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, June 29, 2015

"Only bad job might be the one you take for the wrong reasons"

May 4 "Only bad job might be the one you take for the wrong reasons": I cut out this article in the Globe and Mail by Richard Blackwell on Jun. 8, 2012.  The best advice was this part.  I thought it was so good, I put it in my inspirational quotes:

Jim Beqaj, a former investment banker who is now president of Toronto-based career consulting firm Beqaj International Inc., said it is a huge mistake to accept any position just because it is available.

“If you take any job and you hate it, there is not a chance in the world you can do a good job,” he said.

Here's the whole article:
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty insists the “only bad job is not having a job,” but career advisers say that’s simplistic advice for managers or professionals who find themselves out of work.

While the weak economy has knocked many senior-level employees onto the unemployment lines, grabbing the first position that becomes available may not be a good idea in the long run.

Mr. Flaherty’s admonition last month was followed up with the government’s outline of its new Employment Insurance rules, which could pressure many laid-off Canadians to make compromises in job choices. Depending on how often a worker has drawn EI benefits in the past few years, they might be forced to accept a job outside their field of expertise or at lower pay rates, or else face losing benefits.

For professionals, whose EI benefits will likely represent only a small fraction of their earnings while employed, the proposed new rules may not dramatically change their approach to finding a job. But they still must make crucial judgments about the suitability of new employment opportunities.

Jim Beqaj, a former investment banker who is now president of Toronto-based career consulting firm Beqaj International Inc., said it is a huge mistake to accept any position just because it is available.

“If you take any job and you hate it, there is not a chance in the world you can do a good job,” he said.

However, he said, many managerial-level workers are far too inflexible about what they think they can do, what they would like, or what they would be good at. What people need to do, Mr. Beqaj said, is to carefully evaluate their own skill sets and figure out which employers will be willing to pay for those skills.

“You’d be surprised at how few people can answer that question” and how little time they spend trying to do so, he said. “If people really take the responsibility of figuring out who needs their skills, they will find that the world is far bigger for them.”

That exercise can often open up far more possibilities than many people initially consider, Mr. Beqaj said. He cited the example of one of his clients who had a PhD in mathematics, and was looking only for jobs as a teacher or in a bank economics department.

By evaluating his skills, he began to see that there were job opportunities at the Bank of Canada, security organizations, in actuarial businesses, and many others. “There were 50 places he could go with his skill sets that were not even on his radar screen,” Mr. Beqaj said.

Often, he said, it is valuable to consider smaller or second-tier firms in the same industry that might be excited to get someone with your skills on board. A mid-level employee of a big bank may look extremely attractive to a credit union that is hiring, for example.

Toronto-based career adviser and corporate trainer Colleen Clarke said a crucial issue for many managers is the title they will get in their new job. While many are loath to shift from a vice-president position to take on the job of a general manager, for instance, that could be a smart move in a tough job market.

Depending on the size and market position of the new company, she said, “sometimes the responsibilities might be equal or higher” to the old job.

Still, it is hard for people to take a step down, because it will be noticed by others in the industry, Ms. Clarke said. That’s not true for salaries, however, because if you must take a cut, no one will know about it but you – unless, of course, you are one of the highest paid executives at a public company and your pay is included in the proxy circular.

David King, Canadian district president at recruiting firm Robert Half Management Resources, said most managers and professionals now realize their career path will not follow the classic scenario of working for a blue-chip firm, rising through the ranks and then retiring. They now recognize that they may have to look at alternative scenarios, including contract work or consulting.

Having contract work on a résumé is no longer considered a negative, Mr. King noted, but can enhance an executive’s reputation as a fixer or an entrepreneur.

So when is it really necessary to buy into Mr. Flaherty’s view that any job is a good job?

While it is no longer a stigma to be out of work for an extended period, after more than six months have passed most people feel they really need to get back into the job market, Mr. King said, and that they might have to make some serious compromises. That decision will depend on an individual’s financial circumstances, anxiety level, and ego.

“Everyone has their own tipping point,” Mr. King said.


