Kait – From Fashion, to Marketing, to Human Resources

Kait – From Fashion, to Marketing, to Human Resources

#12 - Kait’s journey to her current career took her through a winding road in her late teens and early 20’s.  She tried multiple educational paths and finally settled on fashion as her career of choice.  But the path to being a Merchandising Manager was bumpy, and she turned to a more stable office administration role where she thrived.  With a constant urge to better herself, and with the support of her colleagues and friends, she moved across the country, again, to begin a marketing program at Humber College. Going back to school as she was turning 30, she wanted to have the traditional student experience she had heard about and joined the Humber College First Year Experience program; a decision that proved to be very beneficial to her long term.  After two lectures with her Organizational Behaviour professor, she had a conversation that changed the whole path of her degree.  Listen now to how Kait ended up in a career in Human Resources.

The transcript for this interview is A.I generated and may not be 100% accurate.

Transcript
Jonathan Collaton:

Good morning, good afternoon or good evening and welcome to career crossroads. I'm your host, Jonathan Collaton. And this is my podcast where I talk to one person each week to find out how they ended up on their current career path. If you listen to last week's episode, you may be a little confused as I said, this week, we'd be chatting with Will. But I had to reorganize some things because I had my first real audio quality issue with Will's interview. I've solved the problem and Will is willing to rerecord, but I will have to push his interview a week. So instead, you get to hear from Kate a week early, and her interview is what you're going to hear right now. Kait, welcome to career crossroads. How you doing?

Kait:

I'm doing great. Thank you so much. I'm glad to be here

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, good. I'm glad you're here. I'm glad you're here. Because we've been talking about this for a long time, you've been involved in the whole creation of hearing me talk incessantly about how I want to start this podcast and, and more so in the last few months about having started this podcast, and you've heard all my crazy dreams of the future. And I appreciate that you haven't just shut them down. So that's been great.

Kait:

No, they sound amazing. I'm super excited to see where it's gonna go.

Jonathan Collaton:

Perfect. All right, well, let's talk about your career. Because that's what we're here to do today.

Kait:

Yeah.

Jonathan Collaton:

So let's go back to when you're in high school, and tell me where you live. who you are, what do you like?

Kait:

So I grew up in Kitchener Waterloo. And similar to some of your other podcast guests so far, I basically hung out with my friends went to youth group really liked art and fashion and different design anything to do with design, really. And music, loved going to local concerts and shows of just little bands. Yeah, that's pretty much all I did.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. All right. Now, as you're getting towards the end of high school, most people get told they have to pick what they want to do in their future or figure out if you want to go to school or go into a trade or, or what. So what did you want to do? And who if anyone was influential in that decision?

Kait:

So I was part of the double cohort, as well. And

Jonathan Collaton:

everybody i'm interviewing, is apparently part of the double cohort.

Kait:

Yes, I was that lucky guinea pig with all of the new curriculum, the first one to graduate as just grade 12. So I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. Because there are so many of us graduating, and I kind of felt like the careers class was garbage. Like, it didn't help me feel like I knew where I should go. And I think it's hard to make someone who's in grade 10 What's that, like, 14, 15 years old, figure out what they want to do, and have that direct path. So I thought, you know, I like design. Graphic Design would be really cool. I also was a person who gave a lot of my friends back massages, which is kind of random. But if we'd be like, just chillin, hanging out, we'd just have like a little massage train, sometimes watching a movie. And so I like oh, cool, like RMT. Could be interesting. But I'm not good at science or math. So...you probably need..

Jonathan Collaton:

You need science and math?

Kait:

Yeah, probably. I just

Jonathan Collaton:

Is it registered massage therapit?

Kait:

Yeah. So I just thought, Well, I'm not going to science, I'm not going to be good at anatomy or anything like that. not needing to study for that. And having the courses I had already dropped science as soon as I could, like, you take your prerequisite in grade nine, and maybe in grade 10. And then that's it. It's like, I'm not gonna look at science again, and I'm gonna be happy about it. Yeah, so that was kind of just a, that could be cool. But Nah. So I thought graphic design. And really, I also had this thought in my head that, you know, I'm going to be married by the time I'm 24. And then I'm going to have kids and then I'm just going to be a stay at home mom, what does it matter what my career is? I didn't really think about it too much. And my how that has changed.

Jonathan Collaton:

So the the stay at home mom idea was that like based off your own mom's experience?

Kait:

No, my mom wasn't a stay at home mom. She worked. She still works. So I don't really know where that came from. I grew up watching shows like Happy Days and Leave it to Beaver with my grandma when she would babysit me so maybe that's part of it. I think I in my mind was like, Oh, I could be like June cleaver and have dinner Friday. Exactly, which is so wild. And now I think of what my thoughts are. And they're so different.

Jonathan Collaton:

You've changed quite a bit so much.

Kait:

Yeah, so 16 year old me was just like, maybe I could do graphic design, and then I'll just be a mom and a wife.

Jonathan Collaton:

So it was like, it was a very temporary plan. Yeah, because that wasn't the long term. It was like between now and then, here's w hat I'll do.

Kait:

Sure. Exactly.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay.

Kait:

Just kind of a thought.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah.

Kait:

It's strange to look back on.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. All right. So graphic design, then what was the plan to get some sort of education in graphic design,

Kait:

um, I figured, you know, if I'm just in arts classes, it'll be fine. And I'm good. And then it got to my grade 12 year and I took as much art as I could, I was in housing, interior design class, I took the OCR plus my grade 12 are, like, everything fashion. And I thought, you know, I'll just take all of this, and then maybe I'll take a year off, I don't fully know, I was feeling overwhelmed with just choosing a school in general, too. And so I ended up actually doing similar to your first podcast guest caressa, the leadership club, our school will call it at my local church that I went to, and had been going to for a number of years. And that was interesting, because we did a lot of volunteer work. I mean, the whole eight months was basically all volunteer work that we were doing all the time. And I was part of what we call the school assembly team. So we were it was like a motivational school assembly that would go into elementary, middle school and high school. And I really loved that connection that we would make with students. And that started me thinking of, well, maybe I don't actually want to do graphic design, maybe after this, I go to school for social work or something, and maybe get into child and youth work. And so in that eight months, I thought, Okay, what am I going to do after this. And I applied to Conestoga College for their social work program, and I got in, which was a big thing, because at the time, they only accepted 60 students into the course. And they got applicants up to upwards of 1000. So it was felt like a good sign for me that I had gotten in. And then that's where I went after I finished that. And my first semester was tragic. My grades were terrible. And coming from an honor rule. Sorry, honor roll, high school student was devastating. Like I just felt, what kind of a huge mistake should I have? Just make like, I'm not doing well in this? What's going on? And

Jonathan Collaton:

Why do you think that happened? Because I

Kait:

Yeah

Jonathan Collaton:

I remember being convinced I failed a guess it makes sense to me. Like, if you're not a great high school students, you know, the shift to university can be pretty tough. And I had an experience where I was very good at the courses I really enjoyed n high school, and eve course. And I was I remember being on the computer looking up ything else I was very aver ge. But then when I got to univ rsity....ahhh you know what, I g ess actually, my experience is a ways as similar to yours. I h d a really tough first term f rst year academically like, Okay, what summer class Am I gonna take to make up for the course that I took that I failed? And while I was looking it up, I got the notification. I got a 50. And I passed. Just squeeze. squeaked in. So yeah, didn't never took that course.

