Another interview, another new opportunity

I haven’t blogged in a while. This one isn’t strictly CityThinking though it does discuss  my experience in looking for work in London Ontario.

I’m not sure what it is that has stood in my way of finding long-term employment and I suppose if I did know, I’d be a lot further along the way to addressing my inability in this area. But I can always speculate and self-deprecate. So here are my top however many reasons that I’ve not been able to find work:


10. My teeth. They’re horrible right now. I hate to admit it. It’s a source of embarrassment. I used to be a nice looking guy but years of smoking and laziness, combined with a lack of a good dental benefit program and my own terrible fiscal self-discipline is starting to show.


9. I’m arrogant. You know it. I know it. I’m also a know-it-all. I occasionally recognize that it’s a function of my insecurities, try to feel better about myself and it diminishes but it’s always a battle. I could go on but there’s no need to completely kill my job prospects.


8. I’m not a pick-up artist. I interview horribly which I think is akin to my courting style. Rarely in my life have I been the one to take a woman home from a bar or pick-up on Spring Break. I need time to wear down opposition to my often outwardly glib persona.


7. I’m less educated than other candidates. This is just a fact. I have a 3-yr BA in Social Sciences. Now, I also think I wasn’t well suited to the academic environment at the time. I kept my loans in check, took two years off mid-course, completed my degree at age 27 and went to work in Toronto largely because my ex-wife was in pursuit of her career ambitions in Marketing (and she’s done quite well to her credit.) I lucked/fought into a job with Michael Walker – who I think I served incredibly well and who rewarded me with consistent pay and title increases. I enjoyed politics but decided to ply my experiences elsewhere though I wasn’t quite sure where, I just knew that my views parted ways with most mainstream views and that politicians often have to do what’s wrong in order to do what’s right in the longer-term. Anyway. I lack big credentials and apply in fields where big credentials are desired – academic ones, not real-world, proven/applied stuff.


6. My resume. It has taken me a long time to realize that my resume has been a very ineffective marketing tool for me. Some of the achievements on my resume are meaningless for the work I seek. I think I’ve finally gotten over this one but it’s taken a long time and every resume requires full-time hours to research and write.


5. The work I seek. I jump from opportunity/posting to posting/opportunity and tailor my resume for the position. They all focus on community development work these days, be it social or economic development. I’m not an engineer (obviously) a planner or sociologist by training so these jobs perhaps are a bit out of my technical reach and given the tight labour market, the ‘employers’ labour market with an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent, the good jobs that pay for brains would represent a new area of career development for men and similar to number 7, I face a hard time getting them. I still don’t know what it is I want to do, what it is I am skilled enough to do currently and what will make me happiest. My resume looks like a job-jumpers rather than someone who has pursued the opportunities presented at different times because they were interesting but that ultimately didn’t work out for a variety of reasons. See #1 and #7 above.


4. My Social Media ways… Funny that I used to craft messages for a politician who enjoyed his highest-ever election returns while I was his Executive Assistant and yet today, I seem to have an unparalleled ability to offend the right people with my own memes. Whether it’s LinkedIn, where those who could probably help me see 140 character updates that contain either my critique of policy, organizations, society and/or myself, or Facebook where an ever-growing number of people see my Jerry Garcia pictures, I am sure that anyone hiring for such a position would assume I have absolutely no knowledge of the scope and impact of these new media. To the contrary, I have always been a better spokesman for others than I am for myself. To anyone with a job for me that reads this I assure you … I (Justin, me) don’t exist when I’m speaking for someone else. This is a small City and everyone knows and talks to each other.My Social Media behavior is poor in this market.


3. Politicians? To some degree I believe I face the same fate as do many former politicians, albeit with less notoriety and reputation as my ex-bosses. Whatever I achieved while in the position of EA to a City Councillor can be branded and will offend at least 50% of those receiving my resume or interviewing me, whether I believed in the politics of the issue/position or not. Do I believe contributions to candidates from Unions and/or Corporations should be banned? I’m not sure. There are good arguments both ways. I think they have too much influence but bans are harsh and rarely work. But money follows winners rather than creating them. It goes to recognized groups that support Status Quo or more favourable policies.  And should Union Donations be considered in the same light? This is but one example of the negatives presented by a background in politics. A general distaste for politics is quite another.


2. I blog and I’m opinionated. ‘Nuff said? If I haven’t offended you yet, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. People take things personally and I know I fail to appreciate that a lot of the time. I know people do what they can with the resources they have and most people act with the best of intentions and there are realities that I’m often unaware of. I must try to relect this knowledge more clearly and be less judgmental. Again – small City, small network is bad news for my big mouth.


1. Bad Luck? Some of it must be chalked up to lady fortune simply not being on my side. More likely, it’s a combination of all the above. Skymeter was very close to winning RFPs in 2007 but ultimately failed and is still struggling to build its market. Recall that visa restrictions meant I had to decline an offer to make 60G US plus commissions in 2009. Recall that I almost had a job at Canadian Urban Institute but that their revenues also plunged in the summer of 2009. Then, when Glen Murray decided not to run for Toronto Mayor, I was also left without a job.  I’ve had near misses with so many jobs.  I’ve had a lot of first interviews that didn’t get to second interviews. I had a job for 11 months instead of 12, worked through the stress of my Mother’s cancer, my father’s heart problems and a fire that torched many of my favourite possessions.

If nothing else, I’ve gained greater self-awareness, a greater appreciation of the struggles of the poor, greater humility and I’ve certainly been able to narrow my group of friends to those that demonstrate their support, love and understanding through thick and thin.

Maybe it’s actually good luck? See: New Opportunity!




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