Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Tell DR: You can't just erase Dominicans of Haitian descent from your country

"No one shall be
arbitrarily deprived of
his nationality."
- Article 15, Universal
Declaration of
Human Rights
 
     
Dear Tracy,

21-year Liliana is terrified. Soon her government could remove her from her home and send her to Haiti, without her three young children.

She was born in the Dominican Republic. She was raised in the Dominican Republic. Yet two years ago the government stripped her and tens of thousands of others of their nationality and now Dominicans of Haitian descent fear expulsion to a country they don't even know...

...Unless human rights activists like you join together and take action to help put a stop to it.

Urge Dominican authorities to restore nationality to all Dominicans of Haitian descent and end this crisis once and for all.

In 2013, the country's highest court illegally voided the birth certificates of people born to immigrants since 1929. The vast majority of these citizens are of Haitian descent.

This shameful and discriminatory act rendered thousands of Dominican-born persons stateless - easy targets for acts of discrimination and violence.
"We are extremely worried because authorities continue to deny the existence of statelessness, but it's our reality. Discrimination exists in this country. I can't work and I can't access vital services." - Juan Alberto Antuan Vill, a young man of Haitian descent born in the Dominican Republic
The discrimination against Dominicans of Haitian descent must stop.

Add your name to our petition to stop the deportations and restore nationality to Dominicans at risk.

Amnesty International has uncovered a reality of entrenched discrimination. Dominicans of Haitian descent are constantly denied their identity documents - but without these, many have to leave schools and cannot continue studying. They can only access informal jobs and are stuck in a hopeless circle of poverty.

With no documents, many people cannot prove they were born in the Dominican Republic - leaving them vulnerable if migration officials start deporting undocumented migrants from their communities.

Despite reassurances from authorities, many Dominicans of Haitian descent continue to fear being forcibly removed from their homes and expelled to a country where they have never lived.

We need your help to head off this looming humanitarian crisis.

These people have done nothing wrong. Please join in defending their human rights and safety and help bring about an end to this crisis.

Your voice can make a difference today. Please act now.

In solidarity,

Marselha Gonçalves Margerin
Advocacy Director for the Americas
Amnesty International USA

"Only bad job might be the one you take for the wrong reasons"

May 4 "Only bad job might be the one you take for the wrong reasons": I cut out this article in the Globe and Mail by Richard Blackwell on Jun. 8, 2012.  The best advice was this part.  I thought it was so good, I put it in my inspirational quotes:

 
Jim Beqaj, a former investment banker who is now president of Toronto-based career consulting firm Beqaj International Inc., said it is a huge mistake to accept any position just because it is available.

 
“If you take any job and you hate it, there is not a chance in the world you can do a good job,” he said.

 
Here's the whole article:
 
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty insists the “only bad job is not having a job,” but career advisers say that’s simplistic advice for managers or professionals who find themselves out of work.

 
While the weak economy has knocked many senior-level employees onto the unemployment lines, grabbing the first position that becomes available may not be a good idea in the long run.

 
Mr. Flaherty’s admonition last month was followed up with the government’s outline of its new Employment Insurance rules, which could pressure many laid-off Canadians to make compromises in job choices. Depending on how often a worker has drawn EI benefits in the past few years, they might be forced to accept a job outside their field of expertise or at lower pay rates, or else face losing benefits.

 
For professionals, whose EI benefits will likely represent only a small fraction of their earnings while employed, the proposed new rules may not dramatically change their approach to finding a job. But they still must make crucial judgments about the suitability of new employment opportunities.

 
Jim Beqaj, a former investment banker who is now president of Toronto-based career consulting firm Beqaj International Inc., said it is a huge mistake to accept any position just because it is available.

 
“If you take any job and you hate it, there is not a chance in the world you can do a good job,” he said.

 
However, he said, many managerial-level workers are far too inflexible about what they think they can do, what they would like, or what they would be good at. What people need to do, Mr. Beqaj said, is to carefully evaluate their own skill sets and figure out which employers will be willing to pay for those skills.

 
“You’d be surprised at how few people can answer that question” and how little time they spend trying to do so, he said. “If people really take the responsibility of figuring out who needs their skills, they will find that the world is far bigger for them.”