Kait:

Yeah, no, definitely, I think, because social work probably wasn't actually something that I should have been in one. And it just was a whole different way of thinking that I didn't understand because I just felt like I, I wasn't ready for it. I didn't. I don't know, like I took one of the courses was a psych class. And I did so badly in it. And I feel like I just I didn't know how to study well, mainly, mainly, because I took so many art classes. I didn't have to study a lot in high school. Yeah, no, you have that like a couple of one off math tests and a couple English essays and tests that you have to write. But I mainly did projects. I had, maybe an art history exam once or twice, but I really didn't develop those study skills.

Jonathan Collaton:

But that's also something you were probably really interested in

Kait:

Yeah

Jonathan Collaton:

So it's easy. When you're interested in something it's easy compared to something that's more difficult that you have less of an interest in.

Kait:

Yeah, absoloutely.

Jonathan Collaton:

I mean, it's like Captain Obvious over here stating facts, but yeah, okay, so that that makes a lot of sense. So what did you do? Did you like that kind of reevaluate your whole world?

Kait:

Um, yeah. So I at the end of the semester, I spoke to one of the teachers who was like, there were three core teachers in our program, so I spoke to my assigned advisor. And we had a good heart to heart, he told me some hard truths that, you know, no, you're not doing well. And if you have another semester like this, you're actually not going to move into year two. I was like, Oh, all right. So he suggested moving down to part time, so that maybe, maybe I just needed a little extra time, maybe school was just going too fast for me that I couldn't adjust. And we can just do it a little slower for this program. And so I went to part time, I think I took two or three classes, it's been so long, I don't fully remember. And I did fine in them. But I kind of just started to lose interest. And I thought, as I evaluated more of what a career after in social work would look like, thinking about just where my passion was not, I knew that I would get burnt out so quickly. And I wanted to be in child and youth work. And I just felt like, the other part of me was just gonna want to take every single kid that was struggling in their home environment, or in the system home with me. So it's like, there's just gonna be there's got to be a different way, at some point later in my life, that I can just feel more fulfilled in this area, whether that's volunteering, or maybe being a foster mom later in life, who knows. But working with kids was, was the right, it was a good thing for you to be doing, but not as a career now, not as a career. And later on, I did become a volunteer youth leader for a while at churches, various churches that I went to. So I think that also just like helped fill where that may be void felt, or was, um, yeah, it was very interesting.

Jonathan Collaton:

All right. So then, like, what next? I mean, when you're, you've already kind of, you've had to reevaluate. What, twice at this point.

Kait:

Yeah. and I'm 18 years old,

Jonathan Collaton:

So you spend a year doing the, that. like,

Kait:

Leadership program

Jonathan Collaton:

church based leadership program. And then

Kait:

I was 17. When I graduated, I was really young, because I'm late birthday.

Jonathan Collaton:

Did you skip a grade?

Kait:

No, I have a late birthday. So 17 when I went into that leadership program, 18 when I went to Conestoga, oh, which it's no, like, I was 18 going on 19 when I had realized, okay, this is also not it. What am I going to do? Maybe I'm just not good at school. Like I thought, yeah, maybe some of the things I had thought secretly in high school, like, I'm not super book smart, I don't think in a way that like, will get me into university. So I just kind of, even in high school started taking just the college level classes, because it's like, yeah, you know, I don't have to try as hard. And I'm just not, I'm not good at school.

Jonathan Collaton:

Right? And then, like, knowing though, that and I guess, you know, kids don't like I don't recall myself thinking about this at 18. But like, you have to whatever you do next leads into the next 40 years worth of a career, or, as I think I'm proving by talking to people here. Not, that's not really the case, but but at 19 or so I'm sure that's what other people were were saying,

Kait:

for sure. So many people were kind of like, so what are you going to do now? Are you going to pivot and change what's going to happen, and I kind of just tried to dig back and think about how much I loved art, how much I loved fashion. And so I ended up applying to the Art Institute of Toronto for their fashion design program. And I moved in downtown Toronto, and started that program. And about a year and a half in again, I was feeling super creatively burnt out. And I loved the drawing portion. I loved my theory and art classes in that regard. But it was the sewing that was killing me. I couldn't keep up. I was doing fine. But I just was grumpy all the time thinking about my selling classes. So I was like, okay, like this art portion. I like some of the business classes that we've learned. So maybe I'll just shift into the business portion of this program. And then I moved to Vancouver and shifted to the Art Institute of Vancouver.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. Let's evaluate a lot because that's a big shift because Toronto to Vancouver. Like, that's a long, long, long way.

Kait:

Yeah.

Jonathan Collaton:

So what? How did that- there's got to be more to it than just....I just....Vancouver!

Kait:

Exactly. The Toronto Art Institute didn't have the merchandising and management program at their campus. They only had the fashion design and I was like well I need to be To transfer some of what I've already done, because it just felt, oh my gosh, I'm losing everything. I'm just making all of these wrong turns What is going on? I'm spending so much money on school and nothing's working so far. So I moved to Vancouver and I transferred, it also helped that my best friend was living there. And I had a bit of a pull too.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, I was gonna say like, at 21 or whatever. Yeah, time like to just, I'm just gonna move across the country and you know, figure it out. But like you had someone there.

Kait:

I had someone there. But the wild part is that we didn't know each other, we hadn't known each other for very long. But, you know, there's friends that you just click with in your life, and you're like, this is gonna be a friend for forever. And it's hard to say that when you're that young, but there's just that like bonding. She was like my sister already. I had when I was 20, just about 21 decided to take a month off. I was working at Starbucks at the time on friend street in Toronto. And I look back now and i think that i was just absolutely crazy. But I bought one of those 30 day bus tickets. And I took the Greyhound from Toronto to Calgary stayed for a couple days in Calgary with a friend that I knew that I had met through some local band in Canada. And then I got back on the Greyhound, maybe a week later and went out to Vancouver. And that was the first time that me and my now best friend met in person. We had been talking through MySpace.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, my god.

Kait:

what a throwback - for like six months. And so we met in person.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, we have to I have to point this out if there's any, like 20 year olds listening to this MySpace was Facebook before Facebook. So that's going way back.

Kait:

Yeah. And we were just connected through a band that we both knew. And we hung out for like a week she let me stay while her mom, let me stay at their house for the time that I was there. And we just got along so well that when I moved back I obviously like took time to see the campus also evaluated if I thought I would want to live in Vancouver. But when I got back, I was like I'm I need to move to Vancouver. I want to transfer for sure. Like this is definitely something that I want to do. I really loved it. I did have some family there too. But not not family I was super close with. So it was that girl that I had just met for the first time in person.

