I’m fired. Now what?

It’s tricky.  My “original” contract ends at the end of March which is today.  A couple of weeks ago, they, actually “he”, decided to extend my contract for three weeks and said he would probably extend extension.  I had been quite busy until a couple of weeks ago and did not have time to prepare for job hunting, and my plan was to look for a job during the extension period.  A week ago, a day after I signed a new contract, he suddenly decided to cancel the new contract.  Why?  Because the project is way behind the schedule because of his mismanagement and he decided to send back most of the Japanese workers, which dis-necessitates interpreters.  Technically speaking, I am not “fired”.  He has the right to cancel the contract by notifying a week before, which is clarified on the contract.  From a legal point of view, it is acceptable.  But from a humanitarian point of view, is it?  It could have been avoided, but he chose to cut disposable temporary workers.

He said he would ask me to work for them again two weeks later when they are ready to restart the project.  Do I trust him?  No.  What happens if it takes three weeks, or four weeks… which is easily predicted based on their past management.  I should look for a new job right now, but the problem is many of the others, mostly Canadians, expect me to come back.  He brutally “fired” me, but now, for others, I generously wait.  Am I stupid?  Yes, definitely.  But I don’t want to be like him.  I don’t want to betray other people’s expectation.  OK, I will wait for one week.

Using disposable workers is a “good” business strategy.  Well, he expects me to come back, so I am a “reusable” worker.  Anyways.  But is it, I mean, is using disposable workers sustainable?  The three pillars of sustainable development are environmental responsibility, economic security, and social well-being.  Theoretically, the “good” business strategy misses the last pillar.  However, in fact, sadly, many companies use the strategy and they survive or even prevail, like the Japanese car companies that “fired” thousands of temporary workers to make them homeless a few years ago.  This is the reality.

So, now what?  Even if they ask me to work for them again, I will need to look for a new job later.  Now I am thinking of two options: one is to look for a full-time job, and the other one is to look for a part-time job and prepare for starting a small business.  I am tired of fooling my time and talent because of someone else’s mismanagement.  Fortunately or unfortunately, I have time to think of my future plan.

As I wrote in a previous post, let’s see how the looser will fail.

March 31, 2013Permalink

Free(lance) designer???

Now I’m doing a design job for free for a friend of mine.  She is the other Japanese interpreter in my work place.  Now I work night shifts and she works during the day, and we worked together for a while before I started working night shifts.  She is just like me; she came to Canada to work here, but found it difficult to get hired because she does not have work experience in Canada though she is a talented person, and currently do an “easy” job to acquire job experience in Canada.  She is thinking of working as a freelancer, and I recommended her to make freelancer’s business cards, and suggested that I design it for her for free.

Why free?  I hesitate to charge my friends for my design work, and this is only one of the reasons.  Now I am thinking of working as a freelance designer, and I need to show examples of my design work.  I will add her logo and business card design to my portfolio.  I am also simulating working with clients.  Ideally, in the future, she will give her business card to her clients and mention that her friend, which is me, designed the logo and the business card, which advertises me.  If it works, it’s a good deal for her and me, isn’t it?

Today I met her to show some design ideas and to refine them with her, and she enjoyed it.  She told me that it is fun to see her logo coming along.  It is fun for me to see someone enjoying my design work.  Now I know this is what I want to do. Designers’ role is to realize other people’s idea with design skills.  This is a good simulation.

Whether it is a freelance job or a job for free, designing for people is fun.

March 22, 2013Permalink

Two years since the earthquake and tsunami

It’s been two years since the earthquake and tsunami hit Eastern Japan on March 11, 2011.  I was in Japan then, and still remember everything like yesterday.  My home is far from the epicenters (it was not “epicenter” but there were multiple epicenters), but it was the biggest and also longest earthquake I have ever experienced.  Everything around me changed since then: TV programs on every channel reporting the updated information of the suffered areas all the day without advertisement, lack of food due to damaged infrastructure and panic buying, never-ending aftershocks and earthquake-sick, rolling blackout, messages and donation from all over the world, confusion, hopelessness and the feeling of unity…

Today someone complained to me that tons of tsunami-related garbage from Japan have reached BC coasts.  Who’s fault is it?  Nobody!  No one deliberately sent any garbage from Japan to Canada.  Some people expect the owners of the “debris” to pay for cleaning, but they cannot even afford cleaning up their land.  I want those complainers to understand that thousands of people in the affected areas still live in temporary dwellings since their hometown is still filled with debris.

I wrote I remember everything, but not really.  I quitted a job a day before the earthquake, and scheduled job interviews were cancelled.  In the great confusion, many companies were not ready to hire new employees.  But I dared to think I was lucky; I had a place to live and a warm bed to sleep in while thousands of people lost everything. Now I don’t know what I will be doing three weeks from now; the current contract job will end at the end of this month and I am still looking for a job.  Can I think I am lucky now?  Now I turned off the room light and lit a candle to remember the rolling-blackout nights.

One more reason to light a candle.  R.I.P. all the victims of the earthquake and tsunami.

March 11, 2013Permalink

Job Fair. It’s fair.

Today McMaster University, partnered with Mohowk College, offered a job fair for students and alumni.  Since the current contract job will end at the end of this month, I took a day off to join the job fair.

As I wrote in early posts, I sent my resume to many companies and recruit agencies, and all of them except for the one who offered the current contract job did not reply.  I had no way to know why they did not reply, and got discouraged.  But job fair is fair; everyone can talk to recruiters and see how they react.  I talked to many people.  Some of them politely explained what they do, listened to me and gave me some positive words, while some others automatically received my resume.  I could tell whether I can be a candidate to be considered or I am not qualified and do not interest them.  This is one of the good things about job fair.

Another benefit of job fair for me is that I can measure my verbal communication skill. If I saw the recruiter’s reaction, I could tell how good or bad my communication skill is. It was like preparing for job interviews.

How did it go?  I had some positive impression of a few companies, but for now I dare not to talk about it because I do not want to be disappointed.  I will write about it if I have got any good news from them.  I hope it will happen.

March 6, 2013Permalink

Now, what should I do to save the Earth?

As I wrote in a previous post, I bought a car, often drive to Hamilton, and wonder if it was a smart choice or not.  It saves time, costs more, and obviously bad for the environment.  Owning a car and driving it is fun, but I dare not to count it for now.

China is a tremendously honest country; they focus on economic growth of today and do not care about the environment of tomorrow.  An internet article, Politics of pollution: China’s oil giants take a choke-hold on power, describes it very precisely.  They know how to reduce pollution, but do not do it because it costs and slows down the economic growth.  They do not admitting that compensation will cost a lot more or even impossible.

I still remember that one of my in-class presentations in the Faculty of Environmental Design triggered discussion on ethics of products.  I used an example of Fair Trade products; they are generally more expensive than other products of the equivalent quality, but people choose to buy those products for some reasons, and probably many of them choose it because they feel they are doing the right thing.  The advertisement titled Follow the Flog probably targeted those people like me.

You must do something about it.

This advertisement makes me feel better; I don’t need to launch a movement.  But, dose it, really?

Some companies in more ethically-advanced countries have found that business focusing on sustainability is also profitable.  An internet article, 5 Lessons From The Companies Making Sustainability More Profitable Than Ever, describes how those companies make profits while providing “green” products.  To make a long story short, the users of those products do not have to be environmentally-conscious people but can be cost-reduction-conscious people to be environmentally friendly.

OK, now, what should I do?  Can I keep using my car if I follow the flog and use sustainable products to save money?  Not really.  This discussion continues.

March 1, 2013Permalink