Amanda's One Week Job Summary - Part 1 of 3

Well.  Here it is.  The end of my One Week Job adventure across Canada. So much has happened over the last 8 weeks!  So many people, so many cities, so many jobs!  I'd like to take this opportunity to THANK EVERYONE who helped me along the way.  Whether you were a voter, an employer, a co-worker, a family-member, a friend, or even a stranger who read my blog - it's because of YOU that I'm here, and it's because of YOU that I had this crazy opportunity.

To Sean and Ian - you guys are hilarious, and it was so great to meet you during my time in Vancouver.  Thank you for welcoming me into this adventure and being brave enough to create such a project in the first place.  I've learned so much - about myself, and the work force in general.

This blog is my attempt to take all the lessons I've learned, and bring them together into some sort of cohesive lesson-plan.  I will include my gut-reactions, job satisfactions, and any sort of future projections that I happened to see in my job-choice-o-the-week

Week 1 - Photographer: Toronto, ON

My first week was spent doing something I have legitimately cared about for a long, long time.  Anyone who knows me, knows I love to take photographs.

Gut Reaction: I was gonna LOVE this week.  But the challenge was: How could I translate my love of pictures into an actual career?

Lessons Learned: Enter Henrietta Haniskova and her constant hilarity!  To work in this industry, you not only have to have the creativity - but you have to possess the technical knowledge necessary to produce a quality project.  The lesson I learned most from Henrietta though, was that of persistence. If you recall, when she was first starting out in the 'biz, she heard the word NO fairly often: "No, you're a girl." "No, you don't have enough experience." etc, etc.  She took all those NO's and kept pushing through them.  Then, there we were: a hot day in June 2010, I was shadowing Henrietta as she shot photos for a national drug store chain's website!  I have no doubt that this woman will become one of the heavy-hitters in the photography industry.

Job Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction: It was great seeing the ins and outs of the pre-production involved in a shoot, but sometimes I worry if I would be able to bend so much for an advertising client.  Of course, that's where the money is - but I wonder if I'd get frustrated by having someone else tell me how and what to shoot.  The freelance world is a tricky one, but it does allow for some freedoms.  In the end, I was satisfied.

Future Projections: I love photography, and will keep shooting my own prints.  This summer I had the opportunity to do Wedding photos for a couple friends, which turned out very well.  If I can organize myself properly, I think I could make a solid GO of family/event/small business photography, with a little artsy shooting on the side.

Week 2 - Coffee Shop: Toronto, ON

My second week was spent as a local barista at Pennylicks Gourmet Cafe in the trendy Kensington district of Toronto.

Gut Reaction: Nervous, but excited.  I didn't want to let the owners down, or waste any of the store's milk on my 'frothing attempts!'

Lessons Learned: I chatted with the owner, Steve, about what it takes to open a small business and what goes into making an amazing cup of coffee.  I learned how to froth milk, deal with crazy customers, and that most people don't enjoy HOT drinks during a heat wave ;)  Steve was gracious in letting me spend the week with the Pennylicks team, and made me realize just how much of your life you have to commit to operating your own business.  Location, quality, and staff were all key points to the success of an independent coffee shop.

Job Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction: I didn't get as much time practicing drinks as I'd hoped.  The heat wave in Toronto that week is probably what did it, but there weren't too many people out searching for steaming-hot beverages in 40C weather!  But I did enjoy learning about the business/life-style side of things from Steve, and actually spending time at the shop.  The coffee was great, the team was fun, and the customers kooky - what more could I ask for?!

Future Projections: I've often thought about running my own coffee shop one day, and owning a place for people to unite and create.  This week taught me that I CAN do this, and to go out on a limb with you and with myself: one day, I will.

Week 3 - Butcher Shop: Beaverlodge, AB

Now THIS week was a bit out of my comfort zone!  It was definitely a week that I'd been looking forward to, and I wasn't disappointed.  Bob and Laurie from the Beaverlodge Butcher Shop welcomed me and put me to work right off the bat, and I felt like I was working for them as opposed to simply shadowing.

Gut Reaction: I was going to see guts...and oh, did I ever...

Lessons Learned: 1. Know where your food comes from. and 2. Take PRIDE in your work. The satisfaction the team got from doing a great job was apparent while they worked.  It's such a simple lesson, but Take Pride!  This is the difference between simply doing your job and doing a GREAT job.  Also, the more you respect your employers, the harder you want to work for them.  Integrity is kind of a big deal...

Job Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction: I legitimately felt like I was contributing to the final product - whether it was making sausage links (not so good at that), or wrapping beef jerky (oh-so tasty), I was part of the team.  I enjoyed talking with every employee there, and learned a lot about the meat production industry.

Future Projections: Not so sure I'll start up my own butcher shop, but I definitely appreciate the meat I eat and where it came from!  And I'll also be sure to stop in to the Butcher Shop and get my fill of jerky every time I visit...

Week 4 - Yoga: Calgary, AB

Oh yoga!  Now, where's my mat...?

Gut Reaction: Ready. Pumped. I've practiced yoga for a few years now, but needed to know if it was something I could be serious about career-wise.

Lessons Learned: This week was my most chilled-out, yet taxing week to date!  I was stressed at the beginning because of travel-plans, but felt it melt away under the guidance of the yogi's at Moksha Yoga Calgary .  I practiced every day that week, something both my body and mind desperately needed.  Physically, I felt great!  I was healthy, awake, and nimble.  Emotionally, it gave me a place to rest my thoughts and try to practice what studio owner/teacher Lisa Whitford taught me: One of the goals of yoga is to take the grace you use on your mat, and bring it into your everyday life. This is what true yoga practice is all about - not just your physical well-being, but your day-to-day practice as a human being.

Job Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction: I loved greeting people as they came in to their practice.  Everyone was looking forward to time on their mats, which led to high customer satisfaction ;)  Even the cleaning I had to do was fairly simple: mop the floors, wash the towels, and clean the bathrooms.  

Future Projections: I can see myself getting my teaching certificate after practicing for a few more years.  I feel like I should learn more about my own practice before teaching others about theirs.

----- CLICK to check out Amanda's Summary - Part 2 of 3 to hear about Weeks 5- 8! -----