As an undergrad, I gave lots of thought to how I would spend my working life, but I was confused and torn! Part of me was very interested in business and economics, and the other part of me wanted to be a social worker! The two directions seemed at odds to me, and upon graduating from my undergrad I still felt torn. Like many students, I needed to earn money, and wasn’t yet ready to consider any further education. I landed a job at a freight forwarding company and found the international aspect fascinating – dealing with customers in Europe and the Middle East was great. I volunteered at a distress line when I wasn’t working full time, and that helped me decide to continue to pursue volunteering when I could, but to focus my career on my business skills. Three years (and some academic upgrading) later I returned to school for an MBA and then was able to land a management position at Bell Canada in Ottawa.
While I liked Bell, I knew that the department I was working in wasn’t going to be where I could spend my career. It was technical, and although I learned a lot about costing a complex telco network, I needed to deal with more people! Over the next 4 years I developed contacts and knowledge in the Leadership Development department at Bell that was a part of Human Resources. Eventually I landed a position inside Bell that not only allowed me to move back to the GTA, but also allowed me to design leadership training programs for managers within Bell, and to coach and train individuals and groups. It was a dream job, but ‘times they were changing’, and Bell was downsizing and outsourcing, following a trend that has grown in the past few decades. My role changed and as Bell outsourced the function I had grown to love, I became the manager of the vendor who had won the outsource contract. While it was still interesting, I missed the direct contact as a trainer and coach. In order to remain in that kind of role, I would have to work for the vendor, which is exactly what I did. Eight years later, I decided to take my skills and knowledge to pursue working with a population that I knew I enjoyed working with – students! I`ve been at the UTM Career Centre since January 2009, and I`ve had the privilege of working directly with students as well as assisting in the management of the structure and staff at the Career Centre. Many themes in my working life have come together!
In grade 9, I learned that “history is the study of change“, and change is certainly a theme in my own career path, as it is in today`s working world. Change has scared me and inspired me, and it`s forced me to move out of my comfort zone many times. It`s also really contributed to the growth of my skills and my outlook on work. I’ve learned how important it is to periodically pause and reflect on what you are learning along the way, so that you can consolidate things in preparation for your next step. What do you think about how you respond to change? I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts in the Career Centre’s new blog!
Anne Gaiger, Assistant Director