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

Monday, May 15, 2017

"Priorize profit over purpose at the start of a new business"/ "Refugees find footing as a business owners"

Apr. 10, 2017
"Prioritize profit over purpose at the start of a new business": Today I found this article by Harvey  Schachter in the Globe and Mail

When starting a business, profit, rather than some grand purpose, must be the goal from the outset, serial entrepreneur and investor Ed McLaughlin argues.

He’s neither mercenary nor cold-hearted. He knows the odds: Most new businesses fail.
To counter that, you must focus intently on profit from Day 1 – actually, from even before then. If you do well, then you can build an even stronger business and some day give back to your community.

Author of The Purpose is Profit, he faced those odds in the 1990s recession, when he came across a memo left accidentally at the copier of the giant real estate firm he was working for.
It contained three scenarios for the future, two of which specifically excluded him. In fact, he wasn’t turfed, but he decided to take his fate in his own hands and start a firm that would handle real estate matters as an outsourcer for large companies.

With two kids under the age of five and a modest amount of money for starting up, failure was not an option. “I needed to make a profit. It was not start up and see if it would work,” he says, in an interview. “I had one nest egg, not three. It was survival.”

He has a chart in his office, a continuum, with user growth at one end and profit at the other end. Some businesses, unicorns as they are known, can have exponential growth in users and profits as well. But they’re rare. Usually, you must focus on one or the other. For most entrepreneurs, that means sustainable profits with modest growth.

Devise a plan to generate revenue

His 10 Commandments of Start-Up Profits – published as a manifesto on the ChangeThis website – warns not to start up until you know how you will generate revenue; understand how much it will cost to run your business; identify how you’re going to make a profit; have preorders to validate your business model and liftoff plans; and have lined up the financing to cover operations until you break even, which typically will take 18 months.

That sounds elementary. But it’s also uncommon. He’s not asking for perfect projections. Some of the calculations will be back of the envelope. While revenue can be difficult, expenses should be clearer to calculate. You need to be honest and cautious.

Find your user base

It’s vital that you line up customers even before launch, proving the product or service has appeal. In his case, two of his existing clients agreed to stick with him when he left to start his own company. “There’s no point in jumping off the cliff and then see if the parachute works. It’s better to test. Find out if somebody will pay for what you’re offering,” he says in the interview.

Minimize expenses

As well as calculating costs, you want to minimize them. That can start at conception. He kept employees’ salaries low, at the level they needed to subsist, but compensated by giving them a share of the profits. “They cashed in, big time, later,” he says. He recommends looking, as he did, for an office sublet, one that will come due in about 18 months.

Usually, you can negotiate a good discount for such vacant space and if the business is struggling, you are not locked in for a long period. He also paid his rental costs up front, from his nest egg, but that meant his expenses for the next period were kept low.

Watch those expenses like a hawk. Your ability to build a profitable business is directly proportional to your ability to take charge of the money. He was chief financial officer for the first three years as well as chief executive officer and reviewed the numbers every night to ensure he wasn’t getting ahead of himself in expenditures. His staff knew he was watching their spending – a good message to send them.

Create incentive for staff

Another commandment is to create a profit-based reward structure. In his firm, almost everyone was part of that sharing, but he stresses with sales staff in particular that you want it based on profit not revenue, so they aren’t sacrificing the bottom line to gain orders. And if you can, create profit centres to scale your business up: When you establish new product lines or new geographical centres of operation, make each one responsible for generating a profit.

In every case, his advice is directed at one central point. The fixation should be on profit – profit as soon as possible – from the moment you start thinking about going into business. Don’t be seduced by other dreams.

Apr. 26, 2017 "Refugees find footing as business owners": Today I found this article by Cailynn Klingbeil in the Globe and Mail:

Becoming an entrepreneur in a new country poses particular challenges, but many newcomers to Canada are seeing success

Mohammad Alftih fled his war-torn hometown of Aleppo with his wife and four children, living in Lebanon before coming to Canada under private sponsorship. Eleven months after the Alftihs arrived in Peterborough, Ont., they opened a new restaurant downtown.

Mr. Alftih brings his experience operating two businesses in Syria to his new role as general manager of Oasis Mediterranean Grill. His wife, Randa, cooks Syrian dishes, and the couple has hired four employees.

