Why Basic Income is so Important

Canada’s prior experiment with a BIG [(Basic Income Guarantee)], the Mincome experiment in Manitoba in the 1970s, found that a BIG did not cause people to stop working — with two important exceptions. The first was women with infants at home, who effectively used the BIG to purchase maternity leave. We should expect a different response from women in modern-day Canada, where maternity leave benefits are much more extensive. But where child care and other supports for working parents are insufficient, we may see responses to a BIG that will show us those cracks in the system.

The other group whose employment levels decreased under Mincome was teenage boys. A closer look reveals that with a basic income guarantee, male high school students were more likely to make the decision to stay in school until graduation. Given the Ontario government’s aim of increasing graduation rates and the need for a highly educated population, it will be important to understand how people’s labour market decisions interact with other important decisions, like the decision to improve their skills and buy a better long-term future for themselves and their families.

> We Should Applaud Ontario’s Plans To Pilot A Basic Income Guarantee | Laura Anderson

Applying for a Job (January 6)

Some days, you spend hours with your face right in front of a computer monitor, but at least there are ends-of-day like today that make it mostly worth it. I would love a job where my Chemistry, science and technology skills and knowledge are required, but my job search focus right now is in communications and media.

Below is why I think I would be a good candidate for a media/communications focused job. If you know somebody who is hiring that might be looking for somebody like me, please share this with them, I would REALLY appreciate it! Thanks!

This letter is in reference to the job posting at [REDACTED] for [REDACTED]. I am submitting this letter because I think that I, Rob Attrell, am an excellent candidate for the position. The combination of my experience and education will show that I have the requirements needed to excel in the role.

Going to university, I wasn’t aware how important communications would end up being to me. I studied Chemistry at the University of Ottawa from 2006 to 2011, completing Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. On its own, that doesn’t qualify me for the position, but it was a formative and necessary experience.

I learned many important skills during my studies and research that lend themselves to work in communications. First and foremost, my projects over the course of these degrees have given me a lifelong appreciation for the time and detail that goes into professional work. While preparing my Master’s thesis, I wrote and edited several major documents for both print and electronic media. That includes a textbook chapter, several academic papers, and two thesis documents. This work typically took many weeks or months of planning and working with colleagues to come up with a polished final product.

Of course, in addition to the tangible work done during my degree, there are many other important skills I learned and improved at while in graduate school. Time management, self-motivation, problem-solving, and multitasking were critical to my success in class and in the lab. To this day, I apply those same attributes in all of my work, both at NSERC in my last full-time position as a planning analyst in Corporate Planning and Policy, and with my extra-curricular and freelance activities. I am constantly adapting my skill-set and looking for new and interesting things to learn, and projects and problems to tackle.

For the last 4+ years, since the end of my degree, I have been devoting a whole lot of my free time to learning the principles of communications. I write regularly for my own interest on a personal blog, and I been creating more varied media like video and podcasts for the last 2 years as well. I am very involved in social media, and I’m always quick to try out the newest social medium or technology. I have been studying and learning web design, user interface/experience principles, and programming to maintain all the sites I’ve been managing since 2011 as well.

I have spent a lot of time in the last few years working on strategies to gain traction in social media, as well as coming up with consistent branding and developing high-quality content. I also currently write freelance every weekday morning for a Canadian technology website called MobileSyrup, which enables me to keep up with technology and writing, while also working on ongoing projects and developing my skills.


Thank you.

How to Turn the Page (on Life)

I’m not sure there is a wrong way.

This week, I learned that I will be entering a new chapter in my life. For those of you who are following me on social media, you will probably already be aware that I found out that my contract at NSERC, where I’ve been working for the last 11 months or so, will be ending come October 9th. That means that as of right now, I have a little over one week left to find work to replace that job.

Obviously, there are a number of negative ways I could choose to look at this. It would probably be very easy to sit back and let the bad news occupy my mind and bring down my mood. But I’m not going to do that. I’ve been here before. Since I left school in 2011, I’ve been unemployed 3 times, the longest time for 6 months (most of that by choice). The work I’ve done since I left school only vaguely relates to the work I am doing since I finished my degree.

Mostly, the reason I’m not worrying about new ventures is that things are going REALLY well in my life overall. Despite this looming potential unemployment, my life is mostly looking way up, which is something I’m really happy about. I just got married to the girl of my friggen dreams, I’ve lost almost 20 pounds since the beginning of July, I’ve got a large number of very satisfying hobby projects, and I have an amazing network of friends who have been incredibly supportive of everything I do.

I was very briefly hesitant to talk about my soon-to-be unemployment as publicly as I have, but in the many years since I basically became an open book to the world socially, my life has only gotten way better. And the reaction and help I’ve gotten from friends, colleagues, family and many other people is really quite touching. Once you tweet your weight to the world, directing them to a website where anybody can see what you’ve weighed for the last 30 days, there’s really no reason to keep anything too secret.

Oddly (though maybe I shouldn’t be surprised), the main question I get when people want to help me look for a job is “What kind of work are you looking for?”. I think this is a weird question mainly because I don’t really think too much about it. I want to work, I want to make a living and I want to do something I love. I really like media (video, audio and writing), the internet, technology, and science. I’m getting to the point where work I do in those fields can be put on my resume as real experience, something I definitely didn’t see happening just a couple of years ago.

I’ve talked before about how wonderful if would be if Canada instituted a basic income for its citizens, because more than anything what I want to be able to do is to be creative. I want to share my experiences and knowledge with people who want to learn and try new things. I want to open minds. I’ve been thinking for a very long time about doing a big project where I get to do things like this on a regular basis, but for that today I really do need a day job where I make enough to support what I’d like to do for the other big part of my life.

However, even considering all of this, the biggest priority for me, and the reason why I’m so keen to get a new job as soon as possible, is that I want to start a family. I’m not in a rush to do that, but I do want to start sooner rather than later. And, seeing as how my wife and I are responsible and financially prudent, we’d rather wait until there are two sources of secure income in our lives before moving forward with that. And that is the most frustrating part of all of this. I just want to express my ideas and thoughts in a positive, constructive way and make the world a better place, and pass those traits along to the next generation of humans. But first, I need someone to take a chance on me.

It’s worth it.

If you know of any job openings or places that might be hiring, especially those looking for young people who are ready to learn and looking to make a difference in the world, please let me know. You can send me email at [email protected].