When I was young, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be. And in the spirit of complete transparency, there are days even now when calling myself young seems like a bit of a stretch that I still wonder that same thing. Years ago, before I felt like I was on the right path to career fulfillment, I knew what I loved to do, but not what I wanted to be. And, as most of us know, the line from do to be isn’t always a straight one, and for a lot of people it’s not even an uninterrupted line.
In the span of my working days, I’ve done everything from servicing rural and farm insurance accounts, processing complaints and managing payment inquiries, digging weeds and shoveling snow, to writing; writing that includes everything from breakup letters to wedding vows to pop culture pieces on obscure one-season run foreign television programs. But it took a bit of a career jolt to act as a catalyst for change in my life. I was ready to return to work after maternity leave when I was told that my job didn’t exist anymore – and I wasn’t devasted to see it go. I had always been on the right side of luck when it came to working; despite not having many of the necessary credentials, I had talked my way into jobs I was in no way qualified for, and then through sheer will (and a dash of spite) I always made it work rather than accept defeat. In hindsight, there were probably better ways of handling a career crisis. But all I’ve done has brought me to this place and I regret nothing. (Well, almost nothing; shoulder pads and hairbands could have been avoided.)
And so at 35 I jumped off the career cliff, so to speak. I let my insurance license lapse and I enrolled in University to get a degree in my “love to do” field. The world had changed since I had been off with my children and employers weren’t as eager to hire someone in a sharp blazer who knew the right industry buzzwords. And, never being one to do something half-way, I went back to University fulltime, where I found myself spending days with kids fresh from their parent’s arms. During this time, I had small children of my own but I learned something new: I learned here that young people are pretty amazing and we often don’t give them the credit their ideas and opinions deserve.
Fast forward an Honours diploma, some real-world editing experience, and a few less-than-desirable writing gigs later, and I find myself in my “want to do” job: Creative Director at YMC.ca – an incredible and empowering website and workplace for women. It is my lucky and privileged position to announce that we are thrilled to be working with Barbie on this year’s “You Can Be Anything” campaign for girls interested in working, learning, and mentoring as journalist. This year’s winner is Judy, and she will work closely with myself in developing writing and editing skills, and the amazing founder of YMC.ca, Erica Ehm in the art of interview and video techniques.
Past participants have done everything from farming to building, hosting a talk show to running a kitchen, not to mention seeing what it’s really like to be a professional athlete.
Barbie and YMC want to celebrate and inspire the limitless potential in every girl. This program and opportunity with Barbie and YMC is a real game changer that brings the #YouCanBeAnything message to life and who better to inspire girls than Barbie - someone who’s had over 200 careers of her own?
This year's Barbie #YouCanBeAnything winner is Judy, an energetic, engaged, and curious young woman with a love for writing and video. Judy is inquisitive, bright, and genuinely loves learning about all manner of things new, exciting,and topical - and that makes her a great fit for this year's #YouCanBeAnything program. Journalism is best built with a framework of those elements, and given Judy's enthusiasm, she's sure to succeed at whichever career path she chooses (although my money is on journalism!)
Not only will Judy share her work and behind-the-scenes learnings here at YMC.ca, but also in her very own column, where countless girls and women will follow along on the journey. We can guarantee this will be a motivational program not to be missed, and really, we’re all for shouting the YOU CAN BE ANYTHING message from open windows at stop lights.