“Canadian people, they came and came and came,” Mr. Alftih says, describing the opening of his new business in December, 2016. “They encouraged me and supported me. For that reason, I did well.”

Across Canada, Syrian newcomers-turned-business owners are finding their footing. Some entrepreneurs, such as Mr. Alftih, have opened storefront businesses, while others continue to build them out of their basements or local markets.

Between November, 2015, and January, 2017, 40,081 Syrians arrived in Canada. Entrepreneurship can be the path of least resistance for those newcomers, says Alex LeBlanc, managing director of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council, which has overseen the province’s resettlement efforts of government-assisted refugees.

“If you come and your credentials aren’t recognized, there’s a language barrier, employers are reluctant to hire you, then starting and running your own business can be a great way to earn a living,” he says.

For Mr. Alftih, entrepreneurship is the only career path he knows. In Syria, he operated a printing factory that specialized in clothing for European markets, and before that, an export business. He didn’t see opportunities for similar businesses in a city of Peterborough’s size, so he looked to other industries.

Mr. Alftih’s partner in the restaurant is a university professor he met at his mosque. The business would not be possible without that encouragement and financial backing, Mr. Alftih says, as well as help from Safe Haven For Refugees Peterborough, a group of 15 people who privately sponsored the Alftih family.

Starting a new business in a new country poses particular challenges, as Rita Khanchat discovered. A broadcast engineer in Aleppo, Ms. Khanchat came to Calgary under private sponsorship and quickly started a catering company. But the venture stalled at the start of this year, Ms. Khanchat says, because of the expense of using a commercial kitchen. “We are looking for a new commercial kitchen, and maybe after a while, if we find a good one and have sponsors, we can start again.”

Another barrier to entrepreneurship, Mr. LeBlanc says, may exist for Syrian refugees who are receiving social assistance from the province. Some government assisted refugees have made the transition from federal support, received for their first year in Canada, to provincial income assistance, which carries different rules for allowable earnings.

“I’m aware of some situations where families or individuals started a business, but found the clawbacks were prohibitive for self-employment,” he says.

For the Alhishan family, who arrived in Fredericton as government-assisted refugees in January, 2016, selling food one day a week at the Cultural Centre’s market has led to new opportunities. For nearly a year, Fawaz Alhishan, 21, has sold food every Saturday with his two brothers and father. His mother, Suphieh, cooks for the business, named Suphieh’s Taste of Syria. The food stand has helped his family practise English, Mr. Alhishan says, and also led to a part-time job for him at the Cultural Centre.

“One day maybe we’ll have a restaurant; I hope so, but it’s a long time away,” Mr. Alhishan says.

In Calgary, Syrian refugee Mona Bassaj continues to run her yearold business, Designs by Mona, out of her basement. “It’s going well, and slowly but surely, I’m growing,” Ms. Bassaj says, speaking through a translator.

Ms. Bassaj owned and operated a small sewing factory in the suburbs of Damascus with her husband before arriving in Canada in January, 2016, privately sponsored by Ms. Bassaj’s sister. Ms. Bassaj works full time at her business. She recently connected with a fabric-store owner looking for a seamstress, which has led to sewing dresses for brides and bridesmaids. The biggest obstacle, Ms. Bassaj says, has been learning a new language. She’s taking English lessons once a week, but still relies on her sister for help communicating with clients.

In Hamilton, a creative partnership is behind a growing catering company, called Karam Kitchen. The business was co-founded by Brittani Farrington, an American who has lived in Hamilton since 2015. When the church Ms. Farrington attends offered to throw a welcome dinner for government assisted refugees, three Syrian women Ms. Farrington had befriended insisted on cooking the food.

“They saw everyone devouring the food and loving it,” Ms. Farrington says. “Those women asked me how they could sell their food in Canada, and that is what sparked the business.”
Ms. Farrington, who has previous experience in restaurant marketing, partnered with the three budding chefs and launched a Kickstarter campaign to cover Karam Kitchen’s initial operating costs. The July, 2016, campaign met its goal of $6,500 after three days, and ultimately raised $17,406. A recent Kickstarter campaign raised $25,748 for a delivery van. Today, Karam Kitchen employs five Syrian women as part-time chefs, as well as an operations director and Ms. Farrington, the administrative director. Everyone earns an hourly wage of $12.50.

