Irish Canadian Immigration Centre: Meeting the needs of the newly arrived Irish to Canada

So most of you will have heard about The Irish Immigration centre, If you haven’t you’re missing out on a valuable resource available to the newly arrived Irish in Canada, hey their aim is to MEET THE NEEDS OF NEWLY ARRIVED IRISH TO CANADA-Thats us!ICIC_logo

The Irish Immigration Centre was established in December of 2011 and they offer outreach and information in areas such as employment, social services, and immigration.

They are a not-for-profit organization, which means that they help and services they provide are free of cost. Exactly what us new arrivals need. I have very recently had the opportunity to meet the staff and they are so knowledgeable on all things Canada and are willing to help and advise even though you stop them at a social event. I’m obviously not suggesting you start harassing these guys when they are out and about. (You can contact them here.)

The Irish Immigration Centre have also got involved in helping people who are in crisis for whatever reason.

They have compiled and provided this information, to those of us who may be in need of support.

You can access Crisis Information here

Please do not hesitate to avail of this resource, as always let us know your experience.

S xx

Advertisements

South Korea teaching job…Not if you’re Irish

The Irish are known for their love of travel, Many of us are currently spread across the globe working and developing our carrers. One Irish lady hoping to do the same recieved this rejection letter from a job posting in South Korea.

Irish-Teacher-Korea

This image, posted on photo sharing site Imgur last night, claims to show the response received by one Irish girl’s job application to be a teacher in the Asian country.

In the extremely brief email, the recruiter explains to Katie: “I am sorry to inform you that my client does not hire Irish people due to the alcoholism nature of your kind. Best of luck in future.”

The image is quickly going viral and has sparked debate on social media site Reddit, with many Irish people voicing their opinions.

One user said: “I’ve been to SK three times (and NK once!) and I can confirm they have a similar drinking culture to Ireland. In fact when you get to know Korea you realize they are the Irish of Asia.”

But another Irishman living in Korea said that this kind of discrimination was widespread: “That’s pretty outrageous, even by Korean standards”

Has this ever happened to you when applying for a job? Have you received any hilarious or offensive replies?

S xx

Confessions of an Irish Administrative Assistant

Girls, how many of you arrived in Toronto full of high hopes to find a position suited to your qualifications but somehow ended up working as an admin assistant (said with a hiss through gritted teeth). We’re so grateful to have a job but sometimes, at the end of a frustrating day, jumping to the every whim of a crazy (sorry, we meant ‘very busy’) director, we wonder ‘what did we do to deserve this’??? Take a read and let us know if you can relate to any of the below? Don’t forget there is many more in the same boat…maybe we should up self-help group? (#Joking #Notjoking)

Monday morning again and I board my bus for the final leg of my journey to work and wonder, “what kind of day will it be today”? I know this is not an uncommon feeling but I really have very little control over my working day as I am (drumroll please) an Administrative Assistant. When I tell people what I do, they are intrigued and make comments about how fun it sounds, but fun it is certainly not. Ya see essentially it is my job to keep my boss happy! My boss is like the Tasmanian Devil…you remember the dim witted but slightly psychotic Looney Toon character who mumbled incoherently and ate everything in sight? Well yeah, that’s what I work with.

The boss, after her morning coffee Fix

The boss, after her morning coffee fix

Generally there are three ways I can tell what type of mood “we” are in;

1. She will fly past my desk, not lifting her head to speak to ANYONE.

2. The side of the eye / wonky smirk stare ; this is not directed at me normally, but at one of my colleagues who has, well lets be blunt, fucked up!

3. The emails; never exactly friendly (actually more often than not the tone of these is passive aggressive) but you know your in trouble when there is no sign off.

I’ve never felt the wrath of the boss, but she does scare the bejaysus outta me. I’ve seen her cut throat work ethic and have on occasion had to deliver the tissues to the poor saps that work directly for her.

So what exactly do I do?

