Weird Workplace

Hangman wanted, foreigners need not apply; Canada's least common occupation; Heading to China? Pack your smog insurance; Handsome men win over investors; Applebee's couldn't made change
By Todd Humber
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/07/2014

Canada’s least common occupation

OTTAWA — The fur trade may have helped found and build Canada, but there are not many people manning the paddles in birchbark canoes these days. Just 455 Canadians listed hunting and trapping as their occupation in the most recent Statistics Canada household survey, making it the least common occupation in the country. But not everyone is shedding a tear over the trade’s demise. Dan Matthews, senior vice-president of campaigns at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in Norfolk, Va., told the Toronto Star that trapping has "questionable ethics" and "you don’t have to kill animals to survive and in fact it’s bad business at this point."

Hangman wanted, foreigners need not apply

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Two Australians have applied in vain for Sri Lanka’s hangman job after the island nation’s official executioner got upset and quit upon seeing the gallows for the first time. "Two Australians have sent emails to one of our departments saying that they are interested," Chandrarathna Pallegama, commissioner general of prisons, told Reuters. "One is a system administrator and the other had not mentioned what job he is doing. We have not called the applications, moreover we do not have any provisions to recruit foreigners." The hangman who resigned was the third most qualified among 176 applicants — the first two chosen for the job failed to show up for work. The country has not executed anyone since 1976 but there are at least 405 convicts on death row and there have been increased calls for the death penalty due to a rise in child abuse, rape, murder and drug trafficking.

Heading to China? Pack your smog insurance

BEIJING — China’s notorious smog is making it difficult for foreign firms to convince top executives to work in the country, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing. Nearly one-half (48 per cent) of foreign firms said air quality concerns were turning senior executives away, according to Reuters. Panasonic recently told its union it will review the hardship allowance paid to expatriates in China because of air quality. And a state-owned insurer unveiled a plan to offer Beijing residents insurance to cover against health risks caused by air pollution. It will pay out 1,500 yuan ($270 Cdn) to policyholders hospitalized by smog.

Handsome men win over investors

BOSTON — Looking for that secret ingredient to getting investors to fork over money for a business startup? Just hire a handsome man. That’s because investors are more likely to put money into a business idea pitched by a man than a woman — and even more so if the man is good-looking, according to study from researchers at MIT, Harvard and the Wharton School. A good idea and an experienced presenter aren’t always enough to win financial backing, it found.

Applebee’s couldn’t make change

SUMTER, S.C. — When Michael Williams’ debit card was declined after eating lunch at a South Carolina Applebee’s, he didn’t panic. He simply opened his wallet and handed over a $1-trillion bill. The restaurant — which didn’t quite have enough cash in the till to give him change — called police. Williams, 53, was arrested on an unrelated charge of contempt of magistrate’s court, according to WIS-TV. He was also ordered to pay $262 in court fees.

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