Jonathan Collaton:

Wow. You know, and one of the things that sticks out to that about their sticks out from that, to me is like how crazy expensive flights must have been that you took what I can picture probably being like a five day bus ride because that was a much better way to do it to get there

Kait:

Yeah, because I was a broke student. Yeah. Who was working at Starbucks? Yeah, so it was I think it was like $300 for a 30 day, anywhere in North America. In those 30 days Greyhound. Totally, it was a great deal. And in doing so. So I could go to Calgary see my friend there. Then I went to Vancouver. Then I went down to Seattle and saw a couple of friends there, came back up to Calgary, and then met chrissa, the first podcast guest in Manitoba for a night and we bust the rest of the trip back home together. So it was it was an interesting 30 days. And I look back now and I think where did I come up with this? Also thanks mom for letting me do this. But at the same time, I can't imagine being my poor mom thinking about me traveling at 20 years old on the Greyhound around Canada.

Jonathan Collaton:

And this would have been like, did you even have like a flip phone cell phone at this point of where you're calling from like Bell Telephone booths using a long distance phone ard?

Kait:

I think that I had one of those brick Nokia?

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, yeah,

Kait:

I had one of those. But like, I didn't text it would be a check in call every once in a while that Yeah, Mom, I'm alive.

Jonathan Collaton:

That's funny. This is like basically before text messaging was

Kait:

for sure. 100% because, yeah, texting was just not a thing. It'd be like you have this snake game on your phone. And that's it.

Jonathan Collaton:

Snake What a great game. That was right. Alright, so you get back from this 30 day adventure. And I'm curious, do you feel like did you do like a lot of growing up on that trip and it helps you really solidify what you wanted?

Kait:

Yeah, I feel like it helped me just feel more independent about moving across the country that like seeing someone there feeling like, okay, I do have a connection there. I can do this. I don't need to just like try and restart in fashion business at like Ryerson or something. And I probably won't get into Ryerson because I don't have University math or university English. So I just felt like that was really the solidification that I needed. Okay, so I moved out that just after Christmas That same year, which was 2000 and 6007. I can't fully remember now at this point, I think 2006. And I started in the business portion in merchandising and management at the Art Institute of Vancouver,

Jonathan Collaton:

How lnog of a program would that be?

Kait:

so since I had done some of it already, it was probably about, I think it was 15 months that I had left, they ran things a little differently. So you didn't have your traditional semesters, you would basically go year round, unless you, you had to apply to ask for us a term off. If that was something you were going to do, okay, but you'd start in January, that would go to maybe like, May and then you'd have a two week break. And then you would start your summer semester. And that would go to like mid October, you'd have another two week break or something it was it was kind of structured strange. Um, but I ended up finishing in June 2008. That'swhen I graduated. So I finished something!

Jonathan Collaton:

Congratulations. Hey, so you get through? And did you like want to stay in Vancouver? is you want to come back to, to Kitchener?

Kait:

Yeah, I loved Vancouver. I wanted to stay there. Um, so I did. And I started working in a merchandising role at Le Chateau.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay explaine merchandising. I think it's, I've heard one description of that before, but I'm not 100% sure,

Kait:

for sure. So basically, I was in charge of making the store look pretty. But add another level down from that, when you'd get new collections in and new march through the week, I would have to find a place for it on the floor to live. And for it to look good with other stories and collections. And obviously, there's the color stories that you have to bring together. There's outfitting any all of the mannequins accessorizing, all of them basically styling everything, making sure the windows were updated. And just making this store look inviting and nice for when customers came in and trying to encourage them to buy more things. Okay,so you're at Vancouver le Chateau? Yes.

Jonathan Collaton:

And was that a.... you know, whenever you get into your first kind of real job where you're like, this is my career. This is what I'm doing now. Yeah. I think in the very beginning, a lot of people are like, just happy to be doing the job, right. You're just happy you got something. And now you're probably making money and spending that money if I had to guess, yeah, enjoying your life. And I'm sure you had some maybe student debt based on like, I have no idea what the cost of something like an institute is compared to a traditional universe

Kait:

Far too expensive because it's a private school.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, that was what I was thinking. Yeah.

Kait:

I mean, I was still able to get student loans, thank goodness. But um, yeah, it's private school. So she had a private price tag.

Jonathan Collaton:

Not nice. All right. So the Atlas Chateau was, are you thinking like, we just happen to be there? Or were you already kind of thinking about like, oh, I'll do this for two years. And then I'll go on. Yeah, else did you have ambition in terms of what was next?

Kait:

Yeah, I was happy to be there. But I was like, Okay, this is gonna last for maybe a year to two years, I'll build my experience. And then maybe I can move into another merchandising role that's in charge of a little bit more, or a different store that has, because we didn't have too much merchandising going on in that store. It was a lot of just getting the product placed and making sure it looked good. But there's some stores that put a lot more work and effort into their merchandising, which then, yeah, so I wanted to do that. But I wasn't sure what that was going to look like just yet. I just wanted to get experience at that point. And I was open to things that came along that I could still do different creative work, like just I just wanted creative things to be coming my way. Basically. I at the time was working. No sorry, volunteering at a church as a youth leader and one of my other youth leaders. They were working at a different church doing a lot of their graphic design. Funny enough that this comes around again. And I was getting paid really very little Atlas shadow. So that was about a year and a half in starting to take its toll because I was like, not sure exactly what's going to be next I had asked where the growth opportunity was in That company and they were kind of like, you know, unlike three or four years, we could maybe think about getting you into another store or being a store manager. And I was like, I don't want to be a store manager, I want to continue Merchandising, and I want to stay creative. I don't want to just be a store manager worried about all of the sales, not like what I want to be doing. So my friends working for this church doing their graphics, but she's actually gotten another opportunity. And she's like, Look, I know that you went to school for fashion. But did you take any design classes as well? And I was like, Yeah, like I've done some and I had done taking some Illustrator and Photoshop classes. So I could do things, nothing super fancy, like a proper graphic designer. And I thought, well, maybe this could be just a way to make a little bit more money and get some office experiences. Well, if I wanted to maybe move up into the office of also a retail company later, I'm eventually going to need some office experience. So she ended up connecting me because she was leaving, and I had an interview, they hired me. And I did graphic design work and just print support for the church for about a year. And then they had to do some downsizing, because they were just changing structure of staff. And it was either a pay cut or get laid off.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. And this also had been like, right around the time the economy was in the tank?

Kait:

Yeah, it was like 2009 ish. So things were not great. So I was just also happy to have a job. Yes, um, because who, like, a lot of people didn't have jobs, and a lot of people found it hard to work. So I got this, and then they had to downsize. Like I said, maybe a year after I started, and it was okay, because the commute was kind of killing me, I was taking like three buses a day, one way to get to work, I'd start at like nine o'clock in the morning, and I was leaving my house, I think at 7;30 in the morning to get there because it was just in a completely different part of the city in or the lower mainland. So I was I was okay with the layoff. And I was like, okay, maybe I'll just look for work downtown again. And back to a store. And since I have a little varied experience, maybe I can set that trajectory a little bit better for myself to get into an office, sorry, a store environment that's then going to get me into one of their head offices or something like that. So I worked for Urban Outfitters then. And I was doing I was a merchandise team lead. So this was really cool, because we would actually build the displays. So it was a lot more hands on a lot more creative. So I really enjoyed that. There was a actual builder in our store, myself, and then the merchandise manager, and we would start at six o'clock in the morning and work till three in the day. But we had from six till 10 empty stores. So we would make really big changes installments and

Jonathan Collaton:

This would be amuch bigger physical footprint for the store, right?

