Yemi – Accounting to Economics, In Three Countries

Yemi – Accounting to Economics, In Three Countries

#18 - Growing up in Nigeria, Yemi Timson aspired to achieve greatness. Despite her parent's wishes that she become a doctor, she had an interest in accounting and economics and completed a diploma at the University of Jos. While considering further education in accounting, she began to look to the career of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Managing Director of the World Bank as a template for what she should aspire to be. A promotional video with jet skis from Eastern Mediterranean University convinced her to do a degree in Cyprus and on her first day she switched into the economics program to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala.  After 4 years in Cyprus, a Master’s degree was in the cards, and Carleton University in Canada was offering a full ride! Three provinces, her first experience with snow, and three jobs later, she is now working as an Economist for the Government of Alberta. Will she ever make it to the World Bank like Dr. Okonjo-Iweala? She hopes!

If you want to listen to Yemi's podcasts, you can find Tunuka Media here: https://taplink.cc/tunukamedia

Yemi’s Instagram and Twitter - @MyPixelJourney

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The below transcript is A.I generated with light editing and may not be 100% accurate.

Transcript
Jonathan Collaton:

Good morning, good afternoon or good evening, you're listening to career crossroads. And if you're new here, welcome. And if you're not new, welcome back. My name is Jonathan Collaton and this is my podcast where I talk to one person each week to find out all the decisions that led them to their current career. This week I speak to Yemi, who is an economist who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, but Yemi is from Nigeria. So how did a career path take her all the way to Edmonton? Let's listen in and find out. And when she's done, as I do every week, I'll share some things that I think we can learn from Yemi. Yemi. Welcome to career crossroads, we've been dealing with a little bit of technical difficulties, but we have solved it. And we are good to go.

Yemi Timson:

Exactly. Thanks for having me.

Jonathan Collaton:

I'm really excited that you wanted to be on this show. So we got connected at vid Fest, which was a conference we both attended about a month ago, right around four or five days long, I had a great experience.

Yemi Timson:

Me too, me too.

Jonathan Collaton:

It was it was so valuable, I got to see all these great sessions about how to try and turn a podcast into maybe a video podcast and, you know, leverage different social media platforms and stuff like that. So super valuable. And on top of that, I met you and somebody else who's going to be interviewed for this podcast. And when you reached out, and you told me you had this podcast that you were doing, and I listened to it, and I heard that you had a good recording microphone, and then I looked you up on LinkedIn. And I saw what I saw enough to be like, oh, wow, I gotta talk to her. This is gonna be interesting. So so I'm super thrilled for us to chat today. So I always start off with all my guests by just talking a little bit about kind of your background. And because we usually start our career path somewhere towards the end of high school, I like to know in high school, what were you like, Where were you living? What influenced you all that kind of stuff?

Yemi Timson:

Oh, for sure. Again, thanks for having me. So I am Nigerian by birth. And of course, that's where I grew up. So I went to a high school called Queens College. Yaba Lagos. Yaba Lagos is the location where it is. And it's in Lagos, Nigeria. And so it was a boarding school. It wasn't as good to go home and come back, you stay there for a couple of months. And then you go home. And there was a day aspect where you had some students who would go back and forth, right. So those are the students who primarily live in Lagos. But because I lived in a different city, I was a boarder. And so in high school, I was I think I'm pretty much the same as I am now. A little bit rambunctious, a little bit nosy, but sometimes quiet as well, there's a little bit of an ambivert. But even then, if I said, I knew what I wanted to be, when I grew up, I would be absolutely lying. I knew I wanted, I'm driven and I knew I wanted to be successful in whatever I was going to do. But like most 16-17 year olds, I was, essentially Hurry up and get me out of here. That was right. But the way it works in Nigeria, in high schools, we have what we call the junior secondary and Senior Secondary School, which is closer to the English, European English way of doing things because we were colonized by Britain. So in the Senior Secondary School, which I believe is close to the senior high, over here in Canada, you get to choose whether you want to go down to science path, or the more arts path. And artists just another way for say not science. Gotcha. So for me, I absolutely loved biology. I absolutely, like love so many things that had to do with it. I think that was one of my highest scoring subjects. And so everyone thought, oh my god, you're going to be a doctor. But here's the trick. I hate it. I still do. I hated chemistry so much.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, that being a doctor from what I have taken from talking to other people requires a lot of prescribing medications and things likethat and that requires an understanding of the chemistry of those medications. So I certainly see how that's a barrier to being a doctor.

Yemi Timson:

Yeah, I could do it. I just hated it. And I'm not sure how your listeners feel about stuff like this. But for me, I'm a little bit of a visual learner.

Jonathan Collaton:

I'm the same way

Yemi Timson:

With biology, I can see it. I can touch it. If you tell me you have your eyes, you have your you know all the parts of it. You know, your nose, your mouth, and I could visualize it. With chemistry, you have these things that are supposed to be round and they have atoms and like all the things, I'm just like, why is this thing binding with this other thing? Just stop. Right? Anyway, before I ramble on too long, essentially, at that point, I decided I was going to do the arts route. I still, I still read a lot about like, biology and I find it still fascinating because I, I still love it. But I went to art route with a focus and accounting and economics, simply because I didn't want to deal with chemistry anymore. I was done.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, it's, uh, it's interesting, when you have to kind of make that call, like, do you want to end up studying something that you're going to regret years later? Because, well, you know, it would lead to a good career. It's, you're not gonna be happy doing it. Right. So you ended up picking? Would you say it's the arts route, and it's finance and accounting?

Yemi Timson:

Yeah, those aren't. So the science route takes you biology, physics, chemistry, but the art route now I have a funny story about that. I always funny stories

Jonathan Collaton:

This is a funny story, podcast. I want Funny,

Yemi Timson:

I have a funny story about that. So in when you're going from your junior to your senior year, you have to go talk to a guidance counselor. And so what the kind of guidance counselor does is that they let your parents sit outside because it's supposed to be your choice. But we all know your parents talk to you before you get there. We all know you get the ears drawn, you know, you're gonna be a lawyer, you're gonna be a doctor, you're gonna be an engineer. So what happened was because as I said, I am a little bit less a little, a little kind of, I'm still a little stubborn, maybe just a little bit. So I remember just before went in, cuz, you know, I was killing biology. But so my mom was like, you know, we're really like, used to be a doctor. I was like, my dad's like, yeah, yeah, yeah, we should do this. I was like, Huh. So of course, they don't typically like the parents inside. My mom is super persuasive. She kind of got in, but they were like, okay, you come into the room, but you don't talk because we have to talk and counsel her. And then it has to be her choice. And so, being the human that I am, before we got in, I was like, Oh, sure. I'm gonna do the medical route. Yeah, sure. And as we got in the first thing I said was, and I looked, I had this ridiculous smirk on my face. I looked at my mom, because I knew she couldn't say anything. And I said, economics. And you can see her face like, it's like

Jonathan Collaton:

so. So they're actually sorry, they in the room with you. And they just aren't supposed to say anything. They're

Yemi Timson:

not supposed to say anything.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, my.That's, that's, yeah, that's a bit different. That is not what my experience was like visiting my guidance counselor in high school. So like, what is the percentage of parents who don't say anything? Did they get kicked out? If they say something,

Yemi Timson:

they're typically not even supposed to be in the room. But I think my mom was super persuasive. When she got into the room. I think sometimes they allow as long as the parents promises to keep quiet.

