The woMenâ€™S iSSue
go your own way tips for
Women on the wire // explore endless career opportunities in telecom Global perspectives // consider a masterâ€™s in development studies
| november/december 2011 |
BUSINESS DEGREES 4-YEAR DEGREES THAT ARE BUILT FOR BUSINESS. Accounting e-Business Marketing Fashion Management Human Resources Management International Business International Development Tourism Management
nt the stude y f o % 1 ly On abilit n has the io t la u p l. o p epreneuria r t n e e b to
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GO YOUR OWN WAY
1 9 15 22 22 22 26 29
yay! more school IFC 3 5
is? No? Neither did we. CN's Chelsea McLeod explains. Brought to you by Rogers Wireless.
— When it comes to careers,
choosing one is a lot like picking a flavour of
Trading Up More and more organizations are sprouting up across Canada to support women in trades.
to come up in your next interview.
13 14 30
Start Up — Learn how one young entrepreneur
The Changing Demographic Of The Insurance Industry Did you know women make up 61 percent of the insurance industry?
is taking her fashions to a global playing field.
— What exactly does "business
Women On The Wire
self at work.
The options for careers are endless in the telecom and digital media industry.
with a Master's in Development Studies.
JobLife — Life doesn't always allow for red car-
Connecting To Careers In Technology
pet ease. Here are some tips to help you work
You don't always need a degree in computer
the room at any event.
science to establish a career in technology.
Humber, The Business School (Undergrad) Humber, The Business School: Event Management Humber, The Business School: Global Business Georgian College, Canadian Automotive Institute Humber, School of Media Studies and Information Technology Centennial College Brock University Niagara College Queen’s University Ross University Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry Sheridan College Humber, The Business School Algonquin College
who else? 11
casual" mean? Plus tips on how to carry your-
Edu-ma-cation — Gain a global perspective
30 31 31 31 31 31 31 IBC
— Canon Canada's Ma-
rina Lichtenberg tackles a question that's sure
Success Story — Do you know what a culvert
College Pro The Home Depot CBC Radio-Canada Magna Electric Corporation Federated Co-operative NAV CANADA The Source CGI
16 21 26
Wood Manufacturing Council ACE Canada Insurance Institute of Canada The Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council
stuff to buy 7 12 25
Rogers Wireless Excel Brisk
november/december 2011 | jobpostings.ca
Image: © iStockphoto.com/Josef Muellek
If you're a student or recent grad thinking of embarking on an international sojourn, you're not alone. Many people are opting for work and volunteer experience overseas, before settling down with a career. However, the journey may not always be easy when you throw in external expectations. One writer shares her story with us.
Hey. Did you know that these companies have lots of entry level positions? Visit their websites to see a full list of positions available.
EVENT MANAGEMENT POSTGRADUATE CERTIFICATE From trade shows to cultural festivals; from sporting events to fashion shows; from conferences and meetings to weddings: this program offers the unique skills you need to launch your career as an: • • • • • • • •
Event Coordinator Marketing Assistant Special Events Organizer Promotion Coordinator Account Representative Trade Show Planner Conference Coordinator Corporate Meeting Planner
jobpostings publisher Nathan Laurie firstname.lastname@example.org
associate publisher Mark Laurie email@example.com
acting editor Simone Castello firstname.lastname@example.org
art director Sonya van Heyningen email@example.com
When I was asked to step in as acting editor for November's
issue of jobpostings magazine, I was a bit nervous. Although
I began my career as a print journalist, my most recent expe-
riences have, for the most part, been online. But when the team decided to make November our first 'Women's Issue,' I found myself unable to turn away. I became excited at the potential of what we could deliver.
contributors Katie Edmonds, Christine Fader, Ross Harrhy, Alima Hotakie, Marina Lichtenberg, IN THIS PHOTO: SIMONE CASTELLO AT THE ANNUAL HAMPYEONG BUTTERFLY FESTIVAL IN SOUTH KOREA.
From highlighting the role of women in various industries such as trades, telecom and technology, to reading about the
up shift of women in leadership positions within the insur-
ance industry, I was left with a constant sense of awe. We've come a long way, baby!
Mitchell, Kevin Nelson, Emma Woolley
assistant sales manager Sarah-Lyn Amaral
choose to work in fields that run the gamut, from aerospace engineering, to publishing, to everything in between. Ladies, it’s
national account manager Mary Vanderpas
truly a great time for us, so please make the best of it.
Our cover story resonated with me on a personal level. In fact,
it felt as though the author was telling you a bit of my story.
I took off for a year after school as well, to teach in South Korea. And I spent time (and funds) travelling to neighbouring
countries. It was difficult getting on the plane that would
eventually take me across the planet, but looking back now,
Editing this magazine has been nothing short of inspiring.
Emily Minthorn, Allison
I believe Go Your Own Way is a story that will speak to a lot
Published by Passion Inc. 25 Imperial Street, Suite 100 Toronto, ON M5P 1B9
students are choosing to expand their learning by pursuing
jobpostings.ca 1-877-900-5627 ext. 221
I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
of new graduates — and not just to women. More and more
volunteer and work opportunities overseas. I think this is
fantastic! And I encourage you, if at all possible, to take some
However, none of the luxuries we have today would have been possible without the work done by women before us.
The pioneering women who broke the moulds, and gave us the freedom of choice and possibility.
As Career Cupid reminds us, literally a generation and a half ago,
women were given the option of secretary, nurse or teacher as career choices. Now, the opportunities are endless. Women can
time to experience life as a global citizen; it’s incomparable to anything you’ll ever learn inside a classroom.
Be open to new experiences and expand your horizons to em-
brace endless possibilities. You have one shot at your life, so live it the way you want. Go your own way.
HIS T IN SUE IS
You’ll never look at ice cream flavours the same way again.
If you’re into flipping houses, you should read this story.
Problem solving skills: global citizen style!
pg. 32 Say goodbye to your days as a wallflower.
jobpostings is published eight times in the school year. Issue dates are September, October, November, January, February, March, April, and May. Copies of jobpostings are distributed to over 105 universities and colleges across Canada. Contents of this publication are protected by copyright and may not be reprinted in whole or part without permission of the publishers. I'm due for a vacation. You?
on the cover: © iStockphoto.com/ Vladimir Maravic
november/december 2011 | jobpostings.ca
GLOBAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT POSTGRADUATE CERTIFICATE From marketing to finance; from advertising to international trade; this program offers the unique skills you need to launch your career in: • • • • • • •
Marketing Finance Advertising International Trade Retail Wholesale Supply Chain Management
Chelsea McLeod Engineer Assistant @ CN WHAT DREW YOU TO YOUR CURRENT FIELD?
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF YOUR POSITION?
My dad was an engineer as well, and when I was growing up, we would drive around the neighbourhood and he’d point out the bridges, buildings and various structures he had worked on. Also, in school, I had always been interested in math and science. I just had a knack for it. I think both those things had a lasting impact on me and helped shape my career choices.
