I wish I could’ve been there for my 18-year-old self — an overwhelmed senior in high school who was flustered by all of the ‘crucial’ and ‘timely’ decisions she had to make — to let myself know that it’s okay not to know.
Let’s be serious; the life of a social entrepreneur is not for everyone. The stresses are high, the expectations even higher. Most days you’re walking in quicksand instead of sprinting towards the mission like you always imagined.
I began working as a graphic designer in 2009, having recently graduated from Ryerson. This was not my first foray into an office environment but with school behind me, working a full week in the same four walls changed my perspective. It soon wasn’t hard to notice productivity slipping to office distractions and courteous chit-chat, not to mention the tremendous cost to operate a physical space. This led me to realize remote work was the way of the future — to me it was an easy, simple solution.
Last year, I gave a TEDx talk about social media’s impact on mental health, discussing concepts such as highlight reels, social currency, FOMO, and online harassment, which have led to lower self-esteem, anxiety, stress, and depression. I suggested small, one-time negative instances might not dramatically reduce your mental health, but when micro-aggressions repeatedly occur over time, you have a macro problem.
As a young graduate I found myself, like many others, scared to take the leap into the job market. I didn’t feel like I was ready to leave school and decided to pursue a Master of Professional Communication to advance my education. To help save costs on living expenses during my studies and be closer to the campus I moved into my grandfather’s place, located a little west of Toronto.
Convocation is a momentous day — one that can be equal parts exhilarating and frightening. After all, it’s the culmination of years of hard work and the start of a new chapter.
As Ryerson students prepare to take their first steps into post-graduation life, this month’s Alumni Blog reflects on some key career-related lessons (for new grads and seasoned professionals, alike) that I have picked up since graduation.
Changing careers can be daunting, and even more so after you’ve established yourself in a career for a few years. Most of your contacts are in your initial industry, and switching careers usually involves more continuing education on your own time with personal sacrifices, not to mention ensuring it doesn’t interfere with your current career. Once you do have the education behind you, you need to make the move. I did just that.
This month I’ll be celebrating 13 years in the professional workforce. After six companies, two promotions and an MBA somewhere in the middle of all that, I constantly remind myself to run my own race.