 
That exercise can often open up far more possibilities than many people initially consider, Mr. Beqaj said. He cited the example of one of his clients who had a PhD in mathematics, and was looking only for jobs as a teacher or in a bank economics department.

 
By evaluating his skills, he began to see that there were job opportunities at the Bank of Canada, security organizations, in actuarial businesses, and many others. “There were 50 places he could go with his skill sets that were not even on his radar screen,” Mr. Beqaj said.

 
Often, he said, it is valuable to consider smaller or second-tier firms in the same industry that might be excited to get someone with your skills on board. A mid-level employee of a big bank may look extremely attractive to a credit union that is hiring, for example.

 
Toronto-based career adviser and corporate trainer Colleen Clarke said a crucial issue for many managers is the title they will get in their new job. While many are loath to shift from a vice-president position to take on the job of a general manager, for instance, that could be a smart move in a tough job market.

 
Depending on the size and market position of the new company, she said, “sometimes the responsibilities might be equal or higher” to the old job.

 
Still, it is hard for people to take a step down, because it will be noticed by others in the industry, Ms. Clarke said. That’s not true for salaries, however, because if you must take a cut, no one will know about it but you – unless, of course, you are one of the highest paid executives at a public company and your pay is included in the proxy circular.

 
David King, Canadian district president at recruiting firm Robert Half Management Resources, said most managers and professionals now realize their career path will not follow the classic scenario of working for a blue-chip firm, rising through the ranks and then retiring. They now recognize that they may have to look at alternative scenarios, including contract work or consulting.

 
Having contract work on a résumé is no longer considered a negative, Mr. King noted, but can enhance an executive’s reputation as a fixer or an entrepreneur.

 
So when is it really necessary to buy into Mr. Flaherty’s view that any job is a good job?

 
While it is no longer a stigma to be out of work for an extended period, after more than six months have passed most people feel they really need to get back into the job market, Mr. King said, and that they might have to make some serious compromises. That decision will depend on an individual’s financial circumstances, anxiety level, and ego.

 
“Everyone has their own tipping point,” Mr. King said.

 

 
 "Who owns the online me anyway?": I cut out this article by Daniel A. Lublin in the Globe and Mail on Jun. 8, 2012.  It's about what you write and post online can affect your job by making you lose your job.  I know the rules of not posting anything about race, gender, sex, religion, etc.  If you write about something offensive, I will always forewarn you that it is offensive.  It's usually when I mention MADtv.  Here it is:

 
Controlling Internet misuse at work was a problem for employers a decade ago. Today, however, it is controlling what employees write and post on their online social media profiles. This is because instead of simply surfing the Web at work, employees now spend much of their time tweeting, surfing Facebook or blogging. And, given the potential for social media content to go viral, negative comments on Twitter, Facebook and blogs can be far more destructive.

 
“Unless steps are taken to prevent access, a blog is readable by anyone in the world with access to the Internet. The grievor took no steps to prevent access. On the contrary, the tone of her blogs placed them very much in the public arena and suggested that the grievor relished addressing a wider audience.” So concluded a labour arbitrator in upholding the dismissal of an Alberta employee for posting criticisms of her co-workers and supervisors on her personal blog.

 
For many employers faced with the task of policing what their employees write online, this arbitrator’s decision is both reasonable and necessary.

 
But who owns the content within social media profiles, and do employers or potential employers have any right to dictate what employees say or write?

 
Ownership

 
Who owns the social media profiles themselves? If the profile was created, populated and maintained by an individual and is for his or her personal use, then he or she is the owner.  (However, as the court decision demonstrates, ownership alone does provide employees with immunity to say whatever they please about their employers.)

 
But what about social media profiles that are created for work or that have business purposes? Many companies encourage their employees to promote their personal social media profile as a component of what they do at work and many individuals reference their work in their postings. When those employees later leave their company, for one reason or another, who does that profile or its content belong to?

