Monthly Archives: March 2011

Changing the face of Gen Y Employment

If you’re like most students today, you know that finding a job is difficult. The hardest part may be finding out what employers want, how they make the decisions they make and why they act the way they do.

When I began my job search earlier this year, I was immediately frustrated with the process. It seems like I was putting in tons of effort, time and money to make my applications perfect and not only was I not getting many calls for interviews, I usually wasn’t even given a standard email confirming employers actually received my application.

This job process is tough – so why not change it? That’s the idea behind TalentEgg‘s new project, Student Voice. It’s a program designed to help fight Gen Y under-employment by letting employers hear what students actually care about. Annoyed that most internships are unpaid? Want some application feedback? Think you deserve an interview and don’t know how to get it? Express yourself at http://talentegg.ca/studentvoice/shareyourstory/ and tell employers how you actually feel because they want to know! It’s in their best interest to hear from students and graduates who have experiences to share. If we all put our voices together, we’ll help change the way employers hire their employees and change the face of Gen Y employment.

Read my story by clicking here and then share yours today.

Perspectives: A Response to the Critics

In my last column, I expressed some of my thoughts on the Egyptian revolution. I was initially surprised by the comments and letters which seemed primarily to be personal attacks on me, my religion, and my political beliefs. But as I read through them, I also found many that were respectfully written and constructively critical.

I did not intend to offend anyone and am sorry if anyone was hurt. I have taken many of the criticisms seriously, but a lot of people took my words out of context, and the message I intended to get across was not accurately received.

I did make an error in a particular sentence, which I would like to correct: I said the “only” thing driving the revolution was food, but I should have said “one of the many things” driving the revolution was food. The use of the word “food” was not meant to downplay other causes of Egyptian unrest, but to emphasize the high level of poverty experienced by approximately 40 per cent of the population, and the low percentage of GDP growth—0.21 per cent, compared to 187 per cent in Jordan and 132 per cent in Algeria. Many people felt I had misunderstood the Egyptians’ demands by mentioning poverty as the central cause of the revolution. I fully acknowledge that Egyptians were demanding democratic and human rights as well as an increase in their poor living conditions; however, it would be naive to claim that food was not a primary motivating factor for many Egyptians. Abdel-Wanis, an Egyptian father of six, when asked what his reasons for supporting the revolution were was quoted in the National Post as saying, “For five years I have been looking for my day’s food, and finally I found people to stand with.”

Yes, I am Jewish, as some people kindly pointed out, but when I mentioned the region’s volatility I was not only referring to Israel. As protests have spread to more parts of the Middle East we have seen countries that have not be able to protest as Egyptians did.

I did not intend to suggest that Egyptians do not deserve democracy. I do not see Egyptians as different from me or anyone else. The point I was trying to make is that democracy is a very expensive and time-consuming process. The costs of implementing a democratic system in a poverty-ridden country must be considered.

What was most misinterpreted was why I believe Egyptians do not necessarily want a democracy. While I was watching the news, I often saw Egyptians saying they wanted liberal rights, namely freedom of speech, press, and religion. I support liberal rights and certainly believe we should stand up for them, but democracy does not guarantee anybody those rights. Moreover, having multiple parties, free elections, and voting rights does not necessarily mean that liberal rights will develop in Egypt, or any other country.

I stated, quite controversially, that I do not believe democracy is a human right. I stand by that statement, though I don’t have the space to defend the idea here. However, I do believe democracy is something a society may strive for. I think that, for now, Egyptians should focus on obtaining liberal rights and better living conditions for everyone.

In my first column of the year, I said that I hope to have open dialogue with readers and to discuss new perspectives on issues we care about. I want to thank the readers who took time to write me thoughtful, respectful responses. I feel fortunate to have had the chance to hear different opinions and I hope we can continue this constructive dialogue and help bridge the gaps in our community.

 

SSMU Elections Endorsements

The McGill SSMU Elections are now open and after reviewing this year’s candidates, here are my endorsements:

President: Cathal D. Rooney-Cespedes

Both Presidential candidates received a sanction this year for beginning their campaigning early, which is disappointing to see from the potential leaders of our school. However, I endorse Cathal for SSMU President due to his clear vision for increasing discourse on campus and providing more forums for students to express themselves. One of his priorities is increasing accessibility and student consultation, which is of the utmost concern to students right now considering the large number of incidents that occurred without student involvement (Arch cafe closure, Jobbook, Rez meal plan hikes). In particular, his unique experience, serving as a Model UN delegate for many years, will be sure to give him a leg-up in mediating with many different student groups, the administration and the rest of the SSMU team.

VP Internal: Kady Peterson

I initially supported Kady because she is the only candidate who came into many of my classes to gain support. But even more than her extensive campaigning, she has a lot of experience in student politics, previously involved with the McGill Daily, McGill Athletics and the Education Undergraduate Society. Her plan to diversify the events at McGill is important and will help benefit our student body.

Finance and Operations: Shyam Patel

Shyam’s experience makes him the ideal candidate for this position. His platform includes allowing students more access to student funds, which will be well-received by the many student groups who have difficulties obtaining these funds. He also wants to include more students in many of the great initiatives such as SSMU’s Book Bazaar which will be another added plus for students.

VP University Affairs: Lauren Hudak

Hudak raises two interesting concerns that have fallen off the radar: the high student-faculty ratio and an improvement in student services, in particular health services. This specific platform will hopefully help her make changes in these areas and allow her vision to become a success.

VP Clubs and Services: Monika Fabian

Fabian recognizes that students need more opportunities to engage with their peers and professors outside of the classroom and this should be one of McGill’s main priorities. Although McGill has taken steps to improve student-professor communications, through initiatives such as the new student-professor mentor network, Fabian’s ideas will help McGill focus on learning initiatives outside of the classroom.

Elections are now open at ovs.ssmu.mcgill.ca

Putting Women’s Rights Back on the Mideast Media Agenda

I received this video from a friend and it is extremely well done and effectively captures the change we need to demand from our media. Our media needs to start focusing on the severe plight of women in Middle Eastern countries and help better their situation.