Multi-Generational Charity in Toronto

The Toronto Star features a family that has depended on its Christmas charity boxes for three generations.

The grandfather, though earning only a security guard's wages, decided to have seven children.

So, his daughter, Ivy Chrysler, now 50, starting receiving the boxes since when she was five years old.

Her eldest daughter started receiving the boxes when she was two and now her children get them -- as do the grandchildren of Ivy's twin sister, Sydney Mead.

What has gone wrong in this family? Obviously Ivy's father and mother, either unaware of or unwilling to use birth control had more children than they could afford to provide for.

Ivy is now a widow without the income a husband would normally provide and she says that after she was married her husband went back to school so that they were short of funds during that time. But she still went ahead  and had a child when she couldn't afford to do so. And now her children are are in the same boat.

Ivy and her sister are not immigrants nor are they members of a visible minority. So it would seem safe to say that their families' financial problems are clearly due to a problem of family culture. Also, perhaps, it is a problem of community culture since she grew up and still lives in a part of Toronto that is traditionally the home of poor people.

How to Learn New Skills

Source: How To Be A Programmer (edited)

Learning new skills is the greatest fun. Most companies would have better morale if they understood how much this motivates people.

1. Books and classes are good but humans learn by doing.

2. A good mentor is better than a book.

What can you offer a potential mentor in exchange for their knowledge? At a minimum, you should offer to study hard so their time won't be wasted.

3. Formal training is good but usually not better than the same amount of time spent playing with the skill you want to learn.

But it is easier to ask for training than playtime.

4. You have to do a small project before you can do a large one.

If you lead people, assign them projects that are the right size and offer to exercise the skills they want to develop.

Predicting Performance From Personality

Reference: New York Times

- Paul Wolfowitz doesn't seem like a zealot
- he is patient, logical, respectful and soft-spoken
- but he has a missionary's optimism about America's
  ability to build a better world

- has an activist bent
- he sees trouble coming before others do
- doesn't want to stand by while bad things happen
- and thinks about the cost of not acting

- Wolfowitz was sympathetic to the war in Vietnam
- later, he accepted that it was a case of overreaching
- for Colin Powell, Vietnam is the prime example of good
  intentions gone wrong

- Wolfy was an architect of the Iraq War.
- could we predict from his activist orientation and optimistic
  perspective the likelihood of over-reaching?

Selling Your Personality

The Lessons of David Axelrod

- David Axelrod is Obama's campaign manager

- his campaigns don't focus on issues but on the candidate’s life
- he wants to portray the candidate as having a leader's personality

- a job hunter can do the same in an interview
- she should have clear ideas about how her job is done

- but she can also tell a story about her life and focus on moments
  in her history that define her as the person she wants to be

- while the image you project may be edited,
  to be convincing it has to be based in reality

- Axelrod's campaigns are upbeat
- they contain a message of idealism and optimism moderated by pragmatism

- he believes that the promise of the future, where you're going,
  trumps a focus on the past

- he also believes that a candidate should focus on strategic issues,
  not just the needs of the moment

- he fends off critics by stressing the flip side of Obama's alleged flaws.
- lack of a rigid ideological position is seen as independence
- a lack of combativenes becomes bipartisanship

Reference: New York Times.

Leaders Are Flexible

Reference: George Jonas.

It’s definitely not for nothing that Obama -- who, in theory, stands against everything Powell has stood for, from party affiliation to policy -- responded to the endorsement of Bush’s former secretary of state by saying that he was feeling honoured and humbled.

Presidential? Pragmatic? Practical? Unprincipled?

All of the above, I’d say. The first adjective sounds like a compliment; the last one certainly doesn’t. Yet they’re not incompatible and may even be complementary.

Jonas says that politics make strange bedfellows and that leaders have to be willing to praise and partner with whomever they must to get to their goals.

But is Powell as opposed to Obama's positions as Jonas suggests? He was a dove in the Bush Administration. He is cautious about going to war and sees Iraq as an mistake.

Everyone also respects his commitment to his country and his personal character even if they do not agree with all of his political positions.

So there is reason to be impressed when a man like that crosses party lines to endorse you.

So, to prove a point, Jonas has exaggerated their opposition.

Recruiter, Toronto, Canada

Send Out

Matt Mancino, a construction industry recruiter in Phoenix called to tell me about Send Out

You can create your own thank you or greeting cards online - in your own handwriting, if you choose -- and they print them and snail mail them for you.

Because everything is electronic today, these snail mailed cards stand out and differentiate you from the pack.

Recruiter, Toronto, Canada

Free Online ATS is a free, online applicant tracking system.