Jonathan Collaton:

And so you knew that she wasn't gonna say anything.

Yemi Timson:

I knew that.

Jonathan Collaton:

You were gonna do what you wanted to do.

Yemi Timson:

I did. So I was like economics, accounting. Literature.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, yeah, literature. That's like the farthest thing from Dr.

Yemi Timson:

And then I could see she was getting so mad, like, Oh, my God. But you know what she now said, like, towards the end, she now said, She's like, oh, excuse me. Can I talk? And the lady was like, fine. Sure. And she's like, can you leave one spot for me? So you have to choose nine courses. But before your final final exam, which is what I think here, it's this. I don't know if it's SATs in Canada, because I didn't do high school here. But it's close to what will call your school Leaving Certificate to leave high school to get to university.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, it'd be SAT's in the US. In Canada, we don't actually have a test when you're doing High School, you just apply to each university or college you're interested in based on your high school grades?

Yemi Timson:

Oh, that's a better

Jonathan Collaton:

lesson earned.

Yemi Timson:

Exactly. So the school even said to me, which would have been a clue into the SAT? I think we had to do you had to take six, I think it was six courses that you had to sit on, right? If I remember if someone in Nigerian here then is not correct. It's been a long time since high school. So it's six courses or so. And then you had but for your three years before getting there, you had to take nine courses. And you could drop on each year until you got to the course six or so that you had to take for your exams. And so I kept going and I could, you know, the funniest thing is, you can kind of see the thought patterns forming in my mom's head like you could I could see her thought patterns forming and she's like, Okay, can you please leave a spot for me and it's a course she can drop my teeth. My counselor was like, Okay, sure. So, at the end, my mom looked at me and she smiled, you know, the kind of smile like after being snarky and everything, so she smiled, and she's like, further mathematics. So further math is the furthest thing from the arts field. But it is also Advanced Math.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, yeah. So so even basic math was never my strong suit back at that point in my life. So yeah, that would scare the hell out of me.

Yemi Timson:

So basic math. So basically, with arts most people just take the basic math, but what science is you have to take both basic and advanced. Okay, so my mom just said, Oh, further math, right. And then as we walked out of the room, she's like, yeah, me. You will not drop that course. till you're you're about to write your final final like your wife exams. She was not kidding. She's like, if you ever fail it, I will hold you back a grade.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, that is extreme.

Yemi Timson:

That was my punishment. But you know, the funniest thing how life goes, you know? What, like, life, goes really funny. I actually did much better, and further math than I did in basic math. And I'm not sure why maybe it was a fair of my parents.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, I'm gonna, I don't know you that well, but I'm gonna put that one right up there.

Yemi Timson:

Or it was just the idea. Like it was for me, I just found it like, I don't know, I did much better in further than basic math. And as I've gone on in life, especially as I went further, and went into economics as a field, that was more helpful than basic math, because core economics is advanced math, which I didn't know. But you know,

Jonathan Collaton:

yeah. No, that's a good, that's a good story. And I think, like one of the things I'm realizing hearing that that's probably the longest I've spoken to anybody so far, but high school, but but it has, like you are recognizing even now that that one course that your mom made you take

Yemi Timson:

made

Jonathan Collaton:

the thing that made you take under threat of basically home imprisonment for a year, I held back or grade, whatever it's gonna be. That is the thing that ends up being so beneficial to you now. Yeah. So anyway, I guess, as you're wrapping up all those courses, and then you mentioned, test for certificate that's kind of like the SATs. So what's the what's your kind of Route then after you've taken all these courses into further education.

Yemi Timson:

So after I took those courses, what I did was I said wait works. So I never really, really intended on schooling abroad for my university. But the Nigerian education system has its own faults, where sometimes getting into university can be super hard, or, you know, university goes like sometimes on strikes and things like that. So by the time I wanted to go directly in there was that I had to have a gap year. So I finished I finished school high school a year earlier, like I was younger than my peers. But I had a gap year where I just kind of stayed at home, which is honestly was really good for me. And at the end of the day, because you know that having that mental break. I didn't know I needed it, but I kind of did. And so at the same time, so what I did after that, I went to a school called University of Jos. It's located in plateau state, Nigeria. And so where that what that is was a two year Diploma in Business Administration. At that point, I had kind of decided I wanted to be an accountant. And so that's why I went to that route. So it was a two year course. I went there. So that's kind of the route I took. Now I have another funny story. I have them is like I have pivotal points in life right

Jonathan Collaton:

before it before you just get into that what would be the age you would have been when you finish that to your diploma.

Unknown:

So I finished a two year diploma, I would have been 20. I would have been 20.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, so it's pretty much similar to if you're in high school in Canada and went to college for two years, you'd come out at 20 give or take. So I just wanted to see if it all lined up. All right. Yeah. Funny story.

Yemi Timson:

Yeah. So I would have been 20 when I came out. And it was interesting, because at that point, I was super gung ho about being an accountant, you know, and the only reason I wanted to be an accountant was because, and I missed this when I spoke about high school. But in high school at first, when I first moved into the arts, I struggled with accounting. But the problem was when I went to meet my teacher, he had a preference for a certain set of students who were paying him for extra lessons. Okay, so, again, I said story. So, this this teacher and I remember his name, but I want It mostly because it's burned into my marriage because I had this like resentment. So there were students. So you could I don't even know I'm already resentful. So there are some students, some teachers that would take you extra lessons, you know, to help you bump up your grade or not to bump up your grade, but just to help you do better. But I found that every time I went to ask him questions, he wouldn't be as responsive, then he'd be like, well, you should come for like the extra lessons. So I'm like, I don't want to pay you for something that should technically be your job. Again, I said, I've always been stubborn, probably always will be. And so what I did was I essentially ended up teaching myself the course. And so because of that, like I learned it at my pace, because I could visualize it my way. I became really good at it. To the extent that I kind of wanted to do it like in your face. You know,

Jonathan Collaton:

I'll show you I'll do it on my own.

Yemi Timson:

Exactly. So when I went by time I went to this diploma program. I was like, Oh, I really like accounting I'm really good at I'm just gonna do it. But two things happened. So I saw this picture, cartoon depiction of an accountant with suspenders, and a little bit of a hunch over a bunch of papers somewhere in the basement. And it was like supposed to be some kind of cartoon depiction of accounts. I was like, I don't want to look like that. So that was the first thing. It wasn't a newspaper. And the second thing is the lady I was living with. Her mom is an economist. And she's a PhD in economic economics. And so she made this comment about how not everyone could make it in economics, because it's not for everybody. It's only for the elite of the most elite. And I was like, I could do that. Because we're having a conversation. I was like, I could do that. She's like, No, you know, that just not that you couldn't do it. It's just like, accounting is easier outs and economics? Probably not. I was like, What are you talking about? So I held that in my heart. I finished my course. And so that that was a two, those are two things that eventually played into my decisions when I got into university proper after okay.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, so. So yeah, you have these interesting experiences of things you saw and things people said to you. And you do that two year business diploma. And when you come out of that was the idea to immediately look for work, or you mentioned, university proper, I think is what you said. So were you immediately looking at further education right away?

