Since I began my new job at Fraser Health, I have several clients start jobs, and many have kept them for over a year. Each had one thing in common. They all survived their first day on the job. The checklist for success has numerous tips that generally rely on common sense. They involve:

  • Take notes
  • Use the washroom
  • Clean up after yourself in the washroom
  • Bring a bag lunch so you can socialize over the lunch hour
  • Learn names of people and what their roles are
  • Don’t be the last one to get to the site
  • Don’t be the first one to leave
  • Don’t pull the boss’ tail

I often wonder why these rules never seem to apply to me.

The strangest first day I had on the job was years ago when I undertook to direct the  excavation the Pitt River Archaeological Site in Port Coquitlam, BC to make way for the Mary Hill Bypass. I suppose I was moderately successful on my first day, as I’m still alive, and living in Port Coquitlam, and the bypass connects Port Coquitlam with Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows with minimal traffic problems.

On the first day, I had a crew of 22 people all with freshly sharpened trowels and a stack of buckets. There were plenty of holes waiting to be dug, and people ready to dig.

The holes, however, would need to wait. I had no permission from any of the property owners to dig, so there was a possibility of showing up on the front page of the local newspaper with a photo of my crew lounging in the sun on the government dime under the headline, “NO PLACE TO DIG.”

I assembled my crew. I spent an hour or so talking about the research design that we would be using, and how we were going to use a backhoe, and about how privileged they should feel about working on this important project.

I had invited one of the property owners to my lecture.

I asked if there were any questions.

“Yes I do. I’m curious about your research design. How dare you use a backhoe on a site. We are trained to use trowels and buckets and dust pans. Who do you think you are?

“Well,” I said. “If there are no further questions, I have one for you. What is the worst thing about doing archaeology?

“Putting up with a phenomenally stupid director who has no idea what he’s doing and who insists on boring us with his inane stories.”

“That’s right,” I said. “There is absolutely nothing worse that building a rain shelter in the rain. We are going to use this down time to take care of that while the sun is out.”

While all this industry was going on I dispatched a mapping  team to map the area. I hate doing that in the rain as well. The nearest property owner Liked all the industry, and she gave us permission to start with her property.

Her property had horses. I personally set up an electric fence around where I was going to dig. That gave me a chance to check out  that Will Rogers saying, “Some like to read about it, some like to hear about it, and some like to piss on the electric fence to find out for themselves.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.





2 Responses to “YOUR FIRST DAY ON THE JOB”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Good advice, funny story. You should write a book called “Archeology for Dummies: Laugh your way through digging up a cranky property owner’s petunias.:

  2. mikebroderick Says:

    The one I remember is running an auger through a homeowner’s perimeter drain tiles

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