Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, money, Parenting, Recommends, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Essay Writing Contest (Closing October 16th, 2018). Grade 12 Canadian Students – You can win $500-$5,000.


The Urban Daddy is a HUGE fan of teaching Canadians about finances, taxes and debt, and finding solutions to get out of debt and stay out of debt.

I came across an essay writing competition for Grade 12 Students, sponsored by an organization that I have worked with in the past and strongly respect.

Details:

Grade 12 students across Canada are invited to confess their financial misfortune story by submitting an essay to the Credit Education Week 2018 Essay Contest.

Prizes range from $500 to $5000, with over 20 prizes to be won.

Entries must be written in English or French and must not exceed 1000 words.  Essays must be submitted between now and Oct. 9, 2018. EXTENDED: October 16th, 2018.

For full contest rules, see the essay submission page.

Credit-Canada-Essay-Contest-Flyer-V2

Here is a note from a winner last year (name redacted)

“As it has almost been a year since I participated I thought I should give Credit Canada an update. I was able to accept a position at my first choice school in the Law and Society program (minoring in Criminology). I was accepted into a residence community that allows me to participate, volunteer and plan community events to better the quality of life in town. I’ve also been accepted into numerous campus leadership positions. Overall, I’m working hard as a student and as a citizen here in university. Now, this email may seem random but I wanted to sincerely thank everyone involved with Credit Education Week. Though a scholarship in this amount may not seem like a lot of money to a large company, it makes a gigantic difference to students like me. Rather than spending my nights picking up extra shifts at work, I am participating in my school and studying hard with a chance to thrive. I cannot thank you and everyone else who participates in this program enough.”

Credit Canada, the sponsor of this competition, is a non-profit and charitable organization providing free and confidential credit counselling, personal debt consolidation and resolutions, as well as preventative counselling, educational seminars, and tips and tools in the areas of budgeting, money management, and financial goal-setting.

Credit Canada is Canada’s longest-standing credit counselling agency, helping Canadians manage their debt since 1966.

For more information, please visit www.creditcanada.com.

You can also interact with others on Twitter using this hashtag, #CEWC2018

Posted in Life

Thursday Thirteen with a Twist


I have a great Thursday Thirteen for this week, however it comes with a story.

Thursday I began a new chapter in my career as I joined a new company. Wednesday was my last day at my previous employer.  I’m happy, sad, nervous and excited… All the good stuff.

My son, Linus, told me on the way to Beavers that if I changed jobs one more time, then I get to be a Doctor in my following career move. Cool. Doctor of Taxation maybe, but that’s as close as I’ll get!

On Thursday, I went early to check out the neighbourhood and dropped into the Java Joe’s location in Mississauga – I’m going to miss the Richmond Hill location – and I started chatting with the owner who is really nice too.  This location also opens at 7am, which works great for me and since there is no Tim Horton’s in sight this works great.  So I ordered a large Highlander Cream and when I turned to put in cream and sugar I noticed they had posted my 2011 Urban Daddy Coffee rankings; https://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/urban-daddys-3rd-annual-coffee-shop-rankings-2011/ right there the cream, sugar, lids and stir sticks are.

So I blurted out laughing which brought over the owner and I pointed to the lists (it was there on each side) and said; “That’s my ranking. I wrote this article”.

He seemed stunned, pointed to me and said, “you?”.

“Yes” I replied. “I wrote that” at which point I opened my iPad, flipped to my blog and showed him the post.

He thanked me, gave me his card, and wished me best of luck on my new position.

Anyways, here is the Thursday Thirteen. Again in case you, like I did, forgot. The 13 things allegedly, my staff will miss about me.

13. Brrraaaiiinnnnnnnsssssssssss – That is my Plants vs. Zombies chant I would regularly throw into conversations with the group. 

Plants vs. Zombies

12. Ice Cream bets – I have been known to bet my staff that they cannot finish food, or drinks… OR ice cream and lost. I’ve won too, but it’s all for fun, plus everyone always has room for ice cream!

11. “Don’t worry about It” and “Sure, no problem” – These must represent my laid back nature and my desire to remove the stress from some people and take the work into our area and have it done there. When I utter those catch phrases, I not only take care of the task but I educate so it hopefully doesn’t happen again.

