Monthly Archives: January 2009

School Could Be Your Answer to the Recession


Well, we’ve all pretty much been depressed out of our minds by the recession – the job layoffs, the decimated pensions and investments, the oilfield almost audibly creaking to a halt here in Alberta.

Not much can be said in favour of a recession, that’s for sure. But could there be a silver lining on this big black cloud hovering over us?

There could be, of course. It may come in the form of a wake-up call. When things are going well, we tend to just go with the flow, obviously, since we end up benefiting from it! It may have been easier than anything to find a well-paying job and get by with whatever education you had back in the “good old days” of – well, the last few years, basically. Maybe it wasn’t your dream job. But if it paid enough to make ends meet with some left over for good times, why worry about it?

If you find yourself either out of a job due to lay-offs, or losing pay due to lower commissions, or having hours cut back each week, or being told there’s no chance for a bonus, promotion, or raise in the foreseeable future . . . maybe this is a chance to stop the daily grind and really think about what you want out of life. That’s a luxury we don’t always have time for.

Getting the career you really want often requires training. It may require a certificate or diploma. Maybe a degree. Maybe you have a degree and want to go on with graduate work. Maybe you want an entirely different career and need an entirely different degree! Well, if the work force isn’t your friend lately, school can be.

Recessions are temporary (thankfully) – they typically only last 2 or 3 years. Pretty much the same amount of time it takes for you to go to school and get some education. While others are struggling in the job market, you can be focusing on learning and retraining yourself for a better career.  And assuming the recession begins to turn around after a few years, you might be graduating with your new credentials just when the job market is starting to pick back up again. Even if it’s not – you’re that much more valuable now, with that much more of a chance to stand out among your competition.

Sure, you aren’t going to be making any money. But a recession isn’t a time that you’d be cleaning up anyway, out in the job market. And remember that your education will last forever. Highschool graduates tend to top out around $31,000/year. Postgraduates can make over $75,000/year. That income change may well be worth the few years of living off of scholarships, bursaries and loans, because your education will continue to pay off over the rest of your life.

Even if income isn’t a major motivator for you, it is good to have a chance to prepare yourself for the career you really want if your current job isn’t really where you planned to end up. Call it the pursuit of happiness.

We all have to ride out the recession, no matter how unpleasant it is. You just might have a chance to ride it out while working towards a better future for yourself and your family.


Filed under college, Where to go with a BA

“Hello, I’m A Mac.” “And I’m a B.A.” (Which is BETTER, Mac! No offense).

Well. If you’ve ever thought to yourself “I wish I could be in a Mac vs PC commercial”, then . . . here’s the um, next best thing.

We are making a little video for You Tube, our website, and for prospective students, showing them why people do their B.A. and what it’s like to do it at RDC.

The idea is for it to just be very honest, very unedited straight talk, from real people who know what they are talking about! Namely . . . B.A. students at RDC or B.A. alumni from RDC. The fact that you guys are pretty much awesome is the best ad we can think of.

If you’re up for it, we’ll probably do the filming one day over Reading Week. It won’t be much . . . just tell us about yourself. Very simple. And you will be rewarded for your efforts! By going out for lunch! Or a gift card to somewhere awesome! It hasn’t been decided yet. (Maybe you should tell me what you prefer!) But you will be rewarded.

So let me know if you want in . . .

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Filed under college, Events, Random Stuff

President Obama In The House!

Today is historic . . . for the first time ever, a black president is being sworn into office in the United States.

At a time when the economy of some of the strongest countries in the world is rapidly failing, when global warming is a swiftly approaching threat, and when so many countries, including the US and Canada, have military presences, and mounting casualties, in the Middle East, can this guy really bring about the change he stands for?

Nobody can say yet . . . but whether we support Obama or not, we will all be watching him really closely to see if he can truly change the world.

I like to think so.

And a shout out to the B.A. degree . . . Obama got his from Columbia University in Political Science in 1983. Before entering Harvard Law School, he worked for a number of years in Chicago in the non-profit sector. So let’s see . . . his B.A. allowed him to do really cool work with communities in Chicago, and his education and work experience combined would have been huge factors in getting into Harvard Law . . . leading to him becoming a senator . . . and then President of the United States! His wife Michelle, also a lawyer, has a B.A. in Sociology.

Not saying we’re all potential Barack or even Michelle Obamas . . . but hey. See what could happen with a B.A.! Whatever else you call it, don’t call it a waste of time . . . with this degree who knows how you can change the world.

