International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. I will leave it up to those who are better informed than I, to discuss the obstacles and abuse that many females suffer in areas of the world. I will focus on the women in our province of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Saskatchewan is very much a white, male dominated province. This is easily proven by glancing at any political or industry photo that is published in Saskatchewan. There are the token minority, native, women in the mix – but they are few and far between.

Saskatchewan women are also paid well beneath their male counterparts – for work that is as crucial, or more so, to the well being of a company or government department. There are probably laws against such discrimination, but it is as easy as manipulating job titles to stay on the right side of any laws on the books.

Also, in Saskatchewan, most women fall far short on pension income compared to men – mainly due to a lifetime of lower income and the fact that a lot of women tend to take lengthy leaves from the ‘paid work’ world to have and care for young children.

Those are the facts but here is where I get down to my opinion.

Yes, we live in a white, MALE dominated province. When it comes to power and finances, this is not terribly fair. However, in my opinion, if things are going to change – it is women who are going to have to make the bulk of the changes.

I worked (paid employment) for the better part of the past fifty years. The first twenty of those years was generally part-time balanced by completing my education and raising my family. The last thirty years was spent in the restaurant and construction industry – mainly in administration, the last few years being focused on sales.

Over the years, I have made the following (general) observations.

  • Men and women think and act differently when it comes to their education and careers.
  • Men interact differently with men (and with women) than women do with women (and with men).
  • Men tend to make friends and teammates in school and college – relationships that last well into their careers and probably into retirement.
  • From the first day of kindergarten, most little girls have a competitive relationship with other little girls. They have one or two close friendships – and are constantly working to exclude anyone else from their relationship group. Girls are MEAN to each other. It does not stop at kindergarten. It goes on throughout their education and right through their careers. Women do not have the same networks as men because they do not develop them.
  • Women, for the most part, do not dedicate themselves to their education or to their careers as most men do. I know that. I went to school with girls who focused on hair, clothes, boys and getting an education. The boys were focused on team sports, hanging with their bro’s, generating cash, getting an education – and girls.
  • When men enter the real work world, most of them make their work a pretty serious priority. Women – not so much. Over the years, especially in the construction industry, I knew a lot of women who showed up and did their job – nine to five, Monday through Friday. I worked in this industry for thirty years. I was what I was – a female, generally in skirts, heels and make-up. But I showed up – seven days a week if I had to, six o’clock in the morning or ten o’clock at night if I had to. I went to pre-construction walk thru’s, training seminars, industry meetings and events – and I was generally the only woman in the room. At first, I got strange looks from the men – but I was never abused or patronized in any way. As they came to know me and realized I knew my job and was dedicated to doing it, they came to just accept me, respect me, and appreciate my competence and reliability. My gender was irrelevant.
  • Women who made the most noise about how they were treated, were the ones who treated men the worst. (Treated everyone the worst). I noticed that, not only at the companies where I worked, but in unrelated industries – especially healthcare. If a woman in a medical office has a sign above her desk that states ‘NO ABUSE OR DISRESPECT WILL BE TOLERATED’, I seriously suggest that you tread carefully. Those women are dangerous.
  • Women are more prone to making excuses in a work environment – they blame co-workers, use mental issues (anxiety, OCD), use physical issues (Too short, to small, too feeble). If men encounter issues, they deal with them and move on.
  • Women tend to be less co-operative with co-workers. They do their job and that is it. Men tend to work together to get the job done.
  • When men become managers, they tend to be confident enough in their positions to look for the best employees they can get and will go out of their way to see them properly trained. They know that good performance by their staff will make them look good. Women tend to be easily threatened by competent employees. If they do find and hire them, they are reluctant to fully train them as they might become an even bigger threat. It is self defeating but I have seen it – a lot!

These are MY observations and opinions based on my experiences in Saskatchewan.

