information about what you can actually do for them.

Peter Harris has served as chief editor @ Workopolis, Yahoo!, Sympatico, MSN & Monster.

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The Most Impressive Questions You Can Ask In A Job Interview

Posted on 09 June 2016 by admin

Jessica Glazer

An interview is a two way street. The company has a void that needs to be filled and the candidate is hoping to land a better career opportunity. In order to stand out the candidate must be asking thought-provoking questions that will not only assist in collecting valuable information but break the ice to distinguish them from all the other applicants.

By having prepared questions you show your interest in the company, the position and how you not only want to excel in the role but improve the company as a whole.

In order to get started there must be some guidelines:

Do not ask yes and no questions these are close ended questions that will not allow for further discussion but rather dead silence, an interview no-no.

Always look at person interviewing you. Do not stare but rather smile, nod, blink as really there is no need to be nervous. Worse comes to worse you don’t get the job. Best case scenario, you do and they offer you what you are seeking.

Now for the questions that will no doubt get you to stand out:

The career seems quite interesting I like that it incorporates a, b, c. I was wondering how has the position evolved since it has been created? This question allows you to engage in a conversation regarding the long and short term goals of the interview without actually asking time tale question “What are the long and short term goals for the person in the role?”

Aside for showing up on time, what are your expectations of someone in the role? 
Yes, state, aside for showing up! This adds a humour to the uncomfortable career date you are engaged in, while adding a thought provoking question. You want them to like your questions but more importantly they need to like you! Allow room for your personality to shine.

Research the company, find some facts and then ask: I see that a, b, c what in your opinion is the most exciting thing happening at the company right now? They may go into their social calendar, an acquisition, or information that isn’t disclosed on the website. This is giving you an upper hand to understand what is going on. It also gives them the “I like this person” feeling as they are revealing truths about the company to you…making you almost part of the company already.

I see on the site a, b, c or on the website xyz. com that your company is doing this…that’s pretty interesting. How did that happen? This question will change depending on the information you can gather on the company. There may be no website…which is possible…if that is the case, then that opens a door for further discussion regarding the company goals, priorities etc. As well, perhaps you know someone to refer them to who can help them. If you can find a way to help them you aren’t just saying the annoying “I am a team player” You are proving it!

Don’t forget to ask the right questions to the right people. You can gather information on the person interviewing you prior to the interview, if you see they are in HR do not ask them technical questions and if they just started, going into depth regarding their IPO won’t make sense either.

Where I am currently working we have a, b, c in place, how is something like that organized here? This allows you to understand the internal structure regarding the company. Where your place will be and how much decision making power you will or will not have without asking it abruptly and showing your adaptability.

Print out the job description and state, I see here we will be doing a, b, c…what will be my responsibilities for the next six to 12 months? How prepared did you just look right then and there with your job description?? You can lean into to the interviewer as well. You don’t want to get creepy close but getting closer bursts the tension and allows you into their bubble.

Learn about them: I see you have been here since x, what do you like most about working here? This personal touch means you actually don’t just care about the company but also the people in it. What keeps them there. Hopefully the person you are interviewing isn’t leaving if they are no sweat more room for you to grow.

The hardest part is ending an interview as once you leave those doors there may be no turning back so the last question is pivotal. If you have a lead for them that’s great as it gives you direct permission to access them again. An exchange of cards gives you access to their information as well but your last question should be as follows:

It was truly great meeting with you. If you have time, can I see the office?

They might be able to, they might not either way ask:

What are the next steps and when do you think I can expect to hear from you? If I don’t hear from you by a week from today, may I assume this is the last time I will see you again? *insert smile here You put it out there in a funny manner…you may not be the right person for the job but they may actually love you and at that point you will find out.

So when asked at the end of an interview “Do you have any questions?” there is no reason to state “No. I’m good” or “Not really” as even by asking just one more question you gain the opportunity to build a relationship. The longer you hold a genuine conversation the longer you have to make that lasting first impression.

