Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

And so 2009 begins… and who’s offering what??

Posted by sweens on January 6, 2009


This week marks the first week that the majority of workers will head back to work following the holiday season and begin work for the 2009 year.  I myself just got back from a hockey tournament in Port Alberni, British Columbia.  I was forunate to attend this years World Under 17 Challenge where team Ontario was crowned the Champions after beating team Pacific.  The only thing I will say about that trip is that drivers in Ottawa shouldn’t complain about road conditions until they have to drive up a 411M elevated mountain on a 45 degree angle.  I should also mention that this road was unplowed during snow, ice, sleet and rain storms while being guided through the mountain by 10 feet deep ditches and 100 ft trees.  Easily the kind of conditions where you could slid off the road and not be found for days.  But that’s enough of a rant for me on the BC road conditions, as I was told not to stereotype the whole province with what I experienced on the island.  However todays blog (I haven’t been slacking I’ve just been out of the office) is inspired by a conversation I had with a local on the island.  I was working a game in beautiful Campell River when I was chatting with a local mill worker before the game.  He had said that a local mill closed and laid off close to 1000 people.  Being concerned with the labour market, I quickly asked him where those people have to go.  His answer was not something I was prepared for.  He told me most of them would move to Alberta to find a new job or career!!

This was something I didn’t really think of, and I know I took that for granted living in Ottawa.  I assumed that when a person in Ottawa lost their job they simply found another one in the city with a different company.  I realize that not every job transfers into another job, but at least there are options here.  For the case of Campbell River inhabitants who had spend their life working in a paper/saw mill, there was simply no other option for them.  This brings me to the ‘idea’ behind todays post which is two fold.  1 – With the economy going the way everyone says it is, can people who lose their job afford to be picky about their new career move?  2 – When someone is juggling career options should they turn an opportunity down because their potential new employer isn’t doing much for them?

Question 1 –  I think people can afford to be picky, however a realistic approach to a job search is probably required now a days.  Anyone who is actively looking for a job should consider that not as many companies are hiring these days.  Look back 10 years ago and IT was booming.  Job offers were coming left right and centre and you could wait for one you really wanted.  I think someone who gets an offer today should really consider taking the opportunity because another one may not come along.  I’m not suggesting anyone take a job for the sake of taking a job.  Working in a job you hate is surely not going to work out for you or your employer.  But if the company and opportunity is good, why not give it some serious consideration.  A big road block in people finding the right opportunity is their salary expectations.  Either they want too much or the employer is offering too low.  Both happen all the time and sometimes the two sides just won’t meet.  I think my point is more that while you may have had a high salary in your last position, you may want to consider a lower salary if the opportunity was right.

Question 2 – I don’t think I worded that properly above so let me elaborate.  What I mean by this is, in the summer when I was recruiting positions a lot of the questions I got were around: does the company offer certification; do they have an RRSP matching program; do they offer stock options; etc.  This is a trend that I have seen come to a screeching halt as of late.  I don’t think its that employers aren’t offering those things anymore, but rather that people are willing to accept jobs now without those being offered.  I think this gives a pretty good analysis of what the market is like.  Where as 3 years ago it wasn’t uncommon for someone to turn down an offer because certification wasn’t offered by an employer.

Perhaps this is a sign that we are in for a long and interesting 2009…

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