Unknown:

Yes. So the diploma wasn't my ideal choice, it was essentially supposed to be rather than waiting at home, because as I said, sometimes getting into university in Nigeria can be challenging. So rather than waiting at home for two plus years, you know, just essentially just chillin. I didn't want to do that. I took some time. So again, there was like a three, almost a three year gap. So I took some time at home, but I got into this diploma program, just almost like a bridge, just so just so that I wouldn't have to stay at home. My goal was always to go into university and get an undergraduate degree. So yeah, after the diploma program, I move straight into an undergrad. I think I had like a week break between my diploma. Yeah, like I'm because I got my admission into Eastern Mediterranean University located in North Cyprus, in the Mediterranean. And so I got my admission and the visa. And so with those visa, sometimes they give you. So by the time he arrived at my parents house, it was a week to expiry. Right, so so I essentially just yeah, so I had to get into the country before the visa expired. So I essentially.

Jonathan Collaton:

So like that's a fascinating story, because I'm sure there's a lot of people that listen to this, who've never had anything like that happen to them. Yeah, a lot of a lot of the friends I was interviewing when I started this podcast, where people went to university with me, and they weren't people who were worried about international student visas or anything like that. So that's a totally different experience. Yeah, I do want to explore how did you end up picking Cyprus to go for university because there's got to be a story there is because I mean, like Cyprus to me. I knew Cyprus, I studied history. And so I know Cyprus from like the ancient world, or not even the ancient world, but like the era of the crusades, like 800 years ago, that's the Cyprus I was well aware of. Yeah, and I'm so embarrassed because I was doing a geography test one time just for fun. There's this website called sparkle, and it's all about quizzes, and I was like, I can name every country in Europe, maybe. And I got almost all of them. And then Cypress showed up, and I was like, wait, what Cypress, I didn't know it was a country and I feel so dumb about that. But that's just me. That's my funny story. So how did you end up picking Cyprus.

Yemi Timson:

Okay, that's another funny story. I honestly, I feel like your listeners, like I just didn't realize sometimes you just stumble through life and life happens. Just roll with the punches. So that's exactlywhat happened.

Jonathan Collaton:

100% I said it on one of the podcast before that, like, people are gonna realize that we're all just figuring this out as we go. There's no plan, it just happens.

Yemi Timson:

Exactly. So technically, I personally was really gung ho about going to university ofJos had both the diploma program and the undergraduate program. So my goal was to get into the undergraduate program. Now what had happened was, my mom's friend's daughter, I think, was in Cyprus already. And so she had approached me about it. And I was like, I'm not really interested. But what changed my mind was I saw the promo video. And people were in jet skis. I was like, there's a beach, there's jet skis, everyone looks so happy. I'm like, hang on. So I did a little searching. I was like, hang on this jet ski thing is actually like, legit. So I went to the library, because I saw a video with jet skis. That's

Jonathan Collaton:

a great story. You know, sometimes while I'm doing these interviews, I already know what promo clips to use for them. And that's one right there. Okay, so Cypress, you pick Cypress? And is that a four year program at the University?

Yemi Timson:

Yeah, it's a four year program. So I got admitted for accounting and business. So as I said, Remember what I just mentioned that I had those two experiences that kind of stayed on my mind. So what happened was, I had just had that conversation. And I got some admission, but so the way it works, and I'm just going to give some background, because I know not all your listeners are international students sometimes. So what happens is, sometimes you get your admission. So when you get your admission letter, there's a lag between when you receive your admission and when you can go, because what happens is you have to use that admission, in addition to proof of funds and things like that, to apply for a visa. And so the country grants the visa based on if they think you know you're fit, or you can go or you can pay and all that fancy stuff. So I had received my admission a couple of weeks before I got my visa and had to go. So by the time I was having that conversation with my friend's mom, I already knew I was already admitted for a certain course. So when she had that conversation with me, I got so mad. I was like, What does she mean? Not everyone can do economics. This is not that hard. I can learn anything. So I my time I arrive in the country, I come in with my business and accounting course acceptance. I walk up to the admissions office and they're like, Can I change degrees? Like day one, day one, change degrees, I never I never took a course down that and it was that simple. And they just let you share, they just let you shift. They just checked if there was enough spots, if your if your grades were okay enough to take it. And once they didn't need just switch, mostly because I hadn't started any course in it because the time hadn't started.

Jonathan Collaton:

That's pretty good. I mean, that's like that you're able to realize, and not that it would be a mistake to have taken accounting, but you found something you were more driven to succeed at.

Yemi Timson:

Honestly, I was just driven to prove someone wrong.

Jonathan Collaton:

That's what yeah, that's what it sounds like. No, I totally. I agree with that. From what I'm hearing.

Yemi Timson:

Yeah, so

Jonathan Collaton:

all right. So what was the experience? Like were you on jet skis on every day?

Yemi Timson:

Um, actually, no. It was funny cuz when you live it's the same with any place I'm sure some people have lived in Toronto for years and never gone on to CN Tower.

Jonathan Collaton:

I never I'm from Toronto, my whole life never been in the CN tower.

Yemi Timson:

one of those things where you live in a place and you think I always have time, I'll always get to it. But I mean, you're actually in school. Like you have classes maybe in the evenings and the courses were pretty intense. So between that and you know, student job. I was like, not as much. But the funniest thing is I did go to the beach quite a bit. You know, I got my first sunburn. Hallelujah. But yeah, I went to the beach quite a bit. Jet Skis. No, I did go you know those paddle ones way com paddle. You look like a swan. I did that one.

Jonathan Collaton:

Like a paddle board. Yeah.

Yemi Timson:

Well, not a paddle board. You sit in them.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, like a kayak.

Yemi Timson:

Kind of but as you paddle it has like, like,

Jonathan Collaton:

like a paddle boat. Yeah, with your feet. You pedal? Yes.

Yemi Timson:

Yeah, I did that one. I did that one. I bet. I use the pedal boats a bit. The jet skis actually scared me when I saw them in person.

Jonathan Collaton:

The main thing that attracts you to Cyprus and you're like, yeah, maybe no,

Yemi Timson:

like, and it's funny, because by the time I got to the island, and is it is a beautiful place I would anyone that's interested in traveling, feel free to visit it is a beautiful, beautiful place. So, but by the time I got there, and I saw the large expanse of the Mediterranean Sea, I was like, Nope, not today, Satan Not today. So I paddle close. I paddle close to shore. And

Jonathan Collaton:

I understand that experience. The first. My my wife likes to go on cruises, she went on them when she was younger with her family. So one time her and I went on a cruise. And the first night where we were out in the middle of the ocean, and it was dark. And there was nothing around us. I was like, Oh, my God, we're gonna drown.

Yemi Timson:

Exactly.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, that's a lot of water.