Kait:

Yes, yeah,

Jonathan Collaton:

So there's a lot more stuff to actually do

Kait:

exactly. And the store that I was at was the size of it was what they'd call a B level sales store. But because we were actually the only Urban Outfitters in Vancouver, we had like a plus sales. So we had the A plus amount of merchandise coming in that we had to then fit and merchandise into the store. Right, right. So I thought this would be a great opportunity because they have a good progression for if you are a team leader, then you can move into an assistant manager manager position. And because they had a specific merchandising team, I was like, This is perfect. I can move into an assistant manager, assistant merchandiser position next. And that's more support with calls working with regional merchandisers, etc. And that sounded like a great trajectory for my want of being in retail but also doing merchandising and being creative. So when I was maybe six months, and I had one of my like, first performance reviews, and I got a little bit of a raise, which was still so little in the scale, I think I was then moved to 12.50 an hour

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, yeah. big money

Kait:

right. But it felt great because minimum wage, I think was like $9 at the time, which is crazy to think that someone can survive on that. Well, they can't. Um, so Yeah, I got moved to 12.50. And then I was told, you know, this is probably the top of the wage scale on your role. And I was like, Okay, so what are our next steps? Like, how can we get me into an assistant merchandising role, then how can I eventually grow and make a little bit more money and pay my student loans off? And they're like, yeah, yeah, like, we should definitely get you on that track. They would bring me into some meetings and things. And maybe another six to eight months down the road, there was a second store opening in kitsilano. And I was like, This is perfect. I can apply to be the assistant merchandiser there or the merchandiser. I've got experience, I understand the brand, I know how things are supposed to go. And me and a couple other girls were feeling the same. We wanted to grow. We're all team leads. We wanted to grow and lot, let's week maybe we can help open this new store. That'd be great if we could get into a growth area there. And we all were not told when interviews took place for these roles for these jobs that were opening up in the second store. And we were all very frustrated.

Jonathan Collaton:

Hmm. Because like you've expressed interest in them, they just kind of pass over you without even talking to you.

Kait:

Exactly. And it it was wasn't just me, they had done that for a couple other girls to me. Yeah. And so we were feeling a little discouraged. And we thought, well, maybe let's just we found out when the day was and we're like, they're open interviews, maybe we just go. So we did. And we had our little interviews. And then none of us were told anything later, it was just I look back now. And I'm like that was so shady. And so just rude. They didn't want to have that conversation. They don't want to have a tough conversation with us. And the promises that they had been making to all of us, they didn't want to acknowledge that they had been broken, because they didn't give us the next opportunity that came up. So these interviews happen. And our store is then the training store for the new store that's coming. And I'm assigned the new merchandise manager to train, for a month.

Jonathan Collaton:

What a slap in the face.

Kait:

Yeah. And I was just like, Okay, fine. Sure. I mean, I'll I'll do it because I'm being asked to do it. But I felt I was so, so bummed like I was hurt. And maybe two weeks into the training. I got along really well with this, this this merchandise manager, she was very nice and kind and I, I never I didn't take it out on her because it wasn't her problem. Obviously, they had her the store as a whole had hurt me and not helped me grow in that area. And she looked at me One morning, and she's like, why aren't you doing this job? She's like, you're so good at this. You're so good at remembering everything. You know, how things are going, you know, the urban way of doing things. She's like, why aren't you in this, this role? Did you not apply for it? And I kind of step back, and it's like, do I tell her? Do I not like, you know, I did apply for it. They didn't even give us the courtesy of telling us when interviews were happening. And so I would love to be in this role. But they didn't want me in this role. And she was just shocked one because she's like, That's crazy. You should totally be in it. And then she was like, you know, I if they're going to treat you that way, maybe you should also look for a company that is going to value what you obviously bring because they're not. They're not valuing what they have right now in you. I was like, that's incredible to hear from someone I just met two weeks ago, that I've been working with. Um, and I feel like that was kind of a catalyst to me to step back and think, am I just being a robot right now? Do they care? Will they ever care? Because I don't fully fit in with the clique of all of the merchandisers. My style is a little different. And I'm not buddy buddy with them all the time. So are they ever going to care about helping me grow in this? Because I'm not there, pal, necessarily, huh? And I was also working at a salon because broke life, and I wasn't getting paid much. So I thought, well, maybe I could just work full time at the salon instead. And so I explored that a little bit, but I still didn't feel like that wasn't I was feeling so disheartened by all of it and I was kind of getting to the point was like, I don't want to be in retail anymore because it's exhausting and It's hard. At the time I was working six days, sometimes seven days a week consistently between the two jobs. And Fridays were terrible. Because I'd wake up, sorry, I'd be at work at six o'clock in the morning, I'd finish at three, I'd start the salon at 330. And I would close for them at 10. So I'd get home until I get home at like 11 1130. And then I'd wake up the next day and open the salon. So it was just getting to be too much. And I was like, I need to go somewhere with that I'm gonna make this much or more money, and just pay my student loans off and figure it out from there. And if I maybe need to take a create a break from being in something that's creative, then so be it. If I can just like pay my student loans down for a little while, yeah, and reevaluate, because really, money becomes such a driving factor. Exactly, exactly. And I didn't want it too, but I was exhausted from being in that company from not being treated well not being supported. And just feeling like, Okay, I need to take some time out from this. Maybe I'll get into something else in a year or two, after I've had a chance to make a bit of money and pay down my student loans more.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. So how do you like he made that decision? But then you've got to find something that fits into.... I mean, were you open to pretty much anything at that point because you're just burnt out of what you've been doing?

Kait:

Exactly. I, I think it was about 25 or 26. Then at the time, and I was I was burned out for sure. So I was just like, you know, I did admin just fine. When I was at the church, I was good at it. I'm organized. I could maybe just take an admin role at an office somewhere downtown. And I found a firm of independent insurance adjusters small like maybe 18 or 20 people total with their adjusters and admin staff. And I got that job. And I worked there. I did. Great. Everybody loved me, I made a couple of good friends that worked there as well, and was totally happy and moved up within six months into a more supportive role taking on more responsibility. And then maybe another year down the road, I was supporting the CEO, I was his EA, I was doing all work that he had in scheduling all of his meetings, basically working a lot more specific, specifically with him supporting some of the admin staff to some degree, I was helping train some new admin staff that came in, which was really cool and interesting for me to do. I was supporting the account team too, so that it was just more work and more responsibility, and I loved it. And, but I was getting to the point where it's like, Okay, I've got this down. What's next? Like, what else can I take on here? What else can I be doing?