I think it’s the same for many people undertaking new jobs or careers; there’s just a lot to take in. Engineering is a specialized line of work, with a language, a dynamic, and processes of its own. The transition between learning at school, in a more predictable and controlled environment, and applying that knowledge to real-life situations can be as challenging as it is stimulating.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES: As a member of the Bridges and Structures team, I am currently responsible for organizing and facilitating culvert inspections all over Eastern Canada. Simply put, a culvert is a pipe located under the track, perpendicular to it. Its purpose is to drain water under the track, to prevent it from washing out the track. I’m in charge or coordinating when sections of track need assessing, and then I communicate with my team of inspectors to dispatch them to the required locations. My job takes me on field trips all over Eastern Canada, to see firsthand what my teammates are up to. This way, I’m able to learn from them. Once the job is completed, I review the inspection reports to make sure all the work was done according to policy.
and to accept input from your coworkers. And as much as engineering requires precise and calculated work, you must show some flexibility as well, and learn to roll with the punches when something doesn’t happen exactly as planned.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE CAREER ASPIRATIONS? To be honest, I’m not quite sure about that yet. I really enjoy where I am and what I’m doing right
“Some of my colleagues have been working at CN for over 30 years. They have a lot to teach and they do so gladly.” WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR JOB? How much there is to learn. I gain on-the-job experience every single day to help keep me moving forward. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without the help of the people I work with. Some of my colleagues have been working at CN for over 30 years. They have a lot to teach and they do so gladly. It is so inspiring to see people like them still enthusiastic about what they do, and it makes me want to learn even more about the different skills and opportunities in my field.
WHAT SKILLS HAVE YOU LEARNED THROUGH YOUR WORK EXPERIENCE? For starters, I learned what a culvert actually is and how to inspect it! In order to do that successfully, you must also be able to apply mathematical calculations specific to the job. Working at CN has taught me a lot about time and priority management too.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT TAKES TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THIS CAREER? I believe that to be a successful engineer, you have to be someone who likes to get the job done. You also have to be willing to work hard
now. I’ve been working as an engineer for less than two years, so I’ve yet to master all the elements of my job. For the moment, I’m concentrating on obtaining my professional status (similar to how residents must undergo on-the-job training before they can become doctors, I must work alongside an experienced engineer for 4 years in order to obtain my own professional status). While I’m very much open to future possibilities, I’m still undecided as to which direction I would like to take my career in. There are countless opportunities within engineering at CN, and I’m only starting to learn about some of them.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR STUDENTS LOOKING TO LAND THEIR FIRST JOB? Talk to people, put yourself out there and build your network. Forge relationships with people in your field of interest, and they may be able to help your career advancement. In addition, be mindful of applying for jobs that actually match your skill set; submitting your resume for positions you are clearly over or under-qualified for can lead to disappointment. Read the full interview on our website at jobpostings.ca/rogers-success-story-chelsea-mcleod
LENGTH OF EMPLOYMENT: 16 MONTHS DEGREE: MATERIALS ENGINEERING PROGRAM, THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA.
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Vanilla, chocolate or straw-
meant for women,” but
make because there were
road, mocha almond
berry ice cream—which
the vast majority chose
a finite number of options.
fudge, caramel swirl,
would you like?
from those three flavours
I could easily prioritize my
chocolate ripple, etc, etc.
of career: secretary, nurse
path: I’d choose chocolate
or teacher. And, whether
first and if they were out of
or not those women ulti-
that, then vanilla and only
mately found their work
as a last resort, strawberry.
Try some raspberry crunch.
Don’t get me wrong, I
It’s probably not realistic
am grateful that there’s
to assume that every ice
more than just chocolate
cream store (or career) will
now — in ice cream and in
have chocolate ALL the
careers. I feel blessed to be
time. And, you limit your
able to enjoy all the variety
opportunities for growth
I’m a chocolate girl all the way but, as much as I like chocolate, it’s weird to think that if you were starting your adult life a generation and a half ago, these were pretty much your only ice cream flavour options. Peanut butter cup or toasted marshmal-
the time was that the idea of approaching a career through the lenses of choice and happiness was still a long way off.
low flavours were still a
Thankfully, many young
and options, but choosing
and exploration if you stub-
long way from entering
women (and men) today
a career path from the lit-
bornly refuse to consider
the mainstream ice cream
have been brought up with
erally thousands of known
anything BUT chocolate
chains or grocery stores.
the idea that they can “do
— and as yet unknown
on your journey. There are
anything” they want. They
— possibilities can be very
times when you’ll need to
are lucky to be able to con-
daunting for some.
or have the opportunity to
Whether you think you
go in a completely different
know exactly what career
direction. Instead of fixating
you want or you are trying
on the lack of chocolate,
to figure it out, there are
why not embrace the
lessons from ice cream
chance to try something
that can help:
new and different, like rasp-
It’s even stranger to realize that if you were a young woman buying one of these three flavours, your career choices, at the time, were equally limited: secretary, nurse or teacher—which
by Christine Fader
satisfying, the reality at
would you like to be?
sider secretary, nurse or teacher as career options, but also to think about the many other incredibly diverse jobs available, including firefighter, ortho-
A TRIPLE SCOOP OF CAREER GOODNESS!
berry crunch? You might find a whole new area of ice cream — and career — that
Find your chocolate.
opens up to you.
Even if you know exactly what you want to do (and
Of course, there were some
pedic surgeon, chemical
especially if you don’t),
pioneering women who
engineer, chef, genetics
being able to articulate
counsellor, public relations
a theme(s) or keywords
Introducing… bacon ice cream.
specialist, welder, mother,
about stuff that fascinates
Believe it or not, the career
and make-up artist… just
you is a valuable ingredi-
options visible to you
to name a few. Just like ice
ent to help begin bulding a
today will be different very
cream, careers have come
career “flavour” you’ll like.
soon. Jobs we can’t even
a long way.
Can’t figure it out? Seek
conceive of yet are being
help from friends, parents,
created at this very min-
teachers and career
ute, and, just like bacon ice
practitioners. And, don’t be
cream, they might seem
afraid to try things out!
strange and far-fetched
ventured into fields “not
But perhaps, like me, you have been to modern-day ice cream stores that have many, many flavours to
right now. Starting with
choose from. Faced with such a bewildering array
“chocolate” and variations
of choices, I often hesitate,
Be open to caramel swirl.
debating my choice and
Chocolate is not just a
doubting myself. Is choco-
flavour or career option
late really what I want?
unto itself, but is also a key
Am I making the right
ingredient in many other
decision? Am I missing out
on something better?
you know that chocolate
Sometimes, I long for the
is something you like, you
simple days of vanilla,
can explore variations on
chocolate and strawberry.
that theme in flavours —
That decision, while lim-
or, in the case of careers,
ited, felt easier for me to
job titles — such as rocky
of that will help you seize opportunities as they appear down the road. So, what’ll it be for you: secretary, nurse, teacher, or one of the many other options available to lucky students today? Grab a metaphorical spoon and give some work a try. You’ll be amazed at what unexpected flavours you find.
CHRISTINE FADER WORKS AS A CAREER COUNSELLOR AT QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY AND IS THE AUTHOR OF “CAREER CUPID: YOUR GUIDE TO LANDING AND LOVING YOUR DREAM JOB.” VISIT HER WEBSITE AT CAREERCUPID.COM
november/december 2011 | jobpostings.ca
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with Marina Lichtenberg Sr. Talent Acquisition Specialist
@ Canon Canada Inc.
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO YOUR LAST PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT OR SCHOOL?
