Irony in old Nortel headlines

by Robert Janelle

As the firesale to liquidate Nortel's business units rages on (and gets complicated,) it's hard not to think about the Canadian tech giant's glory days.

While many point to earnings reports showing billions of dollars in profits in the good old days of Nortel, I can't help but think of an article I came across on microfilm while working as an intern at the Kingson Whig-Standard.

Apparently in 1984, people were so desperate to get a job at Nortel that they were buying up black market job applications.

See, one of my duties as intern was to go through microfilm archives to write a daily "This Day in History" column and deciding to take a look back at the '80s, I uncovered this gem:

There is a black market in Belleville for job application forms. Application forms for Northern Telecom jobs - which were limited to 500 distributed through the Canada Employment Centre recently - are reportedly selling for between $5 and $100.

-from the March 9, 1984 edition of the Kingston Whig-Standard.

A lot changes in 25 years, it seems.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Robert Janelle

Robert Janelle

Robert Janelle is a freelance technology journalist living in the National Capital Region. He's spent time covering the Ottawa start-up scene as a columnist and feature writer with his work in National Capital Scan, The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Sun, Kingston Whig-Standard and The Escapist. He also suffers from a mild addiction to video games. more

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