Yemi Timson:

You start to hear Titanic in your head.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, yeah, pretty much. And I was like, I saw that movie. And I don't want to go down like,

Yemi Timson:

so. Yeah, that was it was good. I've made like, obviously, like most people that will go to undergraduate degrees I've made, you know, lifelong friends. Mm hmm. It was it was an interesting experience, because it was one of the things that I'm fed into. And this is just a personal thing, where I kind of decided that I wouldn't really live in a country where English was the primary language anymore. And the reason for that not because it's bad or good, or whatever it is, is just that. And that it's funny, that experience has fed into where I volunteer right now outside my day job, because I can understand how it feels to be in a place where even going to the bank is difficult, because within the university itself, so for those who don't know, the northern part of Cyprus, the primary language is Turkish, while the other side of Cyprus, the south side is Greek. And the south side is the one that is in the European Union, while the north side has been trying to get in for quite a bit. So on the Turkish side, in the university, it's English is spoken. So once you're on campus, you really have little to no problems. Now, when you're going out, of course, you need to get groceries and things like that. And that is about the time I got in was when they were expanding to get more international students who are not native Turkish speakers. So going to the grocery store, and Little things like you know, bread or asking for a price or asking for looking for something and asking for someone what it was, or even reading the labels on items was kind of difficult, you just kind of had to go with visual right now. Thank goodness, we have things like Google Translate, which you can just use your phone to translate on the spot. But that experience kind of stuck with me for a really long time. Because until a lot more people outside the campus started to actually understand and able to communicate with us. communication was difficult. So I encourage people to travel wherever and I think now technology has made life a lot more easier. But then, at least in my first and second year was pretty hard, like communicating outside campus. So you the The good thing. And that's why I said I made lifelong friends, because the friends you make are end up being your core. Because really, how many more people can you talk to?

Jonathan Collaton:

Thats right. Make sense. Yeah. Okay, so with with that experience, it sounds like it was different than what you maybe thought at first no jet skis, but it was still, I'm going to assume a positive overall, experience.

Yemi Timson:

overall it was positive. And again, as I said, so right now I volunteer as a director slash treasure with a local nonprofit here in Edmondson called the cultural connection Institute's learning exchange. And the whole purpose of that organization is to help people who are not native English speakers as adults, to learn to speak English to be able to help them integrate. And from my guts a great addition. Yeah, and so for my experience, I felt drawn to it because I've been on the other side. I grew up speaking English, English is the overall national language in Nigeria. So I grew up speaking English, but going somewhere where I couldn't speak you know, you can empathize with someone's difficulty in not being able to go to the bank properly. Like something as simple as that. It's, yeah, but overall, as a school as a experience, that was the only thing that really I struggled with a little bit at least until you know, you have your core friends and kind of figure out and of course, you learn the language. You know, people when you travel to new place, you learn the language a little bit. But until I got to that point, that was a struggle, but overall was a positive experience.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. And then as you wrap up at the end of that four year program, given that you were there on a student visa, were you immediately planning to leave? Or did you have the opportunity to stay there for work? Or was that not really something you were thinking about? What was your plan for work?

Yemi Timson:

So when I finished there, my plan was never to stay. I'm fairly ambitious as you so. And Cyprus is relatively small island. So there's only so much you can do before you naturally hit a ceiling first. And then even with that, you know, while I could understand the language, my fluency was not as it could be to be able to function properly in the workplace, because the workplace will speak Turkish not English. Right. So with those two key factors, I decided, like, the next thing was to go to work. Now, I know, again, obviously, I'm going to speak from Nigerian perspective. So Nigeria, we have something they call the National Youth Service Corps, which is also shortened to nysc. And so what that is, is Nigerians, young Nigerians, when you finish university, you are required, you know, technically, you can get away with it, especially if you don't school in Nigeria, you can kind of bypass it, you probably shouldn't. But there is a it's a year, where you have the first three weeks of almost like military drills. And then after that you have the next couple of months of your year where you get posted or sent to random parts of Nigeria, the idea is to be of service to your community. So it's not like you're getting like a really well paying job, you know, you're getting a job that is service like. So like a teacher, like a counselor stumped something like that, right, like a counselors assistant. But ideally, it should be close to your field. So what happened is, after university, my next goal was to go and do that. So luckily, for me, I was able to get posted to the very same place where my parents lived. And I worked for a year with the Central Bank of Nigeria, which is equivalent to the Bank of Canada or the Fed in the US.

Jonathan Collaton:

So these are like, not just tiny little opportunities were like, we could use a body here to help out like these are legitimate, very good learning experiences on top of being of service to the community,

Yemi Timson:

I think it's a little bit of both, it's all depends on where you get posted to. Or if you have a call letter, so which would mean that you may have into you may have interned with an organization and they want you back. So you can, if an organization actually requests you, they would it, it makes their job easier and kind of sending you somewhere, so just say go there. But at the same time, it could also be that you just get lucky when you get posted, right? Some people get posted to really, really, really remote villages. Some people get posted to big cities and get posted to small struggling organizations, some people don't. So it actually just, it varies very, very widely. I was I was lucky and even blessed to be able to work to get the opportunity I did to work with the organization I work with. So I worked in microfinance departments. So which is not a thing. I think that is big here. But essentially what microfinance is, is you're giving small loans to people who may not necessarily have a regular bank account. So this is a rural rural communities.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, that's, that's interesting. Yeah. I'm not. Economics is not my area of expertise here and finance. So I can't speak to that. But Alright, so that's a one year. Well, you said it was like three weeks of military, not military training, but like drill training. Yeah.

Yemi Timson:

Well, you stay on a. You stay on a military camp. It's kind of a military camp. Let me call it NYC camp, because you're not really in the actual military camp, but it's militarized. Sure. You stay there. You wake up in the morning, you do your marches, you know salutes and then you go for things like hikes and all that stuff.

Jonathan Collaton:

I mean, so there is very military style training component.

Yemi Timson:

You don't use any firearms, but just everything else.

Jonathan Collaton:

Gotcha. Okay. So at the end of that one year experience, how is it like, do you have the opportunity maybe to stay and work full time at the bank? Or were you looking to just you've said, You're very ambitious, and I believe it from everything I've heard you say so what do you have to imagine there's like a bigger thing on your mind about what you're going to do.

Yemi Timson:

So personally, I wanted to do a masters. The idea is you could so the way it works. Some organizations, you know, they would say, Oh see behind, you know, we really like you to give you an offer letter, your contract is always going to be for that one year. Now the organization has an opportunity to hire you after that, if they so please. With that, I know the central bank was one that was really competitive. However, I really wasn't interested because what I wanted, I'd always wanted actually was to do a master's degree, because I wanted like an advanced degree. And I wanted one in economics. So having done an undergraduate economics, I wanted a master's in economics. So ideally, I had been applying to different schools. And that's how I got admitted into the Carleton University in Ottawa. That's kind of how I ended up in Canada. So I got admitted into Carleton University in Ottawa for a master's in economics. And so right after my youth service, which is what it's called, I went straight to start school again.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, so I want to pause there before we get into kind of what that was like and where that led you because I want to know, at the time when you were wanting to do the masters of economics, what was the hope in terms of where that would get you? Like, did you have a specific job that you wanted? And the Masters was a requirement to get that job down the line? Or did you just think, if I get this good degree, good opportunities will come to me?

Yemi Timson:

I, this is still ambitious. And I've kind of changed my mind now. Not necessarily because it's ambitious, but because I've learned more things where I think I may not enjoy it as I thought I would. But essentially what I had done, there's this really, really successful economists, Nigerian, and I'm not sure if you know who she is. Her name is Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and it was interesting to me, and that's why it's always important to have representation. representation, you don't know who is touching wherever in the world. Right? And so seeing this other Nigerian economist, like me, working in a World Bank, who is now the head, or I think was the head of the World Trade Organization, as of 2020, I believe, was amazing. So she was my template. You know, I'm like, chic. And she is, for lack of a better word, just a badass. Like, you know, she that's what I imagine, right? And so, essentially, I had essentially looked at her career path, and said, I want that. So I kind of know to get there. At the very least I need a master's degree. And yeah,

Jonathan Collaton:

I guess that would make sense.

