LEARNING THE LANGUAGE OF WORK


This week, I attended the Job Developer’s Consortium and Network. Actually I chaired part of the meeting where I had invited a speaker, Cormac O’Reiley from the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association to speak about their Workforce Skills Development Programs. I took notes.

One of the programs is Communications in the Workplace. http://bc.cme-mec.ca/british-columbia/programs/communication-in-the-workplace-30-and-40.html

Its purpose is to teach practical language skills for immigrants in the workplace. That could be a rather exciting prospect. There are some very particular phrases in the workplace to learn. One is to  “… keep your ass out of the bight. You probably know what an ass is, but bight could stand some explanation. Robson Bight on Vancouver Island, famous for Orca watching, is called that because it is a bay with parallel sides. On a ship, the bight is where two sometimes parallel ropes tend to cross under load.  Tow topes on tug boats are famous for this, and worse, they sometimes snap. If your ass is in the bight (between the two ropes) when the rope snaps, you may as well kiss it goodbye. There is enough kinetic energy there to make Armageddon look like a Sunday school picnic.

I learned another one when a longshoreman foreman asked e to “Get that lazy guy there and shackle it to that cleat.“

I suppose I misunderstood him incorrectly as I walked over to Larry who was having a smoke while leaning on the hatch and walked him over to the cleat. I picked up a shackle on the way.

“Broderick,” the foreman scowled. “The Lazy guy is that rope that is only hanging from the spar over there. There is no tension on it. I want you to make I working guy so we can operate the crane.’

My wife had an interview to work as a care aide in a place in Providence Health in Vancouver at an eating disorders clinic. She told me she had a good interview up until the time they asked, “And what else do you bring to the table?” My wife is from Jamaica, where they have their own idiomatic expressions (such as, “Go to the place and get the thing and put it on that.” Jamaica survives quite well in a world without vowels). “Do you mean I have to feed them too?” she asked.

She didn’t get the job.

I used to be an ESL instructor. I spent a lot of time trying to motivate kids to learn stuff beyond conjugations of the verb, “to be.” Take them on tours, other teachers would say. Take them to the museum.

I took them to Iona Island Sewerage Treatment Plant and lost my job for my efforts. Yhe principle argued that his school has no interest in infrastructure.

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 a newly retired ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a former 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 michael_broderick@telus.net  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.

 

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