Jessica Glazer is CEO who helps businesses find their golden needle in a haystack.Speaks on TV Radio& corporate events about employment related issues.


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Canada Suffering Nurse Shortage, Though Other Countries Have It Worse:

Posted on 02 June 2016 by admin

Canada is among many developed and developing countries facing a shortage of nurses, according to a survey released from job-indexing site earlier this month.

Jobs for registered nurses make up more than one per cent of all postings in Canada — a large portion given the hundreds of different positions employers hire for.
Job-search data from shows a nursing shortage in Canada, but it’s not as severe as in other countries, including the U.S. and U.K. (Chart:

The situation doesn’t seem as dire in Canada as it does in some other countries.

In the U.S., 8.4 per cent of all job postings indexed by are for nurses. Nursing jobs account for 3.4 per cent of all hiring ads in the U.K.

“The current supply of nursing talent is not keeping up with skyrocketing demand,” said on its blog. “We’ve all heard technology jobs are notoriously hard to fill — but in fact, in the U.S. today it’s actually harder to find nurses than software engineers.”

Indeed’s assessment lines up with recent data from Statistics Canada. Most of the jobs with the largest number of vacancies in Canada were low-paid, with a notable exception: Jobs for nurses and aides and orderlies.

The country could be short as many as 60,000 nurses by 2022, the Canadian Nurses Association estimates.

No guarantee of employment

An aging population across much of the world is behind growing demand for nurses, Indeed says.

“The average age of employed nurses is rising as well, from 42.7 in 2000 to 44.6 in 2010.”

But rising demand for nurses’ services isn’t necessarily a guarantee of a job. Nurses in Canada continue to face

Nurses leaving profession

Montreal is experiencing gridlock at its emergency rooms after the provincial government cut costs by integrating a number of hospitals and reducing staff, the Gazette reported earlier this month.

“Many staff, many nurses have exited the system,” a Montreal health care manager told the newspaper anonymously.

Nurses recently protested cutbacks to front-line nursing staff at some Ontario hospitals as well.

“We’re hearing horror stories in communities where these cuts are occurring,” Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said earlier this month. She added that nurses are under an “epic” level of stress.

But Health Minister Eric Hoskins reaffirms the overall number of nurses in Ontario has grown by about 8,000 over the past four or five years. “We’re employing many new nurses,” he said.

Better work conditions, please

The stress that comes with a nursing job is among the things holding people back from choosing the profession, Indeed says.

“When hospitals have insufficient staff, nurses are overworked, stressed out and more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs. As a result, patient care can suffer,” the report says.

“It can also be emotionally taxing, and the hours are often long and irregular — with the result that healthcare employers often struggle to fill roles.”

Among Indeed’s recommendations to attract more people to the career: “Better compensation, greater professional autonomy, stronger management and training programs, and more flexibility in location and scheduling.”

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Internet safety tips for teens

Posted on 09 October 2014 by admin

• Never give out personal or identifying information such as name, home address, school

• name, or telephone number in a public message such as at a chat room or on bulletin boards. Never send a person a picture of you without first checking with your parent or guardian.

• Be sure that you are dealing with someone that you and your parents know and trust before giving out any personal information about yourself via E-mail.

• Never put personal information or interests in your Instant Messaging profile. This includes posting your picture as well. It can be copied from the computer screen and

• saved by anyone.

• Keep your passwords private, even from your best friend! Your online service will never ask for them, so neither should anyone else.

• If a person writes something that is mean or makes your feel uncomfortable, don’t respond. Log off and tell your parents. Never respond to these types of messages. When in doubt—always ask your parents for help. Just logoff if you’re not sure — you can

• always go back on later.

• Be careful when someone offers you something for nothing, such as gifts and money. Be very careful about any offers that involve your coming to a meeting or having someone visit your house.

• Never arrange a face-to-face meeting without telling your parent or guardian. If your parent or guardian agrees to the meeting, make sure that you meet in a public place and have a parent or guardian with you as it is potentially dangerous for this meeting to take place unsupervised.

