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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

job search techniques and strategies/ "Achieving attractive solutions in ugly situations"

Jul. 14, 2016 Job search techniques and strategies: This was from MacEwan Student Resource Centre, Employment Services.

Identify your skills

Target employers, cold calls or broadcast letters, always follow through with what you indicate in your communication to prospective employers

Research your industry thoroughly

Get on the internet

Check out the Careers and Employment Sections of the newspaper

Read the business section of the newspaper to identify companies that are growing and expanding

Be innovative

Network as much as possible- instructors, guest speakers, classmates, friends, family and co-workers

Join relevant Associations


Attend Career Fairs, go prepared with questions for prospective employers

My opinion: I read the business section of the newspaper 6 days a week.  However, I should be networking more.

Aug. 31, 2016 "Achieving attractive solutions in ugly situations": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

Negotiating the Impossible: How to Break Deadlocks and Resolve Ugly Conflicts (without Money or Muscle)
By Deepak Malhotra
Berrett-Koehler, 212 pages, $39.95)

In 2011, the NFL and its players association were deadlocked in negotiations over revenue sharing. The owners wanted $2-billion (U.S.) off the top to support investments in the game, with the rest shared between the two parties, the players to receive about 58 per cent. The players insisted on a 50-50 split of total revenue.

A breakthrough occurred after it was decided to split revenue into three buckets, with players receiving 55 per cent of revenue from TV rights, 45 per cent of revenue from related businesses of the NFL and 40 per cent of local stadium revenue. Overall, players were getting about 47.5 per cent of revenues.

But the three buckets allowed each side to return to their constituents and declare victory, with the owners gaining more money where their investments are greater, the stadium rental, and the players raking in more when fans click on to see them on the tube.

It’s an example of reframing – stepping back from the normal negotiating framework and developing a new way of looking at issues that creates room for a solution. And it’s one of three key levers to improve your negotiating, according to Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra. The other two are the power of process and the power of empathy. Using those levers can help you achieve a solution in tough, deadlocked negotiations or ugly disputes without resorting to money or muscle.

“When the NFL negotiations were deadlocked, either side could have tried to make the deal more attractive to the other by reducing their own revenue demands. But this would have been a costly concession. As the solution they reached shows, you do not always have to throw money at the problem to move things along. Sometimes wise concessions on style and structure can solve the problem more cheaply than costly concessions on substance,” he writes in Negotiating the Impossible.

In framing, he stresses paying attention to the optics of the deal. Too often negotiators are obsessed with the substance, but it must be presented in an acceptable way. “The role of optics is especially pronounced when there is an audience. The audience can be voters, the media, competitors, future negotiation partners, a boss, colleagues, or even friends and family. We are usually aware of our own audience, but we pay insufficient attention to theirs. In fact, their audience is just as important to consider as ours, especially if we are asking them to back down or make hasty concessions,” he says.

Indeed, he urges you to go further and help the other side sell it, echoing negotiating guru William Ury’s advice to “write their victory speech.” Prof. Malhotra says if you can’t think of a way they can construe the agreement as a “win,” you may be in trouble. Avoid one-issue negotiations since that can create a zero-sum situation in which at least one of you is going to look like or feel like you have lost.

Instead, negotiate multiple issues – simultaneously – so there can be trade-offs and the risks reduced that concessions won’t be reciprocated.
The second vital area requires developing a strategy for how the process of negotiations will unfold. How will you get from where you are today to where you want to be? How long will negotiations last? Who will be involved and in what capacity? Who will draft the initial proposal? Will negotiations be public or private? When and how will progress be reported? Given multiple parties or issues, will there be one negotiation track or many? Will all the parties be in the same room at the same time? How will major deadlocks or other problems be managed? Who are the parties that need to ratify the deal, and how much support is sufficient for passage?

“While getting the substance right is essential, getting the process wrong can be fatal,” he warns.

He turns to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 to highlight the power of empathy. Much has been written about the team of advisers president John F. Kennedy set up and his decision to remove himself at a crucial time so his advisers could freely debate.

But Prof. Malhotra points to the unusual perspective the president took: “What made the difference was JFK’s willingness to consider [Soviet leader Nikita] Khrushchev’s point of view, and to investigate precisely why the Soviet Union felt compelled to transfer nuclear weapons to Cuba, even when it risked starting a war. There were, it turns out, a number of such reasons – and understanding them was pivotal.”