Jonathan Collaton:

Just did that kind of like recharge your batteries?

Kait:

Yes.

Jonathan Collaton:

I have to imagine that was much more of a nine to five. Typical.

Kait:

Absolutely.

Jonathan Collaton:

You had a Monday to Friday schedule. And so you know, you're not burning yourself out seven days a week closing and opening. It's very scheduled.

Kait:

Exactly. And reliable. consistent.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah.

Kait:

Like, consistent pay every time. Yeah.

Jonathan Collaton:

And I guess like busy season, there isn't the same as busy season in a store.

Kait:

Exactly. I got Boxing Day off.

Jonathan Collaton:

yeah. Oh, yeah. That's pretty good. Right?

Kait:

It was great. Um,

Jonathan Collaton:

It's funny, right? When you get those, the first time you ever get a certain type of day off? Because I came from, you know, I work at a university and I came from working in residence. And before that, I did orientation. And so I was always working Labor Day, every year. And then when I started working at UofT, our orientation started the day after Labor Day, and I was like, wait, I get a long weekend in September. What is this? This doesn't make any sense to me. So I remember that feeling so I can understand what you're saying.

Kait:

Exactly. Like there are a couple days lieu over Christmas that they just kind of closed in would give to us. Like I think Boxing Day Off was the biggest thing I was just like, I don't have to get up and be working all day with customers trying to return things and telling them that they're not allowed to return it right now and getting grouchy at us like

Jonathan Collaton:

I worked one Christmas at like future shop. Yeah. And I remember working 12 hours on Boxing Day like that's

Kait:

they're, they're terrible and I had been working them save for maybe one or two from when I was at the church since I was like 15 years old because I'd always been working in retail. Right right. So to not my first Boxing Day Off was such a glorious thing. I just remember getting up and just staying in my pajamas all day. I feel like I it was so great. Didn't have to be in Anywhere.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah and mad respect to anyone who is in that role doing that.

Kait:

Absolutely. I have such an appreciation for anyone who works in retail. Yeah,

Jonathan Collaton:

we try to not make your lives miserable because we've been through it

Kait:

exactly. Same with serving to make your life not miserable.

Jonathan Collaton:

I can only imagine never got into that. It would not be a good role for me.

Kait:

Eventually I will.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. All right. So you're in this very stable, stable job. And then he said, You were kind of thinking what's next?

Kait:

Yeah, what's next, um, and at that point, because they were such a small firm. What's next would be being the office manager. And the CEO had said, you know, like, I would absolutely love for you to be the office manager down the road some time he's like, but we, we can't fire the current person to have you in that role. And we don't have the money to put you in like an assistant portion nor the need, it just wasn't necessary. So it was basically like a waiting game to see when she would retire. And it got to a point where I wasn't being challenged as much. And my CEO and I, I'm thankful for the rapport we had built, because he was able to be very candid and open with me. And he said, He's like, you know, going back to school would be a natural next step for you. And you're like, again, exactly. It was like a what? Like, no,

Jonathan Collaton:

For what? Business administration?

Kait:

Yeah,business is what he had said he had gotten his Bachelor of Commerce, and he was an advocate for that. And he's like, it would be great for you to just learn a little bit more, you could move up in an Office admin role, just

Jonathan Collaton:

like, it sounds like he's.... like he wants you to grow. Yeah, but you can't do it here and so to do it somewhere else, you got to go to school first. So it's very much pushing you to succeed and do more and be better. Yes, but somewhere else

Kait:

Exactly.

Jonathan Collaton:

Because, you know, the interesting thing that you said there is like, they didn't have a need, right. So sometimes it doesn't really matter if your personality fits with the office, like if sometimes...you know, you weren't hired to be in a role that would eventually be promoted to that job. And so even if it turns out, wow, wouldn't this be a great fit? You know, like you said, it's just not necessary. They don't need you. And that's not a slight on, you, that's just based on, the fact that an office is only so big, they only need so many people doing a certain thing.

Kait:

Yeah,

Jonathan Collaton:

but it sounds like he was very supportive and saying, Oh, you could do this somewhere else. But if you get the formal education, that'll make it an easier path.

Kait:

Definitely. And that that's kind of where he was, he's like, you know, obviously, I don't want you to necessarily leave, because I love having you as a support for me, he had never had an EA before that. So I had created myself that role already. Um, but he's like, I understand that, you may not be able to get the growth that you want here for a while, because I feel like the office manager was easily 10 years away from retiring. So I'm not just gonna stay here for 10 years, even. And there are people that maybe would have, which is fine. It just wasn't, wasn't for me. And at around that same time, my best friend had decided to go back to school to finish her degree, she had taken some time off. And she had, I think she was taking one or two electives at the time. And something happened that I had never expected to happen. I got jealous of her doing schoolwork. And I was, I just felt this envy of her being able to be in this learning environment. And it felt so weird, because I was like, No, no, I'm not good at school. Remember? Like, you're not smart enough for that, remember? And I said that around her a couple times. And because I had talked to her about how the CEO, you know, said, school would be a natural next step for you. And she's like, Well, why don't you look into it? I was like, I don't know, like, that feels crazy to look into school, maybe like six years later after I've finished school? And what's that going to look like? How do I go back to school? I don't have the grades from high school to get into two places. I'm not good at school. And she's like, I'm gonna let you say that you're not good at school one more time. And then if you say it again, I'm going to start punching. Yeah, every time you say it. I was like, okay, she's like, you think you're not good at school, or you think that you don't have the smarts because you're not necessarily booksmart. She's like, but you just have to work a little harder at it. She's like, you're smart. You can do it. You just have to work a little harder. And she's like, I know you can do it. So with that encouragement from her, I was kind of like, okay, maybe, maybe they the CEO and my best friend have something maybe I can start to look into programs. So I started looking at different business programs. And I was like, how can I take something from what I've already studied, and make them match? And is like, well, maybe my Bachelor's of commerce and something maybe marketing that could work with, I've taken a couple of marketing courses already, that could work for retail in the future and not retail in a store. But like supporting a company later, or working with other a multitude of companies in marketing strategy later, that that could really work. That could be it.

Jonathan Collaton:

So you're kind of leaning back towards like, even though the idea of being an office manager had come up, and that was why he pushed you for school in the first place. Now that you're thinking about school, you're leaning back towards like, well, if I do it, then I can move up in the retail environment.

Kait:

Yeah,or just like,

Jonathan Collaton:

But corporate retail

Kait:

Exactly. Or I can get into like a marketing agency or something. Because I know I'm good in an office, I know I do well in this environment. And maybe I could just, I could work for an agency work with different brands work with different companies in marketing for support for that. And so I was like, Okay, I'll apply to some schools, I applied to some schools in Vancouver, and I applied to some schools here in Ontario. And I had looked, and I remember growing up, I always remember hearing, Humber was a really great college. And I thought they've got a great reputation there. They're the biggest College in Canada. They've got a multitude of programs, and sound really supportive for others, students and everything. And I applied to Humber I applied to Seneca and share it in I think it was

Jonathan Collaton:

Soall in Toronto, or GTA anyways

Kait:

yeah, all in GTA.

