Thursday, July 26, 2012

Looking for a job in Québec - Use every tool available and stay positive

One of the great things about publishing a blog is that you get to share personal experience about some of life's stressing moments, and perhaps give some perspective to those who might be going through similar challenges.

Living in Quebec and being exposed to the media here I've noticed that there have been a lot of business and industry lay offs and outright shut downs, leaving many people out of work.  Post Media, owners of the Montreal Gazette have recently announced job cuts.  Then there's White Birch Paper Co, Rio Tinto Alcan, home appliance maker Mabe, Electrolux, Reebok...there are plenty of stories out there.

According to Montreal's Board of Trade, unemployment is running higher than the national average, with Canada's rate hovering just over 7% compared to rates of 9.2 and 8.1 for Montreal and Quebec respectively.

Of course you can flip those numbers around and say the employment rate is over 90% in Montreal and Quebec.  And in my experience, during times of unemployment, its important to maintain a positive outlook...very important.

It doesn't matter if you're looking for Montreal jobs or employment anywhere in Canada, there are things you can do to help create that positive outlook you'll need to attract employers.  And one of the first things you can do is to be active.

Let people know you're involved in a job search, register on the sites of employment agencies, take part-time or volunteer positions to add to your experience.  My father is one of the smartest people I know, and fortunately for him and my family when we were young, he didn't have much experience in looking for a job.  But there was a stretch of almost one full year when he was out of work.  When I had a period of unemployment he told me, "looking for a job is a job".  

And from my perspective, I'm going to borrow a line from my experience in stage acting and modify it to real life.  In the theatre it is said:  There are no small roles, only small actors.  Well, in this economy, there are no small jobs, only small people.  

Pride as they say 'cometh before a fall'.

I'll relate an anecdote from my own life experience.  Back in the nineties I took a job at a call centre, a job that was offered through an employment agency.  I worked my way up and was eventually managing programs both inbound and outbound.  One such program was a direct response advertising campaign where telemarketers answered calls generated from a television ad.

A gentleman I'll call Bob was one of the people who was hired for that program.  Bob was in his forties and had been working in finance as a bookkeeper.  Some might suggest Bob took a job that was beneath him, the thought crossed my mind.  He was working a part time job that involved working mostly evenings and weekends, not an ideal schedule for a married guy with kids.  But Bob was always positive and saw the glass half full.

After the direct ad program ended he was able to get hours here and there working on other programs until eventually an internal job posting went up for two positions in the accounting department.  Bob was hired and last I heard was doing very well, working in his chosen field.

If you're in Quebec and lack facility in the French language there are government programs available to improve your fluency, like Francisation.  Quebec is a wonderful place to live, Montreal is an incredible city.  Job loss doesn't mean you have to move to Toronto or Calgary necessarily, even though some are of the opinion that recent changes to federal employment programs might have that in mind.  

Get busy, get working, and above all...keep a positive mind set.

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