 
I recently dealt with such a case. In it, the employee’s Twitter profile had been developed for the purpose of promoting his work through his employer. The views he expressed were his own and the account was created under his name. However, when he left to go to a competitor, his original employer demanded that he abandon his profile and create a new one. Naturally, he refused. Unless there is a written policy or contractual agreement stating otherwise (and in this case there was not), social media profiles are a form of intellectual property that belong to the employee who created it, just like his or her name. The fact that the profile became more popular given this individual’s work through his employer did not result in the employer having any ownership stake in the content.

 
Employees who maintain profiles on behalf of their employers are a different story. If the social media profile was created for an employer, the profile itself and all of the contents within will be owned by the employer, even if an individual or group of individuals were responsible for its popularity and content.

 
Social media postings

 
In some circumstances employers can control what is posted on a social media profile. This is because most employees’ public profiles are directly linked to their employers. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all encourage and then advertise place of work as a means of connecting with other individuals. Therefore, personal opinions can easily be confused with those of their employers. When this occurs, employers are within their rights to demand that employees remove that content, or possibly lose their job. This is exactly what happened to a Sportsnet broadcaster last year when he made his beliefs about same-sex marriage known through Twitter. Given his large following and the possibility that his comments could be construed as coming from his employer, he was immediately fired.

 
Access to social media accounts

 
Recently it was reported that some employers were demanding access to prospective employees’ Facebook accounts as a precondition of extending job offers. Job candidates have no legal obligation to provide this information and they can readily refuse. However, this is a double-edged sword. An employer can refuse to hire any candidate that does not comply with their hiring processes, subject only to the prohibition against discrimination in hiring based on human rights rules. Therefore, while a candidate need not provide access to his or her social media profiles, taking this stance could cost him or her a job.

 
What about current employees? Can an employer demand that they turn over login information? Similar to a job candidate, an employee can reasonably refuse such a request and justifiably so; the information within their social media profiles is private and confidential. The only difference is that current employees may be subject to a policy (if an employer has one) that permits it to access and monitor e-mail sent from work or away from work but through the company’s servers. This could even capture e-mail sent and received by personal or company-distributed BlackBerrys and iPhones, if they are connected to the company’s server.

 
Since employers own workplace computers and the servers they are connected to, they are allowed to monitor them with proper notice. Therefore, if a social media profile is linked to a workplace e-mail account so that updates or messages are received at work, which many people do, it can be monitored by an employer.

 
As is usually the case in workplace law, rights are determined based on what is in writing. If you are an employee, the key is to review and comprehend any intellectual property, Internet use or social media policies your employer has in place. If you are an employer, the key is to put those policies in place and then make sure they are enforced.

 

"Key questions to ask to find key staff"/ "Get ruthless with the 'season of rush'"

May 1 "Key questions to ask to find key staff": I cut out this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail on Dec. 12, 2011.  These are some inquisitive questions:

 
When hiring, Thomas Nelson publishers chairman Michael Hyatt says you should look for people with H3S. That’s shorthand for filling your company with people who are humble, honest, hungry and smart.

 
In recent blog postings, he outlined the importance of those criteria and, perhaps more helpfully, some questions that can help you to evaluate candidates:

 
 
Humble

 
You want individuals who don’t have too high or too low an opinion of themselves, and are learners, respecting other views. They should be “other-centred” – valuing other people, and open to correction. Some questions to ask in the interview to :

 
What do you see as your three greatest strengths?

 
What do you think is your biggest weakness?

 
How do you learn best? How would you describe your learning style?

 
You’ve obviously accomplished a great deal. To what do you attribute that success?

 
We all make mistakes. When you discover that you have made one, how do you handle it?

 
Honest

 
You want someone who is honest and has integrity – someone who does not lie, does not withhold negative information, keeps commitments, and is honest in giving feedback to others. Provocative questions:

 
Do you think that telling a “white lie” is ever justified for the greater good?

 
If things go wrong with a project, what obligation if any do you feel compelled to share with your boss?

 
If someone has wronged you in some way, how do you deal with the situation?

 
Can you tell me about a recent situation where you had to share bad news with someone? How did you handle it?

 
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to make good on a commitment that you wished you hadn’t made?

 
Hungry

 
A hungry person is one who doesn’t dwell on past accomplishments but is always reaching for more. He or she should be intellectually curious. Telling questions:

 
Are you satisfied with what you have accomplished in your life so far?