Yemi Timson:

Yeah. And she's obviously she's very, very well accomplished. I would encourage any of your listeners, especially people, just what, and that was kind of what I did. She knows she doesn't know who I am. She doesn't know me from a hole in the wall, but just seen her career, and how she has been able to move over 25 years at the World Bank to coming back. And working full time in Nigeria to essentially now becoming the head of the World Trade Organization where she was in a very, very, very tough competition with representatives from different countries. is just amazing. And she's still killing it till tomorrow.

Jonathan Collaton:

But can you say her name again for me? So if anyone wants to look it up? So

Yemi Timson:

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala., so I will spell it. So the first name is un-

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, don't worry. I have a transcript. It's going to be written down below. Okay.

Yemi Timson:

So I'm Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Jonathan Collaton:

Perfect. Alright, so if you want to look her up,

Yemi Timson:

yeah, that's the name. Yeah. She's amazing. And it was funny. And I think it wasn't not on of course, they're accomplished women everywhere. But first of all, she was an economist. Second of all, she was a Nigerian. And I was like, yo, you know,

Jonathan Collaton:

I can, I want to be that.

Yemi Timson:

Exactly.

Jonathan Collaton:

So okay, yeah. So you did have that that person in mind, who is kind of your roadmap to success. And so when you are applying to these masters or economics programs, that was your goal after after taking the program, how did you pick Carlton?

Yemi Timson:

Carlton offered me a scholarship.

Jonathan Collaton:

easy choice

Yemi Timson:

easy choice. If was Carlteton a couple of other universities. And at that point, you know, cuz I got a scholarship in Cyprus as well. So I had like a half tuition scholarship where only people that kept the tuition for my time there. But at the same time for Cyprus as well, it was Carlton, Carlton with scholarship. Then there was another school. I can't remember which one right now, but it was like 100 Half scholarship Wisconsin was a full ride. It was like, Yeah, yeah, I

Jonathan Collaton:

think that's the one I would pick too. Yeah. How long of a program would that have been?

Yemi Timson:

It was a one year program?

Jonathan Collaton:

One year? Okay. So yeah, like a fast accelerator programs that I'm sure it was a lot of work

Yemi Timson:

it was. And it's interesting, because that was the first time because I, I'm a little bit I'm, you've probably figured this out. But I'm a bit of an overachiever. So I think when I got there, I struggled with the first little bit of my master's degree. And it was, it was like a cold breath of water. It was like cold water. Right? Because usually, in most things, I Excel and excel very, very well. Once I put my mind to it, and I'm like, this is what I'm going to do. I usually go gung ho, sometimes that to my own detriment, and just, you know, Excel, but I struggled, at least with the beginning of my master's degree. And that was the very first time like, you know, when you start to have what they call the imposter syndrome, oh, wait, you start to believe and doubt your own abilities. So that was interesting was a really intense program but I think that was

Jonathan Collaton:

Have you ever reflected back and thought about why it was maybe that you struggled at first,

Yemi Timson:

I think it was a At first, I thought it was just me. And that was when I first arrived. But before you start to make friends, because again, moving to a new country, I had a family friend here, but he, you know, he was working. So he's like, we had one in different stages of life. And at first, I thought it was just me. And sometimes, that's why I will encourage your listeners, wherever they are, when you start to have those syndromes talk to other people in your peer group. So at first, when I started, I struggled that way. And to the extent that I almost thought that I needed to drop out and go and do a remedial program. So I was like, why would they give me a scholarship, I don't feel like I deserve this, because I'm struggling so badly. But I ended up speaking and ended up making the set of friends who I found out very quickly, that though they school in Canada, because at some point, I started to think that it was my education. And that, you know, my education was substandard Canadian education and stuff like that, even though I had gone to, you know, whatever, university and estimator University. So I started to, in my mind think that maybe my education wasn't good enough, or maybe I wasn't good enough. But then I made these friends within about a month or so when I started. And I found out that day school in Canada, but they were struggling as well.

Jonathan Collaton:

So yeah, when you finally talk to other people, you realize you're not alone. You're not alone.

Yemi Timson:

Other people exactly. And so what ended up happening and was very critical to my success, I would very well attribute that to was that we started to study as a group. So the part where I was struggling that someone else was in and vice versa. So we ended up helping each other through school. And that was very critical, because it was interesting, because at that point, at first, you know, everyone thinks you're alone, you just coming in, it's a super competitive program. It's Bell curved, which, if you're I don't know, if your students, your listeners are aware of this. But essentially, bell curve means 5% gets really high marks 5% are definitely going to fail. Regardless, though bell curve. So if everyone does really well, even if everybody gets 90%, the person that gets 89 feels

Jonathan Collaton:

Jeeze.

Yemi Timson:

So it's a bell curve program, because they want to make it super competitive. So we you are studying with your competition, because your passing is dependent on someone else's fail.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, that's, that's got to be. That's got to be a difficult new experience.

Yemi Timson:

it was. But it was interesting, because we would study together for the most of it for the most of it. And then the last couple of days before a test or something, we would just like separate and just go do our own thing, because we respect the fact that, you know, yeah, this is your competition as well, right? Like, and you don't want to everybody, at least Personally, I tend to need that time just by myself to just like, dig in without people, you know, around or talking or stuff like that. But yeah, it was a different experience. And and the reason I brought up that imposter syndrome is because I know a lot of people struggle with that, especially going into a new university with a new grade or a new something new job. You know, sometimes just talking to someone you don't even have to talk to someone in that same situation, but appear in a different university. Or something that you can empathize with or talk to, to just kind of pull that out right?

Jonathan Collaton:

Mm hmm. Definitely. Yeah. So with that experience, you get through that one year program? And then how do you end up? Like between then And now, What's the path Because you're still in Canada. So were you, Were you always intending to stay here? Did you think you were gonna go back?

Yemi Timson:

Yep, I wanted to go back. Because again, looking at Dr. Ngozi'scareer path, she had always done like, you know, high brow like profile, you know, rolls. So my plan was to go back to the central bank of Nigeria, work up, then somehow find my way into the dual bank, those kind of, you know, my, my plan may still happen, who knows? Maybe it's someone from the oil patch. If someone from the World Bank is listening, you know, I have I have a live resume. But what I did was, so after I finished school, obviously, like, the way Canada works for international students is that you can have a work permit after school. So I said, Well, I'm going to go back, I was going to go back. But at first, I knew I wanted to get some job experience to help me as I go back into that market. So between looking for an economist related job, I worked retail for a little bit. So it was interesting, because that's helped me in a way that, you know, speaking to people, so right now, while I may sound extroverted, I'm a little bit of an ambivert. So I don't tend to approach people, you know, I kind of am the kind of person that you'll see in the room who will hang back and until someone else is high, then I, we have an actual good conversation. But I'll just hang back until such a time, right? But being in retail kind of forces you to go outside of yourself and be a little bit uncomfortable. And then go and approach people because the store I worked you actually had to walk up to someone and say, Hi, Do you need anything you need this? Or that? What can I help you with? So I worked that for a couple of months. And within that space, I was able to find a job in Newfoundland and Labrador. So at first I was like, well, I really want to go back home. But my parents were like, you know, just try and get a little bit of a job experience. And once you do that, you know you can return.

