Oh dear it’s been a while….

Well it’s been awhile since I last posted on this blog and I hope all of you have not entirely given up on me. This is reminiscent of that time I started a diary with 100 pages in it and it took me around five years to finish it.  I will try to not let my blog go the same route.

Anyway, I have a specific topic in mind today that I would like to write about so I might as well get started. Looks like my last post was almost a year ago (whoops) and around that time I was getting ready to graduate from university. Well….I graduated….and I’m still working at the pharmacy as an assistant. Still trying to figure my life out. My degree hangs proudly on the wall, framed and all. Occasionally I dust it. This is my life. But it hasn’t been all bad. Searching for a career related job has been tough and still on going, but I have made some friends in the process.

It is almost a year since I started working at the pharmacy and what a journey it has been. I have a novels worth of customer stories and have seriously debated starting my own Pharmacy Problems twitter account. Seriously, the things people say to me blows my mind on a regular basis. I’m sure most people in retail experience this. However, what I really want to talk about ties into the importance of the month of March for pharmacies in Canada. March is pharmacist awareness month.

I know. That’s a thing.

I didn’t even know it was a thing until this month and have absolutely no idea how long this has been a thing.  But if my six years of pharmacy experience have taught me anything, this month is greatly needed.  A lot of what happens in a pharmacy goes on behind the scenes and because of that, I feel that people do not fully understand what your pharmacy team does for you. On that note, I do work in a locally owned, small, family business and so I can’t speak for big box store type pharmacies.  But I do know that my pharmacy team works hard and goes the extra mile on a regular basis to provide excellent care to you and yours. And about 85% of the time we receive sh*t from patients for events that are not our fault. For example, it is not my fault that your doctor did not write a strength or directions on your prescription and that their office is now closed for the day and so we cannot contact him/her to ask what they wanted to write down.

Just a disclaimer for those who don’t have experience with pharmacy related things, this is a real example that happens more often than you probably want to know.  For further reading I thought I’d leave you this little gem which I found on my internet travels.

Why your prescription takes so damn long

Back to the subject at hand, Pharmacist Awareness Month is a way to let people know what your pharmacist actually does for you. To spread awareness, my boss came up with the excellent idea that we should do a video for our YouTube channel.  Thus, our Jimmy Fallon inspired hashtag video was born.  I hope it provides you with a few laughs.

Confessions of a Hockey Addict

I thought it was fitting to write a post about hockey while we are in the throes of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I am a Canadian and a huge hockey fan. I religiously watch the games of my favourite NHL team, the Vancouver Canucks, and I cheer on team Canada like a crazy person in international events. I almost cried (I’m not kidding, what’s wrong with me) when the Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in game seven of the Stanley Cup finals in 2011 and I still can’t look at photos of the Bruins holding the cup without feeling crushed.  I lost my shit when Sidney Crosby scored the “golden goal” in overtime to win us the gold medal at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.  I secretly love the ridiculous “Because it’s the cup” commercial about crazy hockey fans with that tune that goes, “I’ll love hockey till the day I die.”  I have witnessed how the playoffs bring people together after being in a crowded bar when Bieksa scored the game winning goal against the San Jose Sharks sending us to the Stanley Cup Finals. Strangers hugged each other and cheered together.  It is up there with one of the most awesome memories that I have.

It is crazy how much hockey can affect my mood for the night.  If the Canucks win a crucial game, I am in an excellent mood for the rest of the evening, if they lose, I am in a shitty mood. When the 2011-12 season started after we lost the cup, it took me a while before I could even bring myself to watch the games. And that was just the regular season.  But every time the playoffs start, I get that feeling that anything could happen and this could be our year.  Annnnd then we lose and I get to spend the months until the regular season starts up recovering.  My partner recently pointed out to me that it is possible that teams could never win the Stanley Cup.  That was a heart breaking thought.  I actually felt emotionally crushed just thinking about it.  I think I am in need of a hockey intervention. Or at least a new hobby other than a professional fan. For now I will cheer on the Pens in the hopes that Iginla might get his cup after all these years and not-so-patiently wait till the new season starts to bring out my Canucks jersey from the closet and hope once more that this might be the year we win the cup.

I leave you now with a hockey gif to brighten your day.