 
What are your biggest personal goals? What are your biggest career goals?

 
Do you consider yourself a reader? What was the last book you have read? What are you reading now?

 
How do you make sure that you follow up on your assignments? Do you have a system?

 
How do you typically prepare for meetings?

 
Smart

 
You want someone who is a quick study, with street smarts, able to connect the dots through an ability to think laterally. Some questions:

 
How well did you do in school? If you had to do it over again, how would you have done it differently?

 
What do you wish they had taught you in school that they didn’t?

 
Do you consider yourself a smart person? If so, why?

 
What are some of your interests outside work?

 
 
"Get ruthless with the 'season of rush'": I cut out this article by Dianne Nice in the Globe and Mail on Dec. 12, 2011.  There is a picture of Santa and it's under a shotgun target.  I thought that was kind of a funny picture.  You can click on the link and see it.

 
On a cold December morning, career coach Eileen Chadnick is readjusting her busy schedule. She has put off running to take an important call, and has a full workday ahead, with a holiday celebration to attend later. It’s all part of the year-end juggle.

 
“It’s always busy in my world, but December has its own unique brand of business,” said Ms. Chadnick, principal of Big Cheese Coaching in Toronto. “I call this the season of rush.”

 
 
To cope with it all, she said she gets “ruthless” about what goes on her to-do list. Her seasonal newsletter and year-end blog entry can’t wait, but coffee with clients can be put off until January.

 
She also schedules time for personal reflection. “That’s a huge priority for me. Even when life and work get super busy, reflective practice keeps me grounded and focused.”

 
She reflects on what’s going well and what she’s grateful for – the things that keep her going when she feels worn down. “Yes, I’m busy but I love my work, my clients, my family. It’s important that along the way, you grab those moments and celebrate them.”

 
Here are her top tips for dealing with the holiday crunch at work:

 
Time to triage

 
Deal with the most important needs first and direct your energy where it’s needed most. Identify which items are most s critical. Then look at the other items and see if some can wait until January, be delegated to others, or simply taken off the list.

 
Learn to say no

 
If you are getting requests to accommodate dates, meetings and projects that are not high priority or achievable at this busy time, just say no. If saying no is difficult, try “not at this time,” or say yes to a modified request. For example, if you’re asked to run a holiday fundraiser, say no to the organizing role but yes to helping out.

 
Make a list, check it twice

 
It’s hard to keep everything top of mind when there is so much going on, so write it down. This seems like a no-brainer if you are already organized but if lists aren’t your thing, this would be a good time to try it. You’d be surprised how helpful they can be to keep you focused. You may also want to add some “do not do’s” to keep focused on your commitments and not get distracted by things that can wait.

 
Eat, sleep and be merry

 
When we are stressed with lots on the go, it’s easy to compromise some of our healthier habits. Don’t skimp on your sleep, exercise and healthy nutrition because you will need all the energy you can get. It’s much harder to cope when you are sleep-deprived or over-caffeinated.

 
Practise gratitude

 
To avoid letting the Grinch steal your holiday spirit, be aware of how you are dealing with stress at work. One way to stay optimistic is to remind yourself daily what you are grateful for this year. Show gratitude to colleagues by saying thank you. This is a great way to “give at the office” and truly mean it.

 
Practise presence

 
Being mindful in the moment will allow you to enjoy the present without getting too overwhelmed by all that’s left to do. So keep your nose to the grindstone, but stay open and notice the moments that make this season special.
 
Most importantly, Ms. Chadnick said, look forward to the future. If you have a break coming, use it as a carrot to stay energized. “And take a moment to reflect on at least one thing you are looking forward to at work for 2012. In other words, get yourself another carrot – it’ll be good for you!”

