Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Gig economy/ Employers disclose commission structure

Nov. 17, 2017 "Finding stability with a new approach to the gig economy": Today I found this article by Eileen Chadnick in the Globe and Mail:

EILEEN CHADNICK Principal of Big Cheese Coaching in Toronto and author of Ease: Manage Overwhelm in Times of Crazy Busy

People of all ages and experience are expressing some anxiety around the new way of work, which is increasingly contract- and gig-oriented.

Surprisingly, many within the millennial generation are voicing this concern, wanting to settle into something more secure. They want a fulltime, long-term job with benefits, growth potential/vertical-promotion possibilities … in other words, some of what their boomer parents had in their careers.

Uh oh – those times have changed. Welcome to the gig economy. Get a gig, then another, and another …

Stability and security are reasonable wants but today’s career landscape is increasingly different from that which the boomer generation navigated.

Increasingly, organizations are shifting to what can be described as an “agile work force.”

More contract and freelance hiring, which lends itself to a more dynamic and flexible work force serving “just-in-time” needs and evolving requirements. While “FTE” (full-time equivalent) roles still have a significant place in our career landscape, it’s a good idea to hold that notion of “permanent” lightly these days.

But all this doesn’t mean we have to completely forego the notion of career security. We just need a new approach and mindset about career security for today’s realities.

Stay nimble; be quick

Much of your career security will depend on how quickly you can adapt – either within your current role or on to another. The pace of change continues to accelerate. Those who can learn to roll with this will find themselves more secure in their job prospects and within their emotional well-being.

Know your superpowers

According to a LinkedIn @Work study, Canadians are known to be modest. This is not an asset.

The gig economy will insist you get to know yourself better, because you will need to sell yourself again and again. Knowing your skills, accomplishments and superpowers will give you confidence (valuable in itself), and help you get your next gig as you continuously freshen up your career narrative.

Leave nothing on the table

A new gig can provide a new opportunity to expand your career potential by learning new skills, meeting new people (for career-long networking) and conquering new challenges.

Even if a gig isn’t ideal, you might still find something of value in the experience. With the perspective that nothing is wasted, then every experience can serve a purpose. Optimize, maximize and make sure every gig matters in some way.

Be open to lateral moves

If you think the only way to grow is via vertical ascent, think again. Lateral moves can be expansive, too. Don’t get too stuck on titles; many people have built robust careers with some side steps and zig-zag moves.

Build – don’t burn – bridges

In a gig economy, you will meet a lot more people in your career. You will also end/leave jobs more often. Build bridges wherever you go and continue to nurture a healthy network.

And never burn a bridge when leaving or completing a contract, even if it was a toxic experience. You never know who you will meet in your next gig and/or need a reference from.

Build your inner-game resilience

A gig career has many benefits – but no question, it can also be stressful. Learn to manage anxiety when in times of uncertainty.

Your mental, emotional and physical well-being will be a significant factor to your success.

Money matters

With less certainty and potentially more income interruptions, the gig economy can present new financial realities. Spend within your means and save more for those rainy days. Get advice from a financial planning professional who understands and can advise in this new paradigm.

The gig economy presents new challenges (and opportunities) for all of us but with the right moves you can create more security in your “career-ability.”

Stay focused and do your best work wherever you go. Build healthy networks. Concurrently, keep your eyes open and on the horizon and always be career-ready for your next move.

Jan. 1, 2018 "Are employers obligated to disclose their commission structure to employees?": Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:


As an inside sales rep, my husband's compensation is salary plus commission.

A monthly report summarizes sales and targets for all the staff but leaves out the formula for how the commission is calculated for the inside and outside reps.

When he asked for clarification and transparency, his manager told him not to worry about it, basically refusing to provide the information.

Is there any legislation that compels employers to share commission calculations with employees?


Daniel Lublin

Partner at Whitten & Lublin Employment Lawyers, Toronto

Each province has legislation that addresses employment standards, which are designed to protect employees.

In Ontario, employers are required to provide a pay statement for each paycheque that explains the wage rate, how the paycheque was calculated and the amount and purpose of any deductions from wages.

In British Columbia, when an employee is paid commissions, employers have to provide a pay statement explaining how commissions are calculated for work the employee is paid for.

In Alberta, an employer must keep records of all wages and upon request of an employee, the employer must provide a detailed statement explaining the employee's earnings and how they were calculated.

Employers who violate employment standards legislation can be subject to penalties and fines that vary among the different jurisdictions.

The bottom line: Your husband should be provided with a wage statement that explains his commissions.


Doug Ewen

Certified Human Resources Executive, Midland, Ont.

Although the company may have reasons for not disclosing the commission structure, it can be frustrating and demotivating for those affected, particularly if commission makes up a significant portion of their compensation.

From a company standpoint, the manager is wrong for simply saying don't worry, without explanation. The company and the manager are missing a tremendous opportunity to direct sales, motivate the team and earn credibility.

If your husband likes his job, then he should continue to request an answer in a professional manner. However, don't just go in with the problem – go in with some suggestions. He needs to provide compelling benefits for the company to formalize and disclose the information. Before his next discussion, quantify those benefits, including emphasis on key products, reduced stress on the sales team as a result of uncertainty and better focus on customer needs, among others.

