Noticing signs & clues in planes & rooms

Posted by: Mark Franklin on December 17, 2015 4:36 pm

pandaHow did Yollanda Zhang know to quit her engineering job at GE and become a teacher? Already questioning the purpose of her work, she was on a flight sitting next to a Catholic priest who also was formerly an engineer. He told Yollanda about hearing stories of life and career regrets from his parishioners. “It was a sign,” Yollanda told Career Buzz listeners (Nov. 11, 2015).

But still she wasn’t sure. “I’ve always loved teaching,” Yollanda said. Then, at an info session for the B.Ed. program at U of Toronto, another sign. With hundreds of people in the room already, Yollanda sits in one of the few remaining seats, to find sitting next to her, “another Yollanda, not a common name, and also a female engineer deciding to quit her job to become a teacher.” This sign clinched it. Both Yollandas resigned from their jobs and became teachers. “We’re both happy in our career and have never looked back.”

How do the clues apply to you? If you’re in a career quandary, be inspired by Yollanda’s stories of noticing signs and clues – then taking inspired action. The next clue Yollanda followed was the demand for Mandarin language skills. She took inspired action to transfer her teaching skills and founded Mandarin language school, Panda Mandarin.

If you’re trying to figure out which signs and clues to follow, get started with an Exploratory Consultation with CareerCycles.

Thank you to everyone who donated to the CIUT Fall Membership campaign! Hear the whole interview also featuring powerful moments from Career Buzz over the past six months and a special call with Career Crafting author, Cathy Campbell.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Hear the Podcast: Real Talk on using skills from a humanities degree

Posted by: Mark Franklin on November 18, 2015 10:31 am

realtalkIan Hartlen studied philosophy and political theory in university. What good was that? He told Career Buzz listeners that his education helped him become “a good writer, speaker and thinker, skills that are under-represented in the workplace.” Listen to the podcast (Oct. 21, 2015) to hear how Ian is using those strengths in a career he loves at The Learning Partnership where he’s just launched the Real Talk app to help high school students learn about real careers from the people in them.

How do the clues apply to you? I hear lots of people corner students who are studying humanities with the question, “what are you going to do with that degree?” It discourages them because it’s usually an unanswerable question at the time. Next time you’re tempted to ask it, instead, consider encouraging that student by taking a page out of Ian’s playbook, with something like, “That’s great, you’re working hard at building skills in writing, speaking and thinking. Those are important and under-represented skills in the workplace.”

If you’re trying to put your skills to work in a meaningful way, get started with an Exploratory Consultation with CareerCycles.

Hear the whole interview also featuring Linda Morgan, and Julie Einarson who spoke at the recent Your Workplace conference.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

How 23-year-old Eleni became an MP candidate

Posted by: Mark Franklin on October 20, 2015 5:00 am

Career Buzz Podcast: Underemployed youth? Imagine what you’ll gain by becoming an MP candidate!

eleni“After I get more experience,” was the response 23-year-old Eleni MacDonald gave after receiving an email asking who was interested in becoming a candidate in this federal election (Sept. 30, 2105). However, after a 30-minute conversation with the Ontario Green Party organizer who said, “I think you’d make an excellent candidate,” Eleni replied, “Okay, let’s do this!”

That’s how Eleni added ‘Member of Parliament Candidate’ to her resume, concurrent with her job at Lenscrafters, and after a degree and a post-grad diploma. Imagine how future prospective employers will respond to the skills she’s developing: communication, leadership, debating, initiative, media relations, and more.

How the clues apply to you: Opportunities pop up all the time yet so often we feel unprepared. Take a page out of Eleni MacDonald’s playbook, and next opportunity, just say, yes. Also, as you consider where to put your vote, consider all the parties’ jobs and youth employment platforms. Eleni talked about the Greens national Community and Environment Service Corps, which would provide $1 billion per year to municipalities to hire Canadian youth. Tell your candidates you care, and support #VoteYouthJobs by contacting your candidates through

Download and enjoy learning from the Sept. 30, 2015 podcast, also featuring Emil Boychuk and Janice Chappell-Traimer of Association of Career Educators. Or, listen to any of our 300+ archived Career Buzz podcasts. (Hint: Use SEARCH at bottom right of any webpage for your topic, e.g. “circus”).