Find more intervew Q&A online at jobpostings.ca/interview_smarts
So you screwed up in the interview, huh? They asked the ol’ “What’s your greatest weakness” question and you responded with “cupcakes,” hoping to get a laugh. Awkward. Lucky for you we have friends on the inside — recruiting friends (the people who’ll be interviewing you). It cost us a few favours, but they finally agreed to explain why they ask what they ask, and what the best answers are. It’s a cheatsheet for interviews. Good luck!
Whether I’m interviewing someone who has years of work experience, or is a recent graduate, this question provides significant insight into what they consider to be important and why. The answer can be related to their work; a school project; something they did as a volunteer, or an extra-curricular activity. It also provides information on what they accomplished during the project. When answering, be prepared to address follow-up questions, such as the ones listed below: What was your contribution/project? What was its significance; what were the outcomes? Why do you consider it to be your most significant contribution? Did you lead the project or were you a part of a team? If you were a team member, what role did you play? How did you influence the project? How was success measured? What obstacles did you encounter and how did you overcome them? What deadlines were set and did you meet them? Knowing your successes and why you were successful is critical in addressing these types of questions. In preparing for any interview you should always write down some of your key accomplishments and what you would like any prospective employer to know about them. You may even want to role-play the interview with someone from your career centre or another trusted advisor. Remember, for most us, selling ourselves (interviewing) is not natural, so practice, and more practice will lead to success and possibly, land you the career you want. november/december 2011 | jobpostings.ca
Wood Employee Readiness Curriculum
WERC In Advanced Wood Manufacturing ENTRY-LEVEL CAREERS FOR FIRST NATIONS, METIS, INUIT, PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND NEW IMMIGRANTS The WMC WERC Skills Development program is designed to prepare individuals for entrylevel occupations in advanced wood manufacturing and recruits specifically from groups including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, new immigrants and persons with disabilities. Participants of the program are provided with skills upgrading in the following areas • • • •
Job Readiness Essential and Life Skills Introduction to Basic Wood Manufacturing Safety Training, Job Shadowing and Job Placement
Successful candidates of the minimum 8 week program will be better able to seek long term career opportunities in cabinet making, furniture, manufactured housing and other advanced wood sectors across Canada. If you are interested in participating in the WERC program in your area or a manufacturer looking for new entry level woodworkers, please visit www.wmc-cfb.ca or contact: Wood Manufacturing Council 1016 -130 Albert Street Ottawa, ON, Canada K1P 5G4 Tel: 613-567-5511 * Fax: 613-567-5411 Website: www.wmc-cfb.ca
130 Albert Street, suite 1016 Ottawa, ON K1P 5G4
T 613-567-5511 F 613-567-5411 www.wmc-cfb.ca
Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sector Council Program
ZAP AWAY BAD BREATH EXCEL IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF THE WM. WRIGLEY JR. CO., OR ITS SUBSIDIARIES.
Interviewed by Katie Edmonds
What inspired you to start your own business? I had done Fashion Design at school in Montreal
The 411 on Osei-Duro
and then took some time off to travel around the
world. I started out doing a capsule collection in
Osei-Duro is dedicated to
Ghana and seeing the rich textile industry made
creating socially responsible
me want to learn more. I wanted to participate
and sustainable clothing that
in something more exploratory, encompassing
encourages international and
and interesting, and so my friend (Molly Keogh)
intercultural cooperation. It
became my business partner and we got started.
provides employment opportu-
What was the biggest challenge you faced when
nities and job training to West
getting your business off the ground?
African women who would
otherwise be underemployed.
For me, it was giving up artistic control when I
started working in a partnership instead of on
my own. I had been used to designing clothes by myself and working with another person is always a challenge. Nowadays, our challenge is capacity. We are getting more and more orders and we have
had to change the way we operate a bit to keep up with the demand.
You started the business and then went back to do your MBA. Why do it in that order?
FULL-TIME MBA STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, AND OWNER OF HER OWN CLOTHING LINE, OSEI-DURO. ACE 2010 STUDENT ENTREPRENEUR, BRITISH COLUMBIA CHAMPION.
Well my degree was in Fashion Design, and after
four years of running my own business it was clear that I needed more skills that my prior education just didn’t provide. So I went back to school and
Molly really stepped up in terms of production and kept the business going.
After winning the title of ACE 2010 Student Entre-
ceed. In Ghana, it’s a bit of a different story and I
some practice presenting your business plan to
ously because they usually work with other men.
preneur, British Columbia Champion, you’ve had
critics. What advice would you give current stu-
What surprised you most about starting a business?
dents doing the same thing?
I think I didn’t really know the risks associated with
Preparation is key. I can’t say this enough; be pre-
hard it would be. During my MBA, I learned a lot
asked. If you are doing a PowerPoint presentation,
cial plans for the company. We had zero expecta-
the questions you think might be asked.
starting my own business, and I didn’t know how
pared. Try to predict the questions you might be
about how to strategize and make better finan-
have some extra slides at the end that will answer
tions going into the process and we didn’t think
What is the culture like for young, female entrepre-
anything would be all that difficult. If I had done
my MBA first, I might not have gone through with
starting the company, so maybe it’s just as well that I went in the order I did.
jobpostings.ca | november/december 2011
neurs in Canada?
Fortunately, I have never had any issues being a young woman in business. In Canada, we have a
think businessmen have a hard time taking us seriWhenever I am in Canada, I am amazed and grateful at how smoothly things run for us.
What advice would you give to another student entrepreneur?
People always say you should work for a company and then start your own, which I agree with on
one hand. But I also think that if you have a great idea, it’s worthwhile to take a look at the business and see if it will work. Try it on a small scale before you go bigger. And if you believe in it, don’t listen to others if they don’t. Stick to your guns.
lot of support from people who want us to suc-
softskills // by Allison Mitchell
your WORK self HOW DO YOU GAUGE DRESS CODES IN VARIOUS WORK ENVIRONMENTS? AND WHAT EXACTLY DOES “BUSINESS CASUAL” MEAN?
Do you know who your work self is? Relax! I am not suggesting that you need to pull a Clark Kent/Superman switch-aroo on your way to work to become your work self, but rather
that there should be a distinction between the hang-out-
with-your-friends you and the work you. Your work self is simply a polished version of the authentic you, with professionalism as the polish that makes you shine.
Trying to fit into any work environment has become increas-
ingly difficult over the past few years because they range from formal to casual. When starting a new job, you need to
assess the work environment and figure out what is appropriate in terms of dress code and employee conduct. Since it is expected that people will change jobs and companies several times over their career, the ability to assess a specific work en-
vironment, and learning to adapt to it should be a well-honed skill in a job seeker’s toolbox.
Dress code and employee conduct are good barometers
of how a specific work environments function. Although a company’s dress code policy can range from formal business attire to casual jeans and hoodies, you should ensure that you keep your level of professionalism high.
It can be challenging for people in casual work environments to exude the same sense of ‘work mode’ as those who wake
up every morning and put on business attire. Something inherently shifts when people wear suits; they tend to carry
themselves differently and act more professional. That is not
to say that people who wear casual clothing to work are not
professional; rather that some people have to work harder
to carry that same level of professionalism with them when they go to work in jeans and a hoodie.
A common piece of advice that job seekers are given is to dress more professionally when they have a phone interview; even though the interviewer can’t see what they are wearing, changing clothes may help a person convey a more professional tone than they might if they were wearing pajamas.