• Remember that nothing you write on the web is completely private, including email… so be careful and think about what you type and who you tell.

• Not everyone is as nice, cute and funny as they may sound online. Remember that people online may not be who they seem. Because you can’t see or even hear the person it would be easy for someone to misrepresent him- or herself. Thus, someone indicating that “she” is a “12-year-old-girl” could in reality be an older adult.

• Consider adding only friends you know and trust to your ‘buddy list’.

• Remind your parents to keep your computer properly protected by installing up-to-date security patches, current anti-virus software and a firewall to protect it from

• intrusions (hackers).

• Always delete unknown email attachments without opening them. They can contain destructive viruses.

• Always virus scan all files that are downloaded to your computer for viruses, even those from known persons.

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Second career training gives laid-off workers a second chance

Posted on 30 July 2014 by admin

After being laid off by a financial institution during the recent recession, Elisa De Angelis had time to reflect on her aspirations.

After high school, De Angelis spent two years at nursing college but she wasn’t sure she wanted to revisit that as a career choice. She decided to take an online test to learn about jobs that might suit her personality. She was overwhelmed by the resulting number of options but she painstakingly went through the list alphabetically. It was when she reached “court reporter” that she stopped searching.

“I thought this is definitely something that I would be good at,” says De Angelis. “My training in nursing and background in finance would be useful, and the work would be stable during ebbs and flows in the economy.”

Thanks to second career training through the Canadian Centre for Verbatim Studies (CCVS) inToronto, De Angelis is now a qualified court reporter. She records depositions in pre-trial examinations at an astounding 225 words per minute and delivers precise transcripts to lawyers and judges.

De Angelis cautions that court reporting is not for the faint of heart. The job is demanding and time-consuming. On the plus side, every assignment is different. Cases range from organized crime and medical malpractice to divorce, arbitration, murder and everything in between. “I meet new people every day and never know what I am going to hear or see,” she says.

There are only three schools inCanadathat train people to transcribe at such speeds using steno machines: the Ecole de stenographie judiciaire duQuebecinMontreal, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) inEdmontonand the CCVS inToronto.

According to Dan Winer, registrar at CCVS, there is a shortage of qualified personnel in court reporting and broadcast captioning, as well as communication access real-time translation (CART) providers that assist the hearing impaired.

“This is a career where a university degree is not necessary, yet the earnings potential is very high – sometimes reaching six figures,” he says.

Prior career experience is an asset for anyone considering the field of court reporting. Whether it’s in health care, information technology, manufacturing or other areas, it will likely have relevance to one or more cases that come before the courts.

Institutions offering second-career training have to be as adaptable as their students in today’s marketplace. Compu Campus College (CCC) in Windsor, for instance, updates its training programs as trends change. “Whether it is 3-D animation, computer networking and security, personal support worker or legal office assistant, we offer training for people looking to upgrade their skills or change careers,” says director Ziad Alhihi.

Many of the instructors at CCC also work full-time in the field in which they are teaching, which keeps them alert to subtle shifts in market demand. “They are able to offer their life experiences to our students,” adds Alhihi. “Real-life examples are incorporated into the program which helps mature students to learn faster.”

Financial assistance for training such as that offered by CCVS and CCC is available through provincial and federal programs.

For laid-off workers inOntario, qualified candidates may access funds through the provincial government’s Second Career strategy. The program provides financial assistance of up to $28,000 for education or training upgrades for qualified candidates. In some instances, more funding may be available to pay for living expenses, travel, books, care for dependents, transportation and disability support.

Injured workers may be eligible for assistance through the Workers Safety and Insurance Board labour market re-entry program.

The federal government’s Lifelong Learning Plan allows up to $10,000 per calendar year to be withdrawn from an RRSP to finance full time education or training. Withdrawals are penalty free provided they are repaid to the RRSP within 10 years.

For those not eligible to receive funding, both CCVS and CCC, for example, allow students to pay for tuition monthly over the course of the program.

