Month: June 2014

Most Humorous Job Ad I’ve Ever Seen

While perusing job listings, I came across a listing for an ‘arborist’, or ‘tree-climber’, as described in the job ad below.   It is well-detailed and, likely one of the most honest descriptions of a job that I have ever seen.  I wouldn’t mind seeing this type of thing from more companies; this way job seekers have a relatively good idea about what they’re getting into before applying to jobs and employers demonstrate that they know exactly what they want.  No BS such as, “we are 5,000th on the list of the city’s top 5,000 employers!* “.

Nothing is more frustrating than a  job description that is poorly organized and sparse on details.  A lack of detail could only lead to miscommunications and unrealistic expectations on behalf of both employers and employees.  As addressed in this ad, the employer acknowledges explicitly that less experience can lead to more workplace injuries, which is important.

*(by the way, we paid someone a lot of money to get on the city’s top 5,000 list)

The job ad is pasted below, exactly as seen on

Arborist Wanted – Must Love/Hate Trees
Beauregard’s Tree Service – Vaughan, ON
Tree Removal Company located in Brantford, ON seeks experienced tree climber or “Arborist” with bucket experience. If you’ve done this kind of work before, you don’t have to read any further, just submit your application and we’ll go from there.However, if you want to find out what it’s like to work for Beauregard’s Tree Service then read on, my friend.An arborist’s role is not one for the faint of heart. You’ll be expected to climb up nearly to the top of a lot of very big trees – all while using minimal gear and lugging gas-powered tree-destruction devices like chainsaws and pruners. This isn’t just an “off-chance” scenario, you’ll be expected to repeat this over and over again until our daily work is done. Your only hope to minimize the time spent up in these deadly nature-towers is to be efficient and hard-working. You have to haul it in order to get the trees before they get you!

You’ll be working directly for the owner of the company which makes it easy to ask for favours and kiss up effectively. So if you want to borrow the company truck to impress your date, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to buy him coffees and offer to babysit his kids. Compliment his beard on occasion for extra credit. But don’t be fooled! He is not a push-over! He takes safety and job quality very seriously so you’d better be prepared to follow direction and not be a shifty slacker. You’ll be working with a crew of other guys who also don’t like it when you aren’t pulling your own weight – so show up on time and be easy to work with.

Do you know what a bucket truck is? You ever see those guys sitting in a tiny bucket being raised way up in the air to work around power lines? Yeah, we need you to do that, too. We will most likely have less job-injuries if you already have some experience with bucket trucks.

When your job calls for you to work on the ground – be thankful. You’ll only have to worry about limbs and equipment falling from above and not actually falling yourself. We call this “clean up duty” where we typically finish the job by chipping, grinding and sawing the unwanted parts of the tree until we are satisfied that it won’t be a further threat to its owner. This is where the hate for trees comes in. You can’t form lasting relationships with these trees – they need to come down for their own good. If you’re a tree-hugger, this probably isn’t the right job for you.

Aside from that, you’ll need a valid driver’s license and proper certification. That way, we can rest assured that you aren’t going to run someone over or cut your own leg off while on a job.

That’s about it. If you think you’d like to join our team please contact me. We pay about the same as the other guys but we’re a lot more fun to work with. We’re looking forward to filling this position soon.

I'd like to be a tree-abortionist...I mean, arborist when I grow up (image from

I’d like to be a tree-abortionist…I mean arborist when I grow up (image from


American Airlines and One O’Hare-y Experience

I was scheduled to fly out of Chicago the other night, having caught a connecting flight into Chicago which was delayed due to poor weather.  In fact, most flights were grounded from Chicago O’Hare and given that it is an extremely busy airport, any delays completely mess up the arrival and departure schedules.  That is a given.

While I was in the air coming into O’Hare (yes, I know that rhymes), American Airlines had delayed, then cancelled my connection out.  No problem.  There was bad weather and flight safety is paramount.  The next challenge is, did American Airlines help me to deal with the fact that I was stranded in Chicago until late the next morning?

The answer is no.

I arrived in Chicago at about midnight and looked at the departure schedule to discover the flight cancellation.  I went to talk to an American Airlines agent, who said she could not guarantee me a spot on the earlier flight out the next day, which was fine, so I told her to put me on the later flight with a guaranteed spot.  Not a problem.  Then I asked what the policy was for hotels, where should I stay overnight, etc.

