Sunday, 13 May 2012

At least it isn't a Geography Degree or Why Graduating in a Recession Sucks!

Alright, just to be clear, if you are in fact a graduate of a geography(Does this need a Caps on it?) degree of any sort, my title was not meant to offend. If anything geography majors are very important in today's Canada, I mean how else is Stephen Harper supposed to find all the oil in Alberta and more recently in Newfoundland!? So a big thank you to all of the geography majors out there, you have helped make lots of money for C(corporations)anada!

But I digress...I thought I would focus this entry on something fairly important today...the recession! I graduated from honours political science and peace studies in 2009. Now, if the recession started officially in 2008 with the financial collapse, it was a dragged out bloody corpse in 2009, followed by a rock bottom in 2010, only to be followed by a glimpse of hope in 2011 and finally followed by a very grainy and blurry view of the greener grass on the other side in 2012. When will we exactly get there is as much of a mystery to me as it might be to you, but apparently our government is for sure it will happen around 2017-2020.

Graduating during a recession was quite nuts, still fresh with optimism that I was well equipped to change the world, I ended up working for a telemarketing company shortly after graduation. The training for this job was fun and paid very well, but this all ended on day one when I realized that the graffiti covered, torn up cubicles I was sitting in would in reality be the working environment this job expected me to continue on in, not to mention the pay dropped ten fold as soon as training ended. I went from two weeks of sitting around a nice wooden table increasing my debating skills to the inside of what looked like a Russian Gulag. I looked around on day one and viewed an area littered with disregard and apathy...and it dawned on me that I now found myself in a place, where dreams and ambitions came to die. So, after my first day, I walked out of the office and left my equipment where I found it. I didn't look back and since then have continued on my journey to not only find a career, but impact in a positive way on the lives of others.

I feel this entry touches base with me in a more personal way than it does in a political way. I mean, I come from a family that believes in working hard and being nice overall, which in reality has led to people walking over my family and taking advantage of their niceness. Anyways, I am now raising my teenage sister and looking for full time work as well as starting my official career. My mother passed away when I was in high school and my father passed away suddenly a few months after I graduated. You heard right, I graduated into a recession and lost a close ally and mentor shortly after.

Society seems to have imprinted on us the requirement to cheer for what we feel is comfortable and overall relates to us. So, it seems natural that individuals who graduate from schooling into a specific field feel proud about their designation and want others to feel proud for them to. This unfortunately does not resonate well in the real world I fear, as many people end up becoming egotistical about their positions in life and usually rain down on those viewed as financially or socially lower than them. 

I am currently working part time in retail to supplement my income while I continue working on various contracts for various different entities. My field has taken a rather large hit due to budget cuts, restructuring and an overall belief that contract without benefits or pension is not only more financially sound for a company, but spawns more improved efficiency. It seems so bad, that even in my retail job, I am reminded on a daily basis indirectly that I can be replaced, as other people are searching for work and available.

This really disgusts me, because I am witnessing what seems like the further degradation of social values via employment bias. Lets get one thing straight so that everyone may be a janitor, a waitress or a garbage man, but your role in society is as important as any other role out there. We are all working within our society as individual pieces to a larger system and unfortunately not enough credit is given where it is due.

The job market is quite slow right now and many people are feeling the pressure of management. However, I still feel very optimistic that things will rebound and that I along with many others will see a day arrive where employment is once again plentiful and a little more stable. How long this will take is uncertain as Canada and the United States seem to be on the verge of producing their own version of the "lost decade" that was felt in Japan during the 90's.

Our system requires a lot of change and I hope I can be a part of the solution by working with others to not only promote this change, but implement it. Oh also, we need to stop promoting credit cards and anything else related to debt like its candy, because one thing I do notice a lot, is that everywhere you go someone is trying to get you to open a credit card or sign up for a mortgage. Is this not what got us in trouble in the first place?

I want to hear from you about this and discuss this some more, but first I must ask that you leave a comment describing how your experience with the recession has been. Are you a newly graduated student who was told that education would lead to success, only to work in what seems like a dead-end job? Or are you someone who has been working for a very long time, currently on the verge of major restructuring due to cutbacks and pressure from the manager?

Do not be afraid to comment and always understand that no matter what your job requires of you, your presence is part of a larger mechanism that keeps society running and in existence and as a result your important. Success is viewed through different sets of eyes and has different meanings, so you can tell your rich CEO to shove it if he makes you feel like a minion as opposed to you know... a working human being.

Until next time!

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