Meeting with the DM

Yesterday, I was invited along with a number other students, to meet the Deputy Minister (DM) of my department which I work in, at the government. Should have tweeted it out that I was attending. Got lazy. Anyways, the meeting with the DM was an informal discussion. He was dead panning throughout the one hour chat, sharing with us in broad strokes what the department/government is all about, while we as students brought to him our myriad of concerns, in the form of questions.

Most of the questions posed to the DM were predictable. “What do you think about the Canadian government downsizing the size of the government and its employees?”, “How can we make the federal government more efficient”, and “I was in line for a job and didn’t get it. What’s the best way to force my manager to hire me?”. Ok the last one was a little exaggerated but it was something along those lines. As I sat 4 rows back from the DM, I was thinking of these all valid, thoughtful questions. But here is one statement I would have posted to my fellow colleagues to quell all their fears:

“You have all the skills right now to make yourself a valuable employee to the federal service or anywhere for that matter. Trust in them and grow with them.”

Quite frank, I know, but not totally out of the blue if you care to follow.

When you look at the current trends, high unemployment rates in Canada, U.S. ,and across the world, the rise in term/contract work, apparently in teaching profession in particular, according to the DM, and the desire to hire experienced (I’ve seen a lot of PR postings requiring 5+ years experience in my little job search) your pointed in this direction of the this job reality. Yes, ideally, you want a full-time job in the government or elsewhere. But what happens if it doesn’t come? What happens after your finishing masters program, there isn’t a position? Or after your student contract, they look elsewhere and hire another candidate? Well, what happens is you have fall back on your skills, your area of expertise, probably from your subject of area of study in school, that you’ve invested so much time into, to be your fall-back plan or number one option.

Today’s job market is extremely competitive. I remember being younger and applying to jobs and getting many call-backs. Not anymore. When observing my peers, I don’t run into many of them who aren’t thinking about adding a masters program, MBA, or other courses to push them ahead of the pack. This is the new reality for the next generation of workforce in Canada, both in the government and private sector, where the masters is the minimal requirement. Happy trails Bachelor of Arts!

Does this route guarantee employment right away? Of course not, but it is a trend worth noting so you aren’t caught in an unemployment situation. That is why this blog, as an outlet for my thoughts, ideas, and writing is so important. Prospective employers are always looking to what gives you an edge, and why you as an individual would be an important addition to the team.  For me I think that’s my personality as well as my skills/knowledge I have in my writing, investing, researching in the world around me. Whatever your passion is, putting time into it has the potential to create greater opportunity for yourself down the line. It’s never a waste of time. Something I which is much better than waiting on that job which may or may not come through.

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I choose you, or who chooses who?

People are funny. They make me laugh. With stating that, there is perhaps nothing that makes me laugh more at people than this topic of choosing, specifically in terms of choosing a  job with the biggest employer in the city, the government. It’s a topic that always makes me laugh. I mean how can I not?

For some reason, working for an employer that provides great pay, flexible hours, and good benefits, isn’t appealing to some of my peers. I hear many misconceptions from them about the government. Things like, “Government workers are lazy”. “You don’t do any work in the government”. Or the number one comment of “Government work is boring”.  My response to all this is: who cares?

I have worked 3 years and counting for the government. It has been a great working experience. My internship with another department during my years in college was my best working experience. Bar none. So yes, I speak of the government with 1st hand knowledge and experience as a young, cute guy. However, what is alarming is  this perception that my title opens with. “I choose you, or who chooses who?”.

Now for me I was chosen for the interview process, like any job, public or private sector, won my competition and got the job. But for the people who critize a government job, mainly my peers with private sector working aspirations, they haven’t been chosen for anything.

The government isn’t searching for them specifically, making the choice not in their hands. Same goes for the private sector. Life is about competition. Especially when it comes to jobs. You have to take the steps (applying) to be thrown into this competition. I doubt any employer, again whether it be the government or one in the private sector, cares if YOU apply or not. There is always going to be  qualified candidates  looking for work, educated people which make the interview process such a competitive process. So when they say all these criticisms of  the government as I outlined above, as if the government is hanging on their decision or is even an option, makes me chuckle, break out into laughter, and wonder what they are thinking.

Ok. I took a breath. I’ve calmed down…a bit.I hope my peers and my readers understand my frustration. When talking about work make sure you realize if the decision of taking a job rests in your choosing or with the employer. Because if the choice isn’t in your hands, your doing yourself a disservice by thinking it is. And that is something that find funny and I have to laugh about.