Before I graduated from university, I heard time and time again that we would change careers at least ten times or be stuck in a series of “McJobs” that we would hate.
It was the 90’s, and Canada was in a recession. Sound familiar?
I wasn’t stressed about it. I had carefully chosen a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations because it brought together all of my interests: political science, history and economics. I am also a planner, and I knew I would need this foundation of knowledge for a career in journalism.
At the time, I was also reading Douglas Coupland’s Generation X, as one does when the pop culturist of the day focuses on your hopeless demographic.
One quote always stood out to me:
“When someone tells you they’ve just bought a house, they might as well tell you they no longer have a personality. You can immediately assume so many things: that they’re locked into jobs they hate; that they’re broke; that they spend every night watching videos; that they’re fifteen pounds overweight; that they no longer listen to new ideas. It’s profoundly depressing.”
That was depressing! I was determined to be interested in the world and make sure others found it just as interesting.
For 27 years, I forged a career as a reporter and a news anchor. The duality of my job kept me very busy. There was a lot of heaviness in the world to cover, so it didn’t feel like a “McJob.” I was a journalist. I put that International Relations Degree to work! I was never planning on leaving my profession. Ever.
For a long time, each day felt different.
Then it didn’t.
I got into the groove of when to plan for the federal budget every year. I booked legal experts in advance of court cases I was covering. I even factored flood and fire season into my calendar. With enough practice and routine, it felt comfortable even with the discomfort of daily deadlines. Somehow my body got used to the high stress.
I was passionate about breaking news. Less so about baseball playoffs. But my producer hat knew that it all had to balance out because it was about making sure the newscast was interesting for everyone.
Then, in March 2020, the world changed profoundly with the arrival of a new virus.
At first, there was the adrenaline rush of reporting on the unknown. There were emotional stories from families who lost loved ones. There was the toll on our collective mental health from the lockdowns. There were frantic thoughts about a recession.
All along, I put in very long hours and couldn’t complain. This was the story of a lifetime.
But then I started to see a shift. Looking back now, it was there long before the pandemic.
I saw some people were doing more while others were doing less. I saw leaders hiding in offices but still doling out more responsibilities with fewer resources. I kept thinking: “Shouldn’t all hands be on deck despite your titles? Isn’t this about a team pulling together and rolling up our sleeves to get the job done?”
In September 2021, I was literally getting on a plane to cover the 2021 federal election when I got a call from Talk Shop Media asking if there was any interest in switching careers.
(As a side note: I’ve known Katie Reiach for years because she did a regular segment on Global BC’s morning show).
As usual, I was fully entrenched in the never-ending cycle of news, so I wasn’t prepared for this call. I was also producing a mini-documentary about the long-term effects of Covid-19.
Let’s not forget. I was on a one-career track.
Over the course of the next six weeks, Talk Shop’s partners circled back and met with me one-on-one. There was no pressure. No talk that I’d better walk on broken glass to convince them to hire me (as I had to prove in previous jobs). I didn’t come to them. They came to me. And they were doing a fine job of wooing me.
They presented a job opportunity I hadn’t been considering but was becoming increasingly intriguing.
So I went back and forth in my head and in my heart.
One thing stood out for me when taking this leap: leadership.
I didn’t see leaders hiding in corner offices or trying to move themselves up the ladder. I didn’t see managers making cuts in order to pad their bonuses.
Instead, I saw leaders who saw the leader in me…who respected my time, my work ethic, and my opinions.
I am currently being mentored by partners who don’t think it is beneath them to “be of service” for the most mundane tasks when my team is short-staffed. I have a seat at the leadership table where I can voice my thoughts and seek advice.
A recent survey done by the Bank of Canada in January 2022 found that 19.3 percent of workers were planning to quit their current job over the next year. A survey conducted around the same time before the pandemic put that number at 17.9 percent.
Do the math, and that spread isn’t huge. It would appear this “great resignation” was inevitable, and the turnover just came at one of the worst times (note: we are STILL in a pandemic).
It is likely a reset in the cyclical nature of careers…and one that likely will repeat itself as we know history does.
As for our bon vivant, Douglas Coupland, he was right about one thing. When we are not interested in other ideas, then it is depressing.
A change can bring about new ideas.
And change is good.