CARRY & PRESENT YOURSELF WELL
Yes, even your walk can speak to your professionalism. Your walk at work
shouldn’t mimic your walk when you first wake up in the morning ...Possibly slow and sluggish?
When you’re sitting through a meeting, make sure your posture and facial ex-
pressions convey that you are engaged and interested. Everyone has attended a boring meeting, but slouching in your chair and zoning out on the conversation
is not the best way to handle this situation. If you have suggestions on how
to improve the interest-factor of the meeting, then you can share those ideas with the meeting chair once it’s over. By zoning out, you run the risk of missing
pertinent information or being caught not paying attention if you’re called on to answer a question, and you have no idea what the discussion was about.
Although you may have friends at work, it’s important to remember that your
business communication at work needs to be professional. The ways in which you communicate at work should not mimic the texts you send to friends.
How you react in a situation can say a lot about your professionalism. There will be difficult and stressful situations at work, so it is always important to take a step back and think about your response before actually responding. The
old adage that cooler heads will prevail is true: it is difficult to think rationally when you are upset, so take time and react professionally.
DO YOU LOVE A CHALLENGE? Do you love to work behind the scenes with leading edge technology?
Discussions involving performance feedback, whether it’s a formal performance
review or an informal discussion can be particularly difficult for some. Regardless of the discussion’s formality level, you have to ensure that your response is professional (even if the feedback is delivered in an unprofessional manner).
Crossing your arms and mentally shutting down when receiving constructive
feedback or criticism does not convey professionalism; neither does getting
defensive and angry. Listen to the feedback and try to understand where the other person is coming from. You will constantly be striving to improve your
The “Media Engineering” group, part of the CBC Media Operations & Technology team, is responsible for planning, designing and implementing all of the CBC’s Television, Radio and New Media production facilities across the country. These facilities include studios, control rooms, mobile production vehicles, and digital archives.
performance throughout your career, so it’s best to look at feedback as a gift
We are seeking Engineering & Network System Designers to join our team.
Remember: you need to be authentic, so if you don’t agree with the feedback,
As a Systems Designer you would be part of a multi-functional project team to develop technical solutions and conceptual engineering design specifications that meet customer requirements for complex media broadcast and networking systems.
because it will often guide you to become better at what you do.
then you should respond. And doing so in a professional and succinct manner will give you a better chance of being heard. We’ve established that employ-
ees need to remain true to who they are, while maintaining a lev-
el of professionalism. There are a variety of different work environ-
ments that people will experi-
ence in their quest for success. A person needs to be a chameleon
and adapt to whatever environment they are in. Whether it’s
formal or casual, if you ensure that you convey professionalism,
you will be seen as a professional.
jobpostings.ca | november/december 2011
a cautionary note on dress code If a company’s dress code is “business casual”, then ask for
Your role would involve designing, developing, testing, commissioning and project management of media broadcast system projects.
clarification of what exactly that means. I have seen some business casual dress codes include jeans, and others that don’t. Be sure that you under-
It’s a lot to think about, isn’t it?
stand what “business casual” means at your new place of employment.
Iris Singh, Senior Administration Manager, Iris.firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-205-2370 15
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by Alima Hotakie
WITH THE REPERCUSSIONS OF THE RECENT ECONOMIC DOWNTURN, MANY NEW GRADS ARE CHOOSING TO VENTURE OUT ON JOURNEYS OF SELF-DISCOVERY AND PERSONAL GROWTH BY TRAVELLING AND FINDING WORK ABROAD. BUT WHAT EFFECT CAN TRAVEL HAVE ON A WOMAN? ESPECIALLY IF SHE CHOOSES TO EMBARK ON THE ADVENTURE ALONE? ONE WRITER SHARES HER JOURNEY WITH US »
GO YOUR OWN WAY Visit jobpostings.ca/blogs for some awesome leads on work and volunteer opportunities abroad.
jobpostings.ca | november/december 2011
I KNEW IF I JUMPED STRAIGHT INTO A CAREER, I WOULD LIVE A LIFE AWASH WITH REGRETS”
reconnect and find my inner voice, which I felt was getting
lost amidst different opinions
KONG, CHINA GAGE STREET MARKET, HONG
from family and friends. My par-
ents, for example, were encouraging me to continue with my
sides a career to worry about, I still had many
I WANTED TO MEET MY TRUE SELF.
would live a life awash
What better way to find yourself than to take off
straight into a career, I with regrets.
It’s easy to follow in the footsteps of
others. Most of my friends were firm in their
They already knew that they wanted to
continue with grad-
he mounting pressure on recent gradu-
uate school, law school or teachers college. Oth-
university, to immediately secure a ca-
money right away. And there were those who
ates, whether fresh out of high school or reer path is growing. The stress of know-
ing your exact career can often lead to the wrong choices. We succumb to pressure and end up mak-
ing quick and regrettable decisions. Given that we
live in a rushed society — from fast food and fast
results to quick thrills and quick decisions — it’s not surprising that we apply these same speedy tactics when it comes to our career choices.
If you feel hurried and confused about your career path, you’re not alone. I too was confused about my
future, and unsure about whether or not to con-
tinue my education with a master’s degree, or take
ers were excited to enter the workforce and make
wanted to get married, buy a home and start
a family. I was tempted to do the same. I even thought there must have been something terribly wrong with me for not knowing what I wanted to
do with my life. I thought uncertainty before university was typical for students, but not after.
As expected, I came very close to applying for a master’s program to continue building on my undergraduate degree. I had even researched some schools and
was about to get started on the application process, when I started having episodes of recurring doubt.
Is this really what I wanted? Maybe I did, but not
now. I needed a break and some time to think these matters through. At this point, I needed to
unrealistic expectations for a 24 year old.
I knew if I jumped
HALONG BAY, VIETNAM
get married and start a family. Everyone had these
for a year and travel? Travelling had always been a
passion of mine. A passion I knew I had to fulfill before settling down permanently. But before setting
the foundation, I had to find the material first. I had to seek and rediscover myself. I also didn’t want to
look back at this moment 30 or 40 years from now
and silently say to myself: What if? What could have been? What did I miss? And besides, the tim-
ing seemed ideal because I was free of any major
commitments and responsibilities that came with marriage and children.
The impetus to follow my dream was finally real-
ized when I headed to Europe right after finishing university. But before I got there, I had to deal with
the task of convincing my traditional parents that it was a good idea. I was only 24 years old when I
first told my parents I wanted to single-handedly travel the world. Their immediate reaction was one of utter disbelief. “But you’re a woman,” they said. “Women don’t travel alone!” my mother
and father said in unison. They believed women
should wait until they were married and then travel with their male companions.
