Indeed. But, no de Beaux Os, we don’t need Naomi Lakritz. We’ll bitch slap Sara Landriault just fine without her. It lacks the pinoche only Canadian Cynic could lend to it, but you provided a good start and I will provide a great finish. But before I do, I going to tell a personal story about your humble scribe and hopefully you, my dear readers will understand where my hard bitch slapping of Sara Landriault comes from.
I, too, had spent many years off the work force. Roughly the same amount of years as Landriault. I wish I could say it was simply to take time off to start a family, but it wasn’t. I did something very stupid. I fell in love with Mario in the mid-nineties.
Mario was a single father and a recovering drug addict who was working hard at staying sober, working and just doing everything to be a good father to his then ten year old daughter. Life was pretty good. His young daughter and I were starting to have a great relationship. Then, it all unraveled. The mother of his daughter decided she was ‘interested’ in their daughter again and fought for custody but did it in a very backhanded manner which I won’t get into. She ended up achieving custody. It would only be a few months, the road to hell would really begin.
Mario relapsed into drugs. He became physically and psychologically abusive. He became increasingly paranoid and started having some kind of grip on me. I wanted to leave but he threatened to kill me. A threat I took seriously, so I planned. I hoarded money for my getaway. Hell, I couldn’t even go to work or do anything anymore. I had agreed to audition for a play a friend at the time suggested, and he just exploded at the idea. Yes, at that time, I had entertained an acting career, but as a sideline. None of this was working, I was afraid to leave him and I was terrified not to leave him. I knew I had to do the latter. I ended up making my escape to a secure woman’s shelter, but not before I got the most severe beating. I had to call police who weren’t of much help. They arrested him, but I couldn’t get a restraining order as he had as much right to the dwelling we shared, hence, the woman’s shelter.
By the by, I think women’s shelters are grossly underfunded for the work they do. They try to fulfill a tremendous need. I was one of the lucky ones as I didn’t (still don’t) have children to worry about, nor permanent injury. Just PSTD. What about those who are not so lucky? It is much harder to find safe refuges for women with children. But, Stevie spiteful seems to care more about things like bible translators and fighter pilots. Dear readers, if you’re looking for a philanthropic project or somewhere to donate money, I highly suggest women’s shelters. And programs to help women like me successfully escape their abusers. Onwards we go!
I left Montreal for Matane in the Lower St-Lawrence, just at the peninsula. A beautiful place. Friendly, helpful people! I worked odd jobs, waiting tables, bartending and cleaning when I was physically able to so, which was quite sporadic. I drew social assistance disability when I couldn’t. I ended up travelling aroud the province of Quebec quite extensively, again sporadically taking odd jobs when I could. Anybody who tells you PSTD is child’s play should try it sometime; I don’t recommend it.
I met another gentleman who I thought I was in love with and settled in his home town of Lac Megantic at the beginning of the Chaudiere River, in the Appalachian Mountains right near the Maine border. There, I started to feel stronger, in spite of other complications. I helped him raise his two young sons (then 3 and 4) when his ex dumped them on us, which was all the time. I joined a community kitchen and learned quite a bit; like how to make nutritious meals for a family on a budget and such. I wanted to open my own catering service, but that too was not to be. After a few years, rural life too wore thin. It didn’t help that his mother living next door, made Joan Crawford look like June Cleever. I needed to go back to Montreal. It was my home. I missed the big city. If I continued to avoid it and not try to do something with my life, Mario would have won.
A great time to move back to Montreal, during a housing crisis. Low vacancy rates; rents jacked up; landlords playing slimey games to take advantage of the situation. I ended up finding a room at the home of this weird family who ran an escort service and housed international language students (no joke, folks!); it was all that was available without a deposit, reference and that was affordable at the time.
I went back to school to learn to be a pre-press technician since I had already been self-taught the basics of graphic arts and I needed to brush up on my computer skills after many years of not having touched one.
Here is where I discovered the pitfalls and challenges of attempting to get back on the work force after all those years. There were not too many jobs available for graphic artists and/or pre-press techs. The field in Montreal was and is still saturated to the point of having created a culture of cheap labour. I wouldn’t have minded taking a crappy salary to build my resume, but couldn’t even find those jobs.