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Filed under Random Stuff, Where to go with a BA

Dress for Success – Or, What Not To Wear At Work!

The university student is an interesting subject from a fashion viewpoint . . . I’ve been one and I see them daily here in my office and around the hallways at school. Basically, when you’re in school, anything goes. Some people are stylin’, wearing the latest trends and making you wonder “How are they paying for that?” Others are never to be seen in anything other than jeans and a hoodie. Still others just waltz out of rez to their first class in their pyjamas each morning. It’s all good.

When the first job comes around, though, it’s time to invest in the wardrobe a little bit. Unfortunately, that can be tricky, because typically the first paycheque isn’t all that huge. There are a couple of good reasons to be willing to spend some cash on professional attire, though.

Why Bother Thinking About This?

First of all, starting in the workforce can be tough when you’re a new grad. You’re probably going to be younger than a lot of people you work with, and/or a wee bit less experienced. You want to be taken seriously by co-workers (not to mention bosses!) and, well, people are shallow. They’ll take you more seriously if you look the part and aren’t schlepping around in a glorified take on jeans and hoodies.

Another reason is that if you want to stand out in a crowd and get noticed, the right clothes can help you accomplish this. Looking good could set you apart from a bunch of decently-dressed-but-boring wallflowers. And being set apart in somebody’s mind could mean they are more likely to remember you when they want to have somebody to head up a new project or possibly promote. Who knows!

Last but not least, first impressions count, each time. Whether you are dealing with customers, clients, or your co-workers, if they see you are sloppily clad, with mismatched socks and frayed hems, stained shirts, or just ancient-looking or super out-of-style clothing, they aren’t going to feel like they can trust you as much to know what you’re doing on the job. It’s not necessarily a fair judgment, and it may seem like a small thing, but it could make a big difference in how they respond to you and work with you.

Get Clothes. Don’t Get Poor.

So. If you want to start a new wardrobe without breaking the budget, how do you go about that? What’s the best practice here? Where are Stacy and Clinton from What Not To Wear when you need them? (And the $5000 credit card they provide?)

Here are a few expert tips:
– Choose pieces of clothing that will last. It may be tempting to buy a lot of cheap clothing, but a better investment for items that are classic like dress pants, shoes, or blazers, is to find fewer pieces that are high quality and are going to last you for years. It may mean paying a little more up front, so make sure to pick things that will stay in style for a long time and are not going to get stretched out of shape or fade quickly.

– Go with professional-looking comfort. There is nothing worse than being at work in a meeting or up front while giving a presentation when your clothing just doesn’t feel right. You don’t want to be having to constantly adjust the length of your skirt hem or wishing that your sweater wasn’t so itchy or your shoes so pinchy. There are lots of clothes available that are stylish but still comfortable, and remember that the eight-hour day can feel pretty much eternal when you have to keep telling yourself “that’s the price you pay for beauty!” as your feet start to blister in your super-fancy heels. Make sure you think about how the clothes will feel over the workday as you try them on in the store.

-If you want to look trendy or in style, then accessorize that way. So bottom line – the clothes are classic, but the accessories (like scarves, jewellry, glasses frames, colour of shirt or tie) are a nod to the latest trends. The good news is the accessories are the inexpensive items . . . so you can change them up every time the trends change. Sweet deal!

One Size Fits All?

Now, remember that jobs are different – different industries, companies and company attitudes, geographic region, and job requirements. So a suit and tie might not be the best choice when working with young kids, or your company may be cool with employees wearing whatever the heck they want. When in doubt, dress like the boss!

Here are a few things you should ALWAYS avoid:

– Workout gear
-Clothing that is too revealing
-Too much cologne  or perfume
-Athletic socks

What About My Personality?

Can you show off your tattoos and body piercings? Can you get crazy acrylic nails? Can you grow a totally ragged beard? Can you dye your hair however the heck you want to? If that’s your style . . . why not?

Because your boss can come down on you. Yes, it’s true. According to lawyers, it’s perfectly legal (in most cases) for an employer to regulate how an employee looks. And even if nobody says anything, studies show that you are less likely to be hired or get promoted if you’ve got a ton of tattoos and piercings showing. It may not be fair. It may not be that way forever. But that’s the way it is currently.

AND, a final note.

I’m no fashion expert. (Though I work with plenty of them!) It’s pretty easy to find this kind of information online or in magazines if you’re looking for it. So if you want some more specific suggestions . . . have a look at these websites:

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Filed under Random Stuff, Where to go with a BA