Monday, July 07, 2008

Back to reality

Two interviews this week, and for once I actually want either jobs. I have had other interviews since the job hunt started but I've generally had a fairly "take 'em or leave 'em" attitude which needless to say, isn't cool and hasn't been very effective.

I realize that the pay offered for an entry level job in a new field will be low, but at the same time, this is Alberta. With employers so desperate for staff there definitely needs to be some give on both sides, and I was shocked at the low salaries offered by companies seeking bilingual employees. With a fully bilingual population of only 17% in Canada, you'd think some employers would be willing to offer more than just above minimum wage, regardless if the job is entry level or not. In fact, only 9% of Anglophones outside Québec can communicate in French. I don't mention this to brag by any means, but if I compromised grades in a fully french immersion high school for the only benefit of being able to put "Bilingual" on my resume, then I feel it should pay off at some point.

With most companies complaining of a skilled labour shortage, it seems as though the majority of these companies aren't taking matters into their own hands. If they aren't able to find employees that already possess the skills needed to perform the job they are advertising, then why not reach out and train intelligent but under-educated people to perform those jobs? I'm sure it boils down to money, and training new hires is a huge expense, especially since today's society and attitudes about company loyalty have changed dramatically since the baby boomer age.

Basically how I see it, is that in the workforce today there are still Baby Boomers (born post WWII), Generation X'ers (mostly born in the 60's-70's, ie: My parents) and Generation Y'ers (Born in the 80's-90's). Baby boomers and Gen X'ers were typically more loyal to companies as they were raised with the belief (and experience) that if they spent 20+ years of their life at the same company, then they would be rewarded with raises and eventually a pension that would keep them comfortable in retirement. Due to massive layoffs and cutbacks in the 80's-90's, Gen Y'ers saw their parents' loyalty to a company rewarded with job loss and total instability. I think that resulted in the now more common and younger attitude or suspicion that large companies don't really care about their employees, regardless of loyalty. Most Gen Y'ers now have a more selfish perspective on the job market, and if their current job doesn't offer the pay they are seeking, they will very willingly "self-promote" by jumping ship to a better paying job.

Basically, we don't have much to lose; we have a booming job market and a lack of responsibilities (families and mortgages). Instead of waiting for their jobs to become redundant and then promptly laid off, most are jumping ship preemptively to get the salary and benefits they feel they deserve, and most importantly, they know they can get.

So what's a giant impersonal company to do? They could start by offering more money of course, but I honestly doubt that would increase company loyalty if the job itself isn't good enough. I personally would sacrifice a huge paycheck for a job that I find challenging and rewarding on other levels. Some companies have realized this and offer alternatives to increase company loyalty, like RRSP contributions, profit sharing and better training programs.

I guess I feel sort of stuck in the middle. I've made a very minimal attempt at a post-secondary education, so I totally accept that I won't be making 65,000$+ a year anytime soon. But at the same time money doesn't actually motivate me, but instead the opportunity to increase my skills and experiences (I think a result of not being in post secondary).

So really now I'm at a crossroads. I don't know if I should spend 4+ years and 20 grand in university to prove to other people that I can be committed to something for that long, or if I should just go ahead and invest the same amount of time in an entry level position to work my way up to that salary.

Basically, I'm confused. I'd regret not going to uni or college right away, except the traveling and experiences I had by not going to school are what have made me who I am today.

To sum up: This post has no point and I need to get motivated to do something I'm not sure of :P