The bottom line is – yes I believe this is a male dominated province BUT if women want that to change, I think that they should change. See what the men are doing and do that. I don’t mean swearing and cussing, or dressing like a man, or acting all bull headed and bossy. I mean act competent, act professional, work with others, respect others and teach your daughters likewise – before they start kindergarten. Then inevitably things will change.

That is it for today. As always feel free to comment below – even, and especially, if you disagree with my comments above. Take care and have a great day! 💞

October 6th – Labour Shortage

In Canada, as well as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and parts of Europe, employers are struggling to meet adequate staffing requirements. This article from CTV News is one of many that is taking a look at this problem.

This labour shortage is more pronounced in the service industry – food industry, accomodation, transportation, recreation, tourism, manufacturing, construction, meat processing and packaging, and retail. As demand for these industries get back to pre-covid levels, finding the necessary employees to fill vacancies is an ongoing issue.

Media and business groups have been looking at the issues driving these labour shortages. These issues include – retirements as planned or moved up due to Covid, movement to careers offering work at home options, workers leaving the job market, and workers receiving pandemic benefits.

My view – One issue never discussed, is one that affects society as a whole these days. Division driven by special interest groups – in this case labour unions to a point but, most notably Business Groups. I worked as an employee for decades. For the most part, especially up until the last decade, companies worked together – owners/management, and employees. This was especially true in smaller independent companies. In the past decade, business groups have become more and more aggressive about recruiting business owners/managers to join their organizations. I have seen and heard their pitch and I have seen the results. Owners/managers are convinced that they are being used and abused by their staff and taken for granted. They are convinced that they are hapless victims who do so much and get so little in return. They are convinced that their only hope for regaining their power, to which they are obviously entitled, is by joining an organization, with like-minded business owners/managers. Having joined, and with ongoing encouragement from their Business Group, they lose all respect and appreciation for their staff and treat them accordingly. Covid has given these employees options and they have taken them. Some employers are now offering higher wages, benefits, and better work conditions. For many, employees, it is too little, too late.

That is my News and Views for today. As always, feel free to comment below!

Take care and have a great day! 💞

Career Fails

I have been working for about fifty years. I am relatively intelligent, concientious and responsible. My employers, for the most part, have appreciated me. Unfortunately, even the best fall – and when I fall, I fall hard. If you are having a bad day at work, take a few minutes to read about a few of my less than stellar ones.

As a teenager, I worked at the local theatre. I sold entrance tickets and worked the canteen. During the movie, I would walk up and down the aisles making sure no one was smoking, drinking alcohol, making out, or pushing their knees against the seat ahead of them. I carried a BIG flashlight. If someone was out of line, I would shine my flashlight down on them. This was usually enough to get the offender to shape up. One night a classmate had his knees up against a seat. I shone my flashlight on his knees and he put his feet down. I walked to the front of the theatre, turned back, and as I passed my classmate, I noticed he had his knees back up. I reached out to gently tap his knee with my flashlight. The head flew off the flashlight and clattered to the floor. Lightbulb, spring, and batteries flew in all directions – shattering the silence of the moment – that moment when everyone is holding their breath in anticipation of the most terrifying scene of the year’s number one horror movie. That week my boss bought me a new flashlight. A really small flashlight.

After I graduated, I went to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Thompson, Manitoba – northern wilderness at its finest. I decided to stay a while. I applied for a position in a small construction company’s office. I agreed when my tentative employer asked if he could take me to lunch to discuss my possible employment. He offered to pick me up and I agreed to that as well. I did my long dark hair, fixed my make-up, dressed up in a pretty little dress and stepped to the top of the stairs – just as my sister opened the door. I had a good look at my boss- to-be as he stepped inside the house at the foot of the staircase. I took one step down, slipped on the top step and unceremoniously slid down the length of the staircase, body slammed the poor guy into the door and landed on top of him (with my pretty little dress wrapped around my throat). I found my resume months later. The note at the top of the page read “nice hair”.

