Sunday, 7 March 2010

We Don't Shag Here...

As I continue to seek employment of the permanent sort, I am also seeking employment of the survival sort.

Now, in my nearly 30 years of living, I can say I’ve had a fairly wide range of jobs. I have had the benefit of being a professional dishwasher – always exciting.

I have been a line cook…a prep cook…a short order cook…I don’t cook…

I have been a professional dog handler (of sorts, but it’s fairly complicated to explain) for the past three years. For six months out of the year, it is just my dogs and I (which is fine, because I actually prefer dogs to people). Unfortunately it eventually becomes a hassle around month five, when I start to argue with my dogs, and come home not speaking to them. Oh yes, I am serious. You see, spending 12 hours a day with a canine companion constantly in your face, only to bring him home, and spend the remaining part of the day tripping over him…well…it can be overkill…especially when your primary hobby…is…oh yes…dog handling (professions and hobbies should not correspond)

There have been stints in teaching. Stints in tutoring. Stints in the entertainment industry (not adult). Working for Stats Canada. Working abroad, working at home, working wherever I could find a job.

I have a considerable number of resumes and cover letters at the moment – each job I apply to requires a specialized resume, and I have applied to A LOT of jobs recently.
Periodically I make mistakes in my cover letters that proof reading fails to catch…there is nothing worse than focusing on my communication skills and finding the following error once the resume has already been submitted:

Do to my years education, I have excellent communication skills, and comfortable in front of individuals and large audiences.

Context is also fairly important when considering a resume. As a fairly well travelled individual (and trained in anthropology) I should be aware of context. Northern Ontario (like most areas) has its own colourful vernacular, which I am sometimes oblivious to.

So that is why, when proof reading my bartending/food service resume today (yes, I have even bartended), I was embarrassed to realize a little faux pas that I had included – in a resume that I have already submitted to jobs in Southern Ontario…..

In my resume, as a part of my SKILL SET, I discussed how I had served at special events, including shags

Yes, including shags.

Sometimes I need to be far more observant of where I am. To the rest of the world, I may have just become a prostitute of sorts…or a madam…or a tea-toting geisha at a mass orgy. Maybe I provided the whips & chains….or lubricant…

And while this might be a beneficial skill in Amsterdam, I highly doubt having served at a shag is going to be looked at favourably in sleepy Sarnia – though it might help me to get a job, but not on merit. At the very least, a potential employer may want to interview me, based strictly out of curiosity; maybe hoping I might wear leather and lace to the interview (because really – what else would one wear, if serving at a shag?).

You see, while the rest of the world believes a shag is synonymous with sex, in Northern Ontario a shag is the equivalent to a stag & doe, buck & doe, or a pre-wedding fundraiser, that requires bartenders. Not that we don’t shag in Northern Ontario, but we certainly don’t admit to it on our resumes…

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