Well I plan this woman’s every move and I mean every move. She doesn’t pee without me knowing. I schedule, organize, re-arrange , file, fix and generally run around (you will never see me in heels). I’m her gatekeeper – no-one sees her without getting past me. This is a major downside of my job. I swear some of my paranoid colleagues sometimes think I don’t allow certain meetings because I want to keep her all to myself…eh no! And I’m genuinely waiting for the day that the annoying twit from accounting will charge at me with a letter opener if she doesn’t get her meeting!

Super admin

Super admin

I have on occasions had to fetch her coffee and once I had to hold an umbrella over her whilst I got soaked at a company barbecue. A particular low-point was the day I brought her back a sandwich with mayo – tut, tut, silly me should have known (without actually being told) that this doll doesn’t do mayo!

But its not all bad. I actually enjoy the pace of this job. I never know what my day will hold and I’m constantly busy. Although my boss never says “please” or “thank you”, she will randomly compliment me and I like to think that is her (weird) way of showing appreciation. And it’s provided endless hours of ranting/laughing for me and my friends over a bottle of vino who find themselves in similar positions. In the meantime, it’s money in the bank until my dream job comes around or Ryan Gosling comes a knocking!

Save me?!

Save me?!

So you want to be a bartender?!

image

Coming to Toronto I was sure I would find a job in my chosen profession. I had the degree, the experience, the enthusiasm! I applied to every job that was relevant to me, and…..nothing!

Dejected to say the least I handed out my resume to practically every bar and restaurant in town. I wanted to do something I was good at, and service I can do. I had loads of experience and was delighted to skip past the normal ‘server to bar staff’ route and become bar staff (or mixologist ) straight away. I worked in a high end bar, with a crazy bar list, which meant not only a new job, but a new skill. I worked closely with the Mixologist to increase my Cocktail know how. I also got some tips from one of the city’s best sommeliers who taught me the basics of wine, which, before was pretty basic i.e. the 4 basic wine types – white, red, rose and that delicious Irish wine, you might know it as Buckfast.

One year in and I LOVE my bar job. How could I not?! I drink for a living, sleep until noon and check out some of the best bars downtown. But its not all glamorous, my nails are constantly chipped form dish washing and I’ve had to unclog my fair share of toilets. So for any one you thinking about bar work, I drew up a list of pros and cons

Pros
Pro: Tips, a good server can make decent tips and a great server will make a killing. Find yourself a busy bar and work it, the wage for bar work isn’t great so you need to supplement your income with tips. My advice is to avoid college bars, been there done that and the tips are miserable.

Pro: You will make lots of friends, these are friends that are in the industry and will therefore come in handy when you are in the queue for a night out or are on the other side of the bar! These are also the people who at the end of a really busy night you chill out with over a beer or five

Pros: Surrounded by booze for 6-8 hours a night, but how can I recommend a drink if I have never tried it. In my job I was encouraged to drink and sample the products, check with your manager though, and don’t blame CraicTo if you end up hammered on the job

Cons
Con: Say goodbye to your weekends and be prepared to miss lots of social events. I tend to prioritize my friends, and will only ask for a shift to be covered if one of my “Bffs” is having a night out or event. You start to turn down too many shifts and you will be replaced, especially in a busy down town bar

Con: Wage, most bars pay the states minimum wage (in Toronto that’s $8.90) and your tips support your wage, so if you want to make big money, no.1 you need a busy bar and no.2 a great personality.

Con: your non server friends will rarely be free when you are. They also rarely understand your chronic fatigue.

Con: Drunk people; having to deal with intoxicated people every shift will eventually get to you – we all know just how annoying and persistent people that have had one too many drinks are.

 

Job-hunting in Toronto – not for the faint-hearted…

jobhunt

You may think you are a sane, well-grounded person but have you ever tried hunting down a job in a new city where you don’t know a soul?

In theory, it should be simple, – you are young, highly qualified, ambitious, hardworking and a nice human being so you deserve at the very least, a chance to prove yourself in your chosen field. Unfortunately, getting that foot in the door can seem like mission impossible for new arrivals in Toronto, especially for the ladies.

