Month: November 2014

Carpet Bomb

A cleaning company that wants housecleaning experience. You know, the kind of experience most people have already?
A cleaning company that wants housecleaning experience. You know, the kind of experience most people have already?

I’m a big believer in freedom of choice. This goes for businesses as well. It’s not up to me to tell anyone how to run the business they own or are responsible for. Having said this, I roll my eyes at some of those same people who complain about not finding qualified candidates, yet are responsible for their frustration by requesting outlandish qualifications.

I’ve addressed credential creep before, and also shared with you the stupidest qualification for an entry-level position, but I never took it up with the hiring company before. Well, not until this morning.

I came across the following job opening on Indeed (look at the embedded image. I’ve blotted out the company name because it’s not about starting a shame campaign), and maybe it was the cold weather getting me down or the amount of time I’ve been out of full-time work that prompted me to ask the company about the qualifications in an Email. I wasn’t rude in my Email, but I didn’t mince words either:

“I am writing to ask why do you feel it is necessary to have experience for a housecleaning job.

I mean, really: this is not rocket science. It does not take a lot of brains to clean windows, mop floors, scrub toilets, do laundry, vacuum carpets, dust furniture, disinfect kitchen sinks, polish chrome, etc.

It does not take a lot of time to train someone to houseclean. In fact, most people who were raised properly know how to houseclean. If you were asking for someone to own their own car or van, I’ll agree. But experience in housecleaning? Again, really?

If you must insist on experience, I lived alone in an apartment for 24 years before moving out. Not thrown out because I’m a dirty sloppy pig, but moved out of an apartment I kept clean, by myself, nearly every Sunday. There you go, I’m qualified.

Look, this is your business and you can run it any way you want. We live in a open democratic society, and I’m big on freedom of choice. What you are doing, however, is shutting out hardworking young people and new immigrants who want to get started but are having trouble finding a job. I think (company name).can play a leadership role by helping people like these. I’m disappointed that your business has chosen to do the opposite.


David Gay,

Not exactly career-coach recommended, but it’s my right to ask the question most job seekers always wanted to ask. You know, that freedom of choice thing I mentioned before.

If I get any replies, I’ll share them in this blog post.

Thanks for reading!


Lest We Forget

The Poppy I'm wearing today. Are you wearing one too? Photo taken by David Alan Gay with permission to use provided credit is given to the author.
The Poppy I’m wearing today. Are you wearing one too? Photo taken by David Alan Gay with permission to use provided credit is given to the author.

I started this blog on March 2012, and have written 103 posts (not including this one). I’ve wrote about the high and low moments of my job search. I brought up the financial and emotional costs of being out of work for so long. I’ve offered suggestions on how to get every Canadian back to work and generating tax (boo!) revenue to pay for our social programs. I chastised all three levels of government and Corporate Canada for not doing their part to help reduce the high level of unemployment in Canada.

I wrote about a lot of things, because I have the freedom to do so, under the following paragraph of the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms:

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication

This freedom does not come from my level of articulation, my educational background, or the fact I always seem to have an an opinion about something. It doesn’t come from the amazing software and hardware geniuses that brought forth both WordPress and the Internet. It comes from something bigger, something wonderful that we in Canada and in the rest of the Western world are lucky to have, yet seem to take for granted.

It’s a product of the democratic society we citizens all worked together to create, from the politicians we voted in (and like to complain about) to the average Joe’s and Jane’s like you and I who are just trying to get by in this Age of Austerity and the jobless recovery. The vanguards who ensure that this society stands today are the men and women who have served, are currently serving, and will serve in the military.

Today is November 11th, Remembrance Day In Canada, and we should be grateful for those brave men and women who fought for the freedoms we enjoy. For us, they sacrificed a life of normalcy, gave pain and tears, flesh and bone, sometimes their very life, by answering a call to arms. They are doing so right now, as part of a multinational coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the most dangerous form of fascism since the Second World War.

Because of them, we can walk around without persecution, regardless of the color of our skin, the faith we follow, the opinions we hold and, like what I do on this blog, can express unfettered.

They are heroes, one and all, and I thank every one of them today for my rights and freedoms. You should too.

Lest We Forget.


Servant To Opportunity

Source. Wikicommons public domain section, and contributed by “Diego UFCG”.

There’s good advice, bad advice, and then there’s advice given by the Bank Of Canada governor to young people, where he suggests they work for free if they cannot find a job, so they can bolster their experience in the field they want to work in.

I’m sorry, but I was under the impression volunteer work was supposed to cover that. Now he wants our young people to work for free as well?

I’m sure Mr. Stephen Poloz means well when he says, “If your parents are letting you live in the basement, you might as well go out and do something for free to put the experience on your CV”. Fair enough — for those who are living at home. The problem with that statement, in addition to the unemployment situation being more complex and serious than he thinks, is that not all are living at home with Mommy and Daddy. Some have their own place, paid for by their government loans or through a minimum-wage job that just barely covers expenses. Others may be on the street and going through social assistance programs to get a job so they can get off the street.  Today’s young people are facing an anaemic economy that is generating very few jobs, and these are being fought over by more than one generation of job-seekers. Having more experience will not guarantee employment because of this supply vs demand imbalance. Creating more jobs, on the other hand, certainly will improve the odds of getting hired.

The big miss by Poloz, who according to Maclean’s Magazine earns between $431,800 and $507,900 a year, is that Corporate Canada is trying to keep HR costs down in this age of “We must do more with less!”. They’ll exploit these young people, despite protective provincial internship legislation recently put in place. The moment any of these free workers expresses a desire to be paid, the company in question will cut them loose and find someone else desperate enough to work for free. It will do jack-sprat-nothing to reduce the chronically high unemployment rate young people experience as well.

Yes, Poloz’s heart is in the right place, but he also inadvertently endorses a form of indenture labour that justifies the poor performance of the economy, without doing anything to get all Canadians back to work.  That’s not what our young people went through many years of post-secondary education for. That’s not what our young people went into debt for.

They went through all of that for a job. One that pays, I should add.

Thanks for reading!