Tuesday, August 17, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Where is the Love? 

With two days to go to the end of Dealer school I figured that we've all passed, the real question being how well. I was wrong. There were 2-3 more people terminated today, rumour has it - without mercy. I'm sitting tight, I know that I'm not going to go, but right now I'm wondering how well I did. It's important, even in the face of this many people outright failing to complete the course, because future employers will call the school to ask about my performance. Still, I'm thankful that I still have a job. In light of the past year, I'm certainly not complaining.

I hope that Rick didn't lose his job. Rick's a retiree, forced into early retirement thanks to government cutbacks (government cutbacks seems to be a recurring theme nowadays). He used to be a social worker and everntually ended up in the welfare cheque department. He doesn't need the job per se, he has savings and a pension but he decided to become a dealer for something to do. Not to mention this job offers benefits and a steady paycheque. He got called into the office today afternoon, the same time all the other victims were. He didn't say anything to me as we were leaving, so I have a sinking feeling. It might just be that he was reprimanded for not taking things seriously enough. I just hope that I see him in class tomorrow.

Someone who lost his job for sure is Terry. Terry's from the Phillipines (Manilla, I think) and has held a series of convenience store clerk/gas attendant jobs. He has a degree in business that's not recognized here. He figured that it was time to move into an entry-level job that wasn't dead-end. I guess he's back to handing out his resume to 7-Eleven stores. Terry certainly didn't see this coming. None of us did. The talk in the lunch room has turned slowly from "this is what I'll do if..." to "we've made it this far, we must've passed". I guess we were all wrong to be complacent. The news of mass firing would have spread by tomorrow and I'm certain that by the end of the day we would have sore bums from holding our assholes so tight. We've dropped more than 25% of the people that we've started with. I'm still stunned by the drop-out rate. I mean, it's not like we're working for Donald Trump on some stupid TV show. And no, I don't watch the Casino.

Terry is not the only immigrant whose education and prior experience mean nothing here. I was just talking to Amy (just moved here from the Mainland two months ago) and I asked conversationally what her husband does for a living. She says that he's doing hard labour at the moment, but he's actually a tenured prof at a world-class university. He is published regularly and participates as a speaker at an annual, widely-regarded symposium for the specialists in his field. She was speaking so fast and in Mandarin that I couldn't ascertain what it was exactly that her husband specialized in, but I didn't want to ask again. It would seem too much like I was rubbing her misfortune in. She said that on her husband's first day on the job he couldn't lift a thing. She joked that the bright side is that he's getting real buff, but it's not a happy story.

Uncle Simon works as a translator for the courts here. Before we moved, he pumped us full of cautionary tales about people here who hold multiple degrees, successful professionals, etc. who enter the janitorial profession here. We shrugged it off as cautionary tales, nothing more, thinking that we could do better. Well, I don't know what's going on with my dad, but it's closing in on four years since we've moved here and it certainly doesn't look like he's going to be living here anytime soon. I look around class and all I see are immigrants who are being underemployed/have been underemployed for a very long time. There are so many articles about professionals in entry level jobs because Canada makes it so hard for their credientials to be recognized. Even worse. Walk into any Starbucks here and it's not just the immigrants that are having it hard, most Baristas have at least two degrees. Why would anyone move here? I guess not enough people do their homework, that's all. The grass isn't always greener people.

posted by Joie! at 8:09 p.m.


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