Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cloud Computing Skills

Ben Lorica of O'Reilly Radar reports the relative demand levels for cloud computing skills on the main platforms in the U.S. job market in Amazon's cloud platform still the largest, but others are closing the gap.

PS: I'm probably way behind the pack in noticing only today that even HRSDC is offering access to the NOC as a web service.

Work With Old People? Give Yourself a Break

Do you work with wrinkly old people? Then you know, just as I do, that when they're depressed about their dismal job prospects it's bad for you the career advisor too.

So what can you do?

Here's a tip! Buck up their spirits by giving them examples of all the ways that the young, unwrinkled people screw up on a regular basis. Miserable oldsters love it. And, trust me, the good humour of your wrinklies will rub off on you.

Dangerous Occupation

As of today (31 August 2010), the CBC site reports that 152 members of the Canadian Government's armed services have been killed "in the Afghanistan mission". A news item in the Canadian Medical Association Journal News, Suicide claiming more British Falkland veterans than fighting did, claims that 256 soldiers were killed during the Falklands war and that 264 took their own lives afterwards.

Then by my reckoning this suggests that we can expect that a further 152 ( 264 / 256 ) or 157 (or so) Canadian men and women will die by suicide as a consequence of military service in Afghanistan. So far.

What's more, previous experience from the innumerable wars and conflicts of this and the previous century demonstrate without doubt that many of the so-called survivors of these episodes cope with the dreadful effects of PTSD, as well as physical disabilities and disfiguration, as do their families and society at large.

Need I say more?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Will Manufacturing Ever Come Back?

Let me say first that some of my best friends have been construction workers, and that I have nothing against the construction industry in general.

Even so, I groan every time I hear "shovel-ready projects" in connection with this recession. For two reasons:
  1. Using this term is a strong hint that the projects will involve construction, and that they will ignore other important sectors of the economy. And thus the workers in them.
  2. Why would governments wait until a recession occurs to look for so-called "shovel-ready projects" rather than planning for inevitable downturns? (I was about to ask whether they had heard of the business cycle but there is ample evidence that 'they' have not.)
We, as career developers, need to be aware of trends. Here's a good discussion about recent employment trends by Professor Stephen Gordon, of the Université Laval Department of Economics: Sectoral shifts and the Canadian recession.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Taking a Degree in Economics

Some reasons not to take an undergraduate degree in economics by Professor Frances Woolley of Carleton University. To my mind, an interesting collection of thoughts on topics relating to taking one or more degrees in any subject area.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another Way of Looking at THE Trend

As Dr Lucy Bernholz notes in this podcast you don't have to be CocaCola™ to be global. The ability to gather data and serve people from anywhere on the planet is changing all of the rules. (And she really knows how to hold an audience's attention.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New: iGoogle Gadget for Searching

A lot of people like iGoogle as a home base for their web-based perambulations.

It's really important to use sites like because they provide one-stop access to a vast number of specialised sites or sites that have fewer jobs for other reasons. and some other sites aggregate information from other jobs sites. They are great places to look for jobs from a wide variety of sites in Canada.

So I've created an iGoogle gadget for searching It gives you access to the main parameters of the search and it will save them for you when you close your browser.

To add it to your iGoogle gadgets just click on 'Add stuff' and enter the keywords 'Canada indeed' in the 'Search for gadgets' edit box.

Please let me know how it goes.

PS: This earlier blog post suggests the kind of coverage that provides: Who's Represented on

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Strengths-Based Careers Guidance

Although I am not convinced by their arguments based on Drucker or Seligman, I love looking for people's strengths and strong motivations; please consider reading A strengths-based approach in careers guidance from the University of London's Careers Group.

Job Satisfaction of Legal Australian Sex Workers

Have a look at What's the level of job satisfaction among legal prostitutes? But brace yourself: you'll need to read results couched in sticky statistical phrasing. I think the study says that many of the sex workers like the working hours more than other Australian women do. Amongst other stuff.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Job: Employment Workshop Developer/Trainer

Oshawa/Whitby, Ontario. Thanks to Patricia Martin, Career Essentials.

Employment Workshop Developer/Trainer

Location: Oshawa/Whitby
FULL TIME Contract: 35 hours per week

Starts: ASAP

Ends: March 31, 2011

Job Summary:

The Employment Services of John Howard Society is funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Its goal is to provide support to individuals to obtain sustainable employment through a full suite of services that include Client Service and Planning, Information/Resource, Job Search, Job Placement and Matching and Job Retention. The Employment Workshop Developer/Trainer will develop relevant workshop curriculum based on this model as well as the current needs of today’s job seeker.


    Develop and implement workshop curriculum and resources relevant to Employment Services Full Suite Model
    Train staff for ongoing implementation
    Facilitate employment-related workshops to job seekers
    Actively participate in supervision, evaluation, team and staff meetings and training sessions
    Represent the agency and the centre in a professional manner
    Participate in the development and accomplishment of agency and centre objectives
    Contribute to the ongoing evaluation of the workshop sessions and identify areas for expansion
    Maintain a comprehensive knowledge of new trends and resources in employment and training
    Other duties as required


    Related Employment Counselling College Diploma or diploma with facilitation component is an asset
    Workshop development and facilitation experience
    Experience working with youth with barriers - willingness to work in a diverse community non-profit social service agency
    Strong computer skills
    Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
    Strong organizational skills and ability to manage time effectively
    Able to take initiative and work as part of a team.

Salary Range: to be discussed

Posting Date: August 20, 2010

Closing Date: August 27, 2010

Selected candidates will be required to deliver a mini workshop as it relates to the MTCU Employment Services as part of the interview process.

