For at least the last few years, even in the private sector Ottawa’s favourite word has been bilingual. And no, sadly, they don’t mean *our* bilingual (*), as much as myself and Shane would really, really love it if they did. Escentially, it means two things.
By law, it means you must be fully fluent in English and that other, Quebec-centric language. Yeah, that one. Occasionally, it means English and some other language, like for instance, Spannish–who the hell offers official services in Spannish, in Canada? It also means positions I’m otherwise fully qualified for–hello, jobs so damn similar to the one I was booted from in 2008 it’s not funny–become so far above my pay grade it’s almost embarrassing to say so. Yes, I can fix your computer. Yes, I can even take your static HTML-based website (yes, some companies still use those) and turn it into a dynamic, blow your socks off accessible, website in any language and on any platform of your freaking dreams–and probably customize the thing to boot, without knowing a damn thing about the specific ins and outs of that language (go open source technology go). But I can only speak one, much more widely used, language. Yeah, sure I’ll wait for you to call me. What, no call? Oh–you hired the French-speaking guy who has no idea what WordPress or even PHP is. Gotcha. But at least I got this nifty little thanks for coming out letter. I’ll add it to the pile. See, employment insurance folks? I *am* looking for work. Here’s all my “thanks for applying but we don’t want you” emails.
Folks have stepped up their game in this area now. Where you could get buy if you only survived on two languages, in the last couple weeks I’ve seen a growing number of trilingual positions. Usually, again, the first two are obvious–the legally required ones. But that third, who the hell uses it officially in Canada language–again, usually Spannish–makes itself known. And again, positions I could nail in, say, 2008 or earlier? Yeah, those ones? Thanks for coming, but can you please leave? It’s what lead me to apply for a position completely out of my field, with a company who’s interviewing/hiring practices give me cause for concern–that’s an entry for later.
Guys. You’ve got a ton of qualified people hanging about. Most of them probably more qualified than me. A few of them even used to work with me–and, at last report, were still looking. Only problem? I can count on one hand how many of them speak two languages, nevermind three. And you’re not even asking for folks who can speak the secondary language some of these people can. That’s just asking for a tool with decent linguistic skills is all that is. And half of them probably still don’t speak *our* second language.
(*): I speak English, and Clue. Sadly, as far as employable folks go, I’m probably in the minority–at least by legal standards. As far as folks who’re actually employed? That second language is endangered–I’m looking directly at you, Rogers.