Jonathan Collaton:

So coming from Nigeria, and then studying in the Mediterranean. And then you go to Ottawa, which is notorious for a horrifyingly terrible winter.

Yemi Timson:

Oh, my God.

Jonathan Collaton:

And then, yeah, and then Newfoundland and Labrador. Also lots of snow in the winter. How was that?

Yemi Timson:

Well, I saw my first note when I first moved to Canada, like I've never seen snow before. Which was an interesting experience. So here's the thing, right? Like, when I saw it, because I remember I was in I was studying in the th room, the teaching assistants room. And a, it wasn't October, it was close, almost. It was almost Halloween and so snow, just that it fully, I was like, Oh my god, snow. And so I run outside. I'm like, This is nice. And then after, like five minutes, I'm like, Oh, god, I'm so cold.

Jonathan Collaton:

And then they tell you like, oh, it gets way worse.

Yemi Timson:

Yeah. And I was like, What? But then it wasn't. It was like almost like culture shock. So you get culture shock to deface. Right? And so that was like culture. I was like, why is it so cool? And I remember when I first moved, there was this guy. I won't say his name, because we're still friends. And he was he was it was funny, cuz when I first moved, I was like, oh, man, how cool does it get and stuff like that? I have never really experienced extreme cold. And he's like, Oh, your eyeballs are gonna freeze. I was like, What? And he's like, No, your eyelids are gonna freeze your fingers. Oh my god. So everybody wears like goggles. So for the first couple of days of winter, I had gone and bought ski goggles and I was walking around in those. He was playing. He was playing a prank. But then I realized no one else was wearing them. I was like, why isn't everyone else ice freezing? Because at first I was still wearing them because I thought maybe their eyes are used to it on mine needs adjustment period. Gotcha. But I soon realized it was a joke. Yeah, but yeah, it was it was interesting. He got me good.

Jonathan Collaton:

You got you good. Okay, so So anyway, this job out on the east coast. What was the job?

Yemi Timson:

It was an economist role with the government of Newfoundland and Labrador. It was internship program. I don't know if they still have it. But the way it worked is that you work there because what they were trying to do was recruit and train for the next generation as some of the workforce becomes older. So the idea is they recruited from all over the place, and you would work for a two year contracted period with the opportunity for an extension or a permanent role with the government. So I worked with the Department of Finance as an economist for two years.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. And I'm always curious whenever people move somewhere far for jobs, because, like, I grew up in southern Ontario, and so I never had to move more than an hour for work in any direction. But when you're moving like provinces, is there any specific draw, like did that role interest you specifically? Or is it one of those things like you were looking for work? And that was the first opportunity that came up that was like, Oh, I can do this. I'm gonna take it

Yemi Timson:

is a little bit of both. So I was looking for work. At the time, I think I had even gotten interviewed for target, which thank God I didn't get because you know, they're not here. Yeah.

Jonathan Collaton:

You know, for anyone listening targeted Canada closed in under two years, it did not survive

Yemi Timson:

it did not survive. So I had even interviewed for a business analyst position at targets, like, things like that. That was a good interview experience. I gotta say, honestly, people, it was a good interview experience. They flew me out from Ottawa to Toronto, and picked me up in a limo, I just have to say, that was so nice. That why they burned through all their cash. That's why they closed/

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, I guess so. And that's why their prices were so high that nobody wanted to shop there,

Yemi Timson:

probably. So I'd interview for target. So I've looked for a couple of other jobs. And personally, I'm a person of faith, right? So I'm a Christian by religion. And so at the time when I didn't get the target job, because I so thought I was gonna get it. I mean, why would they fly me out and not give me a job like, crazy. So I remember when I did not get the job. I was so heartbroken. And so I'd seen this job in Newfoundland. And I was like, I don't want to go to Newfoundland, it seems so small, there's like, you know, it just seems so over there. Right? You wait. And I was already gotten slightly comfortable in Ottawa, and moved a lot in my life. So I was like, I don't know, I probably want to sit still for a bit. And I remember that day, I was after I had not gotten the target job. I actually applied to Newfoundland job in anger. Oh, that was really ticked off. And I was like, whatever, I'm just gonna send out the resume or whatever. And I remember just about I was about to go for a movie, the job was closing at 12, the movie starting at 10. And at 945. Ish, I hit send on the application. And I was like, what, and I forgot about it, because I just did you know, when you're just like, Oh, you know? Yeah, what's the worst that can happen? They're not gonna take me anywhere. So I like sent it. And two weeks later, I got an interview notification.

Jonathan Collaton:

Did, did they fly you out there for that job? or Skype Interview?

Yemi Timson:

You know government's not gonna go that. it was a Skype interview. And, and I know I missed this when I was talking about my master's degree experience. So while during my master's, I also had a couple of jobs. One of those jobs was as a program assistant for an evaluator for an evaluation organization. So African evaluation Association. And so one, it was interesting, because I took the job, obviously, for the cash. But that one of the things that job afforded me was a trip to Ghana for a conference. And so it was interesting, because one of the reasons, among other things that my resume was picked for the Newfoundland job was for evaluation and for the experience I had gotten, just taking that job.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. So like, you don't always know, what smaller things on your resume are being looked at right. Like it's your degree is really important, but it was that one job you did, that was really what they kind of targeted

Yemi Timson:

Because they were looking for an economist who understood program evaluation. They're required requirements were very niche. And I didn't fully realize it To be honest, I was I really did apply in anger because I was like, oh, whatever. You know, the job I want. I mean, the the target office was so fancy. Oh my god. I really wanted it so bad. They had like a game room with like, PlayStations

Jonathan Collaton:

that the one in in Mississauga?

Yemi Timson:

Yes.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, their head office right off the 401.

Yemi Timson:

My lord, It was so fancy. So At that time, you know, I just sent out the application. But it was interesting because the role they interviewed me for was an economist with an understanding of evaluation, which I had picked up because I was working with the president of the organization. And I had to read a lot of papers. So

Jonathan Collaton:

if I can interrupt that, I just want to be clear on what that is, because maybe I'm way on what that type of role is. So are you looking at in that role? Would you be looking at like government programs and determining whether the benefit of the program outweighs the cost of running the program?

Yemi Timson:

Yes. And to an extent, so the way that evaluation works is for can be different types. It can be a government program, it can be a nonprofit program, it could be a wide range of programs. But the role where I specifically work was looking at methodologies, as well. So how do you design those tools? by which you evaluate different programs? Right, so I worked to summer program that had to do with evaluation put together by the World Bank, funny enough. Hmm. So and as with that, I also worked with the president of the African evaluation Association as a personal assistant. And so one of the things that I did in that role was read a lot of papers, because we're having a conference. So some a lot of the submissions that came in as well. So by the time I was going to my interview, which is sometimes guys, just go go with whatever tools you have in your toolbox. Okay, so, by the time I was doing my interview, I was pulling out from like, things that I had read in like random papers and stuff as well as my economics experience. And yeah, so I got offered the role, surprisingly. And I ended up in a salon for two years.

Jonathan Collaton:

Two years, okay. Now, you mentioned it was like an intern program and two years possibility extension. So it sounds like when that contract came to an end, you chose to leave. And again, knowing how ambitious you are and have been, what was your ambition leading you towards?