If you are interested, please quote this posting and send your resume with a cover letter to:

Joelle Morey
Human Resources Manager

John Howard Society of


Maslow's Pyramid Updated

Career developers occasionally mention or make some use of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the pyramid that puts self-actualisation at the apex. So I thought I'd mention that researchers at Arizona State University have updated it. See Maslow's pyramid gets a much needed renovation. That's their result above.

Source of information: PsychCentral article: Updated Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Most Satisfying & Happiest Occupations

In Tom W Smith, Job Satisfaction in the United States (NORC/University of Chicago).

Has anyone seen similar information for Canada?

My thanks due to @aaker who saw it in

Is Plastic Surgery a Good Investment?

See Professor Frances Woolley's article, Is plastic surgery a human capital investment?, on Worthwhile Canadian Initiative and the discussion. Economics isn't always dismal.

Canada Is Not the USA Divided By 10

I think it's important to consider this factor when we try to gauge the likely efficacy of advice and strategies that have emanated from that vast collection of social milieux. I was delightfully surprised when I happened upon this graph this morning that neatly illustrates what I mean.

Although it might be a little difficult to see at this size, there's Canada above the line, in the upper, left corner. Our income inequality needs improvement but our social mobility is similar to that of the Scandinavian countries. Meanwhile, in the United States, on average, your status at birth is your status at death.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Videos for Newcomers to Ontario

My thanks to Marco Campana for making me aware of a great collection of videos for newcomers to Ontario produced by Some of the ideas in the videos clearly apply for newcomers across Canada.

Don't forget twitter as a source of information!

Friday, August 13, 2010

How's This for a Trend? Canada's Yearly Death Rate

The trend is mentioned in André Picard's Globe & Mail article, There are a lot better places to die than Canada. His suggestions about palliative care seem sound to me, based on what I learned in an introductory course about the topic a couple of years ago.

Assuming that no-one finds clever ways of helping us out of this world using robotics technology there would appear to be lots of opportunities for many kinds of people in this trend.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Self-Esteem: Interesting Cross-Cultural Studies

Listen to the ABC [Australian] Radio National All in the Mind programme Challenging Stereotypes - Culture, psychology and the Asian Self (Part 1 of 2) which compares how peoples from disparate parts of the world may view themselves and their places in the world.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Job Finding as Speed Dating

On a few occasions I have asked job seekers to compare what they are doing to courtship. You remember courtship, right? We meet, study one another and under certain conditions proceed to form a bond. Most groups can think of interesting parallels—and have a few laughs—the main problem with this exercise being that it does not work with individuals from all cultures.

To use the word courtship makes the analogous activity involving employers sound rather stately and dignified. Which it isn't. Résumés get 20 seconds and minds are made up in the first three seconds of an interview.

It's more like speed dating.

Put really briefly, in a study of speed dating Marco Francesconi1 found, "Who you propose a date to is largely a function of who happens to be sitting in front of you." Women who are slim, tall professionals get snapped up first. Otherwise it is whoever is there that get's offered a date.

So how does this apply to employment, you ask?

It actually ties in with another study that shows that business sales people who get to sales leads first get the business. And being first in the Internet age means being within the first five minutes rather than the first ten. (No exaggeration.) In the case of employment it means that the job seeker must know about all of the jobs available, and knowing about them early, before prospective dates go away.

I would even say it means that networking is nice, provided that it does not obviate the use of other sources. The job seeker needs to be available to date lots of employers.

1How much of who you choose to date is determined by your preferences vs "market conditions"?

An Advance on Twitter: Flutter

I'm indebted to The Mark News for this and other thoughts about Twitter. (Warning: Do not follow the College Humor links.)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

If You Want More Followers on Twitter ...

That's the point, isn't it? There is absolutely no point in posting to Twitter if no-one reads what you post. So we all want millions of people to follow us.

Well I do, anyway.

The difficulty in doing this, as you must already know, is that, to be followed you must follow. Yet most people write drivel on Twitter. Not the good stuff that you and I offer, right? Consequently there comes a point at which you can no longer afford the time to read what your informative Twitter companions have to say. And the whole exercise becomes more or less pointless.

Here's one thing you can do. I don't know if it's the best approach. It works for me.
  • Create a Twitter List of people whose Tweets you consider worth reading. Keep it small because you really are going to read many of these Tweets, eh. I call my list 'Attention' because I will give these Tweets my attention.
  • When anyone (anyone!) announces that they are following you follow them. Just do it. Now peruse this person's most recent few dozen Tweets and make up your mind whether they are worth following. If so, or if you think they might be, then add them to your Attention list.
  • I'm can't advise you about which of the millions of Twitter clients you might or should use. I use Brizzly and it works for me with the scheme I'm describing here. It's quick and easy to use. When you log in to your Twitter account with Brizzly you will see your Attention list.
  • Rather than reading enormous amounts of drivel I have found that you can just read:
  1. Direct messages to you.
  2. Messages that mention you.
  3. Your 'Attention' list.
And when someone starts sending Tweets about how they're just about to have their second coffee of the afternoon and that it's going to keep them awake all night you just bump them off your Attention list.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Managing Your In-Box

Normally I stick to topics that are pretty close to careers and employment. This video that I found recently helped me so much that I would like to pass it on. It's long—about 58 minutes—but it could easily save you this much time in the first day or two if you apply what the speaker says, if you're one of those people, like me, who tends to keep too many items in their email in-box.

It says on the Google Videos site: "Merlin Mann, a well known productivity guru and creator of the popular 43 folders website will talk about Getting Things Done, the importance of getting your inbox to zero, and strategies for dealing with high volume email."