De Angelis is delighted with her new career. “It is very interesting and rewarding, and I love it,” she says. And it offers unique opportunities both at home and abroad.

One of her school colleagues travelled to Europe, and another toAsia, on yearlong assignments. As for De Angelis, she has appeared as an extra on television three times – playing, as you likely guessed, a court reporter.

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Avoid these things if you want to get ahead at work

Posted on 13 March 2014 by admin

You might have shelves lined with books explaining how to get ahead at work or how to answer tricky interview questions to land your dream job. But what about the things you shouldn’t do?

There might not be a shelf full on the etiquette of shaking hands, or what you should never say in a job interview, or how to stop whining and rise up the corporate ladder, but several LinkedIn Influencers weighed in this week on exactly those things — what not to do if you want to get ahead.

Here’s what some of them had to say.

James Caan, chief executive officer at Hamilton Bradshaw Group

We all know that “setting yourself apart from the crowd is vital when you are looking for that new job,” wrote Caan in his post What Not to Say in a Job Interview. But do we know what we should never say?

There are “very common… phrases which you should try to avoid” wrote Caan. Among them:

“’I don’t know. The best way of dealing with the tough questions is to do your homework. The importance of research cannot be understated — you should know about the company, and be prepared for anything you will be asked about your own CV,” explained Caan. “Of course if there is a question which you are not expected to know the answer to, or if you are genuinely stuck, don’t make things up or try to bluff your way through. Move back into your comfort zone, relate the question back to something you do know and take on board any new information you are given.”

“’I dislike my current company.’ You never want to turn the tone of the interview negative, even if you may be having a bad experience at your current job,” Caan wrote. “All this does is make you seem like somebody who is difficult to manage.”

Bernard Marr, chief executive officer at Advanced Performance Institute

What’s the first thing you do when you meet someone new through work? That’s right — shake hands. The handshake is critical in business.  “Getting it wrong can create awkward moments and distract from making a good first impression,” wrote Marr in his post Six Ways NOT to Shake Hands.

Among the worst-offending handshake mistakes, Marr cited:

“The sweaty slip. Some people have a natural tendency to get sweaty hands and many get them when they are nervous, that’s just normal,” he wrote. “It can make shaking hands tricky in stressful situations such as job interviews. However, I think there is no excuse for a wet handshake.”

“The limp fish. Not gripping the other person’s hand firmly enough and then shaking from your wrist is a big mistake,” Marr wrote. The message it sends, he wrote: “‘I am not confident’ or ‘I am a push-over’.”

“The avoider. “Someone that doesn’t make eye contact when they shake your hand or someone that pulls away too quickly… signals to me that they are either under-confident, very shy, or they don’t really want to meet me or shake my hand,” cautioned Marr.

Scott Case, co-founder and chief executive officer at Main Street Genome

In many careers, the 10-year mark can be a moment when a common theme emerges:  “You’re in your early to mid-30’s. You have a good job, a nice life at home, but something is missing. Nothing is wrong, but nothing is awesome,” wrote Case in his post Stop Whining.

“You are ‘good enough’ at work… but you are not progressing,” wrote Case. “Why aren’t you moving forward? Why aren’t you doing what you want to do?”

There are four excuses Case hears regularly. Among the whining to leave behind:

“’I’m too busy.’ Guess what, we’re all busy,” Case wrote. “In the end, you will regret all of the opportunities you passed on. If a chance is presented, then change your schedule and make the time. It’s that simple.”

“’I’m lazy.’ I’ve never had anyone give me this excuse, but for some people it’s an underlying issue,” explained Case. “It’s time to stop being so lazy. Nothing is going to fall into your lap. Create opportunity for yourself.”

“’It’s not the right time.’ There will never be a right time. There is never a good time to get married, quit your job, buy a house, or start a company. Everyone is given the same amount of time in a day, but the manner in which you choose to spend this time is entirely up to you,” wrote Case. “Now is as good a time as any.”

