There is nothing like the forecast of snow and cold temperatures to truly motivate a procrastinator. Actually, I wasn’t procrastinating as much as living in denial since Dec. 15 is the date in my mind that signifies the start of winter this year. However, Sunday proved that date to be incorrect as the temperature fell to -8 C and winter quietly arrived and covered the area in a light blanket of white. Drat!
One would expect that a quiet day at home would allow a person to focus on a single topic for a column, but that was not the case. Ideas raced through my mind faster than logic and problem-solving thoughts which is not good, so I am simply going to share some of them.
I found it interesting to think that extremist Michael Zehaf-Bibeau likely stopped at Maple Creek en route to Ottawa where he shot a soldier at the National War Memorial before being killed in a shootout in the halls of Parliament. According to a Post Media report, Zehaf-Bibeau traveled from Calgary to Ottawa by passenger bus which would have placed him on one of the buses that stopped in the Old Cowtown.
The report also paints a picture of a troubled individual who abused drugs and lacked direction. At times he wanted to be locked up and confessed to crimes that could not be linked to him. A doctor determined he was not suffering from mental illness, but a psychiatrist suspected he may have a mood disorder (similar to a bipolar disorder), but Zehaf-Bibeau would not accept any treatment. Perhaps he smoked a cigarette on a Maple Creek sidewalk or took a hit off a crack pipe as he stretched his legs and waited to get back on the bus.
The story of Zehaf-Bibeau is a sad tale as he apparently did not have a close relationship with his mother or father who were divorced. He worked at a variety of jobs, lived on the streets for a while and was unable to find lasting peace anywhere he traveled. He did not receive assistance to help overcome his demons and eventually reached the point where the idea of taking the life of other humans became acceptable.
Thankfully The Sergeant at Arms, Kevin Vickers, was on hand when Zehaf-Bibeau entered the Parliament building. I thought the position of sergeant at arms was strictly a ceremonial appointment, but I could not have been more wrong. According to a report by Craig Oliver shortly after the attack, the former RCMP officer handled the situation with cowboy tactics that would have made John Wayne envious. I don’t like the idea of anyone getting killed, but I cannot agree with acting passively when an aggressor is bent on hurting others or taking lives.
Therefore, it did not cause me any grief when I learned Vickers had plugged the extremist three times (one of the shots being a bullet to the head to ensure the nasty task was over, at least that’s how I saw it in my mind’s eye). It may sound harsh, but a person has to be extreme when dealing with extremists, at least until they have been deprogrammed and opened their minds.
That brings me to the subject of speaking your mind. That is what Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz did last week when he said jobless university grads should get experience and improve their resumes by working for free. Speaking at a House of Commons committee meeting, Poloz noted that young Canadians and other people struggling to find employment should consider gaining experience through volunteering or taking unpaid internships.
His comments set off howls of protest, but I thought he made a good point. Poloz said his advice to young people who are trying to get through tough times is simple: volunteer to do something that is at least somewhat related to their area of expertise. That way the person is getting experience and doing something positive.
“Get some real-life experience even though you’re discouraged, even if it’s for free. If your parents are letting you live in the basement, you might as well go out and do something for free to put the experience on your CV (curriculum vitae or resume).”
Before university grads throw tomatoes at me, I want to explain that I realize employers can take advantage of workers, especially those who may choose to work for free. Also, people cannot work for free and pay their bills or raise a family on goodwill. I believe the Bank of Canada governor was addressing the issue of young folks sitting at their parent’s home and looking for a job on a computer instead of getting out into the real world. That also leads to the question of relocating to where a job is available. I have read resumes over the years and one thing many of them have in common is an unwillingness to move out of a big city. It makes me ask what happened to young people’s sense of adventure?
Even though the pay was not great (actually it was poor), I moved to Whitehorse on a whim in order to see and experience the north country. While I did not make a bundle of money, I gained very valuable experience and struck it rich when I met and married my wife. Ironically, she had moved there from Ontario for the same reasons.
When it comes to experience, I consider it almost as important as education because that is where the rubber meets the road. Head knowledge is good, but it is next to useless if it cannot be put to practical use. University grads need jobs and they need experience in order to become truly competent in their field. Entitlement is something some young people have come to expect and it takes life experience to realize it is typically used in a misleading or fraudulent way thanks to the luxurious lifestyle to which we are accustomed. After we are born, we are entitled to life – nothing more – and what we do with it is up to each individual. It is as simple as that, so do not waste it.