I am an ENFP, which makes me a revolutionary and independent team worker who can become an “Idea Bomb” when trained properly. I am releasing the following statements after carefully analyzing Canada’s workplaces and academic institutes.
Canada has very deep and ancient Expectation Gap and Experience Gap—the reason I feel that Canada has both types of gaps is because there is not enough pressure on universities and colleges to create courses that will definitely lead to a stable job. I think that in most universities and colleges, information is not taught in a way that can lead to stable employment. I have always wondered why some Canadian Academic Institutes took so much money from me; and, I was still unable to secure my future properly and in a timely manner. I landed a “real” job around one year after graduating from University of Toronto’s Honours Biological Sciences program (Major: Biological Sciences; Minors: Philosophy and Mathematics) in 2005. This “real” job was not in any of the areas I had studied simply because what I had been studying was irrelevant. I sent out so many well-tailored resumes including resumes through PetriDish and Career Edge; but, I never got a reply back to most of them. My marks were great; and, I also had two or more awards so this failure has nothing to do with my potential. My supervisors were very satisfied with my work and communication skills so this has nothing to do with my soft skills, personality, or character traits; and, I did land a job at the end so this failure has nothing to do with how I wrote my resumes and cover letters.
Unfortunately, my story does not end here. In 2011, I enrolled for Technical Communication at Seneca College. I completed two volunteer placements—most of the students completed only one placement—and I landed two awards. Furthermore, I was commended by my class and teachers for conflict resolution and leadership; but, I could only land another insignificant volunteer opportunity in around 1 year and my first “real” job was in around 2 years after graduation. This was not because I didn’t apply to enough jobs but because most jobs were demanding lots of other concepts and software that were never covered in the college and because a lot of jobs are usually given to White people (Glass Ceiling Effect). It’s like this: the program’s actual length is 2 year but it should be 3.5 years; for example, students are required to produce a very short final-requirements-document that is actually supposed to be more than 20 page long.
Again, my story doesn’t end here at all. After thorough research, I found a job grant that was offered to me by a Human Resources Centre. I received just a little less than $2000 dollars for a total of 2 months; the Government of Canada paid my employer in return for training me. I believe that this is too less because one needs around $2000 to live like a real person; i.e., pay for rent, gas, medicine, training, and clothes. So, if you do the maths right, you should be able to drain all the funds and still be in dire condition because not everyone ends up landing a stable job at the end of all this. And, how are you going to overcome an Expectation Gap that is created over 4 years or more in 2 months? Furthermore, large companies can offer you great jobs but they are also not in need of grant money because they have too much money to begin with. Do you know that once an employer from a great company mocked me by saying, “Why do I need a grant if I need to hire you?” He sounded like he was just having fun and not a strong conversation. I could tell that he said this to me only because I am Brown and he doesn’t care about my qualifications, awards, or references. That’s how they are abusing me as well as several other individuals; they know how to do this because they select their victims in a very creative manner, which is how everyone else who isn’t being abused ends up believing that the “victim is the bully” or “the victim deserves it”. This is an example of narcissism that exists in Canada’s workplace, which is how Workplace Rights or Human Rights don’t work so well in Canada.
As a result of all of this, I came across some employers and Employment Councillors who ended up sharing their personal concerns about how academic institutions are mistreating and exploiting international (those who don’t know about how everything works) and domestic (those who know less about how everything works) students. Furthermore, I strongly believe that Canada’s discriminatory and misogynist attitude complicated my situation. There is this strong sense of hyper-responsibility that women will make it on their own even if they don’t have the right set of education, information, or network simply because they are smart. I feel that this is because Canada’s legal system expects hyper-responsibility from the women. And, people are just reflecting back exactly that attitude through relationships of any sort—this is why I have always thought that if I want a good relationship and marriage, then I should not be marrying a Canadian unless he is suggested to me by a very close and reliable friend. So all this is saying to me that women should be cunning enough to get away with everything by utilizing the least amount of resources—I can see how female university professors are having trouble finding the right amount of grants. But the reality is that success in the workplace or academic setting requires emotional support and it has less to do with intelligence.
