Seule

Yellow-stained walls,

empty halls.

 

Once filled with joy, and too bright for the eye

now is dull droning, lifeless and gray.

 

Could it have been me that pushed them all away?

No.

They are ravenous and vacuous,
thieves and peeves,
morons and pee-ons,
are riddled with addiction,
and full of disease.

They are reprobates
who masturbate
to whatever filth that they please.

They are no better than wild animals,
contorted and caged.
They have no higher purpose
than to drift and to age.

Please.

Just leave me alone,
for can you not see?
That everyone in this world is devoid of standards,
with the exception of me.

War & Peace in the Workplace: Diversity, Conflict, Understanding, Reconciliation – A Book Review

“War & Peace in the Workplace: Diversity, Conflict, Understanding, Reconciliation”
by Jeanne Martinson
Published by Wood Dragon Books
Reviewed by Ben Charles
C$21.99 ISBN: 9780968537022

“War & Peace in the Workplace: Diversity, Conflict, Understanding, Reconciliation” is written by Saskatchewan-native Jeanne Martinson, a renowned speaker, author, and management trainer. Published by Wood Dragon Books and distributed by Martrain Corporation and Personal Development, this national bestseller is designed as a guide for employers, organizations, managers, or those interested in navigating their workplaces in a more positive manner. The content of this book pertains to many of the challenges that the average Canadian faces in the workplace. These include diversity/bias, toxic people and environments, harassment, conflict, and much more.

Similar to one of Martinson’s other bestsellers, “From Away: Immigration to Effective Workplace Integration”, this book begins with an in-depth analysis of what diversity is, and how it may affect communities such as the average Canadian workplace. The most interesting portion of this chapter, in my opinion, is Martinson’s analysis of the factors that shape a human being’s “us vs. them” mentality, and how easy it is for us to distort information to cater to our biases. If you have an interest in human behaviour or psychology, I would recommend this book based on this chapter, alone. Martinson then moves into the “Understanding” portion of the book, which details a number of cultures, traditions, gender identities, and histories within Canada. This assists the reader with more contexts of the many factors that can make a workplace diverse, albeit difficult to avoid misunderstandings. At its core, diversity is a fantastic value for a work setting to have as it results in a variety of worldviews being brought forward. However, this diversity can also yield a fair amount of conflict simply through minor misunderstandings. In the “Reconciliation” and “Synergy” components of Martinson’s book, she brilliantly provides the reader with a plethora of techniques and strategies that one can use to navigate these challenges. I must admit that when I began this book, I had thought that a read regarding the workplace would be a dreadfully dry one. What I had found instead were incredibly applicable strategies that anyone can use to re-evaluate their own biases, provide others with more empathy, and to use the diversity in their lives as a positive factor.

Martinson had stated near the beginning of the book that her intention was to allow the reader to view themselves and their workplaces with new eyes. Personally, she succeeds with that intention from this reader. Whatever your workplace setting may be, there is something for all to gain within this book. All you have to do is pick up a copy to start working and living in a more resourceful and positive setting.

THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE OR FROM WWW.SKBOOKS.COM

From Away: Immigration To Effective Workplace Integration – A Book Review

“From Away: Immigration To Effective Workplace Integration”
by Jeanne Martinson
Published by Wood Dragons Books
Reviewed by Ben Charles
C$21.99 ISBN: 9780995334212

“From Away: Immigration To Effective Workplace Integration”, written by Jeanne Martinson and published by Wood Dragons Books can be best described as a concise yet effective tool for employers and managers to navigate an increasingly diverse team. For better or for worse, Canada’s economy is significantly driven by a workforce that is largely comprised of immigrant employees and entrepreneurs. Although this increased manpower reduces stress on employers and the economy, it also presents unique challenges, misunderstandings, language barriers, and cultural differences that may be difficult for an average Canadian to understand. A gesture or saying that may be completely innocent to us may also be highly offensive through the lens of another culture, or vice versa.

 

Martinson’s book is a fantastic place to begin as a Canadian who may not understand all of the intricacies, values, and mannerisms that various cultures from around the globe maintain. The book creates a useful framework for the reader to begin with by a brief introduction, statistical figures of Canada’s immigration history, and a crash course on the modality of Western culture. Following this, Martinson provides a detailed history and current status of common migrant groups in Canada, these include China, India and Pakistan, and the Philippines. I had always been aware that Canada’s history in terms of race relations has not always been squeaky-clean to make an understatement, but these chapters highly detailed the lengths that the Canadian government went to in order to maintain an exclusive population of Caucasian Europeans. It is an unfortunate truth, but one that a person must recognize in order to understand current social dynamics in Canada in regards to immigration. As one could argue that the values held by modern cultures are rooted in their respective religions, Martinson also provides the reader with incisive chapters on the history and key values of the major religions that new immigrants to Canada may practice; these include Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism, and Catholicism.