10. Buzzing music from my iPod – What can I say… I love my music loud and hard. Did I mention I love it loud???

9. My silly and funny comments – I have regularly thrown in comments like “sit on it”, or “take off, eh?” to keep my group on their toes and to educate them on stuff they should know. For example on my last day food was brought in to feed everyone and there were some people unhappy I was leaving, let alone for a higher position,when I blurted out that the food looked amazing and for dessert there would be “sour grapes”.  A few got it.  It went over the head of many others.

8. Political, sports and general news – I spent a lot of time on the Internet reading tax related items and general news to keep up to date on what’s going on in the finance world and what others are saying about it.  Inevitably, I would come across something interesting like news about flooding in the Philippines, or the trading of players, or something stupid the Liberals would have done and I would blurt it out plus political commentary to keep everyone informed.  Your welcome.  🙂

7. Cubicle to cubicle visits and chats – It’s not like I was just walking around wasting time, but I firmly believe that every now and then staff need to be engaged and feel connected to management so I would chat with them, see what they’re working on, find out what issues they are having and stay connected. 

6. Lively greetings – Every morning I would walk in and say good morning to everyone who I would pass and who would look at me.  Nothing wrong with that, right?  I would also greet my taxation staff and do a pulse check person by person.  My experience shows me this is much better than walking by them with my head down…

5. Acronyms, like “WLS” and “WWGD” – I’m a big fan of keeping things loose.  People spend more time at the office than they do at home, so I want to make sure they enjoy themselves while getting the job done.  These acronyms related to people. 

4. Star Wars toys – I had a big collection of Star Wars toys on my cubicle which I started to take home when I knew I was leaving and now they’re all here.  I loved having them out, but don’t see that opportunity in my new role for toys…

English: Star Wars toys collection in Penang T...

3. Social media updates of my family – When you blog and tweet and talk about your family, people either ask me for updates, or they read it here and tell me what they liked about it.  Now they are going to have to read it.  Hopefully this will mean more hits.  🙂

2. Coffee and bagels – Have I mentioned before that I appreciate all the hard work of my staff and the rest of the staff I worked with?  Well I do and people like to eat so I would periodically bring in food… many types of food in order to keep spirits high and tummy’s full.  Ice cream Thursday’s were a smash!  A block of ice cream was $1.47.  A box of waffles was $0.99 so for less than $5.00 I could feed a lot of folks a lot of ice cream.  I even saw someone… Eat a super-sized ice cream sandwich with extra ice cream on top.  Crazy. 

1. Noisy food, like carrots, apples, but mostly when chomping on my nails – I’m always eating.  Fruits, veggies, mainly things that crunch, but when I’m stressed, it’s my nails.  Needless to say, I went through a lot of nails.

Personally I think they’re going to miss this;

a single vanilla ice cream sandwich
Image via Wikipedia
Posted in Uncategorized

I’ve been thinking


I do a lot of thinking…

I like to make lists.

Sometimes, I actually work through the list and do what is on it.  Today, for example, I had a list of no less that 15 things I needed to get done.  NEEDED.  I had it all planned out, and I knew once I got to the office I would be able to plan and arrange around my meetings.  Yeah… That didn’t work out that well.

The other manager in my office decided we needed to go downtown for the Operations meeting so we headed out in this stupid snow storm we’re having and an hour later we were later for the meeting. 

All the senior managers were happy to see us, even the gentleman sitting to my left who, in 7 months there, I did not recognize.  When it was his turn to speak, he spoke of a great tax season to date and congratulated me for my efforts.  I smiled, then it donned on me that this gentleman was the president of the Canadian company.  He knew who I was even if I did not know him.  I knew of him.

Back to the office and many meetings later I raced home (ok, edged up slowly in more snowy traffic) to see my family.  We ate (thanks for the yummy food, hun) and watched the opening ceremonies of the Toronto Blue Jays home opener.  Linus knew who the Jays were and even the first 4 verses of O’ Canada.  Remembered them from the “cross” game (lacrosse).  Apparently he also sings it at school every day too.