Jonathan Collaton:

And how long have you been in Vancouver at that point?

Kait:

At that point, I had been in Vancouver, like seven and a half years.

Jonathan Collaton:

So I guess why didn't you just look at colleges there?

Kait:

I was looking at colleges, there are to. They are structured differently. So here, you can go to a college and you can get a four year degree in Ontario. In BC, you can't. In BC I would have to go for three years and get an advanced diploma, and then transfer into, say UBC or SFU, because those are the two main universities in the lower mainland. And I would have to then take another two years to get my Bachelor's of commerce right there. So I was kind of like, one taking a bit longer. And I was already kind of dreading the fact that maybe I was going to be taking a four year degree. And two, I knew I wouldn't be able to get into so if you are UBC because I didn't have the high school grades, or the high school courses, period. Like I didn't have University math, and I didn't have University English. And those are both things that especially the math you needed for a Bachelor of Commerce program.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, so yeah, it's a, it's a lot to do with the academic side of things. And but I guess, the thing that I'm curious about is like, the move back across the country.

Kait:

Yes, well, my mom also was starting a new job in a Etobicoke. So I was like, if I move back to Ontario, then I can live with her.

Jonathan Collaton:

And Humber is in Etobicoke,

Kait:

Humber is in Etobicoke, or the other schools are in Toronto and close enough. So I had applied to those. And I had, I think I applied to Douglas as well, which is a college out in Vancouver, but I was also just really hesitant because it's like, I don't want to take five years. And I will have zero financial support out there for while im living

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, I wasjust gonna ask. Sounds like if you're moving to Etobicoke well, mom's here. And, you know, rents expensive.

Kait:

Yes. Especially in one of the most expensive to live in Canada

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah you move from one and most expensive cities to the other most expensive city.

Kait:

Exactly, exactly. Um, and I remember doing there's a cost calculator on the UBC website for what a four year degree off living off campus was. And it was something like $100,000 when they'd factor in rent and things like that.

Jonathan Collaton:

Cool cool cool coolccoll

Kait:

Yeah, no, like, that is not what I wanted.

Jonathan Collaton:

You're still repaying debt from The first college, or the second college

Kait:

Exactly. depending on how you look it. I'm not out of my student loans yet. I'm the whole school debacle in my early 20s. Um, so yeah, I'm at this point 28, turning 29 and thinking about going back to school, which was pretty daunting, and hoping that I have even the grades to get in to these Bachelor of Commerce programs that I'm applying. And the first school that I heard back from was Seneca. And I didn't get into the program that it applied. But then they're like, Oh, you can do the two or three year diploma and then transfer. There's like, No, that's notwhat I want.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, like we've been through this. Exactly. Not interested.

Kait:

Exactly. And I was just feeling really nervous then to hear back from Humber because That was the school I really wanted to go to. And I thought, well, if one of the schools I wasn't sure about going to or didn't care about as much said, No, what's Humber ging to think? So I did get in, thank goodness.

Jonathan Collaton:

As if Humber knows that Seneca said that. If Seneca doesn't want her, we don't want her. Exactly I don't think it works that way

Kait:

I know. But I just like got nervous anyway,

Jonathan Collaton:

Anyways, it doesn't matter you got in!

Kait:

doesn't matter I got in. It was a conditional acceptance that I had to take and pass the data management course. So me and math who were not friends had to become close friends for me to stay in the program.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, me and him are good friends either,

Kait:

right? I mean, I took college math in high school, I did great. But I also skipped like, probably 60% of my classes throughout the year, and I still did great. So that tells you, I just didn't care about applying. Um, so now I have this data management course that I have to take at night and balance, going back to school full time, feeling super overwhelmed, but feeling energized at the same time, because I'm excited about it.

Jonathan Collaton:

So wait they let you...it's conditional acceptance. But they let you concurrently take the course

Kait:

Your first semester.

Jonathan Collaton:

So so like you had to take data management while starting at Humber. But if you didn't pass data management, they would kick you out of Humber.

Kait:

Yep.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, that's fun. That sounds great.

Kait:

Yeah.

Jonathan Collaton:

So I'm surprised I would have thought it would be like, take it in the summer before starting in the fall.

Kait:

Yeah. And I moved back to Toronto in November of 2014, with courses starting January 2015. So I started that winter semester, I took data management, I was supposed to do five full time courses in my degree, but I was just like, I had started. And in the first week, I just thought, No, there's no way I'm going to be able to take this work, and do well in this data management course, because I'm super nervous to be talking about anything that might have to do with statistics.

Jonathan Collaton:

And then like data management is arguably the most important there. Yeah. Because that's all the marks don't matter if data management doesn't pass or whatever the grade, they said you have to get. You got to focus on that. So would you drop down to four course?

Kait:

Yeah, exactly. I dropped my elective. And I was like, I can make up this elective somewhere, somehow. Yeah, exactly.

Jonathan Collaton:

You're also working, though, you said

Kait:

yes, I was working as well. I was a host at milestones. And I was like, this could be a way for me to then start serving my best friend had served at some some point when she was in her her back to school. And I was like this, you can make some good money this way. I'll start hosting, and then I'll move into serving and just support myself that way through school. The difference too, for me this time around at Humber versus Conestoga is I had seen how some of my friends got super involved in student life in their university paths. And I thought that I want to do it this time, I want to get involved in school. I want to be in student life. I want to get that support system. But then I thought, I'm so much older than most of these people. how's this going to work? Like, how am I going to relate to them? I was feeling a little bit nervous and scared for that. So before I actually started in January, I was looking at different programs that Humber offered to support first year students. And I saw that there was a leadership academy, and also First Year Experience Program. And so I signed up for the first year experience program. And I signed up for the Leadership Academy, who they actually had been having, or they were going to have a retreat that January, for everyone who was involved with it, you I think they took 70 people total. So I applied for that. And I was like, this could be great. It's three weeks into me starting school, this could be a great connection for me to get to know some students on campus and just start to get involved. And I was highly encouraged by a friend Carissa who had been super involved.

Jonathan Collaton:

That's how me and Carissa became friends. We wereinvolved in orientation.

