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Summer Employment Woes

It’s not all fun and games after classes end

Article: Taras Matkovsky

For students, summertime is known for two things: job searching and vacations. As everyone seeks to get away from the university, students turn their attention to experiencing what it’s like to live as their parents do. Whether it’s through Co-Operative Education or an independent job search, obtaining a job is a very satisfying experience. I have already done three co-op work terms for the provincial government and enjoyed every one of them. However, not everyone gets a job, let alone one they like. In today’s labour market, there is a general perception that this generation will have a tougher time getting a job than previous ones. My recent experience with getting a job for this summer has led me to believe that students need to support each other in getting jobs.

Photo by: Haley Klassen
Photo by: Haley Klassen

This year was a highly unusual one for me; I applied for more jobs in March and April than I did in the winters of 2012 and 2013 combined. In terms of getting interviews, I got five interviews and three job offers. Based on this info, you might be wondering just what exactly do I have to complain about. My answer would be that the road to getting these jobs was far bumpier than I anticipated. I put out several applications on PlacePro.com for another work term and I only got two interview requests, both of which did not result in anything.

Two things made this period a very difficult one for me. First, I had no idea if any of the employers I sent applications to even saw them. The PlacePro website has an icon system that shows whether an employer has seen your application and what the outcome was. I cannot count how many times I would log on only to see the ‘application sent’ icon on my preferred postings. I had to go to the Co-Op to figure out the status of my application; once, I found out that the organization in question didn’t want any Co-Op students. Combined with this uncertainty, I also had to deal with finding out that I did not get the jobs I wanted. At some point in everyone’s life, this will occur. Yet, this fact does not account for how heartbreaking it can be to learn that the job interview that supposedly went well for you resulted in nothing.

While I was doing these job searches, I had already been offered a job selling credit cards at gas stations. This was something that I applied for out of interest. Yet, the more I heard, the more I dreaded it. Had I not been told of an opportunity to work with Saskatchewan Archives (my current job), I would have been stuck doing a job that I was very uncomfortable with.

It is tempting for some people to dismiss my story as that of a privileged whiner who has nothing to complain about; “at least he got a job while others are still searching.” However, I can safely say that I know what it is to feel powerless in the job market. I did the best I could and for a moment, it meant nothing. I feel that we as students must provide support for one another in order to make our lives less of a crapshoot.

About taras matkovsky

I am a fairly opinionated person, willing to listen to several opinions and intervene when necessary. I like reading books on economics and history and enjoy playing video games, be they Mario platformers or Western RPG’s.