What ensued were a series of lectures with my mother as the guest speaker. In typical Afghan
fashion she advised me to wait until I was married november/december 2011 | jobpostings.ca
Images (Clockwise from top left): Eileen Bach/ Digital Vision/Thinkstock, © iStockphoto.com/Holger Mette, iStockphoto/Thinkstock, © iStockphoto.com/Josef Muellek, iStockphoto/Thinkstock
a year off to travel. Be-
studies, and my relatives were pressuring me to
tries and cities I intended on visiting. Now it was my
turn to lecture them on the benefits of travelling. and then safely travel the world with my husband, who would protect me if I fell in harms way. I tried to
I wanted to submerge myself in European art, history and culture. I told them that I intended on visiting major cities, and that I planned on visiting art galleries, museums and the most important sites.
remind her that we were
I remained firm in my quest. I didn’t budge and I
Arabia, where, by law, wom-
was an adult now and that I had to learn to take
without a male chaperon.
over. And what a sigh of relief that was, because
worried about what the rest
some doubt in me. Realizing that my desire to
would whisper behind my
A month after graduating from university, I
in Canada and not in Saudi
was unwilling to compromise. I told them that I
en can’t leave the house
care of myself. Eventually, I finally won my parents
But really, she was more
their cloud of fear was slowly beginning to instil
of the Afghan community
travel wasn’t just a phase, they reluctantly agreed.
back, were I to travel solo.
In stark contrast to my mother, my father was less of a traditionalist and more of a protector. He
stepped onto a plane bound towards Europe. I got
so caught up in my travel plans that I even missed out on my graduation ceremony.
In the meanwhile, my parents couldn’t comprehend why a summer of travelling wasn’t enough.
They kept referencing my family and friends. “Look at your cousins,” they would say. “They’ve completed university and now they’re settling down and getting married.”
My mother would add that the longer I waited, the lower my chances were of getting married,
because I was getting older — and no man would possibly want to marry a woman in her late twenties. My attempts to explain that late twenties and
early thirties were acceptable ages to tie the knot seemed to calm her fears no less.
Essentially, my parents believed in the following
linear path of progress/evolution: university, job,
feared for my safety. He feared that I would be-
marriage, children and more children (all possibly
a brothel somewhere in Eastern Europe or in Thai-
from this course you were doomed. »
before you hit the age of 30). And if you deviated
MACHU PICCHU (PERU)
THE AVERAGE ADVENTURE TRAVELER IS NOT A 28-YEAR OLD MALE, BUT A 47-YEAR-OLD FEMALE. AND SHE WEARS A SIZE 12 DRESS.*
OF THOSE WHO TAKE CULTURAL, ADVENTURE OR NATURE TRIPS ARE WOMEN.* SURIN, THAILAND
land. Conversing with my father was nothing short of fear mongering. He would present me with the most cliché of examples; namely that the world
was a place to be feared, and that it was not as safe for women travellers as it was for men.
WAN·DER·LUST (WNDR-LST) N. A VERY STRONG OR IRRESISTIBLE IMPULSE TO TRAVEL.
IT WASN’T “JUST A PHASE.”
My parents initially reckoned that my travel plans
Over the course of the next few days, my parents
serious case of wanderlust. I now wanted to catch
was a phase that would just subside just as quickly
Asia. But I faced a serious dilemma; I was running
I visited the local bookstore and brought back a
working part-time during my university years, and
wouldn’t extend past the summer. However, I
returned home from my travels in Europe with a
forgot about my zealous travel plans. To them it
a glimpse of the east, and to explore parts of East
as it had appeared. But to show them I was serious,
out of money. I had used up all my savings from
small stack of Lonely Planet books of all the coun-
found myself at an impasse.
jobpostings.ca | november/december 2011
come a victim of human trafficking and end up in
% 0 8
OF ALL TRAVEL DECISIONS ARE MADE BY WOMEN *
WEAVING, QUECHUA WOMAN LEY,PERU URUBAMBA VAL
But even then it wasn’t easy.
Since I didn’t return home with a pocket full of savings, some of my relatives considered travel-
Images (Clockwise from top left): © iStockphoto.com/© The Power of Forever Photography, Hemera/Thinkstock, iStockphoto/Thinkstock
A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES... My father often said that I couldn’t possibly see the entire world. Despite my repeated attempts to clarify that my plan wasn’t to travel indefinitely,
he still wouldn’t listen. I simply wanted a year or two to travel. I didn’t understand why it was com-
pletely alright to spend the same amount of time
ling a complete waste of time
and energy. To them, the worth of something could only be measured in tangibles.
Many of us live sheltered and insulated lives. We usually don’t venture out beyond our comfort
zones or outside our spheres of work and school. Our only encounters with the rest of the world occur through the news, Internet, and every so often, by dining at ethnic restaurants.
ue of travelling. They can’t comprehend that it’s a les-
“PHYSICALLY VENTURING ABROAD OPENS YOU UP TO A WIDE ARRAY OF CULTURES AND ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES.”
Second World War, for example, visiting the Dachau
For me, travelling alone was one of the most re-
many than I did in all my high school history classes.
humbling train conversations I had with strang-
It was then that I decided to work abroad for a year
encounters helped shape me in much larger ways.
on a master’s program or double that on a PhD, but not on travelling.
Most people, my parents included, don’t see the valson in history and culture. I learned more about the concentration camp as well as the museums in Ger-
and teach English in South Korea. Teaching would fund my travels and provide me with an opportunity to explore other parts of the world during
my breaks. My parents were skeptical at first, but slowly started supporting my endeavours.
warding and enriching experiences. From the ers, to the small talks in coffee shops, these short
There’s a reason musicians, artists and chefs travel
for inspiration. From Jimi Hendrix spending time in
Morocco, to Jamie Oliver touring the Italian coun-
TREE ROOTS AT TA PROHM , ANGKOR WAT, CAMBODIA:
tryside — you deserve no less. So jump on that plane and live your life as a global citizen.
november/december 2011 | jobpostings.ca
Travel Notes While concern for women travellers is both widespread and legitimate, and travelling alone isn’t without its dangers, it’s also considerably exaggerated. The world isn’t your enemy because of your gender — in fact, it’s considerably accommodating. You just have to be aware of your surroundings, and of the cultural sensitivities associated with different parts of the world. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
What is accepted in one culture may be frowned upon in another. In East Asia, for example, bare legs (clad in
booty shorts) turn less faces than a bit of cleav-
age and exposed arms (think of tube tops, tank
BODY LANGUAGE SPEAKS VOLUMES. This is true, especially around men. Don’t appear overly friendly or flirtatious. Non-verbal cues are perceived differently across the world. From my own experiences, men in Southern Europe, North Africa and East Asia are often under the false impression that western women are generally more sexually liberal than their counterparts in the rest of the world. Feel free to ask children and women for directions if you feel uneasy asking men.
tops and halter tops). So do your research and
respect the local cultural codes to avoid trouble.
KEEP AN OPEN MIND.
IN ALL FAIRNESS, NOT EVERY MAN IS LURKING AND WAITING FOR A WOMAN TO PREY ON; THAT IS A GROSS GENERALIZATION. IN FACT, FROM MY OWN TRAVEL EXPERIENCES, MANY OF THE MEN I MET TOOK ME UNDER THEIR WINGS AS PROTECTION FROM THE ADVANCES OF OTHERS. THEY TREATED ME LIKE A SISTER. AND OF COURSE, IF YOU PLAN ON HEADING OUT AT NIGHT, ALWAYS EXPERIENCE THE NIGHTLIFE IN A GROUP. THERE’S MORE SAFETY IN NUMBERS.
DRESS CODE IS KEY.
