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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Have U Ever Felt the Slightest Anger at Work?

No, I haven't either. But some people do. It's important to be able to deal with it. Here's an article that suggests that the most straightforward approaches might not be best. Interestingly, skills that CDPs are meant to develop can be helpful.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Animated Population Profiles

Professor Stephen Gordon of Université Laval has created a series of graphical profiles showing the age profile of Canada's profile for the years 1921(10)2001 and 2010. They clearly show the arrival of the huge influx of baby boomers in 1961 and of what David Foot called the echo generation.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Calgary's Street Survival Guide

The City of Calgary Community & Neighbourhood Services has published its 2011 Street Survival Guide. Getting a shower ... coping with drugs or abuse ... finding a job ... housing ...

A wonderful guide, and something that every city, town and village in Canada should have.

Thanks due to povnet for mentioning it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

So, No Rapture: How Some of Us Cope

The failure of the Rapture to arrive once again, this time on Saturday, disappointed a great many people. One of our principal defence mechanisms against the anguish that missed opportunities such as this can cause us, whether they are on a cosmic scale or not, is cognitive dissonance, says Stuart Sorensen. For his thoughts about how cognitive dissonance applies here listen to the latter part of the CBC radio interview. You might even want to listen to the whole interview: quite interesting.

What's the Evidence for Career Interventions?

If we ask what evidence is then let's look at famous work by the "world's most cited living psychologist" [1], Albert Bandura, his Bobo doll experiment.[2] Just notice for our purposes that it's a controlled experiment; ie, there's a control condition. We tend to believe its results because we can show statistically that the treatments make a difference.

Now, what do we see in the way of evidence in 'our' world, the world of career and employment interventions? Of course there is some, meagre statistical evidence for some elements of what we do. However, mainly we are driven by governments that seem to be trying to rationalise or save money ... or who knows what?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Perennial Q: What Do I Do with a BA in Sociology?

You can get some really concrete answers to questions like this by going to Find the Best Employers for Recent Graduates page on Pick the type of diploma or degree you have, then the subject, then click on 'Search for Employers.'

By following the resulting links you can learn which employers hire people with your qualifications and the kinds of jobs for which they might hire you.

At the very least a study like this might lubricate your imagination, right?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Useful Lecture About Empathy by Baron-Cohen

Everyone who takes courses of study like the CDP encounters the concept of empathy because of its importance for any work involving people. You might therefore be interested in a recent lecture by Professor Baron-Cohen in which he offers a definition of empathy, an exploration of some of the kinds of personalities that result when the ability to empathise fails to develop in one way or another, and a useful survey of some results in the field of empathy.

Here is how Baron-Cohen and his lecture are described on the LSE webpage:

"World-expert Simon Baron-Cohen presents new discoveries on the importance of empathy, and the problems with evil. Simon Baron-Cohen, expert in autism and developmental psychopathology, has always wanted to isolate and understand the factors that cause people to treat others as if they were mere objects. In this book he proposes a radical shift, turning the focus away from evil and on to the central factor, empathy. Unlike the concept of evil, he argues, empathy has real explanatory power.
Putting empathy under the microscope he explores four new ideas: firstly, that we all lie somewhere on an empathy spectrum, from high to low, from six degrees to zero degrees. Secondly that, deep within the brain lies the 'empathy circuit'. How this circuit functions determines where we lie on the empathy spectrum. Thirdly, that empathy is not only something we learn but that there are also genes associated with empathy. And fourthly, while a lack of empathy leads to mostly negative results, is it always negative?

"Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor at Cambridge University in the fields of psychology and psychiatry. He is also the Director of Cambridge's internationally-renowned Autism Research Centre. He has carried out research into social neuroscience over a career spanning twenty years."

Image from wikipedia.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wage Theft

By co-incidence, an hour or two after I wrote the previous blog item I happened across this note on the povnet blog : Wage theft in Ontario: Many low-wage workers not being paid at all says report. Taking on employment like this is bound to make someone poorer.

Not Lazy & Feckless: Not Poor At All

The sociology series on BBC 2 radio known as Thinking Aloud is one of my favourites. I've just finished listening to the episode titled "The Poor on Poverty and Radical Gardening" and found that the first part of it, about how the poor in the northeast of England view themselves and their predicament (the area around the 'A' on the map to the right), is of relevance to this blog.

Apparently most people there without the steady means to feed themselves or to heat their homes do not regard themselves as poor. At the same time they suspect that those people in their midst that really are poor remain so because they are somehow spendthrift or feckless. Yet when researchers attempt to find out who these other poor people are, through questioning, they have so far been unable to obtain their names.

This bit of research news makes me wonder, not whether there are poor Canadians—I know there are—but about how they view themselves and what they think makes people like themselves poor. The radio programme hints that our usual remedy, the one about getting people into jobs, any jobs, with the uncritical expectation that this will make them better off in time should be re-examined. At least in the northeast of England when people take on temporary work they incur expenses that can actually set them back.

What have you seen? Have you encountered any Canadian research studies in this general area?

Monday, May 9, 2011

How Do You Compare With Other Canadians?

Two of the sources I have returned to repeatedly for information and inspiration since first discussing them in CDP courses have been the Canadian research firm, Environics, and the company's head, Michael Adams. Using these sources is never a chore because Adams' sense of humour, and good sense, comes through in everything he's connected with.

Although I do not believe that clients are best served using mainly psychometric instruments I certainly accept that they can be useful in encouraging clients to examine themselves and how they may compare with others. Not that this is of great help to them increasing their awareness of other equally pressing issues that confront them in their job of building a life. It's simply a way of starting a conversation that may eventually have to give much more weight to paths to follow, resources to use, expectations, and so on.

The appealing thing about the Environics tribes survey is that it says absolutely nothing about specific careers! My own results were no surprise to me (not at this age). That's my little blue dot in the lower, right corner. I tend to believe "knowledge is power," for example, and, therefore, a career developer might well discuss with me how I might envisage living out that belief. I "question authority." (Oh, yes!) An advisor might discuss where on earth someone might work where that would be a 'fit.' And so on.

Off the topic of career development there's a series of videos providing an overview of recent Canadian public opinion featuring Michael Adams. I suspect it was intended to prevent the train wreck that occurred on Election Day. For a comparison of American and Canadian cultures see Adam's book, Fire and Ice. As always, a good read.

Advice for Canadian Newcomers: Multilingual

Topics: "Bogus Schools and Diplomas, Travel Loans for Convention Refugees, Sponsorship Debt, Credit Card Debt and Unethical Immigration Consultants."

Includes a list of useful resources.

Languages: English with voice overs into Arabic, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Persian, Punjabi, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Thanks to povnet.