From the Movember Canada site:
During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in Canada and around the world. With their “Mo’s”, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and male mental health initiatives.
On Movember 1st, guys register at Movember.com with a clean-shaven face. For the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.
Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words, they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.
At the end of the month, Mo Bros and Mo Sistas celebrate their gallantry and valour by either throwing their own Movember party or attending one of the infamous Gala Partés held around the world by Movember, for Movember.
Day 1 – the goatee is gone!
After seven years of teaching, it’s time to say “Goodbye” to the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) and “Hello” to Genesys.
Tomorrow will be my last working day at the New Brunswick Community College, a place I have spent the past seven years pouring my heart and soul into as an Instructor teaching Computer Programming/Information Technology, Business, and Office Administration students. Because of this, I am also leaving many close friends and colleagues as well as some great students I hope will become future colleagues.
I loved teaching. I was proud, excited to go to work, motivated to learn along with my students, and ever searching for new and better ways to transfer knowledge to the students so they could be successful. The long hours spent preparing and marking assignments, liaising with industry and attending school career fairs, counselling and mentoring students were all worth the reward that comes with watching them cross the stage at graduation. Along the way, I even managed to pick up a few teaching and education awards, so I guess I was pretty good at it. Teaching at the NBCC was truly my dream job.
So… Why am I leaving?
Well, it’s complicated. And yet also simple.
First and foremost (and easiest to explain) is job security. The second (harder to explain yet a much more influential decision-maker) is job satisfaction.
Here’s the back story: The NBCC is becoming a fledgling Crown Corporation, trying to spread its wings and escape the suffocating effects of being within the New Brunswick Government nest. As such, the NBCC is an organization in flux. Unfortunately, while trying to become more progressive, they remain at least partially tethered to some medieval government policies and HR practices – things that will take some time to fix.
This change is not simple. Picture a team of mechanics trying to change the tires on your car while you are driving it down the road at full speed. Currently, it’s like that part in a renovation project when everything is torn apart, it looks impossibly messy, and you really hope it all goes back together in the end. It’s a lot of work, and they have and will continue to make some mistakes. But, they have a mess of people (pardon the pun…) working on this transition in Fredericton. If pay scales are any indication, they are supposed to be smarter than the rest of us, so hopefully (for the students) they get it right and keep quality of education as the backbone of the organization.
During my seven years at the NBCC, despite receiving the same salary and benefits, I was always a “term (contract) employee” and never a “regular” employee (similar to tenure in a university environment). The numerous contracts varied in duration, often without rhyme or reason. If you have never done it, trust me when I say working on contract takes a toll on your sanity. And the older you get, the more likely it is to affect your health and well-being. When you come from an industry like mine where there is a shortage of skilled workers, you do sometimes feel like you are beating your head against a brick wall when you work for the government…
Plus, change is hard, and the transition away from government (more like “further from government”, not truly away) is part of that change. Last Spring, as part of a “workforce reduction”, the Saint John campus cut somewhere around 17 Instructional positions solely on the basis of seniority. As a (relatively) junior Instructor, mine was one of those instructional positions cut, and I found myself losing my Instructional status (and years of seniority) and transferred into a Business Analyst role – still on contract.
While being a Business Analyst is not a bad job (I have successfully managed or worked on plenty of projects in my time at the College on top of my Instructional duties and elsewhere in my career), it was not what I had left the ICT industry to come to the NBCC to do.
So, despite a chorus of “Don’t go, the College needs more people like you” (yes, I did just blatantly jump on this opportunity to blow my own horn a bit. I believe with everything I have done while at the NBCC, I have earned a bit of hubris, humour me…), things just didn’t feel the same anymore.
Job security and job satisfaction. There’s the one-two punch I mentioned earlier.
If you are lucky, you actually notice when you start becoming angry, bitter, and confused at the fact that, despite how hard you work and what you do, there is no light at the end of the tunnel you find yourself following. And if you are even luckier, you realize when it is time to do something positive and within your own control to change your situation before it becomes untenable and you do or say something nasty to the wrong people that you will always regret and negates all the good things you have managed to accomplish.
