Surmené/Overworked

[English translation below]

Je n’avais pas bcp d’expérience de travail au Canada, dû à mes antécédents médicaux. Mais j’ai essayé de trouver un travail pour m’occuper et pour m’organiser. Et pour pouvoir reprendre mes études.

Je suis allé demander un travail dans un restaurant, et comme je n’avais pas de qualifications culinaires particuliers, j’ai pris une position dans la cuisine pour laver la vaisselle. J’ai commencé tout de suite, j’étais excité de commencer à travailler, de contribuer à la société et de pouvoir reprendre mes études dans l’avenir.

La première journée c’est la routine, on vous montre la routine de la cuisine, où sont les ustensiles et tout et tout. Les gens m’ont accueilli, c’était un environnement multiculturel comme l’est le Canada.

Mais après j’ai remarqué qu’il y avait une différence. Je n’ai pas eu d’abus de paroles, mais on me jettait toutes sortes de choses qui ne convenaient pas à mon poste. Je faisait du travail de 3-4 personnes. Je lavais de la vaisselle et je n’avais pas d’aide. Même, j’ai remarqué par après que les personnes noires qui travaillaient avaient peur de m’aider, parce qu’ils voulaient sauver leur peau.

Bien sûr, le propriétaire étais un blanc. Mon père m’a encouragé, “vas-y, retourne, ne te décourage pas, ça va aller mieux.” J’y suis allé encore, une fois ou deux, et c’était le même cas. Je ne pouvais pas respirer. Dès que je finissais de laver les ustensiles de cuisine, on me donnait d’autres ustensiles de cuisine. Les autres bavardaient dans le restaurant, ils allaient prendre des breaks fumer des cigarettes, et moi je travaillais comme un esclave.

Et puis je me suis plaint. Heureusement je suis une personne ouverte, je n’ai pas peur de m’exprimer. Je me suis plaint à la personne au-dessus de moi sur l’échelon. Ils m’ont dit très arrogamment que le propriétaire n’avait pas le temps de me voir, que c’était le travail et que je le prenne ou que je le laisse.

J’ai travaillé là-bas pendant une semaine ou deux, et puis j’ai dû le laisser. C’était une expérience effrayante, frustrante, énervante, qui a trahi ma foi dans la société multiculturelle canadienne qui se vend à l’extérieur comme étant un état de droit, un état basé sur l’égalité, et surtout les opportunités pour tous.

À long terme, je me rends compte que l’état de droit, c’est beau sur papier, mais le racisme au travail, c’est institutionnalisé. Nous, immigrants, on vient ignorants des faits qui sont inculqués dans la culture canadienne, et on a du mal à progresser, surtout nous les premières générations. Je suis une première génération de ma famille. Je comprends que je dois travailler dur pour construire un plate-forme sur lequel mes enfants et mes petits-enfants vont prendre l’échelon. Mais, je me rends compte que ce n’est pas aussi simple que c’est dit à la télévision, dans toutes les propagandes que le gouvernement fait pour les immigrants qui viennent au Canada.

*****

I didn’t have a lot of work experience because of my medical history. But I tried to find a job to occupy myself and to get myself organized. And so I could go back to school.

I went to ask for a job in a restaurant, and since I had no cooking qualifications, I took a position in the kitchen washing dishes. I started right away, I was excited to get to work, to contribute to society and to be able to get back to school in the future.

The first day was routine, They show you the kitchen routine, where are the utensils and everything. The people there welcomed me. It seemed like a multicultural environment, just like Canada.

But soon after I noticed that there was a difference. I didn’t get any verbal abuse, but I had thrown at me all sorts of things that weren’t part of my job. I was doing the work of 3-4 people. I washed all the dishes with no help. I even noticed late that other Black people who worked there were afraid to help me, because they wanted to save their own skin.

Of course, the owner was white. My dad encouraged me, “go on, go back, don’t get discouraged, it’ll get better.” I went back once or twice, and it was the same. I couldn’t breathe. As soon as I finished washing the kitchen utensils they gave me more. The other workers chatted in the restaurant, they’d go for smoke breaks, while I worked like a slave.

So, I complained. Luckily I’m an open person, I’m not afraid to say what I think. I complained to the person a rung above me. They told me very arrogantly that the owner didn’t have time to see me, that this was the job and I could take it or leave it.

I worked there for a week or two, and I had to leave. It was a scary, frustrating, nerve-wracking experience, which shook my faith in Canadian multicultural society which sells itself abroad as a state of law, a state based on equality, and especially opportunities for all.

In the long term, I notice that the rule of law looks good on paper, but racism in the workplace is institutionalized. We immigrants come here ignorant of things that are embedded in Canadian culture, and we have trouble progressing, especially those of us who are first-generation. I’m a first-generation immigrant in my family. I understand I have to work hard to build a platform on which my children and grandchildren will move up the ladder. But, I realize now that it’s not as simple as they say on television, in all the propaganda the government gives to immigrants coming to Canada.

 

 

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Micro Aggressions (Part 2)

I got the dismissal. They said we’re going to give you your pay until the end of June. I think they were afraid I was going to take it to human rights. I considered it, but I thought I’m not going to put myself through it.

Unfortunately in the whole process..

We had a program for at risk girls…and it came about that some of the girls in this program were recruiting for the sex trade. (One of the youth I know had run away (from home, and had been talking to the girl who was recruiting).

I advocated for asking her to leave. I said, why are we letting this girl stay in our program when it looks like she is recruiting for the sex trade?

My manager disagreed. With her I think it was ultimately a power thing.

The long and short of it was, the manager told a lot of lies about where I was coming from. She said I had breached confidentiality. That weekend when the mother had called I had said “here is the girl she was talking to, there might be something going on there.” You’re not supposed to release names unless the child is in harm’s way which, in my opinion this youth was.

My manager told her manager that I had breached confidentiality but had not bothered to tell him why.

Little things like that…

When I was given that letter of dismissal I was kind of relieved because it was getting very toxic. But I miss the youth, that was the best part of the job. I learned a lot and wouldn’t be where I am without it, but now I have to find another job. How am I going to get a reference, right? That’s a problem.

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