If you have travelled over here with a significant other or friend who works in the construction industry, you will no doubt have noticed a sharp contrast between their job hunting experience vs. your own. In fact, on more than one occasion during my first few months here, I wondered was it too late to re-train as a bricklayer or an electrician.

When my man friend who works as a carpenter went looking for work in Toronto, he made two key moves:

a) He joined a GAA club

b) He went for a pint in an Irish pub & got chatting to a few ‘lads’.

Before we knew it, he had two job offers. However, my experience was a little different. On day one I was determined, confident and excited.

Toronto, I've arrived...

Toronto, I’ve arrived…

Fast forward two weeks and I was a broken woman. Hundreds of emails had been sent, almost as many follow-up phone calls and there wasn’t even a faint sniff of employment in the air. Why didn’t they want me? I had the experience, I was educated! They didn’t even have the decency to return my calls!

Aaaagggggghhhhhhh

Aaaagggggghhhhhhh

As each day passed, I got more bitter and stressed out. With my savings dwindling, I  decided to park my plans to find a job in editing/publishing and instead concentrate  on finding any job that would just pay me and pay me fast! Within a week of  restructuring my expectations, I had a job. Not a very exciting one (in fact it was duller  than dishwater) but it was a start, it paid and I was no longer sitting idle everyday  cursing my luck. After three weeks temping as a receptionist at an office that no-one  ever seemed the call, I then got offered a three month contract working as an  administrative assistant in an insurance company. This line of work was not even in  the same stratosphere of what I actually wanted to be doing but I kept telling myself it  was money coming in the door and in my spare time I could keep looking for the  dream job. Wouldn’t it be great if I could say to you that a year on I am now Managing  Director in the Toronto office of a global publishing firm? Yes, it would be great but  alas it would also be a big, fat lie. The reality is I am (happily) working in a field close  to where I want be, the job is permanent and I enjoy what I do. So, for all of you just starting out don’t give up, keep knocking on doors and realize you have to start somewhere.

Helpful tips for job-hunting in Toronto:

Get your resume looking great – Canadian-style resumes are a different format to Irish CV’s so make sure you put in the time & effort to doctor yours accordingly. Don’t forget to tailor your resume to fit each individual job application, use formatting tools like bold and bullet to make important information stand out and use as many keywords as you can to enhance skills and qualifications.

Get social – Do not under-estimate the power of social media when it comes to finding a job. Pages like Irish and New in Toronto are a prime example. Every week, people post a diverse range of jobs on here – from bar-work to IT so check it out as often as you can. Then there is LinkedIn – if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile set one up ASAP. Canadians are big on checking out your credentials via LinkedIn so make sure it’s up to date.

Join a job agency – Love em or loath em, temping agencies can be very useful when you are first trying to find a paying gig. And the truth is, a lot of companies in Toronto hire via agencies instead of directly. To get on an agencies books, email through your resume, follow up with a phone call and set up a meeting for you to meet them in person (this is crucial – without a face-to-face meeting, you are not going to be considered for any roles). After you have registered with the agency, don’t be afraid to call them several times a week to see if there is anything available (this will keep you fresh in their minds). And don’t feel you can only register with one agency – register with as many as possible to keep your options wide open. Here are a few of the most popular agencies to check out: http://www1.altishr.com/http://www.bagg.com/http://www.hays.ca/http://www.adecco.cahttp://www.randstad.ca/.

Put yourself out there – Make a list of companies in Toronto you would like to work at. Email through a copy of your resume (with an introductory letter), give it a few days and then follow up with a phone call. They may not have anything available at that point in time but at least the ice has been broken and they now have your info on file (in a filing cabinet – sorry, couldn’t resist).

Network – They say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. If this is true then you can’t know enough people. Your connections in Toronto will obviously not be as strong as back home but put in the ground work in your new city and by increasing your network of contacts you will increase your chances of finding a job. Volunteer, join sports clubs, if a friend of a friend gives you the number of someone who works in the area you are interested in then don’t be shy about reaching out to that person and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.