His goal in this situation is simply to get an answer. Either he convinces the company to create and disclose a formal commission structure or he gets an explanation as to why they cannot or will not set the structure. The key on his part is preparation. He is a sales professional; use that skill to make his case for an answer.

Once he gets his answer (whether it's yes, no, or no with an explanation) he then needs to decide if he can work with it. If he can, carry on and drop it. If he cannot, then he needs to move on to a job with more earnings clarity.

"Military veterans in business"

Dec. 30, 2017 "Leadership lessons on supporting military veterans in business": Today I found this article by Paul Struthers in the Globe and Mail.  I couldn't copy and paste it, but here it is:

Then I found this article by him, and some of it is reworded:

As we commemorated Remembrance Day in November, we were reminded of all that military men and women do for our country. They risk their lives so that we can enjoy freedom. They know what it takes to work hard, to take risks, to be self-sufficient and resilient. They are true heroes, and we have an obligation and a duty to thank them for keeping us safe by making sure their transition back into civilian life is as easy as possible.

Following this year’s Invictus Games in Toronto, I caught up with a few of the veterans involved in the games— either as athletes, mentors or sponsors —to hear about the leadership lessons they gained from serving in the military, their perspectives on what it’s like re-entering civilian life, starting a business or entering the workforce.

I also had a chance to learn about their opinions on what companies and government officials can do to better serve veteran men and women following their military careers. Here’s what they had to say.

Paul Struthers: Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you started your business?

Joel Guindon, Retired Corporal and Team Canada athlete in the 2017 Invictus Games:
After being released from the military, I struggled to find a job that was flexible enough to fit my medical needs. That’s why I decided to launch a business around motivating and inspiring veterans and other individuals to overcome the most challenging times in their life.

I am now a motivational speaker on such topics as mental health, transitioning from the Armed Forces to civilian jobs and post-traumatic stress injuries. It brings me tremendous joy to know that I can help veterans and people experiencing similar struggles, and give them hope to believe they are not alone and that tomorrow will be a better day.

Bruno Guevremont, Retired Royal Canadian Navy Diver and Team Canada Captain for the 2016 Invictus Games:

After being medically released from the CAF in 2014, I turned to fitness as a form of therapy. Recognizing how it helped me with my own recovery process, I was inspired to open a CrossFit gym and personal training business in order to give others a new outlook on life through fitness and life coaching.

Through my business, as well as my experience with the Invictus Games, I’ve been dedicated to supporting the health and wellbeing of veterans and the emergency services community.

Vicky Gosling OBE, Group Captain and CEO of the 2016 Invictus Games:
I am currently the Director of the Sage Foundation’s Military Program – Sage Serving Heroes. Having introduced Sage to the Invictus Games as a corporate sponsor, my subsequent employment with them was a fortunate opportunity; in particular I have enjoyed the challenge of creating the strategy for their robust and enduring Serving Heroes Programme.

PS: What did the military teach you about leadership that’s transferrable to the business world?

JG: Coming from a Reconnaissance unit, we always put great value on leading by example and committing ourselves 100% at all times. We have been trained to lead with uncompromised integrity, effective and efficient logistics planning, decisive implementation while remaining calm under pressure.

Furthermore, my experience with the Reconnaissance unit has taught me how to be a good listener and encourage all team members’ input, work effectively with teammates from diverse backgrounds to broaden the range of assessments, take great care of my teammates, and value the importance of punctuality.

VG: Through the Military you are privileged to receive first-class leadership training. If you are equipped to deal with the challenges of battle, you are more than equipped for the hurdles that you may encounter in a business environment. Military personnel are mission-orientated, masters in navigating risk, and agile in thought processes, all of which are fundamental skills for a successful business.

PS: What was it like assimilating back into the workforce, and what support have you had along this journey?

JG: It has not been an easy process for a few reasons. First, I am currently unable to work 5 consecutive days due to post-traumatic injuries, and it’s hard to find an employer that can accommodate my medical requirements with regards to job attendance.

Secondly, with the military having trained me to be mission and goal-driven, ‘doing what is necessary to get the job done’ has always been an instinctive path to follow and also one that I’ve become good at, but now as a civilian working in a unionized environment, the goal is no longer so overt or easily quantified. Many veterans like me require a transitional process in order to integrate back into civilian life.

Most of the support I’ve received has come from Veterans Affairs Canada. I’m enrolled in their vocational rehabilitation program, which aims to send me back to school once I’ve completely recovered from my injuries.

For the business, I’ve dived into researching the topics I speak about so I can really understand the kind of battles people are going through, and reflect on how my story can help them get through it. Naturally, in my talks I draw a lot from my own experience in the military, the hard lessons I learned along the way and how it made me who I am today.

BG: It was hard at first. I find that civilians do things at the last minute possible, which is the complete opposite of how the military operates. Time management was a challenge because of this. Luckily for me, I found True Patriot Love. Their mentors have really helped me transition emotionally.