Post University Woes

I recently finished the last term of my undergraduate degree and am currently job-hunting and not-so-patiently waiting for my convocation ceremony in June. My courses finished in December and I could hardly contain my excitement the day of my last exam. I felt that a chapter of my life was ending and the door to a bright future was opening before me. But as I am entering the fourth month since my courses ended, my excitement is beginning to fade and fear and anxiety are creeping into its place. I am now faced with the exhilarating but also terrifying question, “What next?” A question that seems to be the favourite of my family and friends and a question I have yet to figure out myself.

Lately, I seem to have settled into a woe-is-me slump consisting of lazing around the house in my housecoat perusing every single job listing I can find, only to come away dejected that out of hundreds of posting there are only a handful I am qualified to apply for. And “qualified” being a bit of a stretch. I have redone my resume so many times for various positions that I feel as if I should receive a certificate for excellence in bullshitting. While I have had a few bites, nothing substantial has yet to come. If I think too hard about the future I find myself beginning to panic and spiral into a “I’m going to be homeless” rampage and “Maybe I can fashion my degree into an umbrella to keep me dry when it rains.” Eventually I run out of steam and am well aware that both of these ideas are completely ridiculous. I am educated and have worked hard to earn my bachelors degree. There will be tons of opportunities for me…..right?

Perhaps my biggest problem is that I live in a small city. I love where I live and I love that my childhood home and my family are only a 40 minute drive away. I love that my friends of ten years and more are living around me. I find myself feeling that this is exactly where I want to be, however, the job market is telling me otherwise. I am slowly coming to the realization that if I want to find these opportunities and begin my career I will most likely have to move to a larger city or even to a different province. While both options seem exciting to me, I am also afraid. I will be far away from everyone I have ever loved and cared for. But I will be striking out and creating a path of my own. I am fortunate in that I will have my partner of three and a half years to support me, a partner who is no stranger to carving his own path.

For me, finishing university has been a lot harder than I thought it would be.  I have been in school all my life and am now on completely unfamiliar ground (I should mention I am also getting really good at pretending like I know what I’m doing and should probably receive a certificate for that as well).  However, as I finish writing this post, I am already beginning to feel more confident about uprooting and flying from the nest. It will be a great adventure and I’m sure it won’t be a complete disaster….

It’ll be fine.

BC’s skill shortage vs. Alberta’s booming economy

Job creation, the economy, unemployment etc. are all issues that are very near and dear to many people struggling to get by in the economy today.   I am one of those people and my eye is always caught by articles written about such issues.  So when I first read the article written for the Victoria newspaper, The Times Colonist, on a proposed skill shortage in British Columbia, I knew I had to address it.

The article, written by Lindsay Kines dated January 28th 2013, bears the headline, “Skills shortage emerges as B.C. election issue.”  The article explains that the provinces’ six research universities will release a report that renews calls for increased investment in post-secondary education (Kines, 2013).  This report relies on the BC governments’ own projections of a skill deficit that will emerge in 2016 with projections that by 2020 there will be 18,800 jobs requiring university, college or trades training and no workers to fill them (Kines, 2013). 

While we may in fact be headed for a skill shortage by 2016, especially where trades are concerned, the issue I want to address is the lack of an explanation from the government as to why this is going to occur.  I wish to propose a possible factor. After a little digging I found an article written by Darah Hansen in April 2012 and posted by Vancouver newspaper, The Vancouver Sun.  The headline reads, “B.C., Alberta vie for skilled labour: Recruitment pressures force resource sectors to get creative, flexible.” The article explains that oilsands recruiters have been appearing at British Columbian junior hockey games hoping to recruit qualified candidates (Hansen, 2012).  The article also reports that BC’s mining, forestry and energy sectors are expecting to need as many as 10,000 people over the next 10-15 years but Alberta companies are looking to hire 21,000 workers over the same time period (Hansen, 2012).  

 A little more digging and I found an article written by Claudia Cattaneo for Financial Post from December 2012 titled, “Higher-paying Alberta oil jobs lure thousands of British Columbians.”   The post explains that high numbers of skilled British Columbian workers are commuting regularly to higher-paying oil jobs in Alberta and that this trend is so big the Business Council of British Columbia has actually started a study to understand the size and scope of this activity and to figure out how to cope (Cattaneo, 2012).  Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the council was quoted saying that BC workers are working in the oil sands for a living, in projects and camps while others have gone to Calgary and are working in law firms and for engineering companies (Cattaneo, 2012).  Perhaps the most insightful part of the article was the statement that British Columbia appears to have replaced Saskatchewan as Alberta’s nearest reservoir of skilled workers (Cattaneo, 2012).  Saskatchewan’s economy is currently thriving with its own oil, potash, and uranium projects and saw its population grow by 80,000 in 2011 (Cattaneo, 2012).  This is in contrast to the many years of decline its economy saw as its skilled workforce moved to Alberta (Cattaneo, 2012). 

