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For What It Is Worth, My Advice to the Graduating Class of 2023

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Dear Class of 2023:

Had my priorities been in order when I graduated, my career compass would have been:

Love what you do.

Love the people you do it with.

Love what you leave behind.

We live in a complicated world, especially when it comes to work. There are usually established, but not hard and fast rules, prerequisites to meet, such as obtaining an education, to begin moving towards your career aspirations. However, even when the prerequisite is met, success is not guaranteed.

Do not expect your degree to be enough.

After graduating from college, I stumbled through my twenties, unsure of myself and my place in the world. At the time, I did not fully grasp who I was or how my Social Science diploma would contribute to my career. Ultimately, I had to figure out the world and the workplace on my own.

Undeniably, the past three years have been tough. The pandemic redesigned student experiences, and social media became more “social” than it was pre-pandemic. You are not the first graduating class to face a world full of turmoil and uncertainty. Imagine graduating in 1942 and months later finding yourself fighting somewhere in Europe or graduating in 2008 amid what is known as The Great Recession.

You have challenges; a tight labour market, widespread layoffs, rapid technological advancement, particularly in artificial intelligence, technology that has the appearance of not being designed to enhance productivity but has an end goal of employee replacement, and hyperinflation making employers rethink how they do business.

Like every graduating class before you, you, and only you, are responsible for your career trajectory, so take full responsibility for it.

 

  • Talk to everybody.

 

Opportunities are all around you; there is just one caveat: they are attached to people.

The adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” is more relevant today than it ever was. Networking is the key to attaining a successful career. American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohan summed up the importance of cultivating and maintaining a professional network, “Your network is your net worth.”

Recently I came across a troubling headline, Americans More Than Ever Have No Friends. The article’s author, Elizabeth Gilbert, states that Americans are experiencing a “friendship recession.”

Today, many people participate in digital communities but have few real-life relationships. Instead of talking to people, texting has become the norm. Many employees advocate working from home so they can work in isolation. As an escape, binge-watching has become a trend.

Human contact is decreasing as more people use technology to communicate or avoid dealing with their surroundings. As a species, we are rapidly becoming unsociable. Do not be part of this decline! 

Do not think you are above anybody. Give someone your undivided attention, and you will be amazed at what you learn. As much as possible, talk to people who have been there and done that. The best conversations I have ever had have been with people who had already travelled the path I was on or were where I wanted to be.

 

Back to the job search and career thing, I can tell you from experience that opportunities pop up from the most random conversations.

 

When meeting new people, remember that showing interest is a massive gesture. Place your attention on the other person by asking open-ended questions.

 

TIP: When meeting someone for the first time, ask yourself, “How can I help this person?”

 

  • Do not feel entitled to anything.

Getting rid of any sense of entitlement is imperative; otherwise, you will be holding yourself back trying to fight the fundamental universal truth that the world does not owe you anything, not even to make a living.

PERIOD!

Having a sense of entitlement is a turnoff. Not expecting anything from anyone is how you become an independent adult and earn respect. When you stop feeling entitled, your self-esteem will soar, and you will start upping your game.

 

  • Become a person who adds value.

Make “Always add value” your personal mantra.

Employees who contribute measurable (keyword) value are highly regarded and likely to enjoy job security.

 

  • Read these books.
  1. How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
  2. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience, by Carmine Gallo
  3. 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing: Proven Professional Techniques for Writing with Style and Power, by Gary Provost

Regarding how rapidly AI is emerging, keep a close eye on it! Nobody, not even the Internet talking heads who are suddenly “AI experts,” knows where AI is heading. One thing is certain: Many jobs will be eliminated as employers identify which jobs they can delegate to AI. Hence, avoid positions that AI is likely to be able to do in the future.

Volatile economic conditions coupled with rapid technological advancements have created a job market in flux like never before; hence, my last piece of advice: Never lose sight of your career goals.

Despite all the job market volatility, building a career you love is still possible by focusing on what you are good at while embracing lifelong learning.

_________________________________________________________

 

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

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Tenants offered accommodations and support after surprise mass eviction

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WINNIPEG – Some tenants of an apartment building moved back in Monday, more than a week after they say they were forced out on a few hours’ notice by a new landlord who put some of their belongings on the front lawn.

“(I’ll) start over, I guess,” said Devony Hudson, who picked up a new set of keys Monday morning as police officers, a private security firm and Manitoba government workers kept an eye on the three-storey brick building, built more than a century ago.

Some of the building’s windows were broken or boarded up. A notice on the front door from the Winnipeg Fire Department said the fire alarm and sprinkler system were out of service.

Hudson said a caretaker came to her door two weekends ago, told her she had to leave immediately and offered her a few hundred dollars. Shortly after, her belongings were outside.

“I just went for a walk, just for like 10 minutes, came back and it was … all on the front lawn.”

Hudson has been spending the last few days in a nearby house that does not have working electricity.

In another suite, Kyle Lemke got a knock on the door. He said he was told the locks were being changed, and a man he had never met who said he was the owner told him he had to leave within 24 hours and offered some money.

“I threw out so much stuff,” Lemke recalled while standing outside a hotel where he has been staying.

“I had maybe four garbage bags and a laundry bag, but I wasn’t able to take everything,” said Lemke, who walks with a limp after almost losing a leg months ago to necrotizing fasciitis.

Lemke said he was told everyone had to leave because of an order from the city over fire hazards, but the city never gave an evacuation order.

