Lucky 2013?

The year ahead for working and doing business in British Columbia

No one can truly predict the year you’ll have – whether you’re a worker bee amongst thousands or a one-person startup. But we tried anyway, tapping into the psyche and sentiment of the B.C. business person – from expectations at work, to where the economy is headed, to what they really think about Gen Y. The answers – from more than 250 of our readers – reveal a workforce that’s optimistic and content, but divided on how to move the province forward economically. This is a rare, revealing look at how we feel about earning a living in B.C. going into 2013 – how much we make (and expect to make) to fund our piece of coast and mountain paradise and how much vacation we get to enjoy the fruits of our labour. These are uncertain times. We need all the help we can get. So let’s get started, shall we? 1. How optimistic are you about your business in 2013?“The return of recession across much of Europe, still sluggish growth in the U.S. and a slowdown in emerging economies are weighing on B.C.’s prospects. But at the same time, a high level of major project activity, recovering lumber markets, an expanding population and continued development of the tradable services and advanced technology sectors should provide a lift. Overall, the province is on track for real economic growth in the range of two per cent in 2013, accompanied by modest gains in employment, retail sales and business investment. Non-residential construction is expected to be a notable bright spot in the coming year. Consumer spending continues to climb at a moderate pace with retail sales up by four per cent in the first nine months of 2012 versus year-ago levels. A similar increase is in store for 2013. The housing market, however, has softened: transactions in the frothy Vancouver-area have fallen to their lowest levels since 2000; in many other regions of B.C., home sales have slowed to the point where market conditions now favour buyers. Most measures of housing-related activity are likely to remain subdued through 2013.”

– Jock Finlayson, EVP and chief policy officer, Business Council of B.C.

2. When it comes to your business, what is the one thing you’re most concerned about?3. WHAT SECTOR DO YOU WORK IN?Tourism & Culture 12% Fisheries 0% Agriculture 2% Natural Resources (Forestry/Mining/Energy) 5% Manufacturing 10% Transportation (Distribution/Ports/Shipping) 3% Retail 14% Real Estate/Development/Construction 17% Tech/Science 14% Media/Marketing 23%4. Recovery or Recession Redux? 5. From a purely business perspective, should B.C. legalize marijuana?According to a study by Dr. Evan Wood, the Canada Research Chair of Inner City Medicine at UBC, B.C. could reap $2.5 billion in tax and licensing revenues over five years if the federal government were to legalize marijuana. He authored the study to state his case to critics of his estimates of potential revenues from legalization.

6. Pipelines in Northern B.C.?Bring ’em – and the tax revenue 37% Never 24%We need more studies 39%7. In the upcoming election, who will you be voting for?8. Which is the biggest electon issue to you as a business person?Some demands from an eloquent reader

“Stabilize the economy by setting long-term strategies for oil and gas development, marijuana and ‘just a little work for welfare’ in motion; set union wage increases to rate of inflation only and let them rely on their efforts for advancement and pay raises; cut 10 per cent of government jobs and eliminate the useless people from union membership – make unions efficient again, full of hard-working people who want to make a difference. Those who work hard now have nothing to worry about and can be proud. The ones who cry foul are the lazy ones who need to go.”

9. What is your salary?How to ask for a raise * Be aware. Know your company’s financial situation. If the company is struggling, it may not be the right time to ask.

Prepare. Keep a journal – the value you bring to the company should be at your fingertips.

Stay current. Update your resumé with new skills or accolades in order to strengthen your case.

Research. Get intimate with your industry, occupation and company – know your present position on the salary continuum. If more money isn’t in the cards, your employer may still be able to offer you something else – account benefits, training opportunities and vacation time. It’s not about why you want or need a raise, it’s why you deserve it. Stay professional and keep your emotions out of the mix.

Be strategic. If the answer is no, don’t dwell on it. Ask for an explanation and start preparing for the next ask down the road.

Tips courtesy of: Kristina Svab, director of rewards at Coast Capital Savings; Roger Gurr, managing partner at executive-compensation consulting firm Roger Gurr & Associates; and Emma Hamer, senior associate at E.Hamer Associates Ltd., a career and performance consulting firm