I learned my lesson the hard
way. While visiting the ancient city of Fez in Morocco, I made
the terrible mistake of wearing
shorts on a hike. If the glares and constant whistling wasn’t uncomfortable
participation of the local police
proved more worrisome. Now,
LET YOURSELF LEARN.
of course, shorts don’t elicit such extreme reactions in all regions of Morocco. In the more liberal
coastal city of Essaouria, for inTravelling can be one of the most empowering experiences for anyone. Not only does it encourage self-growth, but it also helps you make connections across the globe. It lets you be a student outside the classroom. For me, travelling was a three-dimensional experi-
stance, the exposure of excess
skin and women clad in bikinis
are common sights and you’ll rarely fall victim to heckling or
sexually suggestive comments.
ence. It impacted me physically, intellectually and spiritually. I can confidently say that my travel experiences were some of the most incredible moments in my life — moments that truly took my breath away. jobpostings.ca | november/december 2011
*Source: The Pacific Asia Travel Association, gutsytraveler.com/2010/12/31/women-travelstatistics-the-latest/
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november/december 2011 | jobpostings.ca
A NUMBER OF PROGRAMS HAVE SURFACED ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO HELP WOMEN ESTABLISH CAREERS IN TRADES.
school has to offer. “Of course, in just a couple of
Soft skills aside, we’re also experiencing what
days you don’t really get a sense of the trade in
Archer describes as “a worker shortage of levels
a big-picture way, but we do give a good sense of
unknown to us in this country’s history. It’s just
the typical work environment,” says Training De-
demographics. People are retiring. That’s good
velopment Coordinator Karen McNeill. Chances
news for women.”
are you’ll find yourself hanging drywall one day,
SO WHAT KIND OF GIRL DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE A TRADESWOMAN?
The cool thing about being a girl in the 21st
and learning to wire a home the next.
century is that you can be whatever you
Once you’ve discovered which trade suits your
choose to be when you grow up: an astronaut,
talents, you’re on your way to becoming an ap-
an F-1 driver, a molecular gastronomist. You
prentice — the trades equivalent of an entry-lev-
can even be… a plumber?
el position. “You spend 10 months a year work-
And a carpenter. And a welder. And a pipefit-
ing, and two months in school, and you alternate
ter. The skilled trades, long considered the sole
back and forth, until you have your work hours
province of only the manliest of men, are finally
accumulated,” explains JudyLynn Archer, Presi-
opening up to women workers in a big way. And
dent and CEO of Women Building Futures. That’s
while men do continue to make up well over
right, ladies: you’ll be getting paid to learn.
90 percent of workers on sites across Canada,
Helping to bring about this shift are the dozens
SPEAKING OF MONEY, YOU’LL BE EARNING IT AS WELL.
of programs available across the country, de-
“This is definitely a high paying world,” says Ar-
ers big time. Having an undergraduate degree
signed specifically to get women ready to pick
cher. “The money you can earn in trades is much
gives you a pretty good foundation for a strong
up a trade. At Women Building Futures, an Ed-
greater than the money almost anywhere else.
career,” Archer explains. “We see lots of women
monton-based organization that helps women
You’ll earn good money fast — like, right away.”
who have a degree, and then decide to get into
things are starting to shift.
develop careers in trades, it’s the Journeywoman START Program — a 17 week course that teaches basic worksite skills, while allowing students to get a taste of the different trades available. Image: Hemera/Thinkstock
“IT’S LIKE GETTING PAID TO STAY FIT, AND YOU NEED TO BE ON YOUR GAME, EVERY DAY”
And the jobs are out there. “Employers are really seeing the value of having a woman on site,” explains Nancy Moore, Manager of Employment
“We have a pretty good mix of ages and backgrounds,” Moore says of the women enrolled at The Centre. “Some have just graduated from colleges and universities and realized that they wanted something more hands-on and physical; some are women who never really had the opportunity to establish a career.” Even if you’re already on your way to a degree or diploma, you can still pick up a trade after you’re done. “We need technologists, we need engineers, architects, we need project manag-
the trades. They find the work challenging, mentally and physically. It’s like getting paid to stay fit, and you need to be on your game, every day.”
Services and Skilled Trades at The Centre for
When asked what the future of trades looks like
Meanwhile, in Victoria, there’s Camosun Col-
Skills and Development Training in southern
for women, she laughs and replies: “Fabulous!”
lege’s Women in Trades Exploration program.
Ontario. “Women bring a variety of skill sets to
This 12 week survey gives students a chance to
the job, a different way of doing things, a more
try out each of the skilled trades programs the
jobpostings.ca | november/december 2011
by Emily Minthorn
the changing demographic of the insurance industry Women now make up 61 percent of the insurance industry, with an increasing number in leadership roles. by Katie Edmonds When Karen Foster began her career in the in-
The study highlighted 41% of respondents re-
As for the leadership roles, Buttrum says it is just
surance industry in 1978, she was hired on as a
porting that 5% or less of senior leadership roles
a matter of time before the number of women
dicta typer, and was one of a handful of female
in their organizations are filled by women. In
has equaled or even surpassed that of men in this
employees at her company. Now, Foster works in
Canada, of all senior management positions in
field. “We recognize that our talent crisis is loom-
management for the Capital District Health Au-
the insurance industry, women hold 23 percent
ing,” he explains. “The insurance industry has
thority in Halifax, and as much as the technol-
of those titles.
been good to a lot of people which means that
ogy has changed over the years, so has the de-
“In comparison to other similar industries, we’re
mographic landscape of the insurance industry.
doing okay,” says Trevor Buttrum, Career Connec-
The number of women in insurance has bal-
tions Program Coordinator at the Insurance Insti-
looned over the past few decades, with the ratio
tute of Canada. “If you look at the financial sector,
of females to males shifting. Women now make
or if you were to do a comprehensive labour mar-
“We have been looking at a few different options
up 61 percent of employed staff, with an increas-
ket survey, it seems like women are doing okay in
in terms of managing this transition, including
ing number of them acquiring leadership roles.
the insurance industry in terms of management
phased retirement planning and a new talent
“When I started out, my role was secretarial work
roles, but there’s still work to do. At our senior
acquisition schedule,” Buttram details. “We have
mostly,” explains Foster. “There weren’t many
echelons, we are not where we’d like to be, but we
always had this in the back of our minds, but
women in senior roles, or even on the road, or in
are certainly moving in the right direction.”
now we are putting pen to paper and coming up
supervisory roles at that time. It just wasn’t done.
Margaret Parent, Director of the Professionals Di-
with a more formalized strategy.”
Over the years we have seen quite a shift.”
vision at the Insurance Institute of Canada says
The shift Foster mentions is a step in the right
the increasing number of women drawn to the
direction, but for a large number of female insur-
field of insurance makes complete sense, and
ance workers surveyed, it isn’t enough.
she expects even further growth in numbers.
they have had long, healthy careers.” In addition, around 49 percent of workers in the insurance industry are baby boomers, and it is expected that they will be retiring within the next decade or so.
