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, January 26, 2017

"Looking for work in 2017?"/ Nicole Berry

Jan. 2, 2017 "Looking for work in 2017?  Create a game plan": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

New year, new job? Perhaps that was your New Year’s resolution: To find a job that better suits you. Or, perhaps, some irresistible opportunity will beckon.

But landing the right job and finding fulfilment in your job requires planning, says Halifax-based executive recruiter and career coach Gerald Walsh.

He’s been asked by people whether their résumé should be three pages or four, as if that is the most crucial issue in finding a new job. But they seem oblivious to what their values are and how that relates to a job, or how to anticipate the questions they will be asked in an interview, to take two prime examples.

He asks clients to ponder 16 aspects of jobs he includes in his recent book Pinnacle, such as compensation, vacations, workspace, boss, colleagues and opportunity for
advancement. Then rank those, to clarify what’s really important.

He mentions someone who wanted four weeks’ vacation and spurned an offer that allowed only three weeks. But Mr. Walsh figures vacations probably ranked only fifth or sixth on that person’s list and, when he reconsidered, the job was gone.

It may seem difficult to define your workplace values, but that’s also part of the planning process he recommends. He offers 72 examples in the book, including achievement, adventure, affiliation, ambition, authenticity and autonomy, if we just stick with those beginning with the letter A.

Ponder values, whether with or without his list, determining which resonate the most with you.

Pick the five most important, considering why each is important, to what degree it is being met through your career choices, and when your work is in conflict with them.
You can also review your work history, each and every job, to recall what you liked and didn’t. Mr. Walsh mowed lawns as a summer job in university. People envied him because it was outdoors, in the sun. But it serves for him as a reminder he dislikes monotonous, boring jobs.

You’ll be asked many questions in a job interview but it’s possible to prepare and plan. First, all questions boil down into one of three categories:

Do you have the necessary skills to do the job?

Are you the right fit with our organization?

Will you do what it takes to help us meet our goals and solve our problems?

“An interview is an exchange of information between two parties. You’re there as the employer has a problem and you are a potential solution to the problem. They don’t care how wonderful you are. They just want you to solve the problem,” Mr. Walsh says in an interview.

So you need to think about how you solve the problem – the job posting, if you read between the lines, will tell you what it is – rather than just list skills.

They need to hear how you applied those skills to solve similar problems in the past.
Fit can be difficult to determine and here you want to be sure as well that it’s ideal, or at least highly workable.

Usually you’ll face two interviews and, while you can ask questions about fit then, it can sometimes be better to wait for the job offer.

Request a chance to chat with the new boss, asking what it’s like to work there and what that individual most likes about the workplace.

Also ask to talk with future colleagues, to gain further insights.

During job interviews, a range of questions will be asked covering education, work history, your level of interest in the company, knowledge of company, career plans, management style, weaknesses, and the like. All can be prepared for, since you should know they will be asked.

Similarly, prepare for behavioural questions, figuring out what questions you would ask a candidate given the job posting.

“You can predict 80 per cent of the questions and so nothing should take you off guard,” Mr. Walsh insists.

Your responses should be framed around what he calls the PAR formula: You need to explain the problem you were dealing with in the past example so the interviewer understands, describe the actions you took, and recount the result. Even if the outcome was poor – the individual whose performance you were trying to improve had to be let go – if the actions were correct, you should be okay.

Mr. Walsh believes people have a right to be happy in their jobs: “Don’t give up. You can find something you like.” Perhaps this year, with some planning.

The Ladder: Nicole Berry: Today I found this article by Robin Summerfield in the Globe and Mail:

Nicole Barry, 38, of Winnipeg, co-founded Half Pints Brewery in 2005 at the age of 27, one of the first craft brewers in the city. After leaving the brewery in late 2015, she started working on her next venture, Peg Beer Co., a brew pub in the city’s Exchange District that opened last spring.

I moved out at 17 and became a grown-up pretty quickly. I had my first comptroller position at 23. I was very mature as a child, and I didn’t have the party phase that a lot of kids have in their twenties. I settled down very quickly out of a need for security and a need for financial stability.

I didn’t go into accounting to become an accountant. I went in looking for a strong entrepreneurship program. And, rather than do a traditional business program, I went in trying to figure out how I was going to get a strong financial base.

When things are hard, are you going to get up and still fight? You’re on the ground and you’re getting kicked in the face; are you going to get up and keep going? That’s what entrepreneurship is. Because no one else is there to pick you up. If you’re so low and you can’t get up, that’s it.

I always like to think of myself as a person, not a woman, in business. And whether it’s when I wear my hat as an accountant, or wear my hat as an entrepreneur, or my beer hat at a beer-industry event, to me it’s irrelevant (that I’m a woman). I’m my own person and I think a man could be very similar to me.

My parents were self-employed. My dad owned a bike shop and a tool sharpening and fabrication shop when I was young. He was amazing at making custom bikes, and he was amazing at making custom diamond drill bits. But what they lacked was business acumen and how to properly manage the business. My parents ended up going bankrupt and it was unfortunate because I think they entered into a partnership to help them grow and it ended up killing the business. But I took that as an example. I wanted to follow in their footsteps and be an entrepreneur.

I remember the humbleness of (my parents going bankrupt when I was in Grade 7). It was an amazing life lesson in just how silly people are with things and wealth. And that things are fleeting. I know what it’s like to move away, to see a car repossessed. I’ve felt it so I know what that kind of loss feels like.

I want my boys (9 and 12) to see the hardships but I want them to see the successes too. I share a great deal with them. I’m very honest with them. I do say, “We’re going to be tight because we’re growing this business … We’re going to put off some trips … We’re not doing any vacations right now.” And they understand. When we first opened the restaurant, they would come sit at the bar. And that was OK. That’s super valuable to them to see me working. That’s what I did at my parents’ businesses. They see what hard work looks like.

If you want to do what you’re passionate about in life, it doesn’t come easy. I want them to feel like they know when they love something they don’t have to settle, but in order not to settle they have to really work hard.

You try to set your staff up for success. You want to give them room to be independent; to support and guide them, to be a coach, a mentor and give them room to feel valued and worthy enough to make independent decisions. The way that I explain it to them is, “I’m creating the highway, you’re driving the bus.”

I wish I could be the best leader, the best boss, the best volunteer, the best mom, the best board member, all at the same time, but I’ve come to learn that isn’t possible.

I’m a little smarter and more calm, but in the best way. I’m slowing down in the best way.

I feel the wisdom, experience, calmness that comes from “I can do this, I’ve done it before.” I have the strength and power to get through whatever comes my way and life teaches you that.


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