YES for NO

by Nic Olson

I went to a ‘Youth Employment Services’ (YES) ‘Seminar’ today. I separately quote ‘Seminar’ because it wasn’t officially called that, and I don’t know what it officially should be called, except that I felt like I was in seminary. It was entitled ‘Jump-Start Your Job Search’. An introduction to the government run YES programme of Montreal. The seminarist ran the session in English and there was about twenty or so young unprofessionals, unhireables, in what was more or less a support group for those too weird, too awkward, too specialized, to find jobs. A few people I met yesterday told me about it, said they were going. They weren’t there. So I sat in a room with people under 40 years with at least one degree each talking about how impossible it is to find a job in Montreal in this terrible recession we are in. I learned that I need to know my personal human being ‘market worth’, so when I apply at jobs, I can tell them how much they have to pay me, because that is how much I’m worth. I decided that my own personal ‘market worth’ would be an extra large tube of salami and a $2.50 international calling card.

So, I was in the wrong room. After terrible introductions of each seminaries, the seminarist said that she wasn’t going to find any of us any jobs. She was going to support our search for jobs by essentially doing nothing and telling us that we were special. I pretended that I was manager of a lucrative store in Saskatchewan and moved to Montreal to broaden my entrepreneurial horizons. But really I just wanted the lady to find me a dishwashing job near my apartment. I left before she could take any more of my information and set up a further cumbersome one on one meeting with a career specialist. I took a pen. I walked home.

‘They’, whoever ‘they’ are, have created an industry out of people that can’t get into an industry. A trade was created for those who employers don’t want in their own trade. Resume writers/translators, head hunters, agencies and billion dollar companies. And I am sitting outside of these places, without a job, hoping my money lasts as long as it takes to find a new source of money, so I can save it up again for the next place.

Before I humiliated myself and told thirty-three year olds with three degrees that I moved to Montreal for fun, I went for free vegan food at Concordia University. Unreal, free, likely very organic chick pea curry and some sort of soup with couscous on the side. Socially conscious students with tupperware in hand, lined up for free, donation encouraged vegan food, complete with a full banana. This city is a mindwarp. Hippies serving free vegan delights. Australian Engineers nearly homeless waiting for jobs in big yellow rooms with other Masters with numerous undergraduate degrees under their ‘oh so high’ belts.

I sleep on the floor, but now on a futon mattress. I listen to real people have real conversations. I cook my own dahl. I’m a grown up. If I had a job where I wore a suit, I’d be Donald Trump.