The Road to Employment

Exaggeration has always been part of story telling, particularly of days long past. My father would grumble of ‘kids these days’ not knowing real difficulty if it bit them in the ‘tukus’ in an attempt to teach me a life lesson.

A favorite anecdote of his was him having to walk some ten miles to school through a twenty foot snow drift with no shoes over broken glass – a doubtful scenario, but effective nonetheless. My in-laws once disclosed that when they graduated from university in the 1960s’, they were immediately offered a job in their fields. Both of these accounts seem ridiculously unlikely. The sad thing is, one of them is true.

Here in Canada we have national healthcare, top-tier education, and a beautiful and cared for landscape. We also have long stubborn winters and a bitter lack of decent employment. Graduates find it more difficult with each year to secure meaningful work in their respective fields, often opting to move back home and taking what is available – minimum wage part time positions. Or baring that, these fresh-faced professionals travel abroad to up and coming markets in second and third world nations where speaking English is equally as valuable as your undergrad. I can tell you from personal experience, choosing between paying your debt and unpolluted air is not an easy choice to make.

Employment prospects in Canada have been on the decline since the 2008-2009 recession, and part time positions have been on the rise as companies have cut back to prevent or balance losses. Unfortunately, many late twenty to thirty-somethings are left serving fries with one hand while clutching a degree with the other. This leaves me to wonder if that undergrad I spent four years laboring over (and another ten to pay off) was no more than a glorified high school diploma.

A post-secondary education was a promise of a middle class existence. Academia was a window to a comfortable life. But, with a market saturated with degrees and a system only accountable to shareholders, more and more Canadians are left with a mountain of debt and no means to work it off.

Kids these days may not have to endure the same inconveniences as generations before them. But many of us do grow up unable to follow in the footsteps of our parent’s good intentions. And like many stories of days past, the one about a fruitful job market has sadly been left in the dust of nostalgia.



4 thoughts on “The Road to Employment

  1. I’ve met quite a few people driving mining vehicles in Fort McMurray, using their one or two degrees as a cushion for their butt while they metaphorically shovel for money. Thinking about doing it myself to pay off my International escapades….education used to = employment. Don’t know these days.


  2. Both of my children had to leave Ontario to find meaningful work. One is in Fort McMurray (not in the tarsands) and the other is in Edmonton. I don’t expect them to return to Ontario in anytime soon.


    1. It really has only gotten worse in ‘Onterrible’. Unemployment, lack of meaningful work, and the debt pit our province is in really disappointing, especially considering how it was once a great place of opportunity.


  3. hi Parry…Welcome to Progressive Bloggers !!! What a nice looking blog and great post. The Conference Board has just released a report showing that the gap between the older generation and the 20-somethings has never been greater. They are the first generation to be worse off than their parents. And numbers alone don’t tell the story. They can’t properly describe the effects of constant rejection on a young person, or the despair or the feelings of hopelessness. So the more light that is shone on this tragic situation, with horrible implications for the future, the better. Thank you…


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