 

Once the reader has the context of these topics understood, the following chapters can be utilized as an effective tool for managers and human resource specialists to navigate a diverse team in a melting-pot workforce. The tools in these chapters give insight into how an individual may give or receive feedback, handle time management, and negotiate conflict despite language barriers or cultural differences.

 

Ultimately, business teams and managers that maintain a “this is the way we’ve always done it” mentality and a refusal to adapt will eventually fail. Whether your opinion on immigration in Canada is positive or negative, an effective leader needs to set personal biases aside to survive in an endlessly changing cultural climate. “From Away: Immigration To Effective Workplace Integration” is an essential guide for professionals in any field to stay ahead of the curve and help maintain the welcoming, diverse culture that we as modern Canadians can be proud of.

THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE OR FROM WWW.SKBOOKS.COM

 

 

Drifts

Whispers of winter

Drift over pearl dunes and dry cheeks.

Under sun dogs and over black bears.

 

Sleeping giants.

 

Rushing into the windows of a smoking traveler.

 

Pitch black.

 

Screams and whistles and moans.

Subzero scowls and hot coffee night owls.

 

Protest- then drift away

To the cheeks of farmers, cursing the winds of this January day.

 

 

 

The Weight of The World

When a man chooses to stop learning

Is the day that he truly dies.

 

The herd of the mundane

Ridicules the fires of passion as insane.

 

And so the man suffocates it.
The embers smolder, crackle, and hiss.
He has destroyed comfort and direction.
He is now cold and blind.

“You did the right thing.”
The herd offers its petty assurance,
“At least now you’ll have health insurance.”

But it is still so dark,
The man lays to rest
He’s toiled and troubled today
for someone who doesn’t know his name.

With eyes closed, he smiles.
He sees
That roaring flame that used to be.

“The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) Are Creating a Gender Revolution” (A Book Review)

“The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) Are Creating a Gender Revolution”
by Ann Travers
Published by University of Regina Press
Reviewed by Ben Charles
C$24.95 ISBN: 9780889775787

“The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) Are Creating a Gender Revolution”, written by Ann Travers and published by the University of Regina Press is an honest and enlightening review of the trials and struggles of growing up transgender in North America. The experiences contained in this book were gathered by a series of interviews with transgender kids and youth (individuals from a wide variety of ages, from 4 to 18) and the parents of trans kids in Canada and the United States between the years of 2012 to 2017.

As someone who is not transgender and knows relatively little about experiences of transgender people, I found this book to be an incredibly informative experience. This was in no small part due to Travers’ insane attention to detail and the obvious meticulousness that they poured into their research. Literature that is academic in nature has a tendency to be a little dry, somewhat hard to follow and littered with jargon. However, I did not find this to be the case with Travers’ work. In fact, I found it to be passionate, moving, and an intelligent review of the human condition. It is clear that Travers does not view their work as “a deliverable” or is driven by the self-back-patting ego that plagues the academic climate. The quality and quantity of the research, the commitment to ensure that the participants’ experiences are portrayed in an accurate manner, and the conviction embedded in the writing were all indicators to me of an author taking their work seriously, and with a great amount of respect.

The interviews contained in the book are dispersed and then utilized to provide a discourse on the experiences of either growing up transgender or raising a transgender child in five basic categories, these include transgender kids, schools, spaces, parents, and supportive healthcare. Of course, the information within is dissected and categorized further, and the result is a much-needed read for anyone who would like to understand the experiences of trans youth and the impact of socially enforced gender norms. Personally, I found Travers’ research on transgender youth in sport to be the most interesting segment of the book but can say with confidence that it is far more accessible than I had thought it would be. There is something for everyone to learn from and to be enthralled by.

I can admit that I will never fully understand the experiences of transgender people, and I realize that their challenges are significantly different from my own. However, thanks to all of the participants of this book, and to Travers’ excellent work representing them, I am much more educated on the topic than I have ever been before. Where I was expecting academic gender studies buzzwords, I found a gripping and seriously clever review of gender norms, politics, mental health, and much more. I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to understand gender better but does not know where to even begin.

THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE OR FROM WWW.SKBOOKS.COM