Cutie.

Oh, yeah, my thoughts…

I think I’m going to come legit… Start a tax / management blog under my real name.  Get some credibility.  That way I wont bore you (yes, YOU) when I talk about W-8BEN’s and 1099’s, or talking about how I like to manage my staff.

If I had time, I’d totally do it…

Posted in government

Get your money back… Your tax dollars were wasted today.


I want a refund, and you might want to ask for one too.  You see currently working for the Canadian Federal government means my salary is paid for by you and me, the Canadian taxpayer, so as an organization we need to be accountable.

Check out what happened to me…

I’m writing this post to protest the complete waste of time and money spend on an all-day team offsite for work.  It was a major yawn-fest and a complete waste of time.

I actually knew this off-site was going to suck when the agenda was sent to us at 5pm last night. Loads of notice, eh?  Then I noticed that I was slotted in to present twice – 2 different topics and no time to prepare. So I grabbed the training manuals, took them home to review and then spent precious subway time, and morning cereal time reviewing them so I didn’t appear like an ass in front of my superiors and colleagues.

The actual offsite was actually set to begin at 9:15am this morning.   I arrived at 9:10am with my Tim Horton’s coffee in hand, and already the room was pretty full.  Impressive for the civil service, but for some unexplained reason the organizers still waited until 9:30 to begin, which set us back two agenda items from the get go.  The day went downhill from there.

By 2:45, the time for me to present my second topic (the first one was scrapped because the group manager discussed it by accident, and I used that oops to bring up my issues / concerns at that time)  and the day scheduled to end at 3:15pm you could tell no one was paying attention.

We ended at 3:45pm, basically ignoring all the rest of the actually important stuff.  What was even more odd to me, was that two people actually left this team-building offsite at morning break, and never came back!??! Yikes.  Bet they won’t be reprimanded…  Union.

The session never had the right momentum even though the two facilitators, quite unique in their own right, tried to keep it moving.  One of the facilitators, my team leader, was articulate, interesting and quite funny –  sure he goes off track a lot – but he makes his point and he makes it clearly. The other… yikes… He is the King of the false starts. He begins a sentence then pauses as if he is now picturing in his mind which word goes best next. They after taking a route, he realizes what he is talking about, so he switches the conversation another direction, finally ending it on a completely different track.  Its sad. I wants to smack him on the back and shout “spit it out!!!”.

For example, “I think that we need… ahhh, should be focusing, on taking a different… er… Another course, or plan of action to resolve and clear up this, problem, which he have to focus on go come up with another solution by taking a different course of action…”

So throughout the day him, and one of my peers, talked all over the map, and only wound up confusing everyone in the room.  If they had an agenda, or even something they wanted to get across to the staff, they failed miserably.

One funny thing did occur. If you see my previous “Stupid Sister” post, you will find this comment funny. One of the stupid sisters was in attendance and at one point during our lunch, she turned to the girl beside her, while chewing on a piece of celery and said, “I wonder how they make the celery so crunchy?”  Yikes.  Her comment was funny – expected – and was very thought-provoking as it made me wonder how in fact they get the carrots to be do damn crunchy, and the broccoli so damn green???

So this day ended without us having resolved anything.  I believe the purpose of this day was to unveil a new work structure, or new roles, new teams or something like that.  I suspected this offsite would be coming as management in the Federal government were singled out recently for being incompetent.  So maybe the hope was that we would be inspired by being out of the office and eating sandwiches, that we would work harder and better.   We all know that, sadly, nothing is going to change…  It’s the government.

I think this session pissed me off more than others because I was approached last week for my feedback on was could make this work, I am 2 years into my MBA after all, so I gave them my input on the agenda and the format.  I told them how I thought it would be effectively run and how to get the answers they needed while rolling everything out clearly and concisely to the staff and to no one’s surprise, they chose to take a completely opposite route.

At least my way would not have resulted in all the staff betting on which of their peers were going to fall asleep first. I was wrong. One guy head-bobbed throughout the first 3 hours. It was that dry.

So back to work I went as if the day had not happened, although I feel like I wasted a full day.