Attempts by The Canadian Press to reach the building’s owner were unsuccessful.

The Manitoba government moved last week to support the tenants.

The provincial minister for housing, Bernadette Smith, said the actions the tenants described are illegal and an investigation is underway.

The residential tenancies branch issued orders to the landlord, had the locks changed and made arrangements for the tenants to start returning. The province offered tenants emergency accommodations and per diems for food.

But some tenants were not able to be tracked down.

Marion Willis, who runs an outreach program that helps people find housing and other services, said some tenants had previously been in encampments and had nowhere to go when they were told to leave.

“We have tried to find people. There’s people in encampments, there’s people that are couch-surfing in other buildings. There’s people that are just sleeping out on the street,” said Willis, executive director of St. Boniface Street Links.

Some tenants may be reluctant to return for fear that they may simply face a more formal eviction process and end up homeless again.

Lemke said he has no interest in going back, and had a new apartment lined up. He’d like to see someone held accountable.

“I would like to see justice,” he said.

“You can’t just do that to people.”

The provincial government said Monday at least two tenants had returned over the weekend and a probe of the landlord’s actions was ongoing.

“In this situation, the (residential tenancies branch) has a number of options available, but is still working through the investigation,” said a written statement from the government’s central communications office.

“Depending on the outcome of the investigations, these measures could include the imposition of further orders, administrative fines and prosecution for contraventions under the legislation.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2024.



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Manitoba First Nation says members lack health care due to nursing shortage

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WINNIPEG – Members of a northern First Nation looking to get prescriptions refilled, blood work done or access to other basic health-care services are often being turned away because of a nursing shortage in the community.

The nursing station in Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation has been open only for medical emergencies for nearly a year because the community has just two nurses to treat its 3,500 citizens.

“We cannot continue with the current state of affairs,” Chief Angela Levasseur said at a press conference on Monday.

“Our people have a right to health care. They have the right to be able to attend the nursing station and be seen by a nurse.

“It is inhumane and an affront to our dignity.”

Levasseur has heard reports of nurses working around the clock while running on two to three hours of sleep. On occasion, a third nurse has been brought in to help alleviate some of the pressure.

The reduction of services has resulted in patients, including infants, elders and people with chronic health conditions, being denied critical medical care, said Levasseur. Many of these patients are being directed to go to the hospital in Thompson, about 90 kilometres away.

Residents without a vehicle are forced to rely on an overburdened medical transportation service or go without help.

“The failure to address this crisis is literally a threat to many people’s lives,” said Levasseur.

The community has sent proposals to the federal government to advocate for an increase in funding to hire more nurses and address the wage gap between what it offers nurses and what private agencies provide.

“It’s really disheartening,” said Lynda Wright, the community’s health director. “It’s really difficult to try and help people when you lack the resources and the funding … it’s difficult seeing your people suffer when the access to care is not there.”

Levasseur is renewing calls to provide funding for an additional three nurses for the Nation.

The office of Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Government data shows that nursing stations in remote First Nations communities in Manitoba were facing a 67 per cent operational vacancy in the last fiscal year.

A document tabled in the House of Commons earlier this year says that over the 2023-24 fiscal year, all Indigenous Services Canada-operated nursing stations in Manitoba have run at a reduced capacity due to staffing shortages.

Pimicikamak Cree Nation has felt the staffing crunch, resulting in the community declaring a state of emergency earlier this year.

The community is supposed to have 13 or 14 nurses available, but most days there are about half of that for the roughly 8,000 who live on-reserve.

“We continue to cry out for help to make sure we can provide health services and medical services for our people,” said Chief David Monias, who was on hand for Monday’s press conference.

Levasseur said the community’s situation has left everyone at their “breaking point.”

“What we’re most worried about with this crisis situation being ignored is that the two or three nurses that we have on a day-to-day basis are going to walk out.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Cyprus displays jewelry, early Christian icons and Bronze Age antiquities once looted from island

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus on Monday put on display artifacts — some of them thousands of years old — that were returned after a Turkish art dealer looted them from the ethnically divided island nation decades ago.

Aydin Dikmen took the artifacts from the country’s breakaway north in the years after Cyprus’ split in 1974, when Turkey invaded following a coup mounted by supporters of union with Greece. The antiquities were kept in Germany after authorities there seized them in 1997, and protracted legal battles secured their repatriation in three batches, the last one this year.

Addressing the unveiling ceremony at Cyprus’ archaeological museum, President Nikos Christodoulides said the destruction of a country’s cultural heritage as evidenced in recent conflicts becomes a “deliberate campaign of cultural and religious cleansing that aims to eliminate identity.”

Among the 60 most recently returned artifacts put on display include jewelry from the Chalcolithic Period between 3500-1500 B.C. and Bronze Age bird-shaped idols.

Antiquities that Dikmen also looted but were returned years ago include 1,500-year-old mosaics of Saints Luke, Mark, Matthew and James. They are among the few examples of early Christian works to survive the Iconoclastic period in the 8th and 9th centuries when most such works were destroyed.

Cyprus’ authorities and the country’s Orthodox Church for decades have been hunting for the island’s looted antiquities and centuries-old relics from as many as 500 churches in open auctions and on the black market.

The museum’s antiquities curator, Eftychia Zachariou, told the ceremony that Cyprus in recent years has benefited from a shift in thinking among authorities in many countries who now opt to repatriate antiquities of dubious provenance.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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