With numbers of women in the industry on the up and up, Buttrum expects that the same effect will carry over to the upper management positions. He can already see that any history in divi-
“AS FOR THE LEADERSHIP ROLES… IT IS JUST A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THE NUMBER OF WOMEN HAS EQUALED OR EVEN SURPASSED THAT OF MEN IN THIS FIELD” According to the Women in Insurance Leader-
“Insurance is sort of the best kept secret, em-
sion of roles by sex has been put aside so that
ship Insight Report, a new research study re-
ployment wise,” explains Parent. “Insurance jobs
skill and ability are the criteria for advancement.
leased this past September at the Insurance
are pretty much everywhere, so chances are that
“People think of the insurance industry as an old
Networking News’ Women in Insurance Lead-
there will be a good job available wherever you
boys club filled with balding white men. It’s not
ership Forum in National Harbor, Md., female
live. The companies are generally good to work
that anymore,” Buttrum says. “What you need
respondents in the insurance industry generally
for; you can have a good work-life balance in a
for a leadership position are qualifications, expe-
agree they still have a long way to go before their
lot of roles, and good benefits. It’s a flexible work
rience and a desire to move into that role. That
representation begins reflecting their percentage
environment with loads of opportunities which
gives us a really good pool of applicants and a
of the general population. However, they also ac-
is what women want. It’s what anyone wants.”
good shot at seeing women move into those
knowledge things are progressing the right way.
roles. It’s a really exciting time for the industry.” november/december 2011 | jobpostings.ca
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november/december 2011 | jobpostings.ca
WOMEN ON THE WIRE
In an industry as big as varied telecom, young women really can be anything they choose to be.
Telecommunications offers career opportunities
just getting started is “the whole field of social
for grads in almost any field of study, including
media as a communication function in business.”
marketing, engineering, business management, communications, high tech development, media, and more. Within the industry, they work to design, build, implement, and promote technology that allows everyone on the planet to do something very simple, yet vital — communicate. And despite the perception that women aren’t good at technology or math, “communication,” says
than halfway through a magazine article without coming across it. Tavchar identifies the role
And what kind of woman does it take to succeed
of ‘community manager’ as a job title she thinks
in telecom? “The industry really favours people
offers new grads a great opportunity for inter-
who are willing to take calculated risks, who are
esting work. But just because you’re young, kid,
comfortable with learning on the job as they
don’t get cocky.
go, and who are good with transferring skills
Andrea Tavchar, program coordinator for the
She warns against the myth of the so-called
public relations program at Humber College and
‘digital native’ — the belief that anyone young
a leading researcher in social and digital media
enough to have grown up with the Internet is
issues, “is a soft skill that women excel at.”
somehow naturally good at using it. “But suggest-
“There are a lot of opportunities in telecommunications technology and digital media for women,” agrees Stephanie MacKendrick, President at Canadian Women in Communications (CWC). “Of course there are sectors or companies that are heavily male populated, but it varies by company. If I was a young woman looking for a job,
ing young people know social media applications better than the next person just because they’re young, is inaccurate,” she explains. “However, if
as things change — which they do, constantly,” advises MacKendrick. “One of the biggest things women can do to thrive in this industry is to not be afraid of technology, not be intimidated by uncertainty, and not be intimidated by the magnitude of what’s out there. Just decide what you’re interested in, and then go for it.”
they learn professionalism, judgment, analysis —
Going for it, in MacKendrick’s view, means get-
with these literacy skills, it is an advantage that
ting yourself out there and getting your network
the students have by graduation day, and they
on. “Networking shouldn’t feel like cod liver oil;
can go into a workplace and do an effective job.”
the networking opportunities you take advantage of should be the ones you’re really interest-
I’d look for companies that pay attention to tal-
So what are the young women of today best
ent strategy, because if they’re smart and basing
qualified to do — other than Tweet and Tumblog?
on talent, they’re going to be woman-friendly. In
“Anything,” says MacKendrick, enthusiastically
And above all, love your job, even before you have
terms of the skills that are needed, women just
— and no one is holding them back but them-
it. Immerse yourself in the industry, she urges.
have to be part of the equation.”
selves. “Women tend to be so self-conscious. If
“Follow blogs and Twitter feeds. Keep up to date.
there are 10 qualifications listed for a job, they
There’s so much happening out there right now,
want to be able to tick off all 10 before they even
it’s really interesting — and there are so many
apply — and I think men are okay checking off
opportunities. The more you get into that leading
five or six and just applying anyway, and they’ve
edge, the more you realize it’s a great place to be.”
So what’s it like at the moment in the telecom Inage: Hemera/Thinkstock
Ah, social media. Seems like you can’t read more
industry? “Strong content development skills are really needed in the telecom, mobile, and technology sphere,” notes MacKendrick. She also offers that specifically of interest to young women jobpostings.ca | november/december 2011
ed in, because your enthusiasm shows.”
got it right. You want to have to stretch, you want to be able to learn and grow at your job.”
by Emily Minthorn
she says. “I studied art but didn’t know design was an option. I messed around with layouts a lot—both in print and web. I didn’t realize you could go to school for it.” With few role models around, some less experienced women feel isolated and lack confidence. Associations like Canadian Women in Technology provide many resources for women in the industry, like mentorship opportunities, conferences, social gatherings, and job listings, just
CONNECTING TO CAREERS IN TECHNOLOGY by Emma Woolley
You don’t need a computer science degree to establish a career in this constantly evolving industry.
to name a few. There are also various youthtargeted initiatives, such as: BringITon, a website dedicated to educating women between 18 and 25 about opportunities in advanced technology; and Gr8 Designs for Gr8 Girls, a series of information and activity sessions on computer science for grade 8 girls. Working in technology doesn’t always include sitting at a computer and writing code. Jobs can be found in many fields: energy, defense, information/communications, software/devices, clean technology, life sciences, and aerospace; and in many different roles. But, as a constantly evolving industry, people in tech often work longer days than others. Understandably, work-life balance is often the
“The most rewarding thing about my job is
Many companies acknowledge the value of
that I’m continuously learning,” says Jessica
equal representation in the workplace and en-
Dempsey, an integrated logistics analyst at Lock-
courage women to apply. Miriam Verburg, an in-
heed Martin Canada. “With each day, a new chal-
teractive project manager at Zinc Roe, says hir-
lenge arises and I’m able to use the knowledge I
ing managers have approached her many times.
gained in school to produce a solution.”
“I’ve been in offices where men will tell me that
Dempsey, who graduated from the University of Toronto’s aerospace engineering program, has joined the very small percentage—less than 30 percent—of women in engineering. Despite the rapid growth of the advanced technology sector, women hold only 30 percent of those jobs while representing approximately 47 percent of the
they want more women around because balance makes them feel more organized,” she says.
number one challenge reported by women working in technology. Verburg recommends choosing a field that suits you. “If you work for a gaming company, start-up, or any place where grinding is at a premium, you’re not walking out at five and you’re not having babies,” she says. “But there are places that offer decent benefits and more balance, like established software companies. Learn
“IF YOU WANT TO ENJOY IT, YOU HAVE TO DEFINE SUCCESS FOR YOURSELF.”
