Well well well… I’m actually doing it! I graduated from university, moved three provinces away from home for work, and every day I get up and head into the office. I am loving my new life here and I wanted to do a quick post on where my head is at one month into my “career”.

UW Winnipeg

  • It is very different coming from of an office of about eight people to seventy! We were a pretty tight-knit group of co-workers in Kamloops, professional lives blended with personal lives, and every morning it took about half an hour to get seriously into work because we were catching up with one another. I still can’t remember everyone’s names here and there are a lot more people involved in each task I work on, but it is very obvious to me now that United Way employees and volunteers are always friendly, compassionate, fun people.
  • I have been pretty darn lucky to work in two brand new offices so early in my career. In Kamloops I was fortunate enough to have my own cubicle – despite being the part-time student – in our year-old office. Here in Winnipeg we have a 3-floor building that was constructed in 2010 just for United Way. While our “open-concept cubicles” sometimes drove me crazy in Kamloops when people wouldn’t stop talking (I’m such a hypocrite, I talked quite a bit too), the quietness of our open-concept space in Winnipeg also drives me crazy. For a 70-person place, we don’t make too much noise.
  • It’s hard to describe, but my role in Kamloops felt like I was actively involved in the work of United Way. Awarding grants to young leaders and sitting in on meetings with social workers – I was part of the “direct impact.” My work here  is all about planning events that introduce people to United Way or secure resources so we can help the community. It feels much more “indirect” and so I am struggling to find the spark I felt before. But when I applied for this job I was looking for a total change. I wanted two things: 1) To work for United Way of Winnipeg in whatever role I could and 2) To learn more about the resource development (fundraising) side of United Way.  So really, I think it will just take me time to settle and find my new spark here in a different way.

Just in the last week have I felt completely myself at work and in control. It’s pretty awesome to be planning events in fancy locations and receiving autographed NHL hockey stick event prizes at my desk. And while I studied marketing in school and it was a great fit with my personality, I have never really worked in a role that allowed me to explore it. I love the creative freedom we have in brainstorming events and planning the experiences we want to offer.

The Events team here is great, I can tell we all take our role seriously and want to deliver the best event experience possible, but also be friendly laid-back people who don’t get crazy stressed out. It is so nice having my own permanent work space and knowing nothing is temporary. I am done school now and I can focus 100% on myself and my work.

Do you like starting a new job? Or do you look forward to the time when you know everything/everyone?

Under40 2

Yesterday, Kamloops Business Magazine launched their inaugural “Top 10 Under 40 Awards” and I was fortunate to be one of the ten. (Thanks to a nomination from the awesome Amber). In fact, as one of the only two 20-year-olds on the list,  I am pretty darn excited. I had a busy six years in Kamloops and so to be recognized for my work and community involvement as I move to another city is an honour.

I realized as I was graduating that it would be difficult for me now to set goals and fulfill them. When I was in school, I was always w0rking towards multiple achievements. There was a paper every week I had to write, four courses I wanted to get an A grade in, a job I wanted to be hired for, an award I hoped to win, and so many more. Goals are simply built into the school system and then I added a few more of my own to make it a little harder/satisfying.

Now that I’m done, I can see how easy it is to get into the endless cycle of wake up, go to work, make dinner, call a friend or watch tv, head to bed, and repeat. Before you know it, you look up and a year has passed! And since I’m in my early twenties without kids and a mortgage, I would like to take advantage of this time.

So I told myself I get a six month vacation after I graduate. Get a job at United Way, move to Winnipeg, find an apartment and nest, settle into work, enjoy Christmas break at home with the family, then show up in January ready to volunteer, learn and fulfill some goals. I’m not the academic type, so I will avoid the Master’s for as long as I can. But there are plenty of six-month courses, leadership programs, and professional conferences that I want to explore. Since I’m only 23, that means I have seventeen more years left to make it onto another “Under 40″ list. No point in stopping now…

FYI -I promise I don’t have a plan that involves only moving to cities with “Under 40″ lists. I am not that career-driven or egotistical haha!

Do you find it hard to set goals for yourself when it isn’t built into school/work?

