I have always been a big fan of currency. Whether it was marbles or pogs on the elementary school playground; pop and chip money in high school; to earning actual pay cheques throughout university, I always had a way of earning. It kept me independent and forced me to be creative. My parents are to blame for this. They were and are extremely supportive and backed anything I wanted to do while at the same time made me work and appreciate all I had. I can easily say I am a better person today for it.
My first job, aside from selling marbles in grade 2 was a paper route I started at the age of eight. I wanted a way of making money and when a route came available near my house, my parents and I jumped on it. The first day on the job was the most memorable. It snowed 30cm the previous night and nobody, including the plows had got around to clearing the snow. My route consisted of 21 papers and 103 flyers. My mom, sister and I spent two hours trucking through snow delivering these valuable pieces of information all for $4.16. That’s $1.39/person for two hours of work. I’m surprised my parents didn’t offer to pay me the equivalent to do chores around the house after that forgettable first day. In the end I had that route for one year before another route on my current street came available. It was 14 papers, no flyers and took four minutes to complete while rollerblading.
Throughout university I always knew I was going to graduate from economics and get into the financial industry. I like making money, I like looking at money, I like managing money, it seemed like the natural progression. I thought I had my whole life planned out. Manage people’s finances for the next 25-30 years, retire by 55 and hit the links and travel in my retirement. Wow was I wrong! Thinking I had it all planned out by the ripe old age of 23. Six years and five jobs later, I finally found the industry I love and call a career. Here is a Cole’s Notes version of my journey to get there.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, I was destined to work in the financial industry. I lined up an interview with Investors Group, completed the interview which went very well and was on my way to becoming a Financial Planner. It all seemed to be going to plan. Only thing was I didn’t feel 100% sold on the job. The company is great and everyone I talked to was amazing I just didn’t see myself in that realm in the foreseeable future.
Simultaneously, I got wind that Laking Toyota was looking to hire a Finance and Insurance Manager and was encouraged to apply by a family friend. I did just that and got a call from the Manager to come in for an interview the following week. I was curious to see what the job entailed and wanted to keep my options open. I sat down with the manager where we shot the breeze about university, family, hockey and Sudbury to break the ice and get to know each other. We did this for 20 minutes before we got down to business. To my surprise, he wasn’t about to offer me a job as Finance and Insurance Manager but a position as Product Advisor (sales). It caught me off guard while at the same time intrigued me. I was never into cars growing up although the challenge peaked my interest and I wanted to know more. We talked about the responsibilities of the job, the industry and most importantly (at the time) the pay scale and commission structure. I liked what I heard and told him I needed some time to mull it over. After a couple of nights of pondering the stereotypical pros and cons list, I called up the Manager and scheduled another meeting. We met the following week where I signed the paperwork and began my first job after post-secondary.
I cannot say enough about how much experience and knowledge I gained while working at the dealership. When dealing with purchases of up to $70,000 you really have to know your product and people have to trust that you can get the job done. Product knowledge, negotiation skills, time management, organizational skills and most importantly people’s emotions are all things I learned in the eight months I worked at Laking Toyota. The two most important lessons I learned while selling cars was that process is everything and people buy people! My product knowledge was a work in progress having just started off so I knew I needed to be extra courteous and respectful to everyone who walked through our doors. Instead of being the sleazy used car salesman, in which my close friends referred to me as, I tried to be the exact opposite. I would go on hour long test drives and really get to know my clients. My go to question was the following, “This is my first job out of university, what was your first job?” People love talking about themselves and their first job story usually ended up about as long as this blog. One test drive we ended up going through the Tim Horton’s drive thru twice! The client never did end up buying the car but he was a great referral source and why not make a friend.
After eight months in car sales we hit the slow season, winter. It made for long days and my mind wandered. I liked selling cars but the thought of financial planning came back into my head and I talked with Managers at Freedom 55. I knew some advisors in the business who I looked up to and decided to make the jump from cars to mutual funds and insurance. Needless to say it did not last long. I completed the required courses for mutual funds and life insurance before realizing for the second time that the financial industry was not for me. I listened to people around me who thought they knew what was best for me and wasn’t true to myself. Do what makes you happy.
Going from two jobs to none wasn’t part of the plan but that’s life. It was a weird time when I truly had to think about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was funemployed (urban dictionary) and enjoying myself but knew the seriousness of my situation. My friend noticed a job posting for the Regional Business Centre at Tom Davies Square. The position was Junior Business Officer which entailed assisting the other employees with their responsibilities and running a few programs on my own. I got the job and took it more out of necessity than anything. The job itself was rewarding although I knew it was a temporary solution.
Six months into my one year contract I went for a drink with a very good friend of mine who owned his own marketing and communication company, OvertheAtlantic.com. We had a very candid and insightful conversation regarding my situation. After 45 minutes the tables turned when he asked if I would join his team in a sales and client management role. The role seemed like a great fit and I had and still have a great respect for the company. The first year flew by as I was adapting to my position and being a part of the team. It was near the end of my second year that I realized I needed a change. I had a dream of working for myself and I wanted to make that dream a reality. Having the conversation with my boss/best friend that I was leaving the company was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Looking back I know it was the right decision but at the time, while you’re in the heat of the moment it seems like the world is coming down on your shoulders. I was fortunate enough to have a boss that understood the situation and what needed to be done.
At this point I knew enough about myself from my previous jobs to pinpoint the career I wanted to pursue. I enjoy working with people, negotiating, sales, listening and helping people. I am addicted to HGTV’s Property Virgins and Property Brothers and always had an interest in real estate. I went online to research the steps to becoming a real estate agent in Ontario and ordered the first textbook that day! I was nervous with excitement but in my gut knew I was making the right decision.
For the first time, I made the decision for myself as to the career I wanted to pursue. It took six years and four different jobs to realize what I truly love to do. I completed my real estate courses as soon as possible and joined Remax Crown Realty in July of 2017 and haven’t looked back! I work for myself and get to help people in the largest transaction of their life, buying and selling a house! It’s the best job and something I do not take for granted. Everyone has their own journey throughout life and that is what makes it so great. We are all doing the best we can with the cards we are dealt. Some people know from a young age which career is right for them, whereas others such as myself need more time. In the end, we all get to where we need to be.