“Narrow and rigid models of human resource recruiting are hilariously unreliable in these times where many individuals bring unique and different points of view to the workplace.”
—Darryl Youzefowich, Economics, University of Alberta
OK, I am a different kind of student: an alumnus who is a student again at the age of 46, doing graduate studies as a language teacher working abroad.
But my story is typical of what some recent graduates have experienced. When I graduated around the early ’90s recession, I banged on a lot of doors, took a lot of jobs that a university graduate in economics wouldn’t normally take, like telemarketing and bookstore clerk.
Like some recent graduates, I was underemployed for years because many employers did not value my career choice. Many job postings at my alumni affairs career centre were for business graduates or engineers. I could not even get an interview for major companies in Alberta.
The Alberta government then decided to drastically cut back on civil servants being hired in Edmonton and they no longer considered an undergraduate degree in economics adequate to be considered an economist. But facing no real money or desire to go back to school and take graduate studies in economics, I was in a dilemma.
So, having travelled a considerable amount for a youngster in school, I headed abroad to teach English as a second language in Taiwan, Korea, Japan and several countries in the Middle East.
It was an exciting time to discover those countries, I learned a lot about myself and what I wanted in life.
Periodically returning to live in Edmonton, the job market had changed somewhat, but I soon discovered that companies did not value my international education – even when applying for positions in Vancouver or Toronto. I was told to get an international MBA.
However, I soon came to believe Canadian companies did not always value their international arms or offices if they existed at all.
So I decided that I would enter graduate studies at a school teaching language teacher training, attracted by a famous professor based in the United States.
So here I am, considering my next move after graduating or obtaining further education.
I have become somewhat knowledgeable about foreign cultures while living abroad and consider living in a country where the prime language is not English similar to completing graduate studies.
For me, the road less travelled has been immensely valuable and enjoyable – a life of adventure, at times high drama, and my time with my students has been rewarding.
I have no idea if I will ever move back. It all started because I couldn’t get a decent job after graduating. One recruiter at a recruiting fair even told me that they thought my degree was essentially worthless. Au contraire et c’est la vie.
I just finished a graduate course in teaching at a university in the United States online and may be starting a new career writing and teaching on the internet for a British and German company respectfully.
Narrow and rigid models of human resource recruiting are hilariously unreliable in these times where many individuals bring unique and different points of view to the workplace.
How many times has the door been shut in my face by HR people? It just made me more determined to make a success out of my life to show these individuals that their narrow view of what makes a successful life is misguided.
I was given the opportunity to become a professor at a university outside the country and flourished. I was given opportunities to run and manage businesses, to consult in other countries. My opinion was valued, but not in Canada.
In any case, I have had a very full, enjoyable, meaningful life outside of Canada. But, there is no place like home.
Bachelor of Arts in Economics
University of Alberta