In hindsight, maybe I should thank the College for moving me away from the classroom. Without that push away from something I loved so much, I may never have considered leaving. I may have stayed longer, hanging around begging for scraps from one contract to the next indefinitely…
In any case, as a result of the previously mentioned events and despite the great relationships I have built up over the past seven years, after some much-needed reflection, I knew it was time to mix things up.
The good news is that my next move takes me back to my roots in the ICT industry, to Genesys Laboratories, a telecommunications company specializing in call centre and video conferencing software. Genesys is a place where numerous friends, former colleagues, classmates, and even students I have taught are already employed. And they all appear happy and (relatively) sane . That definitely takes away some of the initial angst associated with starting a new job. By all accounts, I am told it is a great place to work. If the level of respect, professionalism, and personal interest in my goals I experienced during the HR process at Genesys is any indication, it definitely will be!
This is also by no means the end of my teaching career. While I may work at Genesys during the days, I will continue to feed my insatiable need to teach by working in my alter ego form with Jeff Roach at Sociallogical as a Social Media Community Manager Mentor, Learning Design Consultant, and in any other capacity needed as well as continuing to teach SCUBA diving at the Dive Shack – in all my spare time…
So, while I am excited to be returning to industry and working directly on the technical side of things again, it is not without some sadness that I will no longer be at the NBCC, standing at the front of a class full of eager minds trying to keep up with their thirst for knowledge. Teaching is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. I have a feeling it will find its way back into my life in the future.
WordPress 3.3 was released today, apparently to great fanfare.
Of course, being an early adopter, I upgraded.
So far, I notice a toolbar with the most commonly used tools has appeared above my page… I like that!
That’s two major local employers in the past couple of weeks announcing sizable layoffs…
Irving Oil lays off 78 – New Brunswick – CBC News
Irving Oil (CBC Image)
If he were still alive, today would be Carl Sagan’s 77th birthday. Unfortunately, Carl Sagan died of pneumonia at 62 as a result of complications from myelodysplasia in 1996.
(Image from: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/be/Carl_Sagan_Planetary_Society.JPG/225px-Carl_Sagan_Planetary_Society.JPG)
Carl Sagan was a voice for science and rationalism. He made science “cool” (much more so than the actors on the “Big Bang Theory” ever will), he knew how to bring science to people who might not otherwise understand such daunting concepts, and he entertained while he educated.
I remember watching “Cosmos” and being fascinated by all the interesting facts and information about the galaxy. His show, along with David Suzuki’s “The Nature of Things” were two of my favourite shows on television when I was growing up and learning about the world and the universe around us. Both men opened my eyes to new wonders every week.
I read Carl Sagan’s book “Contact” when it was published in the late 1980s and later watched the movie about the book “Contact”, starring Jodi Foster and Matthew McConaughey in 1997. “Contact” (the movie and the book) once again allowed Carl Sagan to teach and entertain.
As a staunch “non-believer” in religion of any kind (and particularly staunchly against religion’s influence on society), one of Carl Sagan’s quotes rings true to me. It explains quite nicely the fallacy of religions and allows me smile inside whenever someone “preaches” to me that I should/must believe in a god:
The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying… it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.
Unfortunately, in a world that every day seems to have more need of a calm, clear voice for science and rationalism, we can only wonder what else Carl Sagan may have accomplished if he were still alive and promoting science and rationalism over mythology and fear.
Sad day for his family first and the rest of the world next.
Steve Jobs saw things differently. I will remember Steve Jobs as a visionary and modern-day da Vinci, a man who could predict (or coerce) what the public wanted, a man who pioneered the concept of combining practicality and performance with elegance and style. He made products I use daily which make me want to be more productive and more creative. He pushed the competition to be better.
I had just watched the video of Steve Jobs presenting the WWDC 2011 Keynote the other day. He looked frail, and I had commented on that fact to a friend at the time. I guess it was a bit prophetic…
Grabbed this screenshot from www.apple.com
Antimatter Found Orbiting Earth—A First.
Now how long do you think it will be before some entrepreneurial snake oil salesman will offer an elixir of antiprotons, call it aromatherapy or ‘Anti-Herbal Magic’, and sell it to unsuspecting people as some crazy concoction to provide good health or as a weight loss product?!?
