A Long and Painful Process…

Today is rather depressing in the weather department!… When looking outside, I am under the impression we are in the middle of Fall… greyish sky, strong north winds, cool temperature… I would not be surprised that, before the end of the day, my central heating system would take the central A/C relay… So far, Summer has not been great!… It has been raining all week and we are not expecting any significant changes in the next few days…

Yet it is a perfect day for writing since I am not tempted to step outside… way too «lugubre» for me!

This week has been very busy as usual… Joyce went for her oral interaction test on Tuesday… I had seen her for two hours that morning and I had managed to have her burst into tears. Useless to say that I felt really bad… Of course she was extremely nervous and overwhelmed: the pressure for attaining level C is higher… But, when she came back from her phone interview, she gave me a call… she was happy with her performance! Of course, she could not tell if it had been enough for her to get a C… actually no one can predict the outcome of the oral interaction test… Like it or not, there is some subjectivity that is part and parcel of human nature. I do not believe in pure objectivity… it is an ideal that cannot really be attained. Though the PPC likes to proclaim that its oral interaction test is done in a way that can assess people objectively… one would certainly wish that it would be the case!

This test was the last step in Joyce’s job application process that started more than six months ago. Hopefully she will meet the language requirements of the position she applied for and her name will be added to a pool of candidates… one would think that, after so long, she would actually get the position. Wrong!… she was told it may take one to two years before they draw her name from the hat!… Quite depressing, is it not? I am convinced some people just drop the whole thing and decide to look somewhere else… who can afford to wait for so long? Well… someone who already has a job might have the patience to wait… but someone who is unemployed just cannot wait that long because their stomach is telling them otherwise… And even those who are patient may be told after many months that they do not qualify for a position because they could not meet the language requirements (keep in mind that SLE testing comes last in this long process). And, poor Joyce, she was told not to expect her test results before two weeks!…

This is why some make the decision of «baisser les bras devant une telle bureaucratie» and moving on… Krystal, in Toronto, had been stuggling with her decision for quite some time and, a couple of weeks ago, she had told me that she had applied for jobs in the private sector. Of course, she was torn apart because she would like to get one of the two positions she applied for in Ottawa more than eight months ago… yet I could see she was at the end of her rope… It did not take long for her to receive a call: yesterday she was booked for an interview… and chances are that it will not take months before she gets an answer (one way or the other). Since she got professional ethics, if she ever were offered the position and accepted it, she would not move on with the government process. And the Department she was short-listed for two positions would then lose a highly qualified (perhaps over qualified) candidate…

As for Yong in Montreal… finally, in the middle of June, he was notified that he had not passed his B level in oral interaction… since the language requirements of the position he had applied for were BBB and his profile ended up being BBA, he assumed that it was over and started to apply elsewhere… On Tuesday, I got a call from him on Skype… he wanted some advice and my opinion so that he could make a «décision éclairée»: he had been offered an engineer position with a nuclear company in Toronto and he was meeting with management yesterday…

Then, on Tuesday morning, he got a call from Ottawa… they said they were sending him a letter of offer for an English essential position! I can imagine how he felt… being placed in such a situation is kind of overwhelming! The question is “What should I do?”… Of course, I am no expert… but I think he needed to talk with someone so that he could sort out his thoughts. And, since I do live in Ottawa, I was able to tell him about the pros and the cons of living here… and I gave him a list of points to take into consideration before making a decision. Yong came here from China not so long ago and he is not familiar with Canadian cities other than with Montreal… so… I was able to tell him a bit more about Ottawa and Toronto… Both cities have their pros and their cons… and, as for the jobs, obviously a position within the Public Service of Canada guarantees security, excellent social benefits, regular working hours and many opportunities for career advancement… on the other hand, salaries are higher in the private sector (in his field anyways)…

Last night, on the news, there was a story on the difficult and long process people have to go through when they apply for a position within the Federal Government. With so many babyboomers retiring from the workforce massively, there are many job openings in the public sector… of course, young people are attracted by the idea of working in the government. Yet they are thrown off by the complexity and the duration of the hiring process… and often they do not understand the jargon used in job posts on the web. There was an interview with a former public servant who decided to start a consulting service in order to help applicants in understanding this process by providing them with explanations and useful tips on strategies to use (though no one can speed up the process!)… I admit it made me smile: with the government, everything comes down to being strategic… otherwise one would get lost in the maze of such complex processes!… When I do prepare candidates for their SLE tests, I actually work more on strategies than on their French grammar and syntax!!! I am sure this woman will be successful with the kind of service she does provide… I have to say that our government provides creative people with ideas that answer the needs of people who wish to work within the government… as long as the PSC will stick to its complex and endless hiring/staffing processes, it will provide people like this woman with an inexhaustible gold mine… people who will help candidates to go through this long process with lesser pain!…

 

“L’intelligence est la faculté à l’aide de laquelle nous comprenons finalement que tout est incompréhensible”

Maurice Maeterlinck

 

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