I decided to speak out about all of this because I came across an article titled “The expectation gap: Students’ and universities’ roles in preparing for life after grad” and because several other reputable individuals narrated similar stories to me. I had kept notes about this mistreatment and neglect for years. After reading this article a couple of times, I realized that the rest of the students were also forced through this extremely abusive system; and, I was not the only “warrior” or “survivor” here. Lastly, I believe that there isn’t sufficient coverage about this issue and there is lots of cover up. For example, if you google “Canada expectation gap”, then only one relevant article actually shows in the search results. Here are some snapshots of the Google results going from page 1 to page 3. Like I said, LOL! Only the second article is relevant to my inquiry and I can tell that it is handling a “hushed” issue because it was published in 2014 and I started observing all of this in 2005. Like I said, OMG! The fact that Google is playing it very silent on this only shows that not many individuals including the government officials are focused on this issue or willing to share money to resolve it. And, I know that this post is telling the truth because I have already spoken to some young graduate women, including White women, who have complained to me about being neglected by the employees. I think its a “hushed case” because why else would Google place less data about “Expectation Gap” and allow more data for keywords “Skills Gap”; wouldn’t this harm the ranking and popularity of the rest of the relevant articles given that some people might have heard only the phrase “Expectation Gap”.
Added May 08, 2018.
The game does not end here at all. I am currently taking “Event Management”, an Ontario College Graduate Certificate, at Algonquin College. It is actually a very easy program; but, it is set up in a very bad way. They give us short assignments that are worth like 2% or 4%; but, most of these hybrids aren’t teaching us anything other than basic definitions or minor tasks like finding information from the web. There are some bigger projects that are worth it; but, I feel that in some assignments I am getting away with using resources that are considered “not so great” by employers. For instance, when I was asked to write a Business Plan for a Wish Event, I was not introduced to the right set of websites like Statistics Canada or Reference Canada. I did not complain about this because I already have some Marketing Guides (here is one helpful guide that I got from an event) that I found after attending some events that are designed for Marketing professionals. But, what about other students? I have been told by someone that other students are “none of my business”; but can I really do this given that I am an ENFP who has been made to watch all of this for a really really long while? This program has lots of International students who don’t have any information on Canadian databases or places to find these databases. Another thing that I noticed is that this specific assignment required imagining things like Audience Demographics but then again its called a “Business Plan”. Furthermore, the Elective “Programming for Meetings and Conferences” is a very bad course simply because it only offers PowerPoints and no group projects. Now, I need you to look at how it is marketed. If you visit the Event Management page at Algonquin College, you will see the following blurb when you hover over “Programming for Meetings and Conferences”.
Students develop a conference program…Students gain the skills and knowledge to plan and execute successful meetings. Strategies for the creation of green meetings and conferences are discussed.
The blurb states, “students gain the skills and knowledge to plan and execute successful meetings”. Very frankly, I did great in this course; but, I feel that I did not gain sufficient skills to “plan and execute successful meetings”. From a practical point of view, I only learned how to create two things that an employer might seriously consider reviewing: a “Meeting Outline” and a “Function Sheet“. I know that in real life the interviewer is going to say, “Did you learn how to use software X to create template for Y?” And the answer is very likely going to be NO!; this is because the other course “Computer Applications for Events” is offering only easy high-school level software like Canva and “Excel” (Assignment, Instructions and Template); and, there is nothing on more creative and important software like “Adobe Photoshop” or “Whova”, etcetera—the only creative software that we learned a little bit (5%) was Lucidchart. Do you know that “Adobe Photoshop” has more fonts and thus one is unlikely to run into a branding issue while using this software? I feel they are rushing us through two semesters (each is only 4 months long) and that is why they are teaching us really less things. True! I get to meet people who are working inside Meeting Professionals International (MPI) but shaking hands with someone does not always guarantee a real and stable job! I know after talking to some graduates that they had to work really hard for 2 years before they landed something stable—this links into the fact that almost half of the Canadians do not have jobs. In addition, I have a long-term co-op placement; but, it is at a small company simply because the skills that are currently being taught are basic. For instance, I only know the definition of a “Request for Proposal” but I don’t know how to create a “Request for Proposal”. I can imagine getting kicked out of many interviews because I know that lots of interviewers are going to say, “Do you have a sample ‘Request for Proposal’ for me to review?” I think the fact that one can create such portfolio item while volunteering with MPI is helpful to know; but, asking graduates to volunteer to learn is still part of the systemic abuse they are being put through. But to ponder further, what’s even more butchering about this entire situation is that the Event Management students are fundraising for a local charity with zero dollar budget—they only have around 200 dollars per project given to them by college. I paid for my transportation while I canvassed for raising funds or for gathering ideas, which I feel is very unfair to expect from students. The domestic students are finding this easy because they know the area. In contrast, the international students do not know much about this city; and on top of all this, some of them have ESL issues and thus they can easily get mistreated and humiliated under the guise of “plagiarism” or by locals.