While Canadians are helping Syrians launch and run businesses, some Syrians are starting philanthropic ventures of their own, aiming to help others as they have been helped.
Reham Abazid has raised nearly $4,700 since January by organizing monthly markets to sell food and crafts in Saint John. The money will go toward purchasing sewing machines for widowed refugees in Jordan, so the women have a way to support themselves and their children, Ms. Abazid says. Ms. Abazid spent 3 1⁄2 years in Jordan, after she left Daraa, Syria, with her husband, young son and 18-day-old daughter. The family arrived in Canada as government assisted refugees in January, 2016.

“I know how difficult it can get [in Jordan],” she says, speaking through a translator. “I already have so much help and am doing so much better that I can now give assistance to those who are still having difficulties.”

The 2017 Globe and Mail Small Business Summit is a one-day conference of insightful sessions, proven business growth strategies and innovative ideas from the country’s brightest business leaders. Full details at

Ashton Online/ home inspection

Ashton Online:

May 4, 2017 Home inspection:

As a home inspector, it’s your job to help your clients make an informed decision on housing by providing them with clear and detailed reporting on all areas of their property. Everything from plumbing and electrical, roofing and structure, YOU are the expert.

Being a home inspector can be a natural career step for those with experience in trades. Using the knowledge and skills learned on the job helps ensure credibility in home inspection reports. An added benefit of being a home inspector is that your services are in demand throughout the entire year. This means no more seasonal work, irregular shifts and uncertain work scheduling.

My opinion: I did not know that.

Standards of Excellence

Home inspection courses at Ashton College are recognized by the Province of British Columbia. As a licensed profession, home inspection in British Columbia was previously supervised by four separate associations, each with its own set of standards. Recent changes to the profession were implemented by Consumer Protection BC, bringing a universal standard throughout the province. The new standards will be under the banner of the CSA (Canadian Standards Association), allowing for improved oversight of the profession, as well as better consumer education.


Home Inspection is a licenced profession. Consumer Protection BC issues licences to individuals who perform home inspection services based on the requirements of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and the Home Inspector Licencing Regulation. In order to apply for a licence, applicants must meet the necessary requirements, including the education requirement from the designated associations or authorities to operate as a home inspector.

Home Inspection Examinations

Upon completion of coursework, you will be required to take a Canadian Home Inspection Examination (CHIE ) in order to get the certification. Exams are administered online but must be taken at an approved test centre. Ashton Testing Services has a long standing relationship with home inspectors in British Columbia. To take the exam at Ashton Testing Services, students pay regular proctor rates of $40.00 per hour, which is payable prior to the examination.

My opinion: This doesn't sound very interesting to me.  This was years ago, but I was talking to my cousin L and I asked him what his job was.  It was like a home inspector, or house appraisal.  This is a helpful and meaningful career about people's homes.  People need this service. 

Also I have to reference The Simpsons where Marge meets the lawyer Lionel Hutz who is also a real estate agent.

Lionel: I find homes for people.
Marge: Finding homes for people.

Financial services:

Ashton College offers financial services licensing courses designed to help you start or further your career in the industry. The Canadian Investment Funds Course (CIFC), Canadian Securities Course (CSC) and Life Licence Qualification Program (LLQP), equip you with the licensing requirements to establish yourself as a financial services professional and gain the qualifications that employers in the industry are demanding.

Increase your knowledge, skills and industry standing with Ashton's Financial Services courses and programs, designed to help students jump-start or accelerate their careers in the financial industry.

For those who want a career in financial planning, our CFP® Certification Education Programs will provide you with the skills required to step into this dynamic career. Our CFP® Certification Education Program consists of the Core Curriculum courses, and we also offer the CFP® Certification Education Program Capstone Course for those wishing to continue building their technical knowledge and skills after completing the Financial Planning Examination Level 1.

Graduates of our Financial Services department will have a strong foundation in areas such as investment products. Investment planning and personal financial management. Specific learning outcomes will vary by program, but all Ashton College Financial Services graduates will benefit from the increased prestige associated with financial designations and certifications.