Toronto Star endorses the NDP
While I prefer – and vote – a more centrist government approach (read Liberal), I have to agree with this opinion that the Liberal party have not been able to connect with voters *again* this time around. There are reservations across the country about their internal workings and a general belief they haven’t finished “cleaning house”. This has worried me throughout this election, because in my mind, Stephen Harper was a lame duck Prime Minister and his Conservative government should have easily been knocked out of power. But the Liberals just weren’t doing it.
Given that scenario, and despite the fact it does not change my voting decision in this election (the NDP has no chance of unseating the local Conservative MP, only the Liberal candidate has a shot), I can’t say I am upset by another, viable federal alternative to the right-wing leadership that has been marauding and vivisecting Canada from the PMO for the past 5 years. This may even be the catalyst needed to finally convince the old-boy network in the Liberal party to talk with the NDP about a formal merger of the two parties, much like the decimation and vote-splitting of the right forced the Progressive Conservatives to merge and become the Conservative Reform/Alliance Party (with an acronym like ‘CRAP’, you can see why they just went with ‘Conservative‘…). A resulting Liberal/NDP merged party should lie somewhere around the political spectrum of the Liberal Democrats of the UK. Still a little too left-wing for me, but definitely more palatable than a right-wing party.
As a former idealist (read NDP supporter), I honestly never thought I would see the day the NDP would be anything other than the ‘other’ party – albeit the ‘other party’ that had all the great ideas that have given Canada most of its best policies – and a great conscience while holding the balance of power in minority governments… In truth, they are a bit too idealistic for me and very naive, but some time with actual responsibility in Ottawa – potentially as the official opposition – instead of blind promises will likely temper that quickly.
At the start of this election, I predicted a Conservative minority, with the subsequent eviction of the three main party leaders, and possibly even Duceppe. I believe that would finally give Canada fresh, new faces at the helm. But Jack Layton’s surge seems likely to cement him in position for a while yet. I stand by my predictions on Harper and Ignatieff getting axed in the event of a Conservative minority, and I now add a more confident prediction that Duceppe will definitely get dumped after this election.
If this actually translates into votes on Monday – and not cause vote-splitting that hands Stephen Harper a majority – this election could indeed be historic. Another bonus? A federal surge for the NDP might also finally convince them that after 50 years, they no longer need the ‘New’ in their party name…
Just read a great article entitled “Voyager and the Will to Explore” about the two Voyager missions that are still going strong, lasting far longer than anyone ever imagined they would, and they are sending back information that we would have no other method of obtaining.
But the future of space exploration is in serious jeopardy, and a lot of the problem is the latest recession and subsequent Wall Street bailouts, which emptied government coffers as they bailed out criminal bankers.
When (it isn’t if, it really is when) we get hit by the next asteroid, or if global climate change makes things unbearable and we perish because of that first, our epitaph should read:
“Despite a demonstrated potential for greatness, this species, when it had an opportunity to push forward and explore ways to ensure its long-term survival, gave up power to a few who then gorged at the trough and undermined all by convincing them space exploration was too expensive.”
WestJet just announced it is cancelling its summer service to Saint John, NB because it was not profitable. This should be a wake up call to everyone that the time has come for one large, centralized international airport for the province, and I suggest Sussex.
It will be a hard sell. There are too many egos involved and not enough cooperation, particularly within the municipalities, but it is a necessary step. Our entire province barely qualifies as a mid-sized metropolitan city elsewhere. We don’t need an airport in every hamlet. Southern NB only has about 500,000 people between the 3 major cities and surrounding areas, yet we have three competing airports??? That’s absurd.
Sussex is accessible from all three major Southern NB metro area in less than an hour, which is more than reasonable for access to a decent-sized airport with international travel capabilities. Most of us already drive to Halifax or Bangor to take advantage of cheap flights because the Saint John airport is less than useful in many cases. Why would a 45 minute jaunt to Sussex bother us?
Take a look at the outlying areas of Toronto. Most of them are larger than the entire Southern NB area, but they don’t each have their own airports. They travel, sometimes several hours, to Pearson Airport in Toronto without question.
Building one large airport in the Sussex area would build business opportunities in the Sussex area, as well as foster spin-off enterprises such as shuttle and parking services elsewhere, not to mention the added incentive of larger companies having better access to the area. New Brunswick must begin to acknowledge we are a very small fish in a very big pond, and to survive we must streamline how we do business and change the way we think or we will die off fast in the modern, global economy.