 

“On the rebound: Finding success through failure”

Jan. 21 “On the rebound: Finding success through failure”: I cut out this Globe and Mail article by Harvey Schachter on Oct. 10, 2012.  I have experienced a lot of failure in school, work, and trying to get into the TV industry.  I’m sure we can all relate to this article.  I’m sure we have all experienced in one time or another failure.  Here’s the whole article:
 
People who don't wallow in their setbacks are better equipped to be victorious later, author argues

Rebounders By Rick Newman (Ballantine, 225 pages, $31)

Most business books focus on success, seeking the elusive formula that can help people and companies find victories. But in Rebounders, American journalist Rick Newman looks at failures, and how they led to later success.

Setbacks can be secret weapons, argues Mr. Newman, chief business correspondent for U.S. News & World Report magazine. Often the pivotal points in success stories aren't the breakthrough moments when everything fell into place but the "quit points" that came before, when everything seemed in doubt.

"Many people give up when they hit such quit points - and you never hear their stories, because they don't accomplish much. For those who persist, however, those low moments of fear and failure often constitute a crucible that makes them more capable once they've endured it," he writes.

He contrasts rebounders with wallowers. Wallowers get rattled when something goes wrong because they aren't accustomed to solving their own problems. They complain, blame others, rarely question their own judgment, overestimate their abilities, and fail to move on. They wallow, often repeating their mistakes because of a failure to analyze the problem accurately and adjust.
Mr. Newman identifies Richard Fuld, former chief executive officer of Lehman Brothers, as a wallower, demonstrated by his congressional testimony blaming everyone but himself for his company's implosion.

Rebounders bounce back from adversity because their skill set allows them to analyze situations, understand how they have contributed to the difficulties, and recalibrate.

"Rebounders know how to solve problems and overcome setbacks, often because they've done it before. ... They'd rather solve problems than complain about them or blame someone else," he writes.

Each chapter introduces readers to a rebounder (many of them little-known) and uses their stories to offer useful lessons. The author offers nine attributes that are key to making the shift from failure to success:

1. Rebounders accept failure: They hate to fail, but they accept it, and try to fail productively, learning from the experience, as the inventive Thomas Edison did with his many failed experiments.

2. Rebounders compartmentalize options: They are often emotional people, with drive and passion. John Bogle, who founded Vanguard Group, was furious when he was pushed out of a previous job and even had revenge fantasies. But he didn't spend time trying to get even. Rebounders control the emotional fallout of their struggle.

3. Rebounders have a bias toward action: After Tammy Duckworth lost both legs when her U.S. military helicopter was shot down in Iraq, her first impulse was to get to work at rehabilitation and her new life. Rebounders keep pushing, keep doing.

4. Rebounders change their minds: They can discard old thinking, give up on long-held dreams, and adjust their ambitions to evolving situations. They don't cling to ideas that are proving hopeless.

5. Rebounders prepare for things to go wrong: They don't expect things to go their own way. They are cautious optimists, always aware their plans may go awry.

6. Rebounders are comfortable with discomfort: They are willing to accept hardships and inconveniences as long as they feel they are getting closer to their goal. Singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams could have signed a major recording deal years earlier if she had agreed to make the songs the music companies wanted, but she stayed true to her own vision, even if it meant often barely having the money to pay her rent.

7. Rebounders are willing to wait: They are determined to succeed on their own terms, and can accept that it might take a long time. "But rebounders don't just wait positively for a lucky break, or do the same thing over and over. They constantly learn and get better, continually improving the likelihood of success until the odds tilt in their favour," Mr. Newman observes.

8. Rebounders have heroes: Many of the rebounders he met are romantics, seeing their role as in some way historic, and they are entranced by some mentor or historical figure who they want to emulate. Vanguard's Mr. Bogle, for example, often alluded to the naval battles of Admiral Lord Nelson and named his mutual fund company after his hero's ship.

9. Rebounders have more than passion: We are told we need passion for success, but rebounders realize it requires more than that. They have a special drive and resilience that allows them to capitalize on their passion.  The lessons provide helpful takeaways for readers. But in focusing on them, I may be distorting the nature of the book. It's primarily storytelling, by a gifted writer and interviewer, who has found the experiences of some fascinating, inspirational rebounders to share. It is the stories as much as the lessons - or mingled with the lessons - that makes for an enchanting book that will linger in readers' minds.