The siphoning of labour that Saskatchewan suffered is currently happening in British Columbia, the major difference being that many of the skilled workers commuting to Alberta are doing so without uprooting their families and are still in fact, living in British Columbia (Cattaneo, 2012).  This is possible due to flexible oil industry schedules with big breaks and the fact that BC’s income tax rate is now as low or lower than that of Alberta’s for those earning less than $120,000 a year (Cattaneo, 2012). 

I think the key question to be asked here is, is spending money on post-secondary incentives going to solve the problem of the projected skill shortage? Perhaps it will in part, but not without taking into account the financial wealth offered to British Columbia’s skilled workers in Alberta. If British Columbia wants skilled workers both currently and in the future to stay in BC, than British Columbia’s industries have to realize that the skill shortage projected to occur is not necessarily because of the lack of skilled workers but rather has more to do with their failure to compete in the labour market.  The labour market does not consist of only industries in BC but also industries in Alberta.  If you were offered a job for $10 an hour and someone down the street offered you $20, which would you take? It is quite likely that these skilled workers commuting to Alberta, trained at BC post-secondary institutions but their training is not benefiting the BC economy, it is benefiting Alberta.  Is this not something that will occur in the future? Is it even possible for BC industries to compete with the labour demands coming out of Alberta and the wages being offered? I believe that these are a few questions among many others that cannot be ignored if we are to really understand and combat the projected skill shortage.


Cattaneo, Claudia. “Higher-paying Alberta oil jobs lure thousands of  British Columbians,” Financial Post, December 5 2013, http://business.financialpost.com/2012/12/05/higher-paying-alberta-oil-jobs-lure-residents-of-b-c/?__lsa=5709-492e

Hansen, Darah. “B.C., Alberta vie for skilled labour: Recruitment pressures force resource sectors to get creative, flexible.” The Vancouver Sun, April 9 2012, http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Alberta+skilled+labour/6430414/story.html

Kines, Lindsay. “Skills shortage emerges as B.C. election issue”. Times Colonist, January 28, 2013, http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/skills-shortage-emerges-as-b-c-election-issue-1.58715

Fast Food Frustrations

My transition into the working world from school has not been very smooth and these days I have found myself frequenting fast food restaurants for a cheap meal as I scrounge some change together for rent and bills. At one point in my life I used to work at a fast food restaurant called A&W. I was seventeen, it was my first job and it was terrible. The customers were cruel and condescending and I quit and found another job after two months. This experience has made me hyper sensitive to customer attitudes in the fast food restaurants I visit. On several occasions I have witnessed women and men of all ages being down right cruel to the teenagers making their burgers and fries.

I would like to highlight the word teenager here. The next time you are in a fast food restaurant take a look at the workers and try to guess the average age. In my experience, most of the workers I’ve seen are teenagers, probably still in high school. When I worked at A&W I worked with girls who were fifteen. Fifteen folks. That means when you are griping to the cashier that your burger and fries were not made fast enough, you are complaining that a child, A CHILD has not made your burger and fries fast enough for you. The second thing I would like to point out is that these children are being paid minimum wage. That means that these kids are not even being paid enough to care how fast your burger and fries come out. I busted my butt working at A&W where I was being trained by girls who were still in training themselves which basically means I had to figure a lot out myself. I worked both as a cashier and in the kitchen and I can tell you that my tiny paycheque at the end of two weeks was not enough for the emotional exhaustion working that job caused me. One particular incident that comes to mind is from when I was working a breakfast shift and a man came in and ordered toast. Not eggs and toast. Not bacon and toast. Just toast. When his slice of toast came up, which, by the way, I did not make, I simply took the order, he was highly unimpressed that it was not toasted to his liking and I got the full brunt of his disdain.

We live in a world of instant gratification and when our “fast food” meal consisting of a cholesterol burger and an extra large glass of diabetes is not presented to us fast enough we somehow feel that we have the right to be rude to the fifteen year olds making those meals for us. Some people might say this is tough love, that working is hard and that these customers are good experience for these kids. Can you really look inside yourself and feel that that is true? Do we really need to treat young kids like they cannot do anything right to build character? What happened to being nurturing and supportive? If you tell someone they can’t enough times, eventually they will believe it. Maybe these kids are geniuses and will discover the cure for cancer one day or maybe they will become firefighters and save your life. Whatever they may go on to be, at least you can look back and fondly remember that time you were cruel to them for not making your meal fast enough. Patience really is a virtue.