Yemi Timson:

So essentially, at that point, I think at that points I had made the decision that I might say, I will stay in Canada longer. So you know, the economy in Nigeria was not as strong as it was, at least when I finished university, you know, the job prospects here were much better to me, at least for the field I wanted to work in. And so at least from my view, anyway, so when I, at the end of the two years, I got an extension, because nobody wanted to keep me for a little bit. But for me, I needed some permanence. So it was a contracted extension. And so for me, I was looking for a more permanent, more permanent role. And so that's why they appointed jobs. One of the jobs I applied and eventually got into was as a health economist with the government of Alberta. So Alberta Health,

Jonathan Collaton:

okay, and that's based out of Edmonton where you are now?

Yemi Timson:

Based out of of Edmonton.

Jonathan Collaton:

Alright, so I gotta at least sum this up. So you go, Nigeria, Cypress, Ottawa, cold. Newfoundland cold Edmonton coldest.

Yemi Timson:

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I Nigeria's Cypress, my first sunburn. Then, Ottawa. Yeah.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. Now the shift to, like you said, you were looking for something more permanent. Right? So was the type of work you were doing? You went from, from more finance, side to to health, right. So now that the type of work you're doing? Obviously, there's got to be some similarities there. But did you find it to be a big shift to go from one to the other? Yes.

Yemi Timson:

So the beauty of economics and I'm a big advocate for economics, as you will probably hear, as I go through my career path, is the beauty of economics is the fundamentals are essentially the same. And I think as with most courses, you know, engineering, I think you have things that that kind of translates across different fields. The difference between them is subject matter expertise. So as some of your listeners are thinking of the career path, don't be afraid to go down one because you know, you can always pivot, as long as you have your fundamentals, right, you can always move on, or adjust as you learn and you figure life out. Because so with the health one, the economics are the fundamentals as a micro economics doesn't change micro micro economics isn't change, however, is the application that changes because you have a different data set.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. Okay. Now, that job being that it was permanent, I have this feeling based on maybe what I saw on LinkedIn that that's not the same job you're in now.

Yemi Timson:

No, it is not haha

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay. All right. So So give me the rundown of like from that job, which was a permanent job to what you're doing now. What what kind of things happen that led you because you're still ahead. And but you've switched roles. So what's the story there?

Yemi Timson:

Yeah, and I'm still with the government of Alberta. But what I did was at a point, again, and I just, I'm just a curious human. And so at some point, when I felt that I understood enough, you know, and most people will say this, oh, Blake, you know, don't stay in a job or an X number of years, you know, stay in a job as long, I would say differently, I would say stay as long as you keep feeling like you're getting value. So job is a reciprocal rolos relationship. Right? You give your time, your knowledge, you get paid, but also you gain knowledge, and you gain some value for yourself. Sometimes it's for the next job, sometimes it's just for life. So at the point where I felt I had achieved this sufficient amount of value that I wanted to get, my next decision was where I what role I wanted to go into, I have several sectors in mind that I know have always interested me, energy was one of them. And so my current role is as a senior crude oil analyst with the government of Alberta.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, so you go, you have finance, health, energy. So you've touched a whole bunch of different very important, very valuable field.

Yemi Timson:

Yeah, I was the highest spending category in our budget to the revenue generating category of our budget.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. Look at that. That's true. Right. So at some point, you just got to get into education, and then you'll cover off a whole bunch of different areas.

Yemi Timson:

Yeah. So again, it was interesting, because being because within the Department of Health, I had gone from just a regular economist to a senior economist, right. So that means, you know, within that you had gained a sufficient amount of expertise in that niche help segment. And now going from that to energy, which, you know, I did understand a little bit, of course, because, because I've taken energy economics as one of the some of the courses I've taken in university. However, as most people know, education and real life, you know, there's some discrepancy, you have to, you know, you, you, you get your education, but it just sets you up into learning real life application. And so, going into the energy related role is almost like, learning again, which for me was great, because I love to learn, but it's a little bit frustrating, because you're like, uh, you know, you kind of want to be there already. You want to be the best? Yeah, like, it's,

Jonathan Collaton:

it's like, when you know how good you were at something that and then you go to something else, and you're not going to start maybe sort of being as good at that there's a bunch of new stuff to learn, right?, that's got to be a struggle, because, like, as we've said, so many times, you're really ambitious. And so I'm sure you don't like not being good at so yeah.

Yemi Timson:

And that was, that was a big challenge. I think it was a little bit of a mental shift. You know, having to ask someone to like recheck your work every five minutes, because you're not sure if you got it right. Or like you applied it right. Or you understood the concept well enough to apply it in a way that, you know, didn't make you look like an idiot. But it was it's been it's been an interesting journey, like even because that's the rule. I mean, right now. It's, and now I'm a lot a lot more comfortable, which, thankfully, so yeah,

Jonathan Collaton:

And so to give people like a perspective on timeline for how long did it take for you to feel fully comfortable with what you were doing? Even though you're already like an expert in economics, you have a Master's of economics, but it's still, it still took you a while and you're someone who's super ambitious? So what was like, how long did that take you to feel that comfortable?

Yemi Timson:

I will even say like, I'm not 100% comfortable right now. Like, I'm just I wouldn't still say like, I'm like an expert. Even in the energy though. I will say how many years have you been I've been in this role about just touching on two years. Okay, so and for those, not everyone in the status or explain energy is very, very, very dynamic. Health is more static as a field of application, not as health, your health status. But, you know, in Alberta, we have a certain health system, the health system works certain ways. You know, you can pick it up real quick. It's, you know, it's there's that disease prevalence and stuff that's different, but then the health status in general and the health system that works, it works a certain way. But

Jonathan Collaton:

Expenses don't vary wildly like like an oil. Well, oil is the biggest part of energy in Alberta. Obviously, it's super impacted by the price of oil.

Yemi Timson:

Yes. So it's interesting because oil and energy is a lot more dynamic. You know, something that happens inside Arabia impacts us here, in one way or another. And so while I wouldn't say I'm an expert, I'm a lot more, I will say very comfortably that I'm a lot more comfortable with it. There's, I still believe there's, you know, a bit to learn with any job, even with health, I don't think I knew everything. But you know, enough to do your job well. So, right now, I think I'm at the point where I'm fairly comfortable, you know, with it, there's still times and that's the beauty of working in a team that knows your job. And those day job well, because what happens is that I've been blessed to work in a team where I have engineers, where I have all sorts of people, not just economics, so the economics actually like a small portion of the team. But we have, you know, people that have been chemical engineers, structural engineers, and reservoir engineers, people that have worked in business and communication, and also is such a diverse group, that, you know, when I need to understand how a refinery works, I walk across the hall. Now I do so virtually, but at least you understand I mean, where you know your spot, but you also understand what you don't know, and I think that's very important, where people always forget that you know what you know, but always understand what you don't know, and don't be afraid to ask for help. And so, Oh, I like that. And so for me, like, some of it too, is you know, how to, like understanding things like assay, like, you know, what a crack spread means. And that's like, you know, the value gets from a split into crude, certain Wayne or refinery, like, things like that. And that's a subject matter expertise that you have to pick up as you go. But it also helps to just be, be okay with, knowing that you don't know everything, which is for me is a little bit of a struggle, and I'm still learning about it. But at that point, you, you leave people open to helping you because if you keep sending, you know, no one's gonna help you like they're like, well, she seems so he seems like he knows everything. But, you know, if you just ask like, Okay, so how does this work? Can you remind me and sometimes if you ask someone once and you forget, ask them again? It's okay.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, definitely. That's one thing that I have. I have gone through a bit recently, with the creation of this podcast, like, there's a lot of people smarter at making podcasts than I am. And, and I, I mentioned the podcast now, because now that we're kind of caught up on your career path. I also think we should point out that you yourself, have not one but two pi. if not more, I'm honestly not sure you're gonna have to. So maybe in like a minute or two, tell me about your your little media company that you've got going on and the podcast that you've got going on.