I sucked it up and looked for other jobs. I was tired of employers expressing concerns for someone with that great gap in my CV or asking where I had been all that time. I basically told them I was raising that gentleman in Lac Megantic’s young boys which was in part true. Employers don’t want to know about imperfect lives. They want super functional and hell, that was what I was going to present. Many months after finishing that pre-press tech certificate, I took a job at minimum wage, answering phones at a taxi company. No, it ain’t sexy like some cushy government job. Yes, it’s very high stress, very high turn over, particularly if you dispatch. It’s shift work at crappy pay with even crappier people, dealing with dumb drivers and even dumber customers and phones buzzing in your earpiece incessantly for an entire 8 hour shift, sometimes more if you had overtime and quite a bit of overtime was available for every shift. I stuck with it until another taxi company offered me a dispatching position. I think that’s when I started having issues with my blood pressure, but no matter. I stayed in the taxi business until I went deaf in my right ear and burned out. I ended up on CSST and then EI for several months.
I was accepted for an Emploi Quebec training program at College Ahuntsic in Project management & estimation in the Printing industry. Completed the program inside a year.
I did work as an estimator for awhile at a large format printing outfit, but I was laid off and unemployed again. Back on EI.
Now, I have a temporary job, replacing someone on sick leave for the past year and a half as an Administrative agent. I look at the internal postings regularly as I seek to have a permanent position as I love where I work. I love that I am part of a team that helps children at risk get a chance at a happy and productive life and I’m grateful for everyday that I am employed by them.
My point is, I had to go through all those other crappy jobs and training programs taking various courses here and there to continuously upgrade my skills. I still do! My next venture will be taking private advanced written French instruction so I can pass a civil service French test as I wish to have a future in this business I’m in.
I did not dwell on things I couldn’t change but rather, I did my best to make the best out of certain disadvantages and corrected whatever I could correct.
Unlike Sara “France is part of the Commonwealth” Landriault, not once did I whine about being white or Catholic or Anglophone. Yes, I admit sometimes it’s a challenge not having a Quebecois name when looking for work. Even a job search consultant told me this, but since my last training program was at a French CEGEP, I have found that my last name matters less, like there is more confidence that I can speak, read and write the language to some degree. I played the game. I wanted back on the work force. I had a few realistic ideas on how to achieve this. I took advantage of community resources and yes, government programs, programs for which I am grateful. Without them, I probably wouldn’t have fared as well as I have.
As for the PSTD, I still have it. It’ll probably always linger. But the nightmares are far fewer and in between. I sleep a lot better now. I’ve taken back my life. I have won, in spite of our kooky legal system.
I didn’t tell the short version of my youth for kicks or to make myself more likeable. I’m still cranky, anti-social, and cantankerous, and that’s just the way I like it. I only told it because, Sara Landriault and other bratty princesses like her just don’t realize how good they have it. The lesson here is there is somebody always worse off and we mustn’t forget about them.
She claims she didn’t get a government job because she’s white. (Boy, Brian Lilley, must be fun showing off white supremacy at your new job, ain’t it?) Are you sure it’s because you simply ain’t qualified? Because you got that big ol’ gap in your CV? Speaking from experience, employers frown on that, especially if it is ostensibly that first foray back into the work force as I’ve mentioned above. How do we really know Sara is telling the truth here. After all, gaps in the CV ain’t as sexy (certainly not sexy enough to sell newspapers) for even Sun Media and Brian Lilley or even the Blogging SupposiTories as so-called ‘white persecution’. This civil service job may have an employment equity program, but this is the land of Stevieville here. There is no equity and white reigns supreme. Just thought I’d put that question out there.
Warm up over. On to the bitch slapping now. And Sara, I bitch slap spoiled princesses like you for sport, as your comrad Rightchik can attest to so be prepared, dear!
Stop your fucking sniveling and start appreciating what you have! You obviously haven’t a clue as to how many women (and children) are far worse off than you. Yes, toto, there is a life outside Kemptville, Ont.
Stop complaining about your whiteness. Did you ever stop to think that perhaps you would flunk any civil service exam with statements like “France is part of the commonwealth” Who are you? Jethro Bodeen’s twin Jathreen’s missing link??
Anybody who is as galactically as stupid as you are doesn’t deserve a civil service position, not even working under Jason Kenney; I think that requires at least a high school diploma.
And your bloody typical conservative hypocrisy is astounding! (click that link; only Canadian Cynic demonstrated Landriault’s conservative hypocrisy justice) I thought you conservatives hated government programs and wanted the government shrunk and the civil service scrapped; all the civil servants’ asses canned. Isn’t that what you Blogging SupposiTories preach?? The sanctity of small government?
Waz a matter? Starting at the bottom of the ladder at a crappy night job at a crappy salary is good enough for everybody else, including your’s truly but too good for you? And why is that you little snotty princess??
Do like the rest of us mere mortals do and start at the bottom of the ladder. Hell, be a good Harpercon cheerleader and apply for a job at Timmy Hortons as a cashier; wait! NO! That requires knowledge of basic arithmetic. Apply for the job mopping floors and cleaning toilets. Yeah! That’s about what you’re qualified to do!