CFP® Certification Education Program Capstone Course

CFP® Certification Education Program (Online & In-Class)

Elder Planning Counselor (EPC)

eCPD seminars:

Digitally Delivered CPDs:

Regulated occupations in Canada require professionals to complete a set number of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours to continue their membership. Maintain your full-status membership and receive more than just CPD hours with Ashton College.
Experience a higher level of learning and benefit from a lineup of relevant and timely topics, presented by distinguished experts. All seminar topics are intended to be broad spectrum so that the speaker can discuss relevant issues that can apply to your career.
Flexible Seminar Attendance Options

eCPDs from Ashton College are delivered digitally from our campus in Vancouver BC. Using the latest in webinar technology, you connect with the speaker and your fellow attendees for an immersive, interactive learning experience. As well as a live online format, sessions are recorded and are available as a recorded video for convenient viewing.
Accredited Human Resources Seminars
Our Human Resources CPD seminars are accredited for CPHR hours by BCHRMA, SAHRP and HRMAM.

CPD – How to Address Change Management

This seminar will provide participants with an introduction and overview to the performance management process.
Read More »

CPD – Employee Relations: Performance Management Versus Progressive Discipline

This seminar will provide participants with an introduction and overview to the performance management process.
Read More »

CPD – Workplace Health and Safety

This is a practical seminar for those responsible or interested in getting involved with workplace health and safety.
Read More »

CPD – Employee Relations: How to Produce Desirable Employee Behaviours

This session will provide participants with strategies on how to align employees with the organizational framework.
Read More »

"Four steps to making better decisions"/ Amy Cuddy

Jan. 7, 2016: These are business articles, but they could still be applied to making decisions outside of work and make decisions in other areas of your life.

"Have a tough decision?  Here are three ways you can make it with confidence": I cut out this article in the National Post on Aug. 16, 2011.  It was adapted from the Harvard Business Review, Reuters:

When you're facing a high- stakes decision, take the time to test your intuition, says Harvard Business Review.  "Even the most decisive manager can face despair when dealing with a high- stakes matter.  Next time you're up against a career- making decision, try doing these three things:

Trust and challenge your gut: In some cases, your first instinct may be right, but it's probably not based on rational thought.  It's important to question your initial reaction and test it once you've gathered more data.

Check your bias: Self-interest can be subconscious.  Recognize when you may be partial and ask a trusted peer to double-check your decision for any prejudice.

Involve others: Big decisions shouldn't happen in a vacuum.  Consult with others to gather differing opinions.  This will help you make a more informed choice and give you a better shot at winning buyin.

"Four steps to making better decisions": I cut out this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail on Mar. 27, 2013:

By Chip Heath and Dan Heath
(Crown Business, 316 pages, $29.95)

You may have heard about the increasing number of organizations experimenting with doing a “premortem” – imagining that the decision the managers are about to take will turn into a fiasco and that, later, they will have to dissect the reasons for the dismal outcome.

Such an exercise illuminates issues you might be ignoring or missing in your excitement with the prospective course of action. But a premortem is basically a negative outlook, only part of the picture.

So in their new book, Decisive, Chip Heath and Dan Heath ask you to imagine instead a “preparade” – a celebration of the fabulous success arising from your decision.

One challenge of preparing for success is ensuring you don’t face disastrous complications when you try to keep pace with your success. Minnetonka Corp., the maker of Softsoap, for example, was well-prepared for the blockbuster success of that product because the company had assured plentiful access to supplies of dispensers for the liquid soap.

Chip Heath is a professor of business at Stanford University and his brother, Dan, is a senior fellow at Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship. The two collaborated previously on two excellent books, Made to Stick and Switch. They have an ability to take the latest research, weave it together with entrancing stories, and present a simple framework to help you in your work.

They manage that again here, with some excellent tips for improving your decisions, and a neat four-stage conceptual formula:

1. Widen your options

A big problem in making decisions is “narrow framing,” leaping on the first decent idea that surfaces or viewing a problem in simple binary terms – yes or no. The authors point to a study by business professor Paul Nutt who, after analyzing 168 corporate decisions, found that in only 29 per cent of the cases was more than one option considered.