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I paid $700 for sales training and didn’t get the job

Posted on 20 February 2014 by admin


A group of us answered a Craigslist ad for new car dealers. It said we’d be guaranteed $2,000 base pay, with no experience necessary, and training would be provided.

Turns out it’s a third-party company that claims it’s been brought in by the dealers to “train us” – but we had to pay $700 for the training. It consisted of nothing useful, lots of foul language and female bashing. They told us we would be hired – and that we had to pay $100 for our own sales license.

We were told to show up dressed for work, then were left sitting around for more than an hour, then told to go home, with no pay. When we asked for show-up pay, HR said no.

Some were allowed to work without a sales licence, while others weren’t. Some people began working without signing paperwork. Of those who signed contracts, some found out the pay was a lot less. I am the last person still not officially working but owed show-up pay.

Commission was supposed to be $300 on used cars, but it was only $100. New car commissions were supposed to be $1,200 and this was not the case, either. What can we do?


Sheila Copps

Former deputy prime minister

Sounds like you have fallen victim to the oldest scam in the book. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

It seems that you were only verbally contracted for your services, and therefore, the usual protections under provincial labour law may not apply. You may not be an employee in the legal sense of the word.

You will likely never be reimbursed for the money you spent in preparation for your job. In the absence of a written contract, you have few legal grounds to recoup your losses.

However, you have every right to seek government intervention to stop these alleged fraudsters. Begin by initiating an investigation under consumer protection laws in the province where you live. You can file a complaint relating to unfair business practices with the ministry responsible for consumer relations. In some provinces, a specific department investigates automobile sales fraud.

You should also consider initiating a file with the Better Business Bureau. It can warn consumers and potential employees of fraudulent operators.

I would also launch a case in small claims court. You can sue the company civilly for lost wages and payouts. Sometimes, companies will pay up simply to avoid having to defend themselves in court.

All in all, this is not a very satisfactory conclusion. But chalk it up to a good learning experience. Potential business arrangements and job offers should be clear, and in writing, so as not to waste time and money on fraudsters.


Bill Howatt

Howatt HR Consulting, Kentville, N.S.

Start with your local government’s employment and labour office. They can let you know if an investigation is warranted.

When a new job opportunity costs you money without assurance, hightail it out of there. Or at least make sure that you have a clear offer of employment or employment contract that spells out exactly what you will get in return before investing $700 in training.

Your situation raises two red flags, with respect to people and process.

People red flags refer to the treatment you experienced: harassment, ineffective managers and lack of proper on-boarding of employees. The fact that the HR person was part of the problem indicates this is a toxic workplace.

Process red flags are to do with matters regulated by policy and legislation. The labour office may have questions about the training requirement, the representations regarding commissions, and requiring people to show up for work while claiming that they were not hired.

Looking for employment can be stressful. The pressure of bills and the hope of finding employment can sometimes blind people to the true nature of their situation. An organization that conducts itself in this manner is unlikely to be a good employer.

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Five reasons we quit jobs

Posted on 17 February 2014 by admin

Elizabeth Bromstein

Why have you quit a job in the past? Chances are pretty good it’s because you hated your boss. We polled Workopolis users and this was by far the number one reason people say sayonara to a job.

Here are five of the top reasons.

You hate the boss: This is hands down the most common reason to leave a job. The boss was a tyrant, the boss was crazy, the boss was incompetent. We asked and got stories of rude, disrespectful, and even drug addicted bosses. People can put up with a lot but it is very difficult to deal with someone who is horrible on a day to day basis. A boss who loses employees would do well to take a good, hard look at his or her own behavior.

You’re bored or unhappy with the work: We’re an entitled culture and we all think we should love what we do and do what we love. That’s the message we’re bombarded with by the media and those people who post inspirational quotes on Twitter. “Do what you love. The money will follow,” and whatnot. The trouble is that a lot of work is mundane and boring and people aren’t going to love doing it. Also, what some people love is lying on the couch watching TV. Then there are times when you’re stuck in the wrong position. You’re not challenged and you become increasingly unhappy, but they won’t or can’t move you for whatever reason. That’s when people walk.