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Career Buzz Podcast: Communication skills for influence

Posted by: Mark Franklin on September 11, 2015 5:00 am

AmenaI love asking Career Buzz guests to name their top few strengths that help them be successful. Educator Amena Zafar (Aug. 19, 2015) gave a unique twist to a generic response: “Communication skills for influence, which is knowing what the bigger objective of your communication is, and making a plan to achieve that objective through communication.”

Amena’s other strengths of “compassion, empathy, and networking” served her well in her job coordinating a government funded bridging program for internationally educated engineers.

How the clues apply to you: Take a page out of Amena’s playbook and ‘try on’ the skill of ‘communicating for influence.’ Think of an example when you used that skill: What was the situation or challenge? What actions did you take? What was the result? Presto, you now have an answer for one of those tough behavioral interview questions.

Download and enjoy learning from the Aug. 19, 2015 podcast, also featuring Ambrish Saini who participated in the bridging program, Licensing International Engineers into the Profession. Also, listen to any of our 300+ archived Career Buzz podcasts. (Hint: Use SEARCH at bottom right of any webpage for your topic, e.g. “circus”).

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Career Buzz Podcast: From traumatic childhood to business and philanthropic success

Posted by: Mark Franklin on August 29, 2015 5:00 am

JayMandarino_Portrait“Skateboarding and some great teachers changed my whole life,” Jay Mandarino, CEO of CJ Group of Companies, told Career Buzz listeners (June 17, 2015). As a child Jay had many problems and almost didn’t make it. But skateboarding “helped me learn self-confidence and to believe myself.”

Confined to bed after an injury in his early 20s Jay started selling printing jobs. Continue reading

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Career Buzz Podcast: What’s it like to live and work in Turkey?

Posted by: Mark Franklin on August 27, 2015 5:00 am

Turkey“If you are working you should get paid,” Gokce Ucar told Career Buzz listeners (July 29, 2015) when I interviewed her in the Izmir airport on a recent trip to Turkey. When she graduated university, Gokce, like many Turkish new entrants to the job market, she reluctantly did an unpaid internship to get a toehold into the job market. The internship led to paid work after six months. Basak Yanar, a Turkish-Canadian researcher joined us on the show to compare and contrast Canadian and Turkish early career experiences, and to share her fascinating career story. Continue reading

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Helping Young Clients Transition From Post-Secondary School

Posted by: Andrea Cashman on August 26, 2015 5:00 am


sad-505857_1280Many of the young clients that come into my office seem to be struggling with making the transition from post-secondary school into the real world. They are the young adults who have just successfully graduated from their College or University programs but struggle to make the next step. The reason behind their hesitation is not what you may think it is initially. Many of them struggle to even get past putting in applications for job postings. The job search terrifies them not because there is a lack of jobs necessarily but because they do not feel good enough or they completely feel lost on what career is for them. Struggling with self-identity or self-esteem issues is what holds them back. I’ve even seen clients who have entered into programs that their parents have picked out for them. These young adults feel trapped in a world that doesn’t hold true to themselves. Regardless, the question remains the same: why are these young adults suffering a transitional crisis so early on? We mostly hear jokes and passings about mid-life crises. We hear frequently about empty nest transition crises. However, we rarely hear about young people suffering a crisis in their 20’s. This is often referred to as a quarter life crisis. Continue reading

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Managing Change and Transition from an Academic Career Counselling Perspective

Posted by: Stephanie Burley on July 15, 2015 2:12 pm

Change is inescapable in life. It follows us wherever we go, and at each stage of our lives. Some of us are better suited to manage change than others, and some even thrive in times of transition. But for others, change can be a source of anxiety, stress, and discomfort. Sometimes we see change coming, and can brace ourselves for the fall out, or prepare ourselves so things can transition more smoothly. Other times it is unexpected or thrust upon us with little to no warning, and can leave us completely lost and disoriented.

startup-594091_640Students, no matter their level of study – whether they be undergraduates or post-docs – are under a great deal of stress and pressure. How can I as a career counsellor provide support and strategies to these students to help them manage the multitude of changes that will be thrown at them throughout their academic lives and beyond?