POSTSCRIPT

Former Tesco CEO Terry Leahy offers Management in 10 Words (Crown Business, 312 pages, $32.95): Truth, loyalty, courage, values, act, balance, simple, lean, compete, and trust.

Former Business Week editor Stephen Shepard, now dean of journalism at City University of New York, shares his turbulent trip from the print to the digital age in Deadlines and Disruption (McGraw-Hill, 338 pages, $30.95).

Investigative journalist Bruce Livesey probes banks and brokerages in Thieves of Bay Street (Random House Canada, 313 pages, $32).


Jun. 16 Business news:

Gap closing 175 stores: When I read it in the newspaper, I was surprised.  Then again, there are a lot of clothing stores closing down like Mexx and Smart Set.


Jun. 17 Cash Store closing:

"Cash Store Financial Services Inc., the payday lender that has fallen into bankruptcy protection, said Friday that its shares will be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange next month.

The stock, which is currently suspended from trading, will be removed from the TSX as of May 23 because the company no longer meets the exchange’s listing requirements, Cash Store said in a release.

Edmonton-based Cash Store, swamped with debt, has put itself up for sale as it tries to restructure its operations."



My opinion: It was years ago I thought of applying to work at these payday lender places because they're like banks.  My dad tells me they're loan sharks.  A lot of people say they are legalized loan sharks. 

I read an extensive article about it in the Globe and Mail business section.  It said that they are legalized loan sharks, but at least that these payday lender places exist.  If they didn't, people would be desperate and would go underground and go to other sources like the mob for money.

So I just want to say not everything is black and white.  However, please avoid these payday lender places at all costs.  The interests rates are very high.

City Centre: I was there on Jun. 11.  Mmmuffins closing down because their lease is up.  I was looking for a job.

Bluesnotes' will be opening where Mexx was.

Zenari's: This restaurant in Manulife Place is closing their retail section.


Scotia Place: There used to be a Treats in the food court, but it closed down. 

West Ed mall: The restaurant LA Prep closed down.  It will be replaced with Chachi.  I have never heard of it before.  Chachi will sell sandwiches and salads.


Joey's Seafood: That place closed down and will be replaced with Fat Burger.

Jun. 18 Latta Corp: I did a job interview with them.  They are a marketing and consulting firm.  One of their clients is like Telus.  I asked if they are a staffing agency because it seems like they kind of are.  They said they aren't.

I went to it.  I then remembered that I did a similar interview somewhere in 2013 or 2014.  I would have to check my records on that.

Restaurant: I did a job interview at a restaurant today.  They told me a lot of people work here and it's really busy.  I would like to work there.

Jun. 29: I didn't get a call back from the restaurant.  That's fine because I got my hours back at my current restaurant job.

Office interview: I did a job interview at an office last week.  In fall 2014, they did call me for an interview.  I had to turn them down because I was in school.  So now I get to do the interview.  It was an average interview.  Their location was in downtown.  They had a very modern atmosphere with their furniture.

The hours were full-time and the pay was good.  There was training with accounts recievable and payable. 

Gym interview: I did a phone interview here for a fitness consultant position.  It's 100% commission where you get people to sign up to your gym.  The first month is $2000 if I don't sell anything.  If I work there for 2 weeks, I would get paid $1000.

The woman on the phone already said I didn't sound sure if I wanted to work there because of the 100% commission.  She told me to think about it so we won't waste each other's time.

Retiredworker.ca: I was going through my old agenda and I found this website.  I looked up Edmonton jobs and there were none. 

Zoominfo.com: I found this website on this on my old agenda.  It's only in the US.  Here's what it says on Wikipedia:

Zoom Information Inc. was founded by Jonathan Stern in 2000 as Eliyon Technologies. The company’s investors include Venrock Associates and Skeetnut Capital.[1]

The site powers people searches for Amazon’s A9.com and Business Week. ZoomInfo also allows users to collaborate in the construction of its content by contributing information to their own profiles or building new ones where none exists. 

Their database holds 95 million profiles of business professionals and 7 million company profiles. The features of their site allow users to search based on name, company, location, and vertical segments to generate leads.

The company drew around 4.5 million monthly users and generated circa $12 million in revenue from its fee-based and subscription services in 2007.[2]