From a business perspective, Sage has played an integral part in helping me transition to the corporate world. Their solutions are designed to help small business owners come off the ground, and they’ve placed emphasis on supporting veterans like myself through their sponsorship of the Invictus Games and the Sage Serving Heroes program.

PS: What are some of the biggest challenges facing veterans as they embark on their civilian business journeys today, and how can employers and policymakers better support them in this process?

BG: Once enlisted, the military becomes your identity. That was what we’ve been conditioned for, so it can be hard to find life after the military. Communicating skillsets can be particularly challenging for veterans. The corporate world is looking for our skills; we just need to communicate that more effectively. We hope employers will show patience and understanding in that process.

JG: Having policies aimed at accommodating veterans with PTSI and OSI and understanding that these veterans are mission-driven will allow employers to better capitalize on their expertise and leadership skills.

Being mission-driven allows veterans to focus on what needs to be done to effectively and efficiently reach goals (i.e. working under stress). Education for employers on how to work with mission-orientated and goal-driven veterans with disabilities will also help empower veterans to thrive.

More employers should realize that despite not being able to work as many consecutive days as the required norm, veterans are incredibly productive and highly efficient in helping businesses achieve goals.

VG: It is imperative that organisations are aware of the exceptional qualities and skills that a veteran can bring to their organisation. The combination of a veteran’s ability to lead whilst being a team player and thriving under pressure, are attributes corporations should aspire to have in their business.

 In order to ensure a successful transition for the veteran, it is critical that organisations consider the requirement to provide suitable training, appropriate mentorship, empowerment and a sense of belonging; these are undoubtedly key ingredients to guaranteeing the best outcome for both the business and the individual.

Paul Struthers is Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Sage Canada. Mr. Struthers is responsible for Sage’s & overall business in Canada, working alongside Sage’s cherished network of customers, partners, and accountants.

Jan. 1, 2018 "The five top leadership issues for 2018": Today I found this article by Merge Gupta-Sunderji in the Globe and Mail:

Ms. Gupta-Sunderji is a leadership speaker and consultant.

Here are my predictions for the top five employee-related trends in the upcoming year.

My hope is that this list will give you insights as to where you should focus and emphasize your energy and effort as you go boldly into the future.

My forecasts come predominantly from two sources – from hundreds of conversations I have had with people in organizations this past year, all the way from senior executives to front-line workers, and from my ongoing perusal of a wide variety of publications and academic journals.

None of these five issues are new; in fact, they've been gradually gaining traction for the past several years. But in 2018, I anticipate that attention to these five areas will gain the greatest momentum.

The increasing profile of mental wellness

At least four out of five employees have experienced the physical and psychological symptoms of poor mental health in the workplace, ranging from short-term stress to chronic serious conditions. Fortunately, the taboo and negative stigma attached to mental illness continue to fade.

Nowadays, employees struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar and ADHD are not only commonly diagnosed and treated, but are more likely to be accepted and supported by their workplace peers. If your organization doesn't already have a system in place to offer mental wellness tools and resources to employees, then 2018 is the year you need to get on it.

The aging work force

As the last of the baby boomers move into their fifties and beyond, they're living longer, healthier lives, and that presents two challenges. Some are choosing to continue to work and retire later; but just as many are opting to leave earlier.

Those that stay in their leadership roles often block positions, making it harder for younger workers to progress, resulting in higher turnover and frustration in the lower and mid-ranks. On the other hand, those who choose to take early retirement invariably take decades of tacit knowledge with them.

This loss of undocumented, intuitive experiential information about people, business processes and informal procedures can leave huge gaps in an organization's cumulative intelligence. Both these scenarios can cripple your company, so it's up to you to actively identify and work to mitigate these situations.

The influx of Generation Z

Generation Z will start turning 23 in 2018, which means that increasing numbers of them will be working in more than just fast food and retail. Just like millennials changed the face of work, so will these young entrants to the work force. In many ways, Generation Z are similar to millennials, but most of their traits are further accentuated.

Think even better multi-taskers, even higher expectations, even more global, more entrepreneurial and more tech-savvy. If you're seeking to employ high-performers in this age group, then it behooves you to understand more about who they are, what motivates them and how they operate to get things done.

The proliferation of flexible work

The trend toward remote work and flex-time continues. Employees are attracted to flexible work arrangements because they see it as freedom – to be productive, stay motivated and save time.

So much so that if your organization doesn't offer it as an option, at least periodically, it will put you at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting, hiring and keeping top performers. If you're a leader who believes that time at the office proves a strong work ethic, then you may need to seriously question your point of view. Or else, watch while your best and brightest walk out the door … right over to your competition.

The advent of artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence continues to transform the world around us, and the workplace is no exception. Robotics are already commonplace in manufacturing, but the significant change next year will be greater use of chatbots and voice-enabled virtual assistants.

In the customer-service sector, chatbots already provide around-the-clock, personalized, automated conversations between company and consumer. In human-resource departments, chatbots are giving employees quick and easy answers to frequently asked questions. And voice-enabled virtual assistants are already replacing entry-level positions in many organizations. What are the opportunities in your company?