That tracked closely with a study by Carnegie Mellon professor Baruch Fischhoff, who found that, among teenagers, 30 per cent of the time the decision made (to go to a party, to break up with a boyfriend) was a simple yes-or-no, rather than considering other options. “Most organizations seem to be using the same decision process as hormone-crazed teenager,” the brothers say.

One antidote is to assume that none of your options would work and then, when those vanish, see what you can come up with. Also, set up several teams to consider several options at once.

2. Reality-test your options

A second villain of decision-making is the tendency to simply confirm your biases with your analysis, using self-serving information. To combat this, you must get outside your head and collect information you can trust. Here the brothers share a technique favoured by Roger Martin, dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management: For each option, consider what would have to be true for it to be the right choice. This clarifies thinking, and separates people from their biases as they analyze factors more carefully.

3. Get some distance before you decide

A third factor in bad decision-making is when emotions lead us astray. The solution is to try to distance yourself from the decision. For example, the authors suggest that when you’re struggling with several appealing options, ask yourself what you would tell your best friend to do in the situation. The options will be the same, but your perspective may change dramatically.

The authors also share a technique from business writer Suzy Welch, dubbed 10/10/10: Consider how you might feel about the decision you are intending to take 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now, and 10 years from now.

4. Prepare to be wrong

Often we’re overconfident about how things will unfold, so we need to stretch our sense of what the future might bring. One recommendation is to “bookmark the future,” as an investment analyst does by imagining the best and worst possible outcomes from a monetary choice. The premortem and preparade are also useful strategies to prepare for an uncertain future.

Books about decision-making are common these days. But the Heath brothers have a winner with their outline of the four villains of decision-making and their many practical solutions, informed not only by behavioural economics studies but also examples of successful and unsuccessful decision makers.


Howell Malham Jr., co-founder of Insight Labs, which brings some of the world’s smartest people out of boardrooms to tackle the world’s toughest problems, provides an irreverent, illustrated guide to strategy in I Have a Strategy (No You Don’t) (Jossey Bass, 215 pages, $27.95).

If you’re daunted by the feeling you aren’t visionary enough to be a successful entrepreneur, consultants Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits share some techniques about customer insight and rapid experimentation in The Lean Entrepreneur (John Wiley, 256 pages, $37.95).

In The Bankers’ New Clothes (Princeton University Press, 398 pages, $30.50) Anat Admati, a professor at Stanford University, and Martin Hellwig, the first chairman of the Advisory Scientific Committee of the European Systemic Risk Board on banking, look at what’s wrong with banking and what to do about it.

Jun. 1, 2016 Amy Cuddy: I found this article on Yahoo:

Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy is perhaps best known as the creator of the "power pose."

As she described in her 2012 TED Talk, power-posing is about taking advantage of the body-mind connection: You adopt the body language of powerful people so that you feel and act more confident.

But power posing is just one path to a state of calm self-confidence that will help you succeed in challenging situations. That state, which Cuddy calls "presence," is the subject of her new book by the same name.

Cuddy defines presence as being attuned to and able to express your full potential. When you're present, you approach challenges without a sense of threat.

Whether you're interviewing for a job or pitching your startup, people can tell right away if you're present, and they judge you more positively when you are.

In an interview with Business Insider, Cuddy said there are three things people see when you're present:

1. You believe your story

When you're present, you demonstrate conviction and passion so that other people come to believe your story, too.

In the book, Cuddy describes a yet-unpublished study she conducted, in which participants went through mock interviews. For five minutes, they had to persuade the interviewer that they were the best person for the job, while being completely honest. All the while, the interviewer held a completely neutral expression.

Three independent pairs of judges watched videos of the interviews, looking for presence, believability, and hireability. Sure enough, the interviewees who were rated more present were also rated more believable and more hireable.

Cuddy writes: "Presence mattered to the judges because it signaled authenticity, believability, and genuineness; it told the judges that they could trust the person, that what they were observing was real."

2. You're confident without being arrogant

In the book, Cuddy quotes a venture capitalist describing what turns him off during an entrepreneur's pitch: "They're too high energy and aggressive, maybe a little pushy. It seems defensive, I don't expect them to have all the answers. Actually, I don't want them to have all the answers."