Every time I speak to a Canadian student or graduate, they end up complaining that they are going through a cycle of some sort where they are being asked to do too many things and then not given the jobs that they deserve—I even randomly selected a student who was waiting at a bus station and she said the same. Despite these agreements, I am careful about catching things from students because a lot of times they are telling me excuses that are being drilled inside their minds by the system itself; for example, “maybe, we will make it this time” or “maybe, we are wrong and this program isn’t that bad”.
So I reviewed Twitter profile of AlJazeera and found the video “Migrant Dreams: Canada’s Broken Promise“. What these migrant workers are going through is very similar to what the Canadian students and graduates are being put through. Here is my comment; and, here is the original tweet by AlJazeera. 110,000 workers are paying more than $700,000,000 but where exactly is this money going? I am putting an example that “kind of relates” because I am trying to show that the entire Canadian system is corrupt in many ways.
Added July 05, 2018.
Here is a bit more about how the “Event Management” program is being run by Algonquin College. We are not being provided real statistics in some instances. For example, we were required to offer each other a critique after reviewing each other’s way of working. We just did one brief session on this inside only one classroom. But, we did this without supervision from teachers (experienced industry professionals) who I believe should have been sitting with each group. We just went in circles and pointed issues out, which I felt was “lame” because the structure of the program is too fast paced and thus there is really less room for judgement. If teachers were sitting right next to us while we were offering constructive criticism to each other, then they would have been able to share some real great tips with everyone. If they are not sitting with us due to the concept, “the same situations when managed by different groups will create different behaviors and results”, then that is great; but, if we were just being ignored, then that is not great. I am not forgetting the fact that the teachers were sitting with us in other sessions; I am just upset that they did not sit close to the students while we reviewed each other’s way of working. I mean we must have made some mistakes that a teacher can easily catch and correct. In conclusion, there should have been more thorough sessions where each comment should have been analyzed in light of the situation, context, tasks, resources, and available time so that the involved students should have felt that they need to offer a genuine effort in the future to make up for any deficiencies. If they were unable to help us out due to lack of time, then they should have done the following: Note the skills needed for this profession that are mentioned on “ONETLine” and note all the comments issued by the students. Then, review 5 issues that were mostly brought up by students and 5 skills that are mentioned on ONET OnLine to teach us tips on how to handle relevant challenging situations. But, they never did this at all. By the way, I told the students about the tool, ONET OnLine, which is needed to create resumes. Sure! our teachers brought up other handouts for resume writing; but, this tool was given to me by a Human Resources Centre. I feel that the teachers need to update this program. ONET OnLine is worth a lot because this site is actually an online database and offers a lot of valuable data.
I strongly feel that Canada is getting rich by pushing money out of helpless and poor people. Look at me! I am writing this in a haste while I have college assignments due and while I am still unemployed. If you feel that my story isn’t real, then please start looking for White or colored people who are standing in cafes as cashiers and servers. You will find plenty of very talented and educated White and colored graduates there. Why must they hold an odd job in order to get an education and a real job? When will they get a real and stable job? Feel free to check out organizations like the Meeting Professionals International or Society of Technical Communication; and, you will find so many unemployed individuals there that you will start losing your hair. All this is happening because Canada has a very strong and wide Rich Poor Gap. What is making things worse is when the victims are left very hazy simply because someone who has the right authority to make some changes decides to gaslight them so that they may feel hacked enough not to question the reliability and standards of the programs. I find it funny that some individuals who have the right kind of authority don’t wish to believe us even after the “Conference Board of Canada” has issued this particular infographic that states that there is a gap between what the employers are looking for and the subjects that are being taught to the Post-secondary Education (PSE) students—PSE includes many kinds of academic institutions such as colleges, universities, and career schools.
So what do you all think now? Do I sound stubborn or what! I am definitely stubborn because I witnessed something really wrong; and, I kept notes for many years. I am stubborn because I brought these issues up with my class fellows in a very open and frank manner. I feel that Canadian students are not being heard on time; and, most of them get jobs after their minds and bodies have been seriously insulted and injured. Can you now think that Canadians are very productive people?
Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.