Kait:

Exactly. So I was like, No, I need to just do this. I'm terrified but I need to do this. My social anxiety was feeling it but I was just like, you know, it's it's worth it. I x was accepted. I was told that I could go on the retreat. It was free, by the way, which was amazing. We went up to Muskoka to a YMCA camp for two nights overnight did some winter activities had. We did the strength quest testing and then had different workshops on that bunch of different breakouts. It was it was amazing. And when I got back, I was like, Okay, I need to get more involved in the First Year Experience Program. Because I had met one of the coordinators, who later became one of my bosses on the retreat, and we connected really well. And so I got involved with that. And then she had said to me a couple months later, she's like, you should really apply to be a senior peer mentor. It's an on campus job that you can get paid for. And it's in student life. And she's like, I think you'd be really great. And I was like, well, but I'm, I'm older, how am I going to relate? She's like, No, we need, we have a need for mature students. And to get that, that voice and connection to some of the other mature students on campus. And so I applied and I was accepted to be a senior peer mentor. That was in April, and I would start that September. School was going well, I had really, really enjoyed it. I in my first semester, I was taking my an organizational behavior class. And this was another pivotal changing moment for me. Everything about this class, I just wanted more of the leadership, the teams, the just support of a workplace and staff within a workplace. It was so interesting to me, and I went to the prof I think on like the third class at the end. It's like, what else do you teach? Because he was a phenomenal Prof. So energized and really engaging with students, and just so passionate about what he taught. And so I asked him, What else do you teach? I want to take more classes from you specifically. And he's like, oh, like, what program? Are you in? It's like, I'm in marketing right now. And he's like, interesting. Okay, well, I am in the HR business. cohort are like, there's certain teachers that taught all HR. He's like my other class that he teaches compensation. He's like, you can only take that if you're in the HR stream. I was like, oh, okay, well, like I guess, maybe not. And, and he's like, but tell me about, like, what you like so much about this class? Like, where? Why are you? Why are you asking this? And he's like, why don't we have a sit down and just talk about where you want to go while you're here in school? And like, what, where do you see ending up after? And I was like, hmm, good question. I'm not fully sure at this point, everything feels like a whirlwind. And

Jonathan Collaton:

because you're like, that would have been what week one or even two? Maybe

Kait:

that was like the first max month Yeah, of being back to school. And I had told I explained that to him. And he was like, Okay, all right. No problem. And I was like, I apologize for like my first paper, because it might not be great, because I haven't written a paper in eight years. And I my first paper, I got 95%, by the way.

Jonathan Collaton:

Wow. Pats on the back.

Kait:

Thank you. Yeah, I was very happy. And it was in his class. And after reading that class, that paper, he was like, you should really consider HR. He's like, I don't want to push you into it. I want it to be your decision. He's like, but think about it. And I was kind of like, well, what, what's HR besides hiring people and pushing paper? Like, what? Come on What else is HR? And he just kind of explained, he's like, come to my office, we'll have a chat. And I'll tell you more about HR in general. And he's like, make an appointment with the program director, and speak with her about different career paths in HR, and see what you think of it. And he's like, because I said, it was like, I still want to be able to be creative. I still want to have that creative mindset. That's why I want marketing. He's like, there is so much opportunity for creativity in HR. And he's like, come on, are you serious? I just didn't believe him, because they just didn't know the vast depth that HR actually had.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, I mean, I didn't believe that before this convo, but I feel like at the end of it, I will. So, explain this to me.

Kait:

Yeah. And yeah, and that's what my paper was on to it was about creativity in the workplace, and how can you foster creativity in the workplace as just a regular workplace place versus a creative agency? So I got started, I think to get my mind open a bit more. And I spoke to the program director, and she said, You know, there's, there's training and development, there's consulting, there's recruitment, there's performance management, there's compensation, there's so many different areas that are that are HR. And it's so much more than just offering a job helping people get fired, when you obviously don't want to work on terminations and things like that. And just pushing paper like it's more than that bureaucracy. And so I thought about it a little bit more, like I don't know, we'll see I have a term class that we all have to take next semester. I'll see you how I like that intro. And I really liked that intro. And I ended up switching over. At the end of my first year, I think it was into the HR stream. And I never looked back, I was so happy. I loved my classes. They were just so exciting to me training and development. I mean, there were some that were boring. Like, I didn't love necessarily our policy class, but I loved the process. So she helped make it and helped make it. You know, it's work that you have to do because you do support policies. And you do help write policies. Yeah, it was just so interesting to me. It was such a wide variety of things. health and safety. Yeah, Performance Management.

Jonathan Collaton:

Great. I loved it. All right. So then you you stuck with that program. Yeah. You see it all the way through? How long did it end up being then?

Kait:

So technically three and a half years since I started in January, and I worked, I had courses through the summer. So in 2018, I graduated, and I had been involved in student life the whole way through. I worked at milestones, and I worked at school on campus. And being on campus and being involved with student life was so amazing. It really supported me throughout my school journey, and opened up a lot of doors that have now helped me even just get to where I am just in the first couple of years of my career.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, how so? So I mean, obviously, I'm a huge supporter of student life, but tell the people.

Kait:

Yeah, so again, I was in the Leadership Academy, when I went to that retreat, and there was another program that kind of went along with it that you finished throughout the next year or so. And then I became closer with the person who ran that program. And she said that she was going to start doing more facilitation workshops. And she's like, would you want to be a facilitator for some of these, because as a senior peer mentor, I started doing in class workshops, which was terrifying at first, because I wasn't good at speaking in front of the classroom. And it was super nerve racking. And I didn't know how I would do it. But I just as I started doing more, I started getting better at them, I started feeling more comfortable. And realizing that I'm my own worst critic, and students probably are only half paying half attention in the first place. So they're the perfect audience to start to feel a little more comfortable with giving presentations. And because I had been working through student life, the whole time in the same department, I really got to know my coordinator one well, and she would put me forward for different things. And she'd come to me to say like, you know, I know you're really good at this. Can you help with some extra on this project? And I'm going to give another shout out to Shawn Carson, because Nadia shouted him out in her podcast. And he was also something a catalyst for another part of school that I could get involved with. He was approached by I think it was the academic dean, when they were starting to do the strategic plan, and asked, Do you know any, like students who might be a good representative for the Lakeshore Campus that you would want to put forward? And he's like, yep, I absolutely do. And then he called me in and sat me down. I was like, so there's this opportunity. You can help form the strategic plan for the next five years for the college. And I put you forward as a student Rep. I was like, so amazed and thankful. And it was such a cool experience to work with high level admin, and VPS, within the school different profs, and there was a North Campus and a Lakeshore Campus student wrap on each. And just to kind of get into that strategy thinking that HR was already starting to train me for that I was learning about my theory, helping reset the and reevaluate the values of the university. Yeah, sorry, the college.

Jonathan Collaton:

Sounds very much this sounds very much like your co-op experience. It

Kait:

was a support, supportive to my co op experience, we get it right. And yeah, we had a mandatory internship that we had to do between our third and fourth year. And because of some of these doors being opened, and because of getting to know the campus so much better and how everything worked. I actually got one of the coveted internships for Humber working in the HR department. And it was an amazing opportunity that I met a lot of really great people and inspiring, like HR people to see business partners, a change management person who I just adored learning about another aspect of HR that I didn't really know as much about and yeah, so that was really amazing. And, and I think it was about a year that I was on the committee for the strategic plan. And then we were able to launch it. And it was cool to be a part of that and see how the professors and support staff and students just received the strategic plan and saw the how they could fit into that. And then I graduated. And I got a small contract in the HR department at Humber. Because

Jonathan Collaton:

no kidding. And when you say it open doors for you

Kait:

exactly they knew me.

Jonathan Collaton:

knew me or known quantity, they're a known entity, they know who you are. And so you apply and they're like, Hey, we know her.