 "Who owns the online me anyway?": I cut out this article by Daniel A. Lublin in the Globe and Mail on Jun. 8, 2012.  It's about what you write and post online can affect your job by making you lose your job.  I know the rules of not posting anything about race, gender, sex, religion, etc.  If you write about something offensive, I will always forewarn you that it is offensive.  It's usually when I mention MADtv.  Here it is:

Controlling Internet misuse at work was a problem for employers a decade ago. Today, however, it is controlling what employees write and post on their online social media profiles. This is because instead of simply surfing the Web at work, employees now spend much of their time tweeting, surfing Facebook or blogging. And, given the potential for social media content to go viral, negative comments on Twitter, Facebook and blogs can be far more destructive.

“Unless steps are taken to prevent access, a blog is readable by anyone in the world with access to the Internet. The grievor took no steps to prevent access. On the contrary, the tone of her blogs placed them very much in the public arena and suggested that the grievor relished addressing a wider audience.” So concluded a labour arbitrator in upholding the dismissal of an Alberta employee for posting criticisms of her co-workers and supervisors on her personal blog.

For many employers faced with the task of policing what their employees write online, this arbitrator’s decision is both reasonable and necessary.

But who owns the content within social media profiles, and do employers or potential employers have any right to dictate what employees say or write?


Who owns the social media profiles themselves? If the profile was created, populated and maintained by an individual and is for his or her personal use, then he or she is the owner.  (However, as the court decision demonstrates, ownership alone does provide employees with immunity to say whatever they please about their employers.)

But what about social media profiles that are created for work or that have business purposes? Many companies encourage their employees to promote their personal social media profile as a component of what they do at work and many individuals reference their work in their postings. When those employees later leave their company, for one reason or another, who does that profile or its content belong to?

I recently dealt with such a case. In it, the employee’s Twitter profile had been developed for the purpose of promoting his work through his employer. The views he expressed were his own and the account was created under his name. However, when he left to go to a competitor, his original employer demanded that he abandon his profile and create a new one. Naturally, he refused. Unless there is a written policy or contractual agreement stating otherwise (and in this case there was not), social media profiles are a form of intellectual property that belong to the employee who created it, just like his or her name. The fact that the profile became more popular given this individual’s work through his employer did not result in the employer having any ownership stake in the content.

Employees who maintain profiles on behalf of their employers are a different story. If the social media profile was created for an employer, the profile itself and all of the contents within will be owned by the employer, even if an individual or group of individuals were responsible for its popularity and content.

Social media postings

In some circumstances employers can control what is posted on a social media profile. This is because most employees’ public profiles are directly linked to their employers. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all encourage and then advertise place of work as a means of connecting with other individuals. Therefore, personal opinions can easily be confused with those of their employers. When this occurs, employers are within their rights to demand that employees remove that content, or possibly lose their job. This is exactly what happened to a Sportsnet broadcaster last year when he made his beliefs about same-sex marriage known through Twitter. Given his large following and the possibility that his comments could be construed as coming from his employer, he was immediately fired.

Access to social media accounts

Recently it was reported that some employers were demanding access to prospective employees’ Facebook accounts as a precondition of extending job offers. Job candidates have no legal obligation to provide this information and they can readily refuse. However, this is a double-edged sword. An employer can refuse to hire any candidate that does not comply with their hiring processes, subject only to the prohibition against discrimination in hiring based on human rights rules. Therefore, while a candidate need not provide access to his or her social media profiles, taking this stance could cost him or her a job.

What about current employees? Can an employer demand that they turn over login information? Similar to a job candidate, an employee can reasonably refuse such a request and justifiably so; the information within their social media profiles is private and confidential. The only difference is that current employees may be subject to a policy (if an employer has one) that permits it to access and monitor e-mail sent from work or away from work but through the company’s servers. This could even capture e-mail sent and received by personal or company-distributed BlackBerrys and iPhones, if they are connected to the company’s server.

Since employers own workplace computers and the servers they are connected to, they are allowed to monitor them with proper notice. Therefore, if a social media profile is linked to a workplace e-mail account so that updates or messages are received at work, which many people do, it can be monitored by an employer.

As is usually the case in workplace law, rights are determined based on what is in writing. If you are an employee, the key is to review and comprehend any intellectual property, Internet use or social media policies your employer has in place. If you are an employer, the key is to put those policies in place and then make sure they are enforced.



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