Empathy expands the options you have for resolving the conflict. The better you understand the other side’s perspective, the more likely it is you will forge a solution.

This book was an unexpected gem. The three elements – framing, process and empathy – seemed unconnected and somewhat abstract initially. But each of the short, tidy chapters features an illuminating example of a negotiation where one of the factors was critical and Prof. Malhotra follows up with clear-minded suggestions to improve the chances your negotiations will be successful.

Oct. 22, 2016 "Women entering professions in unprecedented numbers": Today I found this article by Virginia Galt in the Globe and Mail

In the course of a generation, women have reversed the gender gap at Canadian universities, entering the professions in unprecedented numbers – raising interesting possibilities for future workplace dynamics as they and their diversity-conscious male peers move up the ranks.

For the past decade, women have held roughly 80 per cent of the spots in Canadian veterinary schools. The proportion of women applying to medical school has increased to the extent that 56 per cent of medical students are now female, according to the Association of Faculties of Medicine in Canada. More than half of recent law graduates are women, and females account for 50.5 per cent of all auditors, accountants and investment professionals in Canada, according to research organization Catalyst Canada, which tracks women’s workplace progress.

One reason is that the female applicant pool for postgraduate studies is larger – about 60 per cent of Canadian undergraduates are women, whereas 20 years ago, the female population was underrepresented in universities and colleges “and a key challenge was to make higher education more accessible and welcoming to women,” the Conference Board of Canada said in a recent report.

“While the challenge remains in some of the mathematics, computer and engineering disciplines, the overall gender imbalance tipped in women’s favour in Canada in the early 1990s,” the Conference Board said.

Veterinary schools in particular, where the ratio of females to males is most pronounced, may be wondering: “Where have all the young men gone?”
The doors are open to all applicants and the most qualified get in, but men are not applying in nearly the same numbers as women, says Elizabeth Lowenger, manager of student affairs at the University of Guelph’s veterinary college. (For instance, of the 282 Canadian undergraduates who applied to the University of Guelph’s four year veterinary medicine program in 2012, 231 were female and 51 were male. Of those, 83 females and 17 males were admitted.)

While Ms. Lowenger says the admission standards are and will remain “gender blind,” the veterinary school’s recruitment efforts extend to high-school career days where boys, as well as girls, are encouraged to study hard and consider veterinary medicine as an option.
(The Conference Board report says that if Canada wants to even out the gender balance in higher education, provincial governments “will have to take steps to improve the performance of boys in elementary and secondary school” and increase the rates at which they enrol in, and complete, university and college programs.)

Veterinary surgeon Michelle Oblak found that during her doctoral fellowship at the University of Florida in 2012-13, 60 per cent of her classmates in surgical oncology were male, while the majority of her students at the University of Guelph, where she is an assistant professor, are female. Dr. Oblak is not sure why that’s the case, nor is she sure how much it matters, as long as anyone interested in the field has equal opportunity to qualify and apply. “A veterinarian is a veterinarian,” she says.

The Conference Board notes the comparatively lower university and college enrolment rates for men could also be a reflection of more men than women “pursuing apprenticeships and other vocational paths to lucrative careers.”

Moreover, although more women than men graduate over all from Canadian colleges and universities, “men still dominate many of the fields with superior employment and income prospects for graduates,” the Conference Board said in its report titled The Gender Gap in Tertiary Education.

“For example, while women are more likely than men to be enrolled in the humanities, social and behavioural sciences, and education, men are much more likely than women to be enrolled in engineering, mathematics and computer and information sciences.”

Still, Dr. Oblak and others of her generation, born in the late 1970s and early 80s, are bringing different attitudes to the workplace and less rigid definitions of gender roles. It’s a generation where family-friendly workplace policies are important to both men and women as they balance their parental and professional responsibilities, Dr. Oblak said.

“We have grown up with societal expectations that women are nurturing and men are leaders and those types of things. I hope that the culture is shifting to really say anyone can be nurturing, anyone can be a leader in their own right, and it’s really a matter of being afforded the opportunity to show your abilities,” she said.

“It’s really a matter of finding what you are good at and what you love, rather than feeling you have to choose something based on what the previous stereotypical norms were.”


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