Kait:

Yeah, exactly. And they're like, Yeah, absolutely, we would love for you to work with us. And even it was a there, we're working on a project in the HR department. So they had a bunch of shifts. So it was just a contract for a couple months. And it was a great foot in the door to get that title of HR coordinator on my resume. And after that, I worked for a nonprofit. And my boss, there was amazing, he was super supportive that even though I was maybe four months out of graduation, he brought me into everything he supported. My idea is he wanted to hear my feedback on the different policy changes that we were going to be making. And it was just the two of us in the team. And he was very much a We are the team we are equal, even though I'm your director, and just super great to have that support in one of the first roles into HR. And it felt so reassuring, unlike most of what I had felt previously, when I had finished school, or like bumping around. So it just helps solidify that I was in the place that I needed to be and that, yes, it took a while to get there and a lot of trial and error to get there. But I was there. And it was exciting. And now I can be in this for the rest of my career. But there's still so much opportunity in different areas of HR. Like I've just recently, about a week and a half ago, started a course in continuing ed at Boise. And I always forget the full name for them Ontario

Jonathan Collaton:

Institute of studies in education. Yeah, I know, because I took one course that I decided, not for me

Kait:

which is totally fair. And mine's continuing ed right now. So I feel like it's also not a full on Master's Course, necessarily, but it's just easing you in. It's a certificate in adult learning and development, which will help support for facilitation and training and development, which I would love to get into and learn more about and develop my skills further. Because I always enjoyed the facilitation of workshops when I was in student life, I never thought that I would say that. But I just really loved being able to be a support in someone's learning and growth and development in their career. And so that is something that's super exciting. And that's something where creativity comes into because you're developing courses, you're thinking about the learner, and putting yourself in their shoes to say, How can I meet their learning needs from when they're from such diverse backgrounds? So you have to really engage a problem solving and creative thinking, to be able to make sure that you're helping support all of the learners that you have.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, yeah. So a lot of certainly a lot of diversity and what you need.

Kait:

Yeah, exactly. And so I think that my skills that I've developed through all of the school through all of the jobs, even though they might not be directly helping, they've helped me grow, and they all still tie in to what I'm doing now. And truthfully, I was inspired to look at Boise and their continuing ed, because of Nadia's podcast when she was talking about her continuing ed that she took Boise Well, I have to tell Nadia she gets a shout out on this. Exactly. Yeah, because I know, I do want to take my Masters down the road, but I'm not totally 100%. And where I would like to go in that if if I want to do organizational development or change management, or just like HR specific masters, so it would be more broad. That's where I'm kind of thinking, you know, this certificate will help in the meantime, it's a bridge, it's going to develop me and add to my skills and my knowledge in the meantime, and I can get to a little bit deeper into something without committing to a master's program. Yeah.

Jonathan Collaton:

And I, I know like now you're working at a university in HR. And so I something that came up in one of the recent interviews is like the companies will support your growth. So I maybe, you know, the fact that you work at the university makes it a little more palatable to go back to school because you're not paying for the whole cost of that yourself i imagine.

Kait:

Exactly. Yeah. And that would be if I'm able to stay, I'm on a contract right now, at the university for an extended period of time that I know, I could start maybe their HR master's program part time. And it would ease the financial burden greatly. Even with the course that I'm taking right now they have a fund that you can apply to in my role designation, that they have just continuing growth development outside of the university as well, because they have top like, learning and development courses on campus that you can take. But they also want to support the growth of their staff and them gaining new skills and knowledge.

Jonathan Collaton:

Mm hmm. Yeah, definitely. Okay, so, all this time, you jumped around a few different, a few different tries at school until now, you found the thing that it sounds like, this is what you want to be doing. Long term.

Kait:

Definitely.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. So you've got your your career you're set. And you never know maybe some of this graphic design, retail merchandising stuff, maybe some of that will come back in the future. But for now, you've found a place you're happy with?

Kait:

Yeah, very much. So. And, yeah, in at this point, I just look to the future. And I think I want to take my Masters, I want to still continue to develop and just grow in my skills in HR eventually get into maybe one or two specific areas that I support. And in a dream world, I'd love to work in consulting for HR. One of my favorite projects for school was our capstone. And we worked with a nonprofit, and helped them on their recruitment strategy on their training and development and conflict resolution. And it was so tangible to be using the courses that we had just taken to help solve an actual company's problems and support some of the things that they were struggling and needed a little bit of extra help with. So I would love to do that in the future.

Jonathan Collaton:

Great. So so you're happy where you are. You've got good future plans. And yeah, after all that time, like it all worked out.

Kait:

Exactly. We're finally here.

Jonathan Collaton:

Great. Amazing. Well, thank you so much for sharing that whole experience. Because I think we can very much tell I'm sure people were listening to this be able to tell that you were passionate about different things at different times. And like it's not, there's no sort of the uncertainty goes away, and then you find the thing that works for you. So thank you so much.

Kait:

Yeah, no problem. Thank you.

Jonathan Collaton:

All right. So that has been Kait's career path so far. And she has certainly had some crossroad moments. So what have we learned today? Sometimes, you have to try a bunch of things before you figure out the right path for you. Caden some experiences with post secondary education that either didn't work out, or didn't exactly lead to the job she ultimately wanted. But she also had some great experiences with further education. And you heard right near the end, where Kate said that she's taking another course right now and she's considering doing a master's program at some point down the line. What I take from that is that kid didn't let the negative experiences get her down. from leaving school to starting another program to transferring to graduating and starting a program again, all those experiences got K to where she is today. She realized she just wasn't ready when she made some of those earlier choices in life. She was young, and we all make mistakes, especially when we're young. But things have changed. During me and Kate's conversations somewhere after the 59 minute mark for the interview, she said she transferred to HR at Humber and never looked back. It took her 59 minutes of explaining her career path to get to a point where she felt totally confident that the decision she made will lead her down a career path with the growth that she's looking for. Those 59 minutes represent years and years represent experience experience that has better prepared her for the career and human resources that she has now set herself up for. So if you or someone you know is worried that it's too late to go back to school to start a new career path, it's not. In addition to all that experience, Kate has had something else working in her favor as she figured out her career path. She's been surrounded by good people who want the best for her the entire time. First her friend who got her the graphic design job at the church, the merchandising manager who told her to get a job where she'd be treated fairly. The CEO who told her to consider going back to school and her best friend who told her that she could succeed with more schooling if she just put her mind to it. Then Amber's the unnamed coordinator at Humber who got involved in student life and finally her professor who told you She should consider a career in HR. That's a lot of people who all directed her towards where she is at today. None of those people could impact her life the way they did until she actually met them. And for most of them, she didn't know them for very long before they started to push her to do more. So what can you do? surround yourself with good people who want the best for those around them? Maybe at some point, they'll tell you what you need to hear. That's all for this week's episode of career crossroads. Check out our Instagram account career underscore Crossroads or the career Crossroads podcast page on LinkedIn to get involved in discussion about each episode. And if you like the podcast, please share it with a friend. As I said in the intro next week, we actually will hear my interview with well to find out how he ended up as a full time content creator on YouTube and Twitch.