10. How likely is it you will get a raise in 2013? *No way 24% Maybe 33% Probably 26% For sure 17%11. how likely is it you will get a bonus in 2013?No way 29% Maybe 36% Probably 20% For sure 15%12. how many vacation days do you get?< 1 Week 8% 1 Week 2% 2 Weeks 11% 3 Weeks 26% 4 Weeks 21% >4 Weeks 32%13. how happy are you in your current role?Extremely dissatisfied 3% Dissatisfied 6% Neutral 17% Satisfied 44% Extremely satisfied 30% 14. Are you actively looking for another position?13% what have you got?72% NO15% NO comment 15. Are you proud of what you do for a living?11% NO1% it feeds my family, so yes88% yes16. The biggest threat to my job or company right now is…• Downsizing • A union I am forced to be a member of • TripAdvisor • Cross-border shopping • Big-box retailers • Our president • The banks not helping small business • High wages • Motivation • Online shopping • Low-ball priced competitors who cannot deliver • Making payroll • Earthquake • No advertising budget • Housing prices scaring off good employees • Finding a successor • Younger workers competing for my job • Inertia • Fatigue • Reduction in advertising dollars going to traditional media • Small startups that think they know what they are doing, but do it poorly • Top-heavy management bleeding the company with million-dollar salaries and huge pensions • Business is not spending money on sustainability initiatives • Canada and British Columbia’s incompetence in implementing the decisions of the courts with respect to aboriginal issues • NDP getting rid of Partnerships BC • Tourists not having enough money to visit our area, opting to just visit Vancouver 17. The young people coming out of school looking for a job today are…• Not committed to sticking with a career or position or company for the long-term

• Lacking in basic skills

• Moving out of B.C.

• Keen

• Fearful

• Entitled

• Just fine

• Lazy

• Lacking focus

• Not hungry enough

• Lacking fundamental work ethic

• Seeking work/life balance

• Unrealistic and idealistic

• At an unfortunate disadvantage

• Are not willing to start at the bottom

• Ridiculously näive

• Demanding, unmotivated and weak

• Distracted

• Energized, innovative and impatient

• Lacking humility

• Enthusiastic, hard-working

• Far less motivated by money and a lot of work to handle

• Bright and willing to work, but do have a sense of entitlement

• Go-getters and great assets to our business

• Motivated but lacking direction

• Too optimistic

• Very bright

• Not independent enough

• Great value

• Very fortunate

• Living in a dream world

18. If you could work anywhere in the world, where would you work?Five tips for a productive home office 1. Clear the Deck

Multi-tasking is out. Studies show that our brains waste time switching from one task to the other. So remove all unnecessary items from your desk, including turning off computer notification. 

2.Within Arm’s Reach

Surround yourself with your computer, printer, active and project files, shredder, stationery supplies, garbage, recycling bins and any other items you use regularly. If one of these items is out of reach or missing, so is your optimal productivity.

3. Piles to Files

Create a filing system with sections for your active papers, projects and reference papers. If it helps, start thinking of files as vertical piles (only ones that can be easily sorted and placed in order). Review file names regularly so you don’t stray from your system and can easily find things. Place all to-do papers in a desktop filer until the task has been completed.

4. Email Triage

Stop being a slave to your inbox by turning off email indicators on all devices. You can then start your workday with the highest-priority task and only check email an hour or two later – when you still have seven more hours to address any emergencies.

5. Manage the Tasks 

Be conclusive about what information goes into your calendar, contacts or task lists. Stop keeping things in your head. Brain-dump into appropriate places so that your brain is free to focus on your current tasks.

Kyla Rozman is the founder of In Order To Succeed (, a professional organizing company for individuals and businesses

19. how many weekends do you work per month?20. How many hours do you work in an average week?The more you work, the less efficient you become Eight things you can do right now to produce more in less time 1. Eliminate your physical and electronic clutter.

2. Organize your work items in zones based on how frequently you access an item.

3. Move email out of your inbox daily. Use the B-F-A-T rule to handle each one. After you open an email, read it and then Bring it forward (if further action is required), File it (no action is required), Act on it immediately (if a short response will do) or Toss it.

4. Prioritize tomorrow’s activities the day before.

5. Stop procrastinating – this includes socializing.

6. Figure out why you’re overwhelmed, resolve your issues, and move forward. If you’re constantly overwhelmed with work, maybe you’re in the wrong job.

7. Configure your office space. The most efficient office space is a U-shape. It enables efficient workflow, saving you time. Better yet, ask your boss to consider an open-concept design for the office.

8. If your organization does not have standards and procedures for everything that needs to get done, then you are spending more time on tasks than necessary.

Mary Colak is a Victoria-based management consultant with MNC Consulting Group

21. What’s the dress code at your workplace?Formal You’re a professional and everyone’s going to know itBusiness Casual As long as your pants don’t have holes, you’re coolFleece-y They want your brains, not your wardrobe i’m not wearing pants right now No comment22. Which social network will you be using most for job-related activities in 2013?LinkedIn 53.75%Other 18.58%Facebook 16.60%Twitter 11.07%

Why you should upgrade your LinkedIn account? A suggestion – and giveaway – from LinkedIn’s Canadian communications manager Danielle Restivo

• In-depth search capabilities by people and companies that matter to you

• Detailed profile information of all members and the chance to see who’s viewed your profile

• The ability to send an InMail to all 187 million members, even if you’re not connected

CONTEST! BCBusiness and LinkedIn are giving away premium LinkedIn memberships to the first three readers who email us at contest@