The culture isn’t a good fit: You don’t get along with the boss. You don’t get along with co-workers. People are just pains, aren’t they? But often there’s underlying turmoil in the workplace that higher ups might miss, like a culture of bullying or an exclusionary social hierarchy. One person might be creating a toxic environment, or it could be a bigger problem.

A better opportunity: They can’t expect you to stay forever if they can’t offer the better opportunity themselves. These days, people also seek out new opportunities regularly, as jobhopping has become the norm, particularly among millennials, who stay in jobs for less than three years on average, according to Forbes. This is partly because they’re always dissatisfied (see reason #2), partly because they are seeking new experiences and additions to their skill set, and partly because they have no loyalty. It’s also because careers aren’t seen as following the same trajectory they once did – you can no longer start in the mailroom and work your way up to CEO – and because companies themselves have no loyalty. They will axe you and/or your entire department without notice or a backwards glance and nobody wants to wait around for that. Which brings us to…

You think you’re about to lose your job: If you feel that the corporate environment is unstable, you might, wisely, run before the ground opens up and swallows everyone. Also, you can often tell when you’re going to get fired and, when you start to feel the wind turning against you, the wisest thing to do, usually, is jump ship rather than wait around for the axe to fall.

We asked some people why they had quit jobs in the past and here are some of their answers:

“Because my boss was a pathological liar and a drunk.”

“I was actually allergic to it. I worked at a sorting station for a clothing donation company. I was on the sorting line, trucks would come in and 2 guys on the truck would cut open the bags and send them down the conveyor belt for us to sort through it. Sometimes though, there would be garbage and dirty diapers in the bags. It was NOT glamorous. I was 16 and my boyfriend worked there and I felt it was for a good cause. … the dust+ in the place sent me into asthmatic fits and my eyes swelled up so I had to quit.”

“The store hired this awful manager, just awful. But she was a good talker and she was a single mom with kids and was very attractive. She started stealing from the store we worked at and was telling the owner that it was me. Though I had been there a while he took her word for it. Before he had the chance to fire me I quit. A year later he found out she was stealing and apologized.”

“Because I was micromanaged and treated with disrespect by a dinky boss who thought he was a lot better than me because he was a “manager.’”

“To seek fame and fortune about three years too early for the thing I wanted to do. I am prescient that way, just not smartly prescient.”

“Because they wouldn’t pay me what my job was worth in the market.”

“Manic-depressive, coke-sniffing boss who would call us names while we worked crazy unpaid overtime and the next moment would be hugging us, crying. We all walked out together in the middle of a huge project!”

“The boss yelled at me in front of everyone. So I calmly and thoroughly told her off in front of everyone, took my coat and purse, and strolled out.”

“For a better job”

“Because my boss got fired, I walked out right after him.”

“Soul sucking work. And they let me work 4 day weeks (at a 20% pay cut) for a year, then took it away because it “looked bad” that some people were getting “special privileges.” Note that I was able to get all the work done in the 4 day week.”

“My manager told me the internet was just a fad.”

“It was sucking my soul and faith in humanity away. I started to hate coming into work.”

“I was bored and needed a chance. I quit my jobs about every 5 years.”

Source: Workopolis

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How to Get Along with your College Professor

Posted on 14 November 2013 by admin

1.         Go to class! Regular attendance is important not only for good relations with the professor, but also for ensuring that you don’t miss anything. Professors may say they don’t care about class attendance. Don’t believe it! They notice who’s there and who’s not.

2.         If emergencies arise that causes you to miss class, be sure to get notes from someone in the class whose work you respect. At the next class meeting after your absence, tell the professor you’ve gotten the notes, but that you want to double-check to make sure you didn’t miss announcements of upcoming tests, etc. Don’t dwell on the reason for your absence. The professor has probably heard it before!

3.         Don’t be late! The first few minutes of class are often used for vital announcements of upcoming tests, due dates for assignments, etc.