Yemi Timson:

Oh, thanks. So I run to Tunuka media. That's T-U-N-U-K media. And it is the name is a yoruba word that means openhearted nearby is my mother tongue. And so within that company, I have two podcasts currently, and they're one Africa and my kitchen. And the second one is called overlooked. And Africa in My kitchen is a podcast where my friend and I, and also my co hosts, we are on a mission to cook at least one meal from every country on the continent. And one of the things we do as we cook the meal is that we talk about the country, we talk about the dish, we talk about some of their history, and then we use our life experiences. And as you can tell, you know, we have quite a bit. We use our life experiences and help us to we use our eyes first parents as a way to connect with both the country as well as you know, give our view on what the meal tastes like. So for example, if you've had mashed potatoes at some way, like, Oh, this tastes a lot like mashed potatoes. You know, not everyone has tasted mashed potatoes, but you have that life experience where you've tasted it I you know, this is what mashed potatoes salad tastes like. And it's similar to this. Right? So part of our mission, of course, is to cook a meal from every country, but also to spend more awareness because believe it or not, people still think Africa is a country for some reason, right? Usually, I've been to Africa. Dude, what country did you go to?

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, Africa is far bigger than North America is like there's way more. Yeah, it's, I know. The map projection we use is the Mercator projection, I think and it shows Greenland as being like the same size. It's not and that's not even close to at all representative of the size of Africa. Like it's enormous. So there's got to be separate cultures and foods like a ton. I imagine there

Yemi Timson:

is there's an but one of the beauties of that podcast and I'll switch over to the overlook podcast. Very quickly. But one of the beauties of that podcast is that as we've gone through this journey, you realize we're more similar than we are diverse. So there's a lot of similarities. And food is something that brings people together, you come together, you have a meal. So part of the Spirit we're trying to show is that, you know, in as much as we have our differences, we have things that bond us, not just as a continent, because the way we structure the podcast is for everyone. I mean, for you to be able to work, walk into your local grocery store, at least find some of the ingredients, you might have to go to some specialty store, but in a way that anyone can bond with it, because it's made by Africans, but it's made for everyone. Mm hmm. Oh, that's, that's great. Yeah. And so we have the overlook podcast, and the overload podcast is a pet project as well. But it's also personally where I was on a quest to start learning more about other countries around the world. Right. So and most of it was from the slight aggravation. I think a lot of things I've done in my life is based on slight aggravation. But on the slide I've been in that I found quite a number of people don't know what's happening beyond their borders, or beyond North America. So at the time, where I first conceptualized the podcast, you know, the elections in the US were going on. And that was the initial election when Trump got elected. And so that was all there was underneath us, that you couldn't breathe, and walk and drop a spoon. And then there it is on the news. But there's so many things happening across the world. So you will look podcasts every week take stories from across the world and highlights them. It's not meant to be a news broadcast is it is not. But what it's meant to do is spark enough curiosity that people feel more inclined to read more about what's happening across the world.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, that's awesome. Yeah. And so I haven't listened to that one yet. But I've listened to Africa in my kitchen a few times. And it sounds delicious, which is a weird thing to say out loud. But that's, it sounds delicious. And so my only, my only request is that if I ever make my way to Edmonton, and you're filming an episode, I would love to come by and taste I got

Yemi Timson:

you. And it'll be good, because then you can have someone who's has a different life experience explained the meal differently. And part of the reason like academic kitchen as well is, say, for example, you're going to an Ethiopian restaurant. You know, if you've heard something on our podcast, and you see it on the menu, you know, you can try it or that way people don't feel intimidated going into certain places, you know, you can see an Ethiopian restaurant or, you know, an Algerian restaurant and say, you know, I know at least one thing.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, I like that. That's great. That's a good way to, to think about that. So as soon as restaurants open back up more widely again, in Ontario, I'll have to listen to a few episodes and pick a few.

Yemi Timson:

Let us know what you think. Thanks.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, yeah, I definitely will for sure. Well, yummy. Thank you so much for sharing your whole career experience, because it's, it's got a lot more countries than some of the other ones I've shared on this podcast. So I really appreciate it though. Thanks a lot.

Yemi Timson:

Thank you. And thanks for being

Jonathan Collaton:

and that was the part of the interview where Yemi's mic died. So I guess we got pretty lucky that it died right at the end. But anyway, let's move from this on to the final part of the episode. All right, so that is Yemi's career path, Nigeria, to Cyprus to Canada for school, and then Newfoundland to Alberta for work. So we know she's ambitious that much was very clear in the interview. But what else can we learn from Yemi. So first off, sometimes, the thing that you want, may have ended up being the wrong thing for you to get to take the Emmys interview at Target. For example. They flew her out, they picked her up in a limo, she crushed the interview, and she thought she had the job. She thought it was in the bag. But they didn't end up offering it to her. And in the end, that was a good thing. Because as we said target candidate did not survive. And she ended up getting this great job in Newfoundland, which she only ever applied to out of anger for not getting the target job. But anger is short lived. And do you really think me cares now about the fact that she applied to that job and anger? No, it worked out. She's happy. They were happy to have her everything was fine. So if you're in a similar boat, and you're just angry that something didn't work out, shake it off, the anger will pass life will go on and you will get a different job. And a few years from now, maybe even months from now. You won't care anymore about that job that didn't work out. Another lesson we can take from Udemy is that Even with all the ambition in the world, that doesn't make you invincible. Yemi me talk about imposter syndrome, which I'm super happy came up, because that's something a lot of people deal with in all different areas of their lives. And yet he had it well in her master's program, and it was causing her to question the whole value of her Nigerian education, in comparison to her Canadian peers. But all of a sudden, when she starts talking to those peers, he finds out they are struggling the exact same way she is. Everybody was having a hard time in that program. And I've definitely said it before on this podcast. And I will say it again, we're all just figuring it out as we go. Not everybody has this grand plan. This podcast is for people that don't have a grand plan that are just trying to get to the next job and just trying to enjoy their life along the way. That's just two of the things that I took away from the Emmys interview, but I'm sure there are a lot of lessons that you took from it that I didn't. So why don't you come and tell me about it. Go join the Instagram page and comment on the Emmys post. Tell me what you got out of it. Or you can go to the LinkedIn page and tell me what you thought there. There are links to both of those things at career Crossroads podcast.com. And while you're there, I want to draw your attention to the right show tab up at the top wink wink nudge nudge. And the last thing you can do while you're there is sign up for my email list which will make sure that you get updated every time a new episode of career Crossroads comes out. If you sign up, I will email you next week when I release my interview with Josh De Luna. a Brit who despite studying law in university did everything he could to avoid becoming a practicing lawyer including moving to a country where he didn't even speak the language.