Sunday, 26 January 2014

Federal government: Those with experience need not apply

I came across a job description the other day, one that suited me to a tee except for one "mandatory" requirement.
The person to be hired needed a master's degree.
Usually, I just virtually throw these job ads in the garbage because I've spent too many years getting rejection emails from recruiters and h.r. pros because either my French wasn't good enough or my security clearance wasn't high enough.
This time I called to plead my case. For thirty years, I've been working in the health and social policy sector as a speechwriter, researcher, editor and general wonk. I have often bragged that I wrote the social policy section of the first-ever Liberal Redbook. Remember that old saw?
The job ad was looking for someone with a specialty in mental health, and I had spent several years as the editor of a prominent magazine for psychiatrists. I'd also written speeches for both the federal and Ontario ministers of health.
The project in question was something that could easily have been overseen by a junior communications person, and I was willing to work for the money. Why would I need a master's degree for it? Wasn't I more than qualified to do this job after I'd spent years editing the writing of people with doctorates and medical degrees?
I got shutdown immediately.
The recruiter actually hung up on me.
Man, I was pissed.
A few minutes later, she called back, apologizing for being so short with me. She had had an urgent call from somebody obviously more worthy of telephone time than a lowly freelancer.
"I'm afraid you're going to have trouble," she said. "For almost all our jobs now, you have to have at least a master's."
She offered to help me with my clearance and put me on their roster, which was nice of her but she didn't help my already blue mood. There used to be a time when the federal government included this phrase "degree or equivalent in experience".
Not anymore. Not only do you need to have "C" level French and a master's, you also have to have worked for the federal government in some capacity over the last three to five years. I, unfortunately, have been working in the not-for-profit sector where the real work gets done.
It appears that federal government would rather give a precious job opportunity to a person who's most recent experience was slinging hash at Denny's than someone who has actually worked in their field.
I have always been worried about the French and it has confounded me, at times, but I get why a person working at a high level needs it in this day and age. But a master's?
It's very frustrating.
Truth is, I'm throwing up my hands once again.
Every few months or so, I re-enter the fray in hopes that someone, anyone, would give me a little job of any sort that didn't involve stocking shelves or serving coffee. Occasionally, I get a pity job from one of my friends, a one-off and that's kept the wolf from the door when it's counted. But as I look toward my sunset years, I know that the Wizard has nothing in that bag for me anymore.
So much for Stephen Harper's plan for Canada.
You, Miss Simpson, are a has-been. You have been found wanting.
A thirty year career counts for nothing.
Oh well, I can always volunteer.
That's what old folks do along with playing bridge, joining the walking club at the mall and having coffee with friends at Timmy's. Plant roses. Learn yoga.
Maybe I'll get my master's.
Then I can have a career by the time I'm old enough to retire.
If I can hold out another seven years, I can get my education for free!


 

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