By Mark A. Cadiz
With a lot of rumblings among employees, layoffs seemed imminent at the Bombardier Aerospace facility north of Toronto.
“One day they called me into their office and gave me the bad news, ‘We won’t be needing your services anymore,’ they said. I heard a lot of rumours but it was still a complete shock to me and I felt helpless,” he said.
Back then Hamid Esteki was closing a deal on a house in Pickering Ont. when he was laid off. He tried to keep good spirits and decided to move forward and purchase his first home.
“It took me a month-and-a-half to find a job as a security guard. I worked 64 hours a week for the next five years to be able to keep my home, “ Esteki said. “ In August of this year I sold the house and moved into a basement apartment.”
Born and raised in Iran, Esteki moved to Canada in his early twenties after studying English at Oxford University in the U.K. Iran’s tough economy forced Esteki to move abroad for better opportunities. Not sure where to go next, Esteki sought advice from a friend in the U.K. who suggested he go to Canada. Several months later Esteki was on a plane bound for Toronto.
“At the time, I didn’t know anything about Canada,” he said. “I arrived here in the middle of summer in 1986, I was 22 years old.”
Esteki started studying Avionics in the Transportation faculty at Centennial College, where he graduated in 1991. When asked if he would take a job at Bombardier again, Esteki expressed no interest in going back.
“Absolutely not, there is no job security and I wouldn’t be able to go through all that hardship again,” he said.
Mike Barleben, a Professor and Coordinator of Transportation at Centennial’s Ashtonbee Campus explains the Canadian industry is still recovering from several downturns.
“The aerospace industry took a hit after 9/11 and we are slowly recovering,” Barleben said. If you are willing to travel then there are more jobs out west in Alberta and the Northwest Territories.”
Esteki, 50, enjoys his life in Ontario and can’t see himself anywhere else. In the last few years he has rekindled his joy for teaching and started tutoring high school kids in mathematics, physics and English.
Esteki first started teaching in Iran after moving back in the mid-90s when his father died. Once there he started working for an aircraft company; training employees in ESL, technical avionics and aircraft electrical systems before returning to Canada.
“I love to teach and I would like to explore this area further,” Esteki said. “I remember it being a very rewarding experience. When you share your knowledge with others and you see they’ve understood it, there is no feeling like it.”
Esteki was laid-off in 2008 and works as an advanced security guard at Centennial College, his job search continues.
“That’s how life is,” he said. Sometimes life treats you like this every so often.”