Being open to feedback is key, Cuddy told Business Insider. The more you shut down other people and their perspectives, the less appealing you become. That's because it can seem like you're trying to cover up a sense of uncertainty.

"A truly confident person does not require arrogance, which is nothing more than a smoke screen for insecurity," Cuddy writes. "A confident person can be present to others, hear their perspectives, and integrate those views in ways that create value for everyone."

3. Your verbal and nonverbal communication is in sync

When we're being inauthentic — or when we're intentionally deceiving someone — Cuddy said our verbal and nonverbal communication is incongruent.

In the book, she explains that's because you're constantly trying to adjust what you're saying and doing to create the impression you think others want to see.

On the other hand, when we're present, our verbal and nonverbal behavior matches. People aren't distracted trying to figure out why something feels "off," and they're more likely to put their trust in you.

Ultimately, if you're confident in yourself, other people will be more likely to be confident in you, too. It doesn't necessarily mean you'll get the job or the investor's money, but you'll walk away knowing that you did the best you could — and the right opportunity for you is out there.

My week:

May 5, 2017 Medical clinic interview: I did a job interview here a couple of days ago.


1. It was 2 buses to get there and it comes frequently.

2. The shifts are Mon. -Fri. 9am-5pm.  Full-time.

3. The pay is good.  No benefits.

4. I can do the duties with answering phones, filing.


1. The main con was that it is a very busy clinic.  The phone is ringing every 10 min.  There are up to 80 patients a day.

I am 1 of 2 receptionists working on a shift.  It seems so busy and stressful that I would be stressed out.

My opinion: I would still work there if I got hired.  There is the saying in life:

You regret the things you don't do in life than the things you did.

But then again, we have all done things in life we regret too. You know like mistakes.

The point is, I was 1 of 6 being interviewed.  They were to call by this time and they didn't, so I didn't get hired.  That's fine.

Asian restaurant interview: I got another interview.


1. The shifts are Mon. -Fri. 10:30-3:30pm or 10:30-5:30pm.  It depends on how busy it is.

2. The pay is min. wage and we pool all the tips together.  The kitchen gets 30%.


1. It seems like a lot of people there work 6 days a week.  They do want you to work on the weekends.  I told them I wanted to work at my Restaurant #1 on the weekends.

2. They seem to want open availability in case to cover other shifts like nights.  I don't have to work at nights.

My opinion: She did say my English was good, I have my Proserve, and experience. 

It seemed like a maybe for both of us.  By all means, there could be an applicant who says he or she has open availability, Proserve, experience, and can get to the restaurant easily. I saw this ad on the internet and checked it out.  I typed in Edmonton, AB for jobs.  Only 8 jobs pop out.  I did not type in what kind of job I was looking for, I just wanted to see how many jobs are listed there.

Sasha Exeter: I found this magazine with her on the cover while I was at the job interview at the medical office.  I looked her up because it said she was a blogger.  She's more about lifestyle, fashion and food.

May 9, 2017 Good weather: Over the weekend, it was really warm.  I was able to sit on my lawn chair in my backyard and read the newspaper.  That's my favorite activity in the summer.

Work and reward: I want to add to something I posted:

Sept. 24, 2016 "Bad state of play": I found this article by Ana Swanson in the Edmonton Journal today:

Danny Izquierdo, a 22-year-old who lives with his parents in Silver Spring, Md., has found little satisfaction in a series of part-time, low wage jobs he’s held since graduating from high school.

But the video games he plays, including FIFA 16 and Rocket League on PlayStation and Pokemon Go on his smartphone, are a different story.

“When I play a game, I know if I have a few hours I will be rewarded,” he said.
“With a job, it’s always been up in the air with the amount of work I put in and the reward.”

My opinion: It's not always true.  I know that when I go to work, I do my job and I get paid.  Money is the reward.  At least in the 2nd restaurant job.

At the 1st restaurant job, I get tips and that can vary a bit.

My May 9, 2017 opinion: I want to add that there are some jobs that are 100% commission.  You don't know if you can make a sale.

I remember I did a phone interview at Sport Check (at Kingsway mall) and Urban Behaviour (at City Centre mall).  They said: "You either get paid min. wage or 100% commission.  Whichever pays more, we'll pay you that."