Pop Culture Age Gap

During my daily (hourly, who am I kidding) perusing of Facebook, I came across a post made by a friend of her adorable offspring with a witty pop culture reference fitting the picture. I have come across several posts like this from my friends in their early twenties who have children. These posts have often made me think to myself that children of my generation are lucky to have parents who are so good at making witty references, unlike our own parents. Then I thought to myself, “My parents made pop culture references when I was younger, why did I not think they were funny?” Well, they were not funny simply because they were not my generation’s pop culture references. Maybe, just maybe, my parents were actually quite witty and not lame and boring, as I was under the impression they were as a child. Maybe we are all doomed to have our children roll their eyes at us when we crack jokes like “Yo, James, I’m really happy for you and Imma let you finish but…”.

This particular thought process reminded me of my dad, who often tried hard to show me that he was really “with it.” This was perhaps because he had been quite “with it” in his younger days. I’m sure there is nothing quite like being knocked down a peg or two by your thirteen year old daughter rolling her eyes at you like you live under a rock and I am quite certain I will get to experience this myself one day. One particular instance that comes to mind is from a time when I was really into the Canadian band, Billy Talent, and could often be heard playing their music loudly in my bedroom. This prompted a discussion one day with my dad in the living room about their music. It was going really well until dad commented that he really liked his work. At which point I rolled my eyes and made sure that dad was well aware that Billy Talent was not a MAN but a BAND.

Perhaps my favourite memory though, is from when my dad went through a Shaggy phase and started playing “You’re My Angel” and “It Wasn’t Me” on repeat for the better parts of 2000-2002. I can’t quite remember how both my parents and I ended up discussing the lyrics of, “You’re My Angel,” but I ended up getting into an actual argument (not a discussion, an argument) with them over the line, “closer than my peeps you are to me.” My parents were under the impression that when Shaggy said, “peeps,” he was referring to his “peepers” or his eyes. I burst out laughing and proceeded to inform my parents that Shaggy was definitely not referring to his “peepers” but rather his “peeps” or his friends. My parents scoffed at me as if referring to your friends as “peeps” was completely ridiculous and somehow referring to your eyes as “peepers” was not, especially when you are a Jamaican-American rapper.

When I was a teenager, I was often quite annoyed with my parent’s lack of pop culture understanding. Now I look upon those memories fondly and with an inkling that my parents might just have been enjoying themselves in those situations. With that knowledge in mind, I look forward to when I have children of my own and can make jokes and references that will cause them to give me “the look” and subsequently roll their eyes at me.

In the beginning…

My best inspiration seems to come to me in the shower. This is highly unfortunate as I am too wet to record any of these wisps of intelligence in my phone or on a note pad.  These little bursts of creativity come to me in between getting soap in my eye and contemplating whether or not I have already washed my hair.  By the time I am done showering, I have forgotten the subjects I was hoping to write on. Short term memory loss? Perhaps. My subconscious slapping me on the wrist for thinking about blogging? Likely.

I have always thought of blogging as something pretentious hipsters did in their spare time; often writing about their most recent meal or band discovery punctuated by posts that belong in a diary.  However, I have begun to realize that this is a rather harsh and ignorant view of blogging as evidenced by my sitting here writing to so far, probably just myself.  After guiltily venturing into the world of Twitter and then into the world of blogging, I have stumbled upon a place of community and creativity.  I have discovered that blogs are spaces where creative people stretch their fingers and share their thoughts on a myriad of subjects to readers around the globe.  I think it is wonderful that I can sit here in my living room in Canada and be connected to the living rooms of creative people all over the world simply through a http://www. address.

As a recent graduate of University, I have begun to miss sifting through articles and writing papers on complex subjects that interest me.  My days as of late have been spent working a mundane job that pays the bills and as I start on the difficult quest to find a career, I have discovered that the side of me that enjoys writing has begun to feel neglected.  I hope that this blog will be the creative outlet I am looking for to write about interesting subjects and share them with others wherever they might be.  I go off now to find a better inspirational place than the shower and to flush the remnants of soap out of my eye.  I welcome you to my blog and I hope you will enjoy the thoughts of a young woman in her housecoat.