Author Archives: Jessica Rozitis

Labour Day

This coming Monday September 2nd is Labour Day, a national holiday in Canada and the U.S. This day is the workers’ holiday celebrating their labour efforts.

You can thank some union workers who worked in a printing shop in Ontario in the 1800’s for this annual long weekend.

English: Toronto Globe newspaper office (with ...

Toronto Globe newspaper office (with a globe on top) on King Street East, Toronto, Canada, early 1860s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1869 the union petitioned their employers, requesting a weekly reduction in working hours. Their request was refused outright by the owners of the printing shops, and by the founder of the Toronto Globe, which later became the Globe and Mail.

In 1872 the Toronto Printers Union went on strike and fought for a 9 hour work day. Previously the employers expected their workers to clock in a 12 hour work day.

After that year, almost all union demands included the 54-hour week. The Toronto printers were pioneers of the shorter workweek in North America.

Celebrating the workers’ successful striking efforts, Labour Day became an annual celebration. By 1894, it became the official national holiday that we continue to recognize today.

Here’s an ironic twist. For the first time ever, The Globe and Mail newspaper will not be publishing a Labour Day edition of their paper this year, due to lack of advertising revenue. According to a note to subscribers from the publisher and CEO of the Globe & Mail, the revenue is “needed to cover the costs of formatting, printing and delivery of the paper, and the number of vacation stops by subscribers”.

Enjoy your long weekend, and of course, this Labour Day.

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Walk the Talk

Business innovator Nilofer Merchant explains…

“Walk and talk. … You’ll be surprised at how fresh air drives fresh thinking.”

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I always thought that golf was invented for this reason. Some of the best conversations can be found on the golf course. Not counting all the cursing for missing a good shot, though. Enjoy this brief TED Talk.

A Toxic Workplace

I was talking with a friend of mine recently who brought up the topic of the corporate culture in her current workplace. toxic-300x269

She said that every day she comes home from work, she just wants to “shower off her day”. For the past 2 years she has worked in an environment that does not make her happy. Why does she stay? She is a highly specialized C level employee where good jobs with her specific skill set are hard to find. She likes her job, she likes the actual day to day work that she does. But it is the work environment and culture that repels her.  Unfortunately, the CEO of the company defines the culture, and therefore little can be done to change it. Most of the employees are in their early 20’s, and sadly, they are looking up to this CEO as an example of how people should treat each other in the workplace. Needless to say, my friend is on the search for a new job, but in the meantime, she feels stuck.

Great People Make A Great Company

It is known that great people make a great team and great teams can overcome huge obstacles. Companies that work hard to find the best team members to join them and work equally hard to provide a challenging and rewarding environment to motivate and bring out the best in them are setting themselves up for success. My friend feels that the company culture is being poisoned.

When a leader of a company believes that their business is about the people, it is their duty to foster that success. Building the relationships between those people builds the business. Losing incredible talent due to poor leadership will not make a company an employer of choice.

Bike to Work Week

It is Bike to Work Week in many North American cities including Vancouver this week. Too bad about the rain. Gear up properly and stay safe out there. Bike to Work

Not only is cycling a healthy and an environmentally-friendly commuting option, you can also enjoy some of the commuter station locations this week while commuting on two wheels. For a map and more details of locations of the stations in Vancouver go to biketoworkmetrovan.ca . Enjoy free refreshments, prizes, bike tune ups on bike routes during the whole week.

More and more,  workplaces have accommodated their employees with biking to work with access to a secure bike rooms, showers, etc.  Perhaps this is something that your workplace has already embraced.


photo credit: Winston Wong

Having a bad day

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I can always count on Mike Desjardins from ViRTUS  to give me a smile. He shares the following video with his staff if someone is having a bad day.

Working Hard

I recall one time being in the passenger seat of a friend’s really nice car. We pulled up to the curb at our destination, and as my friend handed the valet the car keys, the valet asked, “Wow, what do you do to drive a nice car like that?” My friend’s answer was simple and to the point. “Work hard”.

“I learned the value of hard work by working hard.”                                     ~ Margaret Mead

“Working hard is very important. You’re not going to get anywhere without working extremely hard.”       ~ George Lucas

“I think that my biggest attribute to any success that I have had is hard work. There really is no substitute for working hard.”                    ~ Maria Bartiromo

“You really have to work hard and apply yourself and by applying yourself and working hard and being diligent, you can achieve success.”
~ Julie Benz

“The only way to get people to like working hard is to motivate them. Today, people must understand why they’re working hard. Every individual in an organization is motivated by something different.”
~ Rick Pitino

“Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
~ Conan O’Brien

What a Difference a Culture Makes

fork in road

Fork in the road

I recently met a friend for lunch, and asked him how he was enjoying his current job he has been in for the past year.

Let’s take a step back in time. Several years ago, my friend took a job working in Human Resources for a small company that seemed liked a great place to work. But, sometimes we realize that perception is so much different than reality.  About two months into his role, he started to question if he made the right move to this company. Shortly after, what he felt was validated.  The corporate culture was not what he had perceived it would be.

My friend tried his best to like where he worked, and stuck it out for over a year, but it was too much of a struggle. Among many other faults, the leaders and managers did not make an effort to meet with the HR department. How the company had originally presented themselves was not the case at all. Working in HR, it was difficult to promote the company to potential candidates.

Another opportunity with a company in a completely different industry came up. Unhappy in the current job, my friend was hesitant at first to take on a role in an industry he was not familiar with. All his friends said ‘if it is out of your comfort zone, maybe you shouldn’t take the job’. He started to think hard about his choices. His partner simply said ‘don’t question yourself’. With that simple piece of advice, he moved forward with the application process and the potential manager reassured him on the phone in a long conversation, showing his support.  That care and attention and human touch is what made all the difference, even prior to the official job offer, my friend knew this was already an environment and culture that he could feel comfortable in.

And one year later, he is so very happy that he made that change.

I asked him, “When did you know it was the right culture?” he simply said, “I never questioned it. I knew since day one”. He continued, “The corporate culture is consistent with the messaging they present publicly.  When I recruit for the company, I can honestly tell candidates that I’m happy working there”. He also added that having a supportive manager makes all the difference.

He described his state of mind at the previous employer as  “unhappiness to the depths of my soul. For all the misery, it was a huge learning experience – learning about myself and my limits”.

And to that, I say, what a difference a year makes. What a difference a corporate culture makes.

photo credit: Newtown grafitti