For example, you make $100 in min. wage, but you make $105 at commission.  They will pay you the commission.

When I did the phone interview at Sport Check, it was in 2006.  I was working at the Office Supply store after I got laid off from Call Centre #1.  Kingsway was kind of some effort to get to.  I told them I had a job.

I did the job interview at Urban Behavior in 2006 for the holiday season.  I didn't get hired.

Restaurant jobs: I was talking to a co-worker of mine.  She says she has tried to stay away from working at Bourbon Street at West Ed mall, but she ends up there.

Earl's: She was a table setter and then she quit because of the dress code.  White shirt, black skirt and purple tights.  I had a problem with the purple tights.

She worked at 3 of the restaurants there.  I'm not saying she's a job hopper, but you have to be careful of what you put on your resume so you don't look like one.

She did say she was looking for a 2nd job, but not sure if she wants a 2nd serving job.

Today I did something different.  I looked for only administrative assistant jobs, and no restaurant jobs.  I usually look for both.

Job complaint: too much competition: I know I'm not supposed to write about this.  I will make one mild one:

There is a lot of competition.  I remember talking to my career counselor at MacEwan way back in 2012.  She says if I go to Kijiji, everybody goes there and there is a lot of competition.

If I go to big companies like ATCO, Enbridge with a big name, there's lot of competition.

The tip is to go to a smaller company and less known.  I have done that.

Also I go on Indeed too.  I apply for a job, and then it tells me how there are a number of applicants for that position.

May. 11, 2017 Bar interview: The other day I did an interview at a bar to be like an administrative assistant.  When I was there, I was told that I had to drive around to 5 locations around the city like 5 days a week. 

I have to look and count the inventory of the alcohol and write it down.  I can't call a worker at the bar and count it through the phone, and I write it down.  So I didn't get hired.

HMV: I checked out the website to see if they still sell things online.  It turns out they don't.

I have read that Sunrise Records has bought some of the locations and will replace it.  I have low expectations of that.

I have read that 3 Wholesale Foods stores were to open in Alberta this year, but they didn't because the economy wasn't very good.  That's fine, because we can still buy groceries elsewhere.

Pop Bar: Also the Pop Bar at West Ed mall closed down.  I looked on the WEM website and it's not listed.  They sold popsicles and gelato.  You can go to Sorrentino's for gelato.

Filmmakers meetup: Yesterday I worked from 8am-3pm.  I got home and watched the new episode of Prison Break.  I psyched myself up and went to the Filmmakers meetup.

It is a mental and emotional boost.  I talked to M about Prison Break.  Also I met a new guy V.  He has been there before, but  I never met him.  I met C, I don't totally remember meeting him.  He said he was an Uber driver.  I have never met anyone who drove for Uber.

Also R came and he told me about this guy he knows who has a driller job that pays $2300 a week.  He has a mortgage and struggles to pay for it.

Tracy: He should rent out the basement of his house to make money.
R: He has 9 snakes.  Do you want to live there?  Or someone who does?
Tracy: I'm sure there would be.
R: He needs to sell the house.

May 12, 2017 Express is closing all their Canadian stores:

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Ashton Online/ Immigration consulting

May 2, 2017 Ashton Online:

Immigration consulting:

Immigration consultants are needed to help those from other countries navigate immigration laws and regulations. As an immigration consultant, you will be responsible for advising and representing individuals and groups during their immigration to Canada, and ensuring that the process is as quick and efficient as possible.

At Ashton, we also offer assistance to those wishing to write the ICCRC Full Skills exam with our live, online ICCRC Prep Course, and provide Regulated Immigration Consultants and Lawyers with a number of seminars and webinars to help them achieve the required number of CPD hours.

The accredited Immigration Consultant Diploma program prepares students to write the Full Skills Examination administered by Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) to obtain their Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) designation.

The IMCD program is designed to prepare students for a wide range of opportunities within the immigration field. Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) are eligible to work anywhere in Canada as well as in several other countries. Although the most common form of employment for RCICs is as a sole practitioner, IMCD graduates may also find employment with law firms, immigration consulting firms and government agencies.

