I have to admit I have a very short attention span. I cannot even watch an 18-minute TED Talk anymore unless it is seriously captivating. So when Jian Ghomeshi posted this hour-long interview with Drake online, I surprised myself by sticking around to listen to the entire thing. It was generating a lot of buzz on Twitter and when I saw the quote below (at 42:20 in the video), I knew I had to hear his story:

While Canadians don’t tend to be too outwardly patriotic, I am crazy proud to be from this country. I truly look up to Canadians who have experienced great success in their careers and make a point of giving back to their “home and native land”. The ones who are proud to say where they are from and build their dream here, not chase it south of the border. I have never felt the need to travel or work in countries worldwide like many of my friends have. I know it is probably a good thing to do – appreciate different cultures and learn from new places, but I would rather keep plowing away at my work here. And I hope to inspire other young Canadians someday that they can do it all in this country – they don’t need to look anywhere else.

I hate that Drake had to say the above words, but it’s probably true. I think we often look to our American neighbours to figure out what is cool and trendy. I’m guilty of it, but I wish we did it a little bit less. If we really want to compete – to build business empires and solve world peace and end homelessness – then we need to celebrate our local talents and make them want to stay here. Let’s not wait for others to catch up to all the good things we have going on here. Instead, why don’t we support our musicians and entrepreneurs and athletes and each other and give ourselves a reason to pursue our dreams here in Canada?

 

I would like to think that it didn’t take an entire village to raise me, but it did take four very special people – mentors – to help me along in my time at TRU. They were professors and employers, but mostly people that I am still proud to call my friends. They spent endless hours in their offices with me discussing professional and personal goals. They always had Kleenex on hand for when my problems were overwhelming and they cheered me on as every year I became a little bit closer to reaching my goals.

I think sometimes people feel like in order to really give back, especially perhaps as the alum of a university, you have to wait until you’re old and grey and have a full bank account so you can sign a big cheque and get your name put on a building. And while that sounds awesome, I won’t be there for quite a few years. And since I’m fresh out of school, my experience is relevant now.

trumentor

So this summer I registered for the TRU mentorship program and hoped they might find a spot for me. I was lucky enough to be one of the “industry professionals” skyping in to speak with students in a sort of speed-dating format last Monday night at their Networking 411 – Tourism event. I was impressed that most of them were first-year students and while many were unsure of what to ask, they all knew it was important to be there. I spoke with seven different students – most of them event planning or general Arts.

The best part was that I logged off of Skype feeling like I was back a part of the TRU community again. I don’t miss school at all, but I do miss wandering around the TRU campus and chatting with all my favourite staff and faculty. So when several of them jumped in front of the laptop to ask me how Winnipeg is, I felt like I was “home”. I’m hoping this was just the very small start to a long career of helping some students make the transition from the classroom to workplace or even just become more comfortable on campus. And this is also my sneaky way of making sure I never really leave TRU.

I encourage you to check out the TRU Mentorship program and sign up for a one-time networking event or a semester-long pairing with a student.

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?

 “I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself

and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.”

- An excerpt from “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

I am five hours away from Winnipeg now and loving the big skies I get to endlessly stare into everyday. I think I may just love prairie-living.

This is a pretty crazy move for me. I will be three provinces away from home and living on my own for the first time and in a city I have never seen before and I only know my four family members there. So why take this chance?

  • The simple reasons: I am young, single, recently graduated and ready to start my career.
  • I desperately wanted to continue my career at United Way and specifically for this office. I truly believe in the work United Way is doing in Canada and Winnipeg is one of the most progressive in trying to solve the tough issues.
  • I don’t want to regret this moment. There will be plenty of times in my future when I have to make decisions based on much more complicated priorities, but right now it is simply just me and I need to take advantage of that.
  • No one ever says “no” to me anymore. I am fortunate that many people know me in Kamloops and I have enjoyed much success. But that luxury means that I simply am no longer challenged the way I should be. I have met people’s expectations and there isn’t as much to prove anymore.
  • I want to know if I can successfully “start over” again. There is something incredibly satisfying about showing up somewhere with no reputation or friends and being able to build yourself back up and surround yourself with wonderful people. I want to do that again.

And just like the above quote says, I need to find my empty moments. This is my “me time” to learn about myself, solve my own problems, and discover what I want for my future.  While it will be awfully lonely to start, that is kind of exactly what I was hoping for.

Do you enjoy your empty moments or do you prefer to seek out the “hustle-and-bustle”?