12 things only Canadians understand about the job search
Every job seeker is unique, like a snowflake, and every job search is its own unique experience. That being said, some things are unique to the Canadian job search experience, and those are things in which we can all share.
Here are 13 of them, as we see it. Have you got any for us?
We’re pros at dressing for weather extremes. Rocking the suit with a toque and Sorrels like a boss. Layers to take off in winter, when the inside of your nose freezes. Layers to put on in summer, when you lose a litre of sweat walking three blocks. Pack your shoes in a bag. Dressing professionally for Canadian weather is an art.
We know to give ourselves two extra hours to get there for the interview. In winter because for every snowflake that falls, some idiot forgets how to drive. In summer because the entire route is going to be under construction.
We dream about jobs in buildings with underground parking. If you get offered a job in a building with underground parking you should take it. Consider no other offers.
It’s really hard to talk about yourself when you come from a non-boastful culture. We feel it’s unseemly to brag. It’s not that we don’t think highly of ourselves. We know we’re smarter than Americans, for example, but we only say that among other Canadians. Similarly, when it comes time to sell ourselves and our skills, we get stuck, and kind of think, in the same way Americans should just know we’re smarter, you should just know how amazing we are without us having to tell you.
It’s labour, colour, neighbour, dammit. Not labor, color, and neighbor.
We wish we paid attention in French class. Everyone elsewhere thinks our entire country speaks French but most of us don’t. And when job seeking in many markets, not being bilingual pretty much takes you out of the running for a huge chunk of jobs. Too bad the only thing you remember is the “Danse de canard” and something about a pink blob who was father to a family of shape shifters.
Hockey is very important. While many of us don’t give a damn about hockey, we understand that everyone else cares a lot about hockey. They like to talk about hockey, they will probably watch hockey at work during playoffs, and so it doesn’t hurt to pretend to care a bit about hockey in case it comes up while in conversation with someone while networking. At the very least, we know never to say anything like “hockey is stupid.”
If your interviewer is from Newfoundland, don’t make any jokes about it. They don’t think that’s funny.
99% of people will start a conversation by mentioning the weather or sports. We’re pretty sure this is scientifically proven, we just can’t find the study.
Tim Horton’s will somehow play a role. When trying to make connections by buying coffee, you’re better off with Tim Horton’s than Starbucks. You can always make friends with Timbits, which are, in fact, the official friendship offering of Canada. OK, we made that up. Your interview might even be in a Tim Horton’s, even though it’s not for a job at Tim Horton’s.
We play our cards close to our chests. Canadians are not as nicey nice as everyone thinks. Sure, we’re polite, but one might also call it “passive aggressive,” and when we say “sorry” we might mean “I’m sorry,” and we might mean “I’m sorry but you are going down and when you do you won’t know what hit you.”
We know not to discuss the following subjects with people we don’t know. The CBC.