“American Airlines will compensate you for half of your hotel stay,” said the agent.  I said, “You’re kidding me?”.

Okay, I get it.  Bad weather is an act of God.  No one can control it.  But only half?  Not even for the taxi?  Nothing?

But, the problem was that American Airlines didn’t want to even help me to find a hotel.  They just didn’t care.  I had to ask the agent questions about where to go in an unfamiliar city, which is a major hub of American Airlines, so my expectation was that as a company, they would have some kind of familiarity with Chicago; enough to help me find an overnight accommodation without me having to ask a thousand questions.

The agent’s response was to pass me a Travelliance “Discount Coupon” which had almost no information on it except to call a 1-800 number to book some random hotel.  So I went away, much to the agent’s satisfaction I am sure, to call the number.  When I phoned the number, I heard an automated message that said “Sorry, all hotels are booked”.  Sorry, piss off and spend the night in the airport.

I went back to see the American Airlines agents to see what else I could do.  This time another agent looked at me and said “Well you can go to blablablla area and pick up a blanket and pillow”.  That’s right, sleep in the airport, he said.  Keep in mind there was NO ONE ELSE standing at the counter.  Just me.  He didn’t care to help me at all, to find a hotel, or even to tell me where the hell the supposed airport sleeping area was.  I mean, he knows Chicago well, so I guess I should too.

So disgusted, I went away to call my partner.  LUCKILY, at midnight, there was someone I could phone to help.  I guess American Airlines assumed I would have someone to call for help.  It was amazing how easily my partner could find me a hotel.  It could have been just as easy for the airline to do the same, but they refused.

On a related side note, Chicago O’Hare is still living in the dark ages of internet access.  One can only receive 20 minutes of free wifi service, after which, customers have to pay for it.  Are you kidding me?  One of the busiest American airports needs to CHARGE people for internet?  That is a shame.  For that reason I won’t ever transfer through Chicago again.

American Airlines must have also assumed that I had access to the internet as well, so I could easily find a hotel.

When I got outside, there was a mile long line up for a taxi.  I have to say for a bunch of tired travellers, everyone was very orderly in waiting for their taxis, and the line moved quickly.  So after a $50 cab ride, I arrived at the hotel.  Lots of other people had the same idea so, there was also a line up at the hotel.  The hotel folks were very quick and friendly sorting out rooms for everyone, unlike American Airlines staff, given they were rammed with people at 1:00 am.

Unfortunately, after hearing the stories of the other folks in the hotel lobby, there seemed to be a major problem with taxis in Chicago.  People were charged various amounts for the same taxi ride.  Some people were given a coupon for a free taxi ride from their airline to be transported to a hotel, but the taxi drivers would not accept the coupons and were threatening to phone the police if their customers did not pay for their cab rides.

So Chicago O’Hare, I recommend you better organize your taxi transportation, and while you’re at it, get with the times and provide customers the convenience of free wifi internet service.

American Airlines, your customer service sucked, and I recommend you provide customers with the minimum standard of service.  If not, there is always the option to rebrand as “Shitty Airlines”.  One thing I can guarantee though is that I won’t be taking American Airlines, or Shitty Airlines, ever again.

Hello, Shitty Airlines? from

Hello, Shitty Airlines, can I help you take your order please?



Do the American People Need to Become Re-introduced to Science?

Please have a look at this post below – as posted by James Pilant over at James is a lawyer and college professor of business ethics; he has a great blog. I hope he will soon write a book (no pressure James)!

Pilant's Business Ethics Blog

Global warming ubx

Image via Wikipedia

Seth Mnookin: The Autism Vaccine Controversy and the Need for Responsible Science Journalism

Last January, Andrew Wakefield, the discredited British gastroenterologist whose 1998 paper sparked the first wave of fears that vaccines might be causally connected to autism, was further disgraced when the editors of the British Medical Journal declared his work “an elaborate fraud.” (By that point, Wakefield had already forfeited his medical license for a litany of moral, ethical, and professional misdeeds — including an incident where he paid children at his young son’s birthday party to donate their blood for his experiments.) With little left to lose, Wakefield seemed to fully embrace the fringe: In June, he headlined a rally titled “The Masterplan: The Hidden Agenda for a Global Scientific Dictatorship” with a cohort of 9/11 Truthers, One World Government conspiracists, and anti-fluoridationists.

