Letters to the editor, February 13, 2014

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

Will work for life

The Halifax job market is difficult to get into straight out of school, but easier if you've already got a bit of experience in whatever field you're working in ("The Halifax job scene has failed me," Voice of the City by Heather Boucher, February 6). Getting that experience might mean putting in a few years in a larger population centre. As a friend of mine says, "Halifax is a great place to come back to, but it's an awful place to have never left."—posted by bogws at thecoast.ca

Join the club, lady. —posted by no_fool

There's hundreds, if not thousands, of amazing, talented underemployed or unemployed people just like you all over this fine city. It appears this big downtown and HRM development vision has created a lot of holes, tons of promises and a false sense that everyone they've pushed out over the past 30 years is going to rush back waving their arms and running on the beach. Keep up the hunting, it's tough process and it will happen for you, just maybe not here. —posted by same boat

That first sentence: "I have a masters degree and I'm serving eggs" is almost a cliche these days. It's certainly not a Halifax-specific situation. It's the new North America reality.

Just to put things in perspective: Halifax's unemployment rate is lower than Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver. (In December, Toronto's was 10.1 percent, and the GTA was 8.8 percent, compared to Halifax's 6.6.)

More jobs in Halifax are full-time, too, compared to those cities (though that's changing). The youth unemployment rate is comparable, despite all the media hype, and median incomes are about the same.

Most of my well-educated friends in Toronto/Vancouver can relate to your story: They've either faced layoffs, or unemployment or are freelance/contractors out of necessity, not desire. Many who do have jobs face brutally poor salaries. They've applied for dozens of jobs with barely a hint of employer interest. Many have gone back to the service sector in their 30s just to pay their exorbitant rents.

This is life for a lot of people with your kind of education and background (it's my background too, so not criticizing!), and it doesn't matter where you live. —posted by pigeon

My advice to young people leaving high school these days would be to pursue a trade, not a degree---especially an arts degree. Failing that, go into dentistry. —posted by Stephanie MacWhirter

BE BOLD! Make your own job. If I can, you can! I also am from Ontario (Toronto to be exact), and have been here 12 years. My first few years were pretty bleak, but I decided if I wanted to call this place home, I had to do it for myself.

With your education, you should have an vast wealth of knowledge you can utilize, even your gardening skills can be turned into a venture that will benefit you! Believe in yourself! —posted by Ishie

Career Beacon? It should be called Career Bacon because sending off applications is something I do alongside my eggs most mornings and, like you, I no longer expect replies. Like you, I am bright, ambitious and there is something about this situation that just seems horribly wasteful.

People are not leaving because they are lemmings, coasting out of town on the fumes of unrealistic negative perceptions. They're leaving because they cannot achieve their potential as human beings. —posted by Someone

In Nova Scotia we have fantastic potential, yet we squander time and time again. The proof is in the shifting demographics: if it keeps going this way, NS will just be a retirement community.

My rent is relatively low, and I live in a rural area because I have to remain close to work. If my car breaks down I will have to quit my job and move into some apartment within the urban area.

Life here is tenuous and has been for as long as I can remember. Why can't we do better? —posted by zuke

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