caught in the current of the river of dreams...


river crossing... © Raffaella Loro

(more relevant photos to be added later)

Yesterday I attended Career Day at the University of Alberta. It was the third or fourth such career fair that I've attended recently... this time of year being especially popular for employers and recruiters to host these type of events, all with varying levels of success. There's a bit of a misconception about the Alberta Job Market I think... despite everyone buzzing about the surplus of jobs in the province it is not necessarily any easier to find work in every field. One cannot simply walk into one of these job fairs, toss your resume to the winds, and then leave having been offered some spectacular job. Nor can you really leave one of these job fairs having made some spectacular contact that is going to get you an 'in' with some company.

Your typical job fair is not unlike the classic home and garden show or "trade show" with the exception of there being some yahoo with a Madonna mic who is trying to sell you some miracle shammy to clean out the inside of your microwave. Within Edmonton the fairs of the employment variety tend to be loud and cramped, with booths manned with representatives who seem to only speak very generally about the type of opportunities available with their company and love to hand you glossy brochures and then point to the careers website that is listed on the back.

As I walked around collecting information for my present and future clients, I noticed that larger than normal groups were clustering around the large industry reps. The hungry mob was a mix of unemployed professionals and eager university students with dollar signs in their eyes as they quietly calculated how much of their yearly tuition they could make working for the summer for one of these companies. What bothered me was that so many of the interested job seekers seemed to be there because of the appeal of salary alone. There were several instances were I overheard some individuals who clearly specialized in another field/industry altogether inquire about how much money could be made working for this particular company. At one booth, the company rep (who resembled a sleazy car salesman in his delivery) could be heard shouting, "There's not a lot of genetics in the oilfield... you know what I mean... I'm as smart as this pad here," (pointing to a pad of paper if you were so curious) "you know what I'm saying. You should stick to genetics."

How many people are fueled solely by money when they look for work? It's a question that I don't think I really want answered.