So, how are the mighty fallen. This is one…

View original post 448 more words

Academic Mobbing and Scientific Misconduct

Kenneth Westhues, Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo, has a few websites including Workplace Mobbing in Academe as well as which discuss various cases of workplace mobbing, as you may have guessed from the website titles.

After viewing these sites, I came across the Scientific Misconduct Blog, authored by ethical scientist Aubrey Blumsohn, who openly expressed his distaste when Procter & Gamble, a research “partner” at Sheffield University, decided it would be responsible for analyzing Blumsohn’s scientific data and for ghostwriting his publications.   Blumsohn experienced mobbing from the university administration after bringing forward his concerns with these practices and as a result he chose to speak to the media about his experiences.   Blumsohn eventually left his position with Sheffield, although he reached a legal settlement with the university.  This happened a number of years ago, but I thought it was an interesting case.

Since most scientific research has been and continues to be funded by private sources of dollars — I can only imagine how easily these types of scenarios could arise.  These ethically challenging situations likely occur more frequently than we think.


How the United States ranks within the OECD Better Life Index

For a country with so much wealth, it seems counterintuitive that the United States ranks more or less in the middle of the road in comparison to other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries on most of the “topics” of the OECD’s Better Life Index.  These topics are: housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance.

The United States ranks highest on the income scale and of course it has the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the world (not including the European Union), so this is not much of a surprise.  What we also know though is that if income inequality was considered as a main topic, the rankings would likely appear to be very different.  Although the OECD considers social inequality as part of its indicators which is likely related to income inequality, perhaps the OECD should consider give income inequality greater weight in determining its future rankings.

The USA also ranks very highly on housing.  Sure, a middle class American can probably afford a 3 bedroom bungalow, well, with dual incomes, depending on the location.  The OECD topic of housing is evaluated in terms of having satisfactory living conditions (i.e. rooms per person, facilities) and also in terms of affordability.  This topic, however, doesn’t capture the fact that the housing market became so volatile during the Great Recession that people lost their homes and livelihoods.  This topic also really doesn’t capture the conditions for those living in subsidized housing in urban areas of the USA, for example, or the fact that if one is born poor, one is probably going to stay poor, especially if from the southern USA; but I digress.  I realize that the Better Life Index is a snapshot tool used to compare countries.  It’s just that we have to think about it critically.

In terms of the rest of the topics — jobs, community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance, the USA ranks more or less in the interquartile range or so of all OECD countries; sometimes better and sometimes worse, depending on the topic.  Does this seem surprising?  Perhaps for wealthy Americans who on an individual basis would rank themselves highly in the above OECD topics, it is surprising.

OECD Better Life Index – Income — from

Pineapple t-shirt

I bought a linen t-shirt at a department store.  I liked the pineapple on it.  My cousin says if I drew a door on the pineapple that it would look like SpongeBob Squarepants’ house in Bikini Bottom.

Have a couple more job interviews coming up.  This includes a visit with yet another employment recruiter.

I love it when recruiters try to ask you what your previous salary was, which has nothing to do with the job for which they’re seeking a candidate.  I spoke to one particular recruiter over the phone the other day, and told her that I wasn’t going to discuss my previous salary; especially given that I know absolutely nothing about the job requirements, or nothing about the company that is looking for a candidate.  Recruiters always love to respond with the standard, “Well, we can’t help you” and then I basically say, “Well good luck finding someone else”.   I mean, they’re calling me, right, and, do I ask them what their salaries are?  It’s so much bullshit, and meanwhile, I know that there aren’t many people who have the type of experience I have.  I could have said that I did backflips at my last job and this recruiter would have believed me.  Given that I worked at the circus, this wouldn’t have been too far off from the truth.

It’s also almost time for another government job interview.   Those people should be tired of interviewing me by now.  I know I’m tired of talking to them.

If neither of these opportunities lead to a job, I’m going to move to Bikini Bottom and will get a job flipping Krabby Patties at the Krusty Krab.  Perhaps my t-shirt purchase was prognostic.

My future home in Bikini Bottom

My future home in Bikini Bottom