Canadian workforce. The number of women in executive positions in the technology industry is even smaller, and enrollment in technological
The reasons why women are underrepresented in technology are both complex and many. One is that gender-based challenges — like socialization and bias — still remain in some environments. “When I was in school, I experienced bias from a classmate who thought that he deserved a higher mark than me because I was female,” says Dempsey. “But this was a rare belief amongst my classmates. I’ve never experienced any bias in the workplace. The companies I’ve worked for have
Some women don’t consider the technology in-
to understand the culture. If you want to enjoy it,
dustry an option, and many come into it through
you have to define success for yourself.”
other channels. Verburg, who studied fine art, entered the tech industry after taking an e-art course. “I wanted to learn how to design websites and got a job at a women’s new media art centre, where I learned web design, researched different technologies, and set up a Linux thin client terminal lab. I then decided I wanted to get into web
one! “There are many tools available that make running one’s own business easier than ever,” says Hale. “It’s empowering to work in several different roles at once, and not have to do the same thing everyday.”
development.” After building websites for a few
Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. “Don’t
years, Verburg switched to project management.
try to fit yourself into a career based on other
strict policies in place to ensure that employees
Jordan Hale, co-partner of design and develop-
have a safe and comfortable work environment.”
ment business, Mission Specialist, had a similar experience. “I discovered fonts in Windows 3.0,”
If you can’t find a company that suits you, start
people’s ideals,” says Dempsey. “There are amazing opportunities available to young women, so keep your mind open.” november/december 2011 | jobpostings.ca
programs isn’t increasing by much.
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jobpostings.ca | november/december 2011
Develop a Global
The Masters’ in Development Studies program applies a multidisciplinary approach to the world’s problems.
Of all the shortages
lot of clever people out there, and there’s a lot of
ies.” This amalgam reflects the forward-thinking
world today, a shortage
ous agencies, and you might say it’s made things
providing new problem-solving strategies. “We
we’re facing in the of problems isn’t one.
Whether we’re talking
about the struggles of the developing world or inequality in the
west, there’s a shift in paradigms happening all over the globe, as
we slowly realize our
ways of looking at these issues is outdated. Devel-
opment Studies is a relatively new field of study that’s gaining traction, and this master’s program offers a fresh approach that’s sorely needed.
Tackling large-scale, multi-faceted problems can be a daunting task, and it can be difficult knowing where to start. “The focus of the program is mainly
on understanding the challenges of development facing the world today, looking at it from a critical,
inter-disciplinary perspective,” explains Dr. Fahim Quadir, Graduate Program Director in Develop-
ment Studies at York University. “We look at issues such as poverty, sustainability and social justice at
the national and international levels. It’s about improving the human condition.”
The old solution of throwing money around without careful consideration is naive at best and dan-
gerously counter-productive at worst. “There are a
money being poured into development by variworse,” agrees Marc Epprecht, Graduate Chair of
Global Development Studies at Queen’s University. “We have to understand why just giving money to a country like Bolivia doesn’t work, and in fact often makes things more unequal.”
In order to effect change, it’s important to have the right tools at your disposal. “We teach a logical
nature of the field, and the effort that goes into have a course here which is half engineering stu-
dents and half development studies students,” continues Epprecht. “They plan a project together, such as the construction of a bridge, and then
make it work. The engineers come from the technical side of things and our students, from a more holistic approach.”
framework to make the whole process of develop-
When it comes to jobs, this multi-faceted discipline
issues we discuss and debate in class to be applied
students find it interesting to work in the voluntary
ment more coherent,” says Quadir. “We want the in a practical context.”
No program could possibly teach a magic formula
for solving problems, but that’s hardly the point.
“We hope our students will be able to think out-
side the box that’s been constructed over the last
also has a variety of branching career paths. “Some
sector, while others work in governmental organi-
zations, both nationally and internationally,” offers Quadir. “Some have accepted Canadian public sector jobs with organizations like Health Canada, Environment Canada, or in social services.”
fifty years of aid and trade, and take into account
Developmental problems aren’t limited to any one
ple,” says Epprecht. “There’s no cookie-cutter solu-
and opportunities are cropping up in the private
factors like religion and gender relations, for examtion that will work in Botswana as well as it works
in Indonesia. We hope our people will be able to change the course we’re on.”
Looking at these issues requires a variety of lenses. “At Queen’s we don’t have a single faculty member
who has a degree in Development Studies,” laughs Epprecht. “They come from the social sciences and humanities: history, geography, anthropology, political science, sociology and environmental stud-
type of organization or geographical area however, sector. “A lot of big corporations are struggling to understand their role in the world, and to act in
a corporately responsible and socially conscious manner,” says Epprecht. “They’re specifically looking for grad students who understand develop-
ment in the big picture, and that’s what our students bring to the table.” by Kevin Nelson
What Do be You
The Future of Learning
november/december 2011 | jobpostings.ca
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SCHOOL eez TUFF (Need some helpz!)
careers. education. ideas. all of it. jobpostings.ca | november/december 2011
HOW TO MAKE AN ENTRANCE
with Ross Harrhy
school, the first time you meet the parents, going to the wedding of a friend of a
friend; you walk in a little nervous because you don’t know what to expect or who
you might meet. You want to make a good impression so everyone will consider you
cool enough to talk with them. You need to make some pals, right away.
For some it’s hard, others easy, but I’m
guessing most of you are always open to tips on how to make an impact the first
time you walk in the door. Because, let’s face it, not everyone gets a red carpet.
I’ve hit on this a million times, but it’s the simplest advice to follow, ever. Show up
early. Not too early, but early enough that everyone isn’t there before you are. If you head to the office at 8:45 a.m. and most people show up closer to nine, you’ll be
able to stagger your interactions with your colleagues as they come in one by one. It
also pays to be the one that’s there when
people show up, especially the boss! Obviously you’ve been slaving away on that
project for an hour already, when everyone is just getting their day started…
Ask others about what they do.
It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.
Whether they work with
When you walk in to a room for the
first walk in a room, you
ways happy to talk a little
shouldn’t be a question of how popular
introductions and new
with just one person in the room is
might not remember as far
fice. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t,
But if you get a moment
people or smile when you see someone
someone and you think they
long-run for you to have a couple of
know better, don’t be afraid
that you can rely on for a little gossip,
they’re free for lunch some
the weekend. It makes showing up any-
next. If they work in your of-
there’s someone there you can chat
a quick hour together — it
you or don’t, people are alabout their job, and it’s a
great starting point for more questions that can stimulate a conversation. They
might even ask a bit more
about you, and that’s how
friendships get started in the first place. Just don’t dig too deep. There’s a difference
between “Do you live in the city?” and “What’s your ad-
dress?”. Save that conversation until you’ve gotten to
know the person a bit better, and there’s a clear friend-
ship that has developed outside of whatever function
brought you together in the
first place. It might also be a great opportunity to make a contact for later, if they
have some mutually benefi-
cial tools or connections you can share.
Unfortunately, when you
first time, or even to your new job, it
might be bombarded with
you are. Developing a solid relationship
names and faces that you
better than the entire floor of your of-
as the next introduction.
of course, introduce yourself to other
to chat a little longer with
in the hallway, but it will pay off in the
might be worth getting to
stronger relationships in your office
to offer your card and see if
or a lunch date, or even some beers on
time during that week or
where, day after day, a lot easier when
fice, it’ll be easy to arrange
with about non-work pleasantries.
doesn’t have to be a formal sit-down lunch; it could be
Just make sure you respect that
relationship entirely. It’s not okay to
betray someone in your office or your trade, as that disrespect can come
back around to ruin your entire career! Some things are better left unsaid if
you think that someone in your workplace or your field might be offended,
or doesn’t exactly need to know sordid parts of your history.
Follow up with lunch.
in the lunchroom upstairs,
or just to the pizza-by-theslice down the street. It
affords you the opportunity
to get some quality one-onone time that can go great distances in developing a
strong relationship you can rely on for years to come.
november/december 2011 | jobpostings.ca
You know what it’s like — the first day of
9 launch ways to
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