4.         “Better late than never” is usually a good rule of thumb, but not always. Note the professor’s reaction when other students are late, then guide your own actions accordingly. If he/she ignores students walking in late, that doesn’t mean it’s okay, but it’s better than missing class entirely. If the reaction to student tardiness is somewhat stormy, it may be better to miss class than to call attention to yourself in an unfavorable light.

5.         Professors usually announce office hours at the first class meeting each semester. It is to your advantage to know your professors and for them to know you. Make an appointment to see each of your professors no later than the fifth class meeting. Appointments may be made before or after class or over the telephone. If for some reason you must cancel, be sure to call! Remember, teaching is not your professor’s only responsibility. Don’t expect that he/she will always be available at your convenience.

6.         The purpose of meeting with a professor, regardless of your level of interest in the course, is to enhance your understanding of what is going on in class. Before your appointment, be sure you have done the following:

•          Previewed your text to familiarize yourself with topics for the remainder of the course.

•          Reviewed your notes up to that point and identified topics or issues that you don’t understand.

•          Written down at least three or four good questions about the course, such as potential topics for papers or projects, questions about the most effective ways to study the material, etc.

•          Located the professor’s office so that you won’t be late for the appointment due to wandering around the halls at the last minute. (See the TAMU electronic phonebook and campus map .)

•          Make sure you know the professor’s title (Dr., Mr., Ms.) and how to pronounce his/her name.

7.         Getting to know professors can have other benefits as well. Most of them are interesting people, knowledgeable about many topics beyond their own discipline. You may discover that you have common interests that can be the basis for a good relationship long after you have finished the course. You may also find that a particular field is much more interesting to you than you previously thought. It is not unusual for decisions about college majors to originate with a good student-professor relationship. Finally, professors may have information about special opportunities that you may find useful. Summer internships, competitive awards, graduate programs, etc., are usually posted on cluttered bulletin boards and are sometimes hard to spot. A professor who knows you may be the key to your becoming aware of these special opportunities. A single office visit won’t change your life, but it could lead eventually to many “fringe” benefits that wouldn’t have come your way if you hadn’t gotten to know your professors.

8.         Get assignments in on time! Earthquake, fire, flood, and catastrophic illness are the only excuses for turning assignments in late. You’ve got 24 hours in your day just like everyone else. You want the professor to know who you are for the right reasons! There is a definite relationship between students who do poorly on tests, receive low final grades, or fail courses, and those who turn assignments in late.

9.         Being courteous in class doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything that’s being said. When asking questions, don’t be hostile or demanding and don’t back the professor into a corner. When you disagree or don’t understand a point, be positive. Preface your question with leads like “Could you clarify the relationship between . . . ?” or “Could you elaborate on . . . ?” Avoid negative leads like “I don’t see how . . .” or “Don’t you think . . . ?”

10.       Grades are another area in which professors and students sometimes disagree. Never discuss a grade when you are angry. A test may have seemed unfair to you, but don’t label it as such when you’re discussing it with the professor. Be specific but courteous when making your points. Remember, regardless of how skillful your arguments are, the odds are that your grade won’t be changed on that particular test. But, if you make your points well, the next test may be much better constructed and may seem to you to be a fairer measure of your knowledge of the material.

11.       Most professors are experts in their fields. Many of them are not experts in psychometrics or applied learning. Realizing that very few of them have had formal training in test construction or in how to teach may help you to understand their occasional shortcomings in these areas. Most good professors have gotten that way by trial and error. Improved teaching often depends on the kind of feedback they receive from students. Avoid being negative in your comments. Specific, positive, constructive feedback can really improve the learning situation.

12.       Sit toward the front of the class and act like you’re paying attention. There is a strange but definite relationship between your distance from the professor and your distance from an “A”. Regardless of how dry a lecture might be, there is always something communicated that you will be responsible for.

13.       Always bring a notebook and textbook to class. This communicates preparedness and interest, even if neither of these qualities applies to you.

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