My next adventure, was going to visit another sister and brother in law and their children. I became a nurse’s aide in their local hospital. I had a few bad days there but one that has remained particularly memorable. I was working the night shift. The head nurse sent me to change a patient’s colostomy bag. I had no idea what a colostomy bag was. I went to the store room and found a package marked ‘colostomy bag’. I cannot remember wondering what I would do with it. I proceeded to the patient’s room. As I stepped up to his bed, he said “I removed the old bag for you”. He lifted a towel off of his abdomen. I panicked, flipped the red emergency switch and ran into the hall, lights flashing, sirens wailing. Nurses, doctors and orderlies were rushing towards me. I rushed up to them and as calmly as possible said “My patient exploded – there is poop everywhere!”.

I finally decided that I should probably settle on office work and landed back in the construction industry, working for a millwork company. Amongst my many duties, I was in charge of getting shipments out. One month we had a large contract for cabinets to be shipped out to RNF in Prince Albert – several shipments, and I got them out without a hitch. Then my boss told me there was another trailer filled and ready to go. I grabbed labels, packing slips and bill of lading. Everything was filled out, the transport company was called, I had time to start working on the invoicing. Two days later, Logan Stevens from Yorkton called to ask where their cabinets were. Oh….

And today… I have been having a great week. It is only Tuesday, but so far so good. This afternoon, I got a call. A contractor called to tell me they wanted to proceed with an order that I had priced. It is a big order. I grabbed the file and started going through it. I had missed a major step in the pricing. My boss came back from site and I brought him the file. I had already figured out that I had also made one mistake in our favour, that there was one cost that had decreased and another that we could negotiate a better deal on. He offered a couple of additional suggestions. We will make it work, we will even make a profit. But…

Working is a part of life. We all have bad days. Through the years, I have found that when things go wrong taking responsibility is key. Finding a fix, if possible, is crucial. And, you cannot die of embarrassment even when you really want to.

Own It

I have been working for over five decades now and have decided to share some thoughts on problem resolution in the workplace (or in life in general). There seems to be a need these days🙂

The most successful and effective people I have known are the ones who recognize an issue, give it some serious consideration, and deal with it.

There are several ineffective ways to deal with an issue and I am pretty sure I have seen them all.

1. Blame someone else – This does nothing to address the issue and abdicates any power one has to deal with the issue. If you are absolutely responsible for causing an issue and you try to blame others, it will be obvious. 😐

2. Make excuses – Nobody cares and it does not resolve the issue. You may have to explain how the issue arose but that must be followed by a resolution or at least a commitment to find a resolution to the issue. 👍

3. Ignore the issue and expect it to go away. If it is your issue to address, it will not go away. It certainly will not go away without causing further damage. If there is truly nothing you can do to address an issue, you can still choose an effective way to react to it. 🙂

4. Allowing yourself to be the helpless victim. It is all there. Victims are helpless. Even if you were totally innocent and have been hurt deliberately in the worst possible way by someone, do not allow yourself to be victimized. Even if the only thing you can do is work on resolving your own pain and suffering, do that. If you wait for someone else to resolve a situation or repair the damage it has done to you, it will never happen.

Acting the helpless victim at work is particularly non-helpful. Employers, employees, co-workers, customers, suppliers and other business contacts are looking for you to be competent and effective. If you are looking to succeed in your position, that is the face you need to show. 🙂

5. Lie, cheat or steal. Any negative response to an issue is not going to have a positive result – ever! 🙁

6. Act oblivious and clueless. Seriously, is that how you want people to see you? If you want to be treated as a professional, act like one. 🤔

7. Scream, swear, throw things, kick things. None are mature. None are helpful. None are professional. 🤯

8. Avoid the issue. If there is work to be done, or an issue to be addressed just do it. This is not the time to take a week off.

One final thought. Accept that some situations are hopeless. If there are ongoing issues that you do not have the power or authority to deal with, work towards a viable exit plan. There are options but think them through and ensure you are not leaving one bad situation for another.