  1. There is no excuse for what I am calling the “transportation issues” here. So many streets are called three different names, there are some scary deep potholes and a lot of the lines aren’t painted which leads me to drive in the middle of two lanes unknowingly.
  2. There are too few Starbucks locations and an incredibly large (really absurd) number of Dollaramas.
  3. When people here find out I just moved from BC, they say “Whhhyyyyy would you ever leave?!”. I much prefer that to the summer I spent in Toronto where people just scoffed and rolled their eyes.
  4. Mosquitoes? What mosquitoes?! Everyone in BC kept going on and on about how big the mosquitoes are here. I am pretty sure I have only been bit twice and I am spending quite a bit of time outside. If anything, West Nile virus is more of a concern to me than the size of the mosquitoes buzzing around.
  5. The artsy/cultural branding of Winnipeg is true. With the Fringe Festival on right now, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet offering free shows in Assiniboine Park, the old character buildings downtown, and the “foodie” love of restaurants and good eats, I feel like Winnipeg has a really great thing going on.
  6. When I tell friends I am moving into St. Boniface, the “French Quarter” of the city, they seem to think “that’s cute”. When I tell them, “No really, there is signage and services that are only offered in French here” they start to to realize it’s more than a tourist-y thing! It is one of the largest Francophone communities in western Canada and I absolutely love that. Such a neat culture to be apart of even if I don’t speak the language.
  7. I don’t miss the mountains as much as I thought I would. Sometimes when I am driving home from work I realize I am staring at endless sky, but I just find it beautiful in a very different way. The only time it bothers me is when the sky is completely clouded over and the weather is humid, then it just feels like there is a big blanket over the city for as far as you can see.
  8. People warned me this was a pretty tough city dealing with many poverty problems. Well, I haven’t been scared yet. I know there are bad neighbourhoods, but I don’t visit them. It’s what happens in every city you live in. And the poverty? It has not been as visible as I expected it to be, but I know the problems exist. It’s what we are tackling at United Way.
  9. The Jets, Bombers, Goldeyes. Everyone has a team or three here and is hardcore about it. Friday night CFL games are big talk at work and I can’t wait until the Jets season gets started! I can tell it really brought pride back to the city.
  10. Winnipeg is the perfect size city for me. Big enough to have the pro sports teams, IKEA, tourist attractions, skyscrapers, and a Forever 21! But it’s small enough to not be overwhelming or claustrophobic for this small town girl.

Lesson learned? People believe stereotypes. I am pretty sure I only know a handful of people who have ever visited Winnipeg or Manitoba, but when I was moving out here everyone wanted to tell me all about it. Until you have actually visited somewhere and spent time getting to know the community, you really shouldn’t judge. You could be missing out on something special.

What is one stereotype about your home that drives you crazy?

This definitely isn’t my advice to you on how to budget, it is more me hoping you will chip in with some helpful tips! This is my first time moving out and living on my own (other than a summer I spent in Toronto for a leadership program) so I need to learn how to keep the roof over my head, food in the fridge, and all the bills paid.

When I realized how much my “net income” was going to be a few weeks ago, it was a bit of a shock! I am getting paid well for being a new grad working in the non-profit sector, but it was still a harsh realization that the money will only go so far. I’ m lucky that I do not have any credit card or student loan debt – just my car payments for now – but I also have not been able to build up a savings account while in school.

After texting some of my helpful money-savvy friends back in BC, I was able to develop a budget I think will work. It doesn’t officially “kick in” until August 1st when I move into my new place so I would like to get your advice on a few things:

  • Is $300/month a reasonable budget for food? Most of my friends say this should be doable, but does not include dining out.
  • Do you put a certain percentage of your paycheque into savings? How much?
  • Is cable really worth it? I know the winters are long and cold here, so I might not bother purchasing until November. I have lots of favourite TV shows, but I feel like I can watch most of them online and be just fine.
  • What kind of internet package should I sign up for? I am getting confused at all the levels of “Mbps”.
  • For a “just starting out single girl” – how much disposable income per month should keep me happy but still frugal?

If you have input on any or all of these questions, please write me a line!

Do you stick with a budget every month or do you like to wing it? What has and has not worked for you?

If you came to this post looking for pancakes, you won’t find any here. This is the start of a new biweekly series for me on Sunday mornings and pancakes are included because – why not? Every Sunday morning should always include pancakes and this post will taste (read?) better if you eat pancakes while viewing. If you’re lucky – and I’m feeling domestic enough – at some point I likely will post pancake recipes. But for now, these posts are meant to be reflective.

Sundays for me have always been “special” days. I think they’re meant to be quiet, fun, lazy, and spent with family and friends. (Honestly, for the last five years Sundays have been my most hated days because it meant I had to do all the homework I had ignored for the past week. But my ideal Sunday sounds nice doesn’t it?) Anyways, I have always loved browsing quotes on Pinterest, finding cute stories, listening to song lyrics, and just looking for meaning in the little things. “Sunday morning pancakes” is my chance to post one of these quotes and give you my thoughts on it. Then I want to hear yours. So let’s get started…

strangers

 I found this on Pinterest two nights ago and had to smile. It was a nice reminder that even though I only have 4 family members in Winnipeg and I am in the process of getting acquainted with my 70 co-workers, there are so many potential friends to make in this city. I found a picture of my “goodbye party” in Kamloops yesterday and it felt special knowing how many people came out to give me a hug. When I moved to Kamloops six years ago, I had not met any of them yet and now I consider them all best friends. I like to think that six years from now, I could have a group of “Winnipeg strangers” gather to give me hugs too!

Do you find comfort in knowing someone who is a stranger to you one day could end up becoming your new bff?