Before I begin, you need to know – I love Vancouver!
I love the mountains, I love the beaches, I love the Ocean views, the city views and the park views. I love the wide footpaths and tree-lined streets. I love downtown, I love Water Street, I love the SkyTrain, I love Stanley Park, I love the Steam Clock and the view from Londsdale Quay. I love that people say “thank you” when they exit the bus and I love that anyone, at anytime, will strike up a friendly conversation with you. I loved Vancouver from the moment I saw it, and even after the moment I realised I would have to leave it.
Which brings me to the one thing that I don’t love about Vancouver – the dreaded job market. (Actually there’s two things. Those giant house spiders, aka hobo spiders, one of which I found IN my bed, are also on my “I don’t love” list.)
Getting a marketing job here, as a non-Canadian (at least in my experience), is like trying to break through a brick wall with bare fists, like climbing Everest barefoot or like saying no to Hugh Jackman – essentially impossible.
Sure, I knew the market was bad. I’d read plenty of articles like this one, about how difficult it is to find work in Vancouver, but they weren’t enough to put me off. I’ve been told; “things are tough,” before every single one of my moves, so why would this time be any different?
Well, it turns out, it really is tough here in Vancouver! My job search has been filled with no replies, coffee dates (that are kind, but prefaced with, “we have no roles, this is not an interview”) and replies that consist of –”we only employ/help Canadians”, oh, and, did I mention, people don’t reply here? I was even offered a job by an agency at one point, but they, too, proceeded to ignore me.
Much to my dismay, finding a job within my industry, one that would further, or at least, sustain, my career has been time-consuming and challenging.
But, fortunately, I’m not planning on leaving Canada anytime soon! That’s where the universe comes in…
While battling away, I received two awesome pieces of advice from two, equally awesome, people. The first, a Canadian actor, the other, an expat Australian.
“My advice? Put out as many lines as you can and then; you’ve just got to submit yourself to the universe,” said the actor.
So I did.
I stopped stressing, worrying and panicking. I put out as many lines as I could, made as many connections as possible and worked through a (sadly short) list of agencies and design firms.
I submitted myself to the universe and I’d never felt so calm.
But I still didn’t have a job.
The second piece of advice came when I expressed doubt in Vancouver’s job market compared to Toronto’s; “Why not look in both (Vancouver and Toronto) and let the universe decide?” said the Australian.
So I did.
While stress, worry and panic-free, I put out feelers to Toronto. Three to be precise. The first ignored me, the second had no roles, the third wanted my resume. A hit rate of one in three wasn’t bad at all. So I put out more feelers. Suddenly I had an interview, requests for resumes and well-wishes for my trip across the country.
Within a week the universe had decided.
To me, Vancouver vs Toronto, has been a choice between lifestyle and career and, at 24 (after much deliberation), I’ve decided, the later is more important than the former. Unfortunately I’ve been flogging a dead, albeit, beautiful, horse here in Van and now it’s time to move on.
When I left Hong Kong I thought I’d said goodbye to big cities forever, and yet here I am, happily booking flights to one of those very cities!
If Vancouver’s taught me anything, it’s to stop worrying, to stop trying to control every one of my movements and just sit back, relax and go with the flow.
The universe said so.
Until next time,
Safe travels xx.