Key Points: Launches Oct 28, 2008. Set up in 2 minutes. Easy to use. Personalize your own Career Site. Includes a "vibrant" recruiter community. Includes "integrated pay-per-use recruiting services" (sounds like they will do your recruiting for you).

Recruiter, Toronto, Canada

Immigrants Dislike Preference For Skilled People warns that:

1. Immigrants with skills do not get a chance to use them in Canada.

2. So the government's increased preference for immigrants with job skills discriminates against the unskilled people the country actually needs.

When Chakraborti joined her husband, Sailen, in Canada, it took her just two months to parlay a master's degree in philosophy into a job as a bank teller.

"Many immigrant communities are already being discriminated left, right and centre..."

His parents have a university education and worked for Ontario Hydro as clerks...

Recruiter, Toronto, Canada

Online Storage Offerings - Comparison Chart


People Can Surprise You

Source: Wall Street Journal. (edited)

Harry Truman was a small town man whose career had been sponsored by a corrupt political boss. Then he was carelessly elevated to a senior role by Frank Roosevelt. And, yet as the sponsor of the Marshall Plan and the policy of containment, he had done great things.

From this example, Peggy Noonan concludes that:

People can come from nowhere, with modest backgrounds and short résumés, and yet be individuals of real gifts... that are suddenly revealed

You have to give people time to show what they have. Because maybe they have magic too.

Recruiter, Canada, Toronto

Your Company Needs A Consistent Tone

Reference: Commune Media via One Degree

A large company will usually have strict rules about the presentation of its image. For instance, it will only use specific colours, photos and fonts . The reason? Once these signals become familiar to the viewer, it becomes easy to relate to the firm as a known quantity.

The same restrictions and clear definition are required for any appearance of the company's voice. But this is where firms often err.

When they are trying to reel you in as a customer or an employee, they are very personable and friendly. But once you are sold, they become very task-oriented. You're no longer a pal. The only thing that matters is business.

People don't like that sudden about-face from caring about them to caring exclusively about yourself. It makes you seem untrustworthy and dishonest.

So, if you have a friendly voice in your marketing vehicles, including your recruiting communications (on your blog, for instance), you should maintain it in all of your ongoing communications as a basic element of your firm's culture.

Note: The same is true of individuals. Most of us don't feel comfortable around people who are really nice -- until they get angry. Then all concern about other people is thrown out the window.

The person who throws the tantrum might excuse it as his way of getting rid of an upset as quickly as possible. But those who are on the receiving end become wary of him.

Homepage: The Canadian

Do Interviewers Disagree?

Take a look at the judgements of the third presidential debate.

McCain looked and sounded like a man who is floundering and doesn't know what to do about it.

-- Editorial, The Age (Australia)

In my mind McCain won the last debate by some margin

-- Ron Liddle, TimesOnline (England)

Presumably both writers are well-informed, politically. Liddle, who supports Obama, was a speechwriter for the Labour party in England. And, yet, they disagree.

What could possibly account for it? And does this disagreement reflect something that might happen when a candidate meets a number of stakeholders within the same firm?

Homepage: The Canadian

Do You Still Need a Resume? Yes

According to Debbie Dib, the resume is losing its role as the primary tool in a job search.

But not really. You might have a blog or a website or a video profile but I'm a headhunter and when I call you about a job, you'd better have a resume.

How else am I going to get a quick overview of what you've done and, based on that, assess what you can do. I have to have something to pass on to my client, too. And to anyone else involved in the search.

And, if I don't have a resume, what am I going to use? A LinkedIn profile? That's just a resume online, nothing more, nothing less. And I love LinkedIn; every recruiter does. But it's got some strikes against it.

1. It's got the LinkedIn format which includes a lot of junk on the right side of the page.

2. At present, LinkedIn is still foreign to a lot of people. A hiring manager might not recognize it as a resume. Many people who register on LinkedIn don't recognize its potential value either so they don't put a lot of details or stable contact information into their profiles.

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Success Lessons From Immigrants

Reference: Ray de Souza, National Post. (edited)

A report from Statistics Canada's 2006 census has revealed the professional success rates of immigrants from various national and racial groupings.

The children of Chinese and Indian immigrants do best. Ray de Souza, the son of Indian immigrants, offers some possible reasons why.

Asian parents take it for granted that a university education is the path to advancement. They are also used very demanding schools of their homelands so when they make their kids live by their standards they do very well in Canada where the schools do not push students so hard.

Also, Asian parents are usually hard-working and their families are stable so the children grow up in a community of immigrants in which good values are modelled and none of the problems caused by family disintegration are present.

Finally, Chinese and Indian immigrants don't worry too much about prejudice. Where it exists, it's difficult to change -- and it has little influence on the opportunities that Canada holds out for them. So they ignore the problems and focus on the potentials.

Canadian Headhunter Homepage