Think good thoughts, good thoughts….
Years ago, in my youth, I applied for a job to work at a doggie daycare centre in downtown Toronto. I had stumbled upon an advertisement on Craigslist and thought, how hard could it be?
Within a week I received a telephone call from the owner who expressed an interest in meeting me to discuss my application.
My cover letter was rather clear about my intentions. I was looking for a part-time job that involved my love for animals while pursuing other interests in my spare time, such as my day job and running a small dog walking business.
Any animal lover will tell you they are at their most peaceful when surrounded by dogs. Even the most misbehaved canine has its own unique and lovable personality that has the power to warm the heart and soothe the soul.
So I agreed to meet the owner at a nearby coffee shop. He was personable, kind, passionate about his business, and animals in a manner that wasn’t intolerably greedy. Our first “interview” was casual, we discussed my hobby’s and interests and he described what he was looking for in an ideal candidate.
The entire meeting lasted close to two hours, which I felt was unusual, and not at all what I had envisioned based on our brief initial telephone conversation but I chalked it up to the fact that he was interested in hiring me.
A couple of days later he called me back and asked if I was still interested in the position. I said that I was and he asked if I had time in my schedule to meet his co-owner, also his wife, at the same coffee shop. Again, I agreed.
So another couple of days passed, I met the wife, answered basically all the same questions that her husband had asked me previously and was yet again surprised that our meeting went well over the agreed time. She kept me in her company for almost three hours! I was not impressed.
Obviously a few light bulbs started to go off in my head. I mean, this was a little odd considering that it was a low-paying $12/hour job where the chief requirement was basically knowing how to run a cash register. Despite my reservations I affirmed to remain positive and go with the flow.
Again a few days passed, another phone call, this time they wanted me to meet the store manager, and general dog behaviorist guru who would be responsible for teaching me the ropes. I sighed, and set up a meeting to speak with her at the same coffee shop as I had met the two co-owners.
Now I never insinuated that I was a dog behaviorist. I don’t even know what that meant. I figured that I could learn. When I saw the store manager I was surprised at how sloppy she appeared, but I chalked it up to her working with dogs all day long. She asked me similar questions as the one’s prior, I answered as politely as I could but was growing irritated when she kept me for over two hours. Okay, do I have the job or not, and at this point, is it even worth it?
Sure enough I was hired, and the following Monday I started my four-hour training shifts, five days a week. No benefits, no pension, not that I needed either but I’m adding it for impact. Imagine what a 20-year-old who is desperate for a job would have to go through for this type of mindless occupation.
Everything was going well for the first couple of weeks. I was learning as fast I could, they wanted me to know the names of each and every dog that came into the daycare and the products were multiple, but easy enough to wrap my head around that eventually I knew the brand names by heart and their retail price.
So where’s the caveat? I learned within my first few days of employment that this was a trial run. That they were assessing whether we were a fit for each other. Excuse me? You interviewed me for over 7 hours and you don’t know whether or not I’m a fit for your little shop yet? What am I supposed to be here, NOVA?
Another snag was that they couldn’t speak about anything other than dogs, and they behaved as though they were veterinarians. Last time I checked they weren’t, but they spoke with the authority of someone with 10 years of animal health education.
I arrived to work and asked how their evening, or weekend had been only to receive an answer that detailed the evening and weekend of their pets.
I would persist, “Yes, but what did you do?” They’d stare back at me blankly. Eyelids fluttering.
Really I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a little personal detail here, like perhaps they went to the market and bought vegetables, not whether or not they went on a date or what have you. I wasn’t asking for that kind of information.
In the end, I guess the trial period was valid because I realized that it wasn’t the fit I was hoping it would be. I gave my resignation, thanked them for their semi-commitment and never saw them again.
I was reminded of this personal experience today while on the phone with a friend of mine who recently succeeded in landing a job at the Flight Centre. After three weeks of interviews, she was finally offered a position that she’s not too certain she’s going to accept.
First, they behaved as though they were looking for a brain surgeon during the interview process, when in reality it’s a retail job. Then they told her that the first three weeks would consist of intensive training and testing. If she did not score over 85% on any of the tests then she would be asked to leave their employ. What? So she’d have to resign from her present job with benefits, accept this one, without a guarantee that after three weeks she’d still be an actual employee?
WTF? Is it just me or has it gotten ridiculous to get a job in this country? Everything now entails having a university degree or a college diploma. I get if you’re a doctor, a lawyer or a teacher that you must have the proper education, but for a retail job the government is now regulating that applicants take a two-year college course. I mean, that’s insane. Am I the only one who thinks so?
Young high school graduates are now being obliged to go into debt to acquire a college diploma for a retail job? A job that pays at minimum $11 an hour? Okay, something isn’t right with the current job market if young people are being asked to go to school for jobs a monkey can do.
And that’s not to disrespect retail jobs at all, but I think even they would agree that a two-year college diploma program is a little much to ask for.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate government regulations, they’re the reason Canada didn’t kowtow to the 2008 economic crash that befell so many other nations, but this, you would have to agree with me, is going too far.