Immigration Consulting Diploma:

This program is designed to equip individuals with knowledge about immigration law and policy, immigration classes and temporary status, Refugees and rules of professional conduct, as well as its practical application.

This program is accredited by the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC). For more information on becoming a Regulated Immigration Consultant, please visit the ICCRC website.

Program strategies and activities include presentations with intensive interactive discussions and a simulated exam exercise with ICCRC sample questions, allowing students to review and recall knowledge in a collaborative environment.

Ashton College Immigration Consultant Diploma graduates receive a discounted fee for this course.

The ICCRC Full Skills Exam Prep Course is delivered both in-class and online. In-class training is an intensive review class delivered over a weekend by our industry experts. Live-online format uses the best webinar technology to provide an interactive classroom environment and connect the student to the instructor and their classmates for real-time discussions, material review, and question and answer sessions.

Sample Webinar

Click the link below to watch a short clip of a real webinar recording of the ICCRC Prep course. This video gives you an overview of how the course is delivered in the live online format.

View Webinar Recording »

My opinion: This seems to be a very meaningful career with helping immigrants.  However, I actually watched the 2min webinar recording, and I'm kind of "eh" with it.  The teacher was this old Asian man and teaching it.  It was kind of boring.

The video was boring.  I would have to say though this is a meaningful career to help people, it wasn't really interesting.

Diploma in International Business:

In a global economy, the cross-border transportation and sales of goods, services and resources from multiple origins to multiple destinations is a complex affair. International business involves aspects of a number of interdisciplinary areas of study including international law, politics, language, accounting practices, environmentalism and culture. Understanding how these different fields intersect with one another is at the heart of international business.

Both the International Business Diploma and the Diploma in International Business Management provide the students with the necessary skills, knowledge and training to overcome cultural barriers, build lasting strategic alliances and perform effective evaluations of market products and international services. International Business Management program also includes a co-op placement (class number DIB 10) at the end of the education term.

Each course addresses essential topics within the context of global business. The curriculum ranges from macro issues involving the global economy to pragmatic topics such as the trade and transport of global commodities. The program is currently offered through in-class and online formats.

Accredited Partnership with FITT

This program is accredited by Forum for International Trade Training (FITT). Ashton graduates can apply to transfer their credits directly to FITT and complete the required assessment(s) in order to receive FITT Diploma in International Trade.

Diploma in International Business Management:

The Diploma in International Business Management provides the skills and knowledge and prepares graduates for a career in international business, with a comprehensive work term opportunity. During the work term, students will put the skills and knowledge they’ve acquired in the classroom to the test in a fast-paced, real-world environment. It allows them to gain a deeper understanding of the demands of a career in international business management, as well as valuable experience that adds considerably to the resume.

The program is structured around nine courses ranging from 30 to 60 hours of classroom time per course, and it is offered through in-class and online formats. Upon successful completion of coursework students are expected to find and secure a work term placement.

My opinion: This doesn't sound very interesting to me.

May 4, 2017 Human resources:

If you enjoy working with people, can exercise sound judgement and are diplomatic and detail-oriented, you already have the trademark attributes of a successful human resources (HR) professional.

In addition to human resources planning, HR professionals manage the overall quality and cohesiveness of company culture, including employee and labour relations. They also implement policies, programs and procedures regarding collective bargaining, training and development, occupation classification and pay and benefits administration.

Graduates of our Human Resources department will have a strong foundation in all areas of human resources management, preparing them for a wide variety of employment opportunities, including human resources administrators, recruitment officers, labour relations officers, training coordinators, health and safety specialists and employee benefits administrators.

Ashton’s Human Resources Management program is accredited by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia and Yukon (CPHR BC & YK) and allows the students with a Bachelor Degree to pursue CPHR designation without taking the NKE exam. This program can also prepare students for the National Knowledge Examination (NKE) which assesses HR knowledge and skills. This exam is essential for individuals who do not have a Bachelor Degree and would still like to become a candidate for CPHR certification. For more information about the CPHR pathways, please visit the website. Full details are also available from the relevant provincial HR association.

CPD – Employee Relations: Performance Management Versus Progressive Discipline

CPD – Workplace Health and Safety

CPD – Employee Relations: How to Produce Desirable Employee Behaviours

CPD – How To Address Change Management