Thanks Mr/Mrs taxpayer…

 

Posted in government

An Alcoholic Amongst Us: Why is management turning the other cheek?


Drunk Star
Drunk Star (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes.  Have ANOTHER drink…

Damn.

There is this guy that works in my office that has been boozing up a storm for quite a few months now.  He drives to the office drunk. He drinks during the day at his desk which means he staggers around the office babbling shit, then has a drink at lunch and drives home intoxicated at the end of the day.

When I asked his good friend why he is doing this, I was told that he is having a “tough time at home”.

I’m really sorry to hear that, really I am, but come on…  He is not the only guy in the world having home troubles.  Having problems at home (or not) does not give him the right to put others’ lives at risk while driving around the city – especially around our office where there are 4 schools.

My friend, when you had children, you gave up the right to self-destruct.  You want to be an adult, then you need to grow up.

But the more I think about it, the more I questions what bugs me more?  The fact that he is driving to and from the office intoxicated endangering the lives of others while he does so, or that I just found out that all the managers in our area knew about him, and have chosen to do nothing about it.

Within 2 days of finding out that this was an ongoing problem and not just a once-off event, I was determined to not turn a blind eye, and one evening I was working late and all the managers were sitting together talking about him when I wandered over and demanded they do something about it.  I told them that if he came to the office drunk tomorrow that I would call the police.   Their response to me… They told me that something was done, and he no longer drinks.  Okay.  I’ll believe that when I see it.

I am 2 years into my MBA program and if I’ve learned anything its that there are certain responsibilities that leaders have to take on and while not yet a manager I certainly could not sit idly by while he drives around the office hammered.  G-d forbid he hurts or kills someone…

Another thing that always bugged me about this guy is that he is one mean unfriendly son of a gun.  When I first started working there back in 1997, my team leader asked me to transfer an account to this guy and not knowing otherwise, I did just that.  The next morning as I was taking off my jacket in the morning at about 7:30am, he appeared at my desk and told me that was refused to accept the account and that regardless of who told me to forward it I will NEVER send accounts to him.  Not trying to be a wise-ass and trying to figure out if it was him, or an unwritten rule I asked him a few questions to which he angrely responded that if I continued to “press the issue I’m going to use you to test whether or not our windows are safe when I toss you up against it and hopefully through it.

Gulp.

He was serious.

Oddly, now that he’s boozing, he’s REALLY nice to me.  He’s like, “hey buddy. What’s up? How’s the kid? Everything OK?” Makes me wanna hurl. He’s a nice, social, slobbering drunk, and a real prick when sober. I caught him trying to go to the women’s bathroom and had to steer him the correct way.

So I waited for an extra day and first thing in the morning I witnessed said individual staggering towards the kitchenette carrying, not one, not two, but 4 empty bottles of water to fill up.  As if water covers up the smell of booze.  Just the sight of him acting like that makes me angry and ill.  How dare he insult our intelligence by coming to work like this and how dare management put their heads in the sand as if everything is ok.

I see a trend here.  The ostrich-effect… tuck your head in the sand and hope it goes away.

So I had a chat with him… Told him I was worried and that something had to be done.  We have a fantastic employee assistance program and I have referred others to it, and he told me that his wife had left him and taken their 2 kids.  He was really fond of the kids.  I asked him to please promise to not drive to the office drunk and mentioned that the police were aware and would be waiting to see his condition when he came and when he left.  I really felt for him.  He was half the man he used to be.  He had lost a lot of weight and had gone for that angry prick to a man who had nothing to live for.   He sat at his desk that morning, emptying his drawers and throwing out his junk.  I watched him at around 1pm walk into our section manager’s office and I could hear crying.

2 hours later a taxi came and away he went.  I never saw him again.

(update: he passed away in the summer of 2009 a lonely and broken man after being fired from his job for drinking – not my doing, but his.  Rumour has it he was being followed by the police who pulled him over the day before I spoke to him.  It was the 5th time he had been pulled over that week and his license was already suspended.  He was suspended from the office prior to an investigation.  Then he was fired.  I’ve never seen an individual self-destruct before in a matter of weeks.)