With the academic labour market such that it is right now, I am seeing an influx of clients who are transitioning out of careers quite unexpectedly. Many of the graduate students and post-doctoral fellows that arrive in my office, started out on their academic path with a certain goal in mind. They were going to be professors. They would contribute to an existing body of research and literature on their topic of specialization, and they would mentor, coach and teach junior academics to follow in their footsteps. The Canadian academic labour market has become increasingly saturated with PhD qualified academics, but vacancies for tenure track positions are becoming scarce. There are a slew of reasons as to why this is happening, and sometimes I will share these with the student, but that’s not really of importance at this stage. Providing an explanation as to why the labour market is how it is doesn’t do much to ameliorate the situation for the individual faced with abruptly changing the course of their career and life trajectory. Instead, I focus my energy on the individual in front of me, and the situation they are experiencing. How can I support this individual to cope with this transition, and develop skills that will hopefully allow them to navigate future transitions? Often I incorporate into my counselling practice the 4 S’s of Transition Theory as discussed by Goodman, Schlossberg and Anderson from their work titled “Counseling Adults in Transition (2006). I use this model to help guide the questions I ask and the direction that our conversation takes. Continue reading

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

The Stresses of Starting Over

Posted by: Jennifer Morrison on July 13, 2015 12:00 pm

We know that people often change jobs. In fact research show that’s on average people switch careers 5 to 7 times in their life. I am currently in this transitional phase and would like to share with you some of the angst I am feeling during this time.

I have had the anxiety that many teachers face when moving positions or schools but working within the same board has always made that transition easier.

Now, I found myself changing my job for the fourth time in 7 months. I have not lost a job, nor have I been fired, but that does not mean it is not stressful. The first job change came when I left my permanent job of 15 years to relocate our children and I to where my husband was working. I did find a job quickly, (job number two) in a great community but the pay was $30,000 less. WOW. We thought we could do it and we discovered pretty quickly that 5 people will struggle on two low incomes. So, as great as my job was I knew I would have to move on as soon as another job became available. That other job came quicker than I thought it would and so within 2 months of the first move I was off again. I took job number three, said goodbye again and moved on as a substitute teacher in the local board. Money went up, bills got paid and now, only a few months later I am facing another possibility: stay as a substitute in the position that I will probably have for a year and hope it leads to a more stable job down the road, or apply for some permanent positions that have recently crossed my desk. Again, I enjoy my position but it is not a permanent job. Do I stick it out and hope for the best or apply for others positions again? ARGH. I apply and thankfully, after several job moves in a short period of time, I am happy to report I have a permanent, stable career in my field. I am extremely glad that I made the decisions I did and that I am now in a better place financially and professionally.suitcase-468445_640
However, perhaps my personal health took a bigger toll then I realized. Here I am again moving jobs, packing up my stuff, saying goodbye to great coworkers and moving into a new job. This is the third move and fourth job time since January 17, 2015. I did not realized how much stress I was under until I finally allowed myself to relax. I am now noticing that my shoulders are extremely tight, my migraines are coming back, my bite plate may need to be replaced and I have gained a bit of weight. Right now I have a headache and feel like a could sleep for days. AHHHH…the joys of career and life changes. Remember to take care of yourself!!

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Employment Adventures for Unemployed Canadian Youth

Posted by: Mark Franklin on June 17, 2015 2:31 pm

Benjamin Guth loves making a difference so when the rules for Canada’s temporary foreign worker program changed, Benjamin started to put unemployed Canadian youth to work. He told Career Buzz listeners (May 27, 2015), “I get to send them on adventures. It’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.”

How the clues apply to you: That podcast also featured the fascinating career story of engineer and successful startup co-founder Jon Fishbein, who shifted careers when he became “really bored” with one of his jobs. His question to himself can be your question to yourself: “Is this the contribution I want to be making?” And another question inspired by Ben Guth: “What is the most fun I can have at work?”

Download and enjoy learning from the whole podcast.

Launch — or relaunch — your career adventure or someone’s you care about by investing an exploratory consultation with one of our amazing team of career professionals.


*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA