Did you know that BC is home to a company working on commercializing technology that harnesses the same energy that powers the sun?
General Fusion is located in Burnaby, BC and is currently hiring engineers, physicists, directors, safety managers, technicians and more. The company is well funded and includes investors like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Shopify’s Tobias Lütke!
In fact, the Lower Mainland is home to quite a few exciting clean energy companies who are currently hiring. If you are looking at kickstarting a career in clean energy, you’ll want to check these companies out.
Like many of you, I have been using Netflix as one of my coping mechanisms during the pandemic. While watching the movie ALPHA, I was inspired by one of the lines in the movie to write this post.
“When there are no more leaders to follow… you must become one.”
I’m not sure about you but I’ve been paying close attention to leadership over the past 5 years. I can’t help but feel that the world has been lacking when it comes to leaders who are worthy of following.
When it comes to the perception of what a leader is, many would conjure up images of a charismatic, outspoken, confident extrovert, who always knows exactly what to do and never show any signs of weakness. They come from “good families” and likely attended all the best schools before getting a job at a top company, rising quickly through the ranks to assume their destined role as a leader. Many people believe leaders are just born with some “leadership gene” that endows them with their natural leadership abilities. You just either have it or you don’t. But what if I told you this picture of what leaders are and how they come to be, couldn’t be farther from the truth.
So where do leaders come from?
In reality, leaders can come from just about anywhere. When examining age, leaders could be 9 or 99. When it comes to role, leadership can show up an any level, in any position within an organization. Good leaders can just as easily be introverts as they can be extroverts. They could have a PhD, or they may have no formal education at all. Amazing leaders can be males or females and they may reside anywhere in the world and speak any language. They can also come from any economic background. If fact, there could be amazing potential leaders all around you, but they may not be aware of their own potential or they may feel unworthy or unsure about stepping up.
The beginnings of leadership start with a decision. It can manifest itself in many different ways and at many different scales. You could decide to voice your opinion during a meeting, offer your insight on customer service, submit a suggestion for improving employee engagement, volunteer to help take on a new initiative, provide feedback to a colleague, show someone how to do something they’re struggling with. If you’ve ever had a situation where you were guiding or motivating someone else, you were exhibiting some level of leadership.
Some people shy away from taking actions like these because they feel it could make them more visible, it could increase their responsibilities or make them accountable for something that has the potential to fail. Companies that adopt a culture of blame will likely miss tapping into the true leadership potential within their organization, whereas companies that encourage experimentation and embrace the learning failure can bring, will likely see the internal leadership of their people blossom and flourish.
Leadership does not magically show up with a job title. Being bestowed titles like manager, supervisor or director don’t instantly make someone a great leader. We’ve all had experiences where new bosses and leaders are shall we say, a little rough around the edges. More often than not, individuals need to grow into these roles. It’s quite common for senior level experts in any given field to get promoted into management and leadership positions. But going from an industry expert to a leader takes time and practice, which is why many companies have internal leadership training programs. That being said, if you are willing to embrace learning and growth, make mistakes and accept feedback, becoming a great leader is within your grasp.
One of the best ways to learn to become a great leader it to be mentored by one. I’m a strong believer that leaders are responsible for creating more leaders. Find someone you admire as a leader in your organization or in your professional network and reach out to them and ask them how they got to where they are. You may even feel brave enough to ask them if they’d be willing to mentor you. Who knows, one day someone may come to you asking the same thing. I’ve learned that quite often in life, if you don’t ask you don’t get.
I wrote this article in the hopes of presenting leadership in a different light. I wanted people to see that leadership can be accessible to anyone willing to step forward, take a chance and believe in themselves. If you’ve ever had the feeling deep inside that you can do more and be more, this is likely your inner leader looking for a way to break free.
I am reminded of a relevant line from Harry Potter series that we will close out this post with.
“Every great wizard in history has started out as nothing more than what we are now, students. If they can do it, why not us?”
The world is in need of more leaders who can show us the way forward. Why shouldn’t one of them be you?
Some of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life are those related to my understanding of value. In this post I’ll be taking a look at these lessons and how you can apply them to build a better life and a more fulfilling career.
1. You have inherent value and you control it.
Let’s start things off by examining your perception of your own value. Far too many people allow their value to be decided and controlled by other people. Here is something I want you to consider and take to heart. If I give you $10 and asked you how much it’s worth, you’d likely tell me it’s worth $10. If I then took that $10 bill and folded and creased it all up and asked you again, how much it’s worth, you’d still tell me $10. I could even take that $10 bill and draw all over it, spill coffee on it and put it on the ground and stomp on it and if I asked you how much it was worth, you’d still tell me it worth $10. So why is it that we are so quick to allow ourselves to be devalued by those around us or even worse, devalue ourselves? Much like the $10 bill in our example, you have inherent value and worth in this world and that value remains, regardless of how much money you have or don’t have and what your employment or current life situation is. Hold strong in your value.
2. Discover and clearly communicate the value you bring.
When you’re on the career hunt, one of the most important things for you to communicate to your potential new employer, is the value you bring. Value is not simply a list of your previous work experience and skills. Try taking a closer look at the impact you’ve had in your various work and life experiences and you’ll start to bring your value into focus. For myself, it took a bit of time to really see the common thread that tied my work, life and leadership experiences together. What I came to realize is that the value I bring is a gift for transforming people and organizations through learning, innovation and leadership. Your value proposition will be unique to you. Look closely at your life and work experience and see if you can spot any common themes that pop up. You can also ask your friends, family and colleagues to help you, as they can often see things that you may be blind to. Your success in the career hunt will improve significantly once you come to understand and believe in the value you have to offer and are able clearly articulate it.
3.Take the time to understand what you value.
When you are looking for your next dream job, you’ll want to get clear about what you are after and what you value. What gets you excited about your potential new employer and the role? Is it the amazing people and teams you’ll get to work with? Is it the impact you can make? Is it the kind of person you’d get to be while in this role? Perhaps it’s the cutting-edge technologies you’ll get to work with, or the opportunities for professional development? It could even be more practical things like flexible working hours or a shorter commute time. By getting clear about what you want and what you value, you’ll have a much greater chance of finding it, so invest the time and write it down.
4. Use your core values as a compass to help guide and show you the way.
As human beings, we are constantly presented with obstacles and challenges. There will be times in your life when you come to a fork in the road and need to make a decision. When you are lost in the woods, a compass can help show you the way. When we are feeling lost and uncertain about which direction to take in our life, our core values can act as our compass. Everyone will have their own unique list of core values and It’s not about how many you have but about really understanding who you are as a person and what you strongly believe in and value.
My list of core values includes things like:
When I come up against a situation or decision I need to make, I use my core values to help guide me to an answer that aligns with who I am. If you find yourself in a work or personal situation where your core values are routinely being run over or are severely out of alignment, this could be an indicator that this role, employer or person is not a good fit for you. Violating your core values will eventually wear you down and is not a good recipe for your long-term success and health. Try coming up with your own list of core values.
Rounding out this post I’d like to pass on a few TED talks I’ve found that may help you think more about value and provide more insight.
Have you ever noticed that the process of job hunting and interviewing can feel painfully slow sometimes? In this post I’d like to talk about time and in particular, your own perception of time when you’re on the career hunt.
From experience, I can share that when you’re excited about a role that you’ve just applied for, it can seem like an eternity before you start to hear back. I call this “the lag” and it’s a common phenomenon you’ll encounter when you’re on the hunt. What this means is that you’ll need to get comfortable with a delay between the actions you take and the responses you get. Lags of 2-3 weeks or more are quite common, so don’t fret if you don’t hear back the day after you submit your resume for that dream job that just popped up.
Throughout the hiring process you’ll notice that time will occasionally feel like it passes by quickly and on other occasions it will feel like it’s moving glacially slow. If you look at the times when the process feels like it’s in the slow lane, you’ll likely see that more often then not, you are waiting for something to happen. Perhaps you’re waiting for the employer to reach out. Maybe you’re waiting to hear if you made it to a second or third round interview. And perhaps, you’re waiting for the final word on whether you got the job or not.
Some clues you may have slipped into waiting mode include …
You find yourself replaying your interviews answers over and over in your head
You’re distracted and unfocussed and can’t remember why you’re in the kitchen
You’re constantly checking your inbox
You heart jumps every time your phone rings
You’re not working on moving your other opportunities forward
Behind the scenes, there is likely a lot going on that you’re probably not seeing that unfortunately take time. This can include things like …
Sorting through all the applications to narrow down a pool of the top candidates
Trying to co-ordinate calendars so team members can all meet for an interview
Having team meetings to review and discuss interview results and select a final candidate
Making decision about benefits and compensation and putting together an offer
Dealing with internal changes, challenges and roadblocks that have come up
While time may seem to be moving slow on your end, it could seem to be moving quite quickly for the employer.
From your perspective, time will drag on while you are waiting to hear back. The real danger with taking a waiting approach is that you are not taking action and are surrendering your control.
While you can’t control what the employers is doing on their end, you can control what you are doing during on your end. You should continue to apply to new opportunities and keep actively interviewing. The company is likely interviewing multiple candidates so why shouldn’t you be checking out multiple potential employers? At the end of the day, would getting multiple job offers really be such a bad thing?
By not sitting still, you put yourself back in the driver’s seat. If the employer has realized what a great candidate you are, they will get back to you. Until they do, make sure you keep pushing forward. Remember, sharks keep swimming!
When thinking about Vancouver’s technology hub, it’s easy to gravitate towards thinking about companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Hootsuite and Slack. While these are certainly great companies, what you may not realize is that Canada and BC in particular is a growing hotbed for the life sciences.
According to Gordon McCauley, President and CEO of adMare BioInnovations, when it comes to the life sciences, Canada is a research powerhouse. With only .5 percent of the world’s population Canada generates 5% of the innovative output, punching far above its weight class. adMare’s mission is to help translate academic life science research into promising new Canadian companies that can scale, helping existing Canadian life science companies scale-up and helping create the next generation of business leaders and innovators that will drive the growth and success of these companies.
For those of you interested in launching an exciting career into a growing and thriving industry, you should definitely be looking at BC’s life science companies. Many people may not realize the variety of amazing opportunities that exist within these organizations, which not only include science and technology roles but also a whole host of business, marketing, human resources, sales, administration, management and leadership roles.
Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are host to a growing list of exciting life science companies, including success stories like STEMCELL Technologies, Zymeworks, AbCellera Biologics, Aspect Biosystems, Precision NanoSystems and Notch Therapeutics.
Imagine working for companies who helps create antibodies for combating Covid-19, treatments for cancer, leverage state of the art technologies like machine learning to radically speed up therapeutic drug discoveries, utilize the power of DNA to target and cure genetic diseases or supplying the worlds research scientists with stem cells and innovative lab products that will help contribute to countless future breakthroughs!
Here are just a few of the companies that current have open positions. You just may find your next career in the life sciences!
I was inspired by a recent article I found on LinkedIn written by Joseph McLaughlin called I’m not going back.
Before the pandemic, my life was pretty hectic. As parent with 2 teenagers who both play competitive soccer, my days we filled with constant activity. Between work, teaching, kids, school and being on the soccer field at least 5 days a week, there was seldom any downtime or time to reflect on life and how we were living it. Life was a constant blur and catching a breath was illusive and always seemed to be just out of reach. Caught on the hamster wheel of life, I was so busy trying to make ends meet that life was passing me by. And then in an instant, everything changed.
Rethinking our lives and our place in the universe is not something that usually fits conveniently into our busy schedules. About the only way this becomes a priority is after a traumatic life event or major loss we experience. We become so caught up in the immediate future that we can become completely blind to the bigger picture and lose sight of where we are, how we got there and where we actually want to go. If we are not consciously deciding our future, we risk becoming lost or worse yet, having our futures decided for us. I can tell you through experience it’s easy to unintentionally let your life slip into autopilot and with the pandemic, my life was abruptly thrust out of autopilot and into manual.
As we experience this global pause in our lives, I want to you think about your life and your world before things were turned upside down. If you had the power to create the world the way you wanted it to look, would this have been what you had in mind? I am reminded of a quote by Franklin Covey to “Begin with the End in Mind”. If the world were a clean slate, and you could deliberately and consciously choose its form, how would you change it for the better and why?
Here’s an idea of what things would look like though my eyes.
First, I have to say, I’m not missing commuting. I’d like to see a world in which flexible working arrangements exist and employers around the world maintain the opportunities for team members to work remotely when possible. I’d like a world where work and family can co-exist and thrive together. What would a world look like with 4-day work weeks? What if we actually took the time to place people into careers that they actually cared about and were actually a good fit for?
I see a world in which I have the time to connect with my kids and my wife every day. We take the time to prepare and share meals together and enjoy and taste the food, have real conversations where we actually put away all our devices and distractions and listen to each other.
I’ve been enjoying getting to know my neighbors and saying hello to all the people in my community I see on my walks. We are stronger together. I see a world where people have a lot more empathy and respect for each other and think more about what they can give the world and less about what they can take. Life has meaning through our connections with each other.
I’ve been loving my walks and hikes. I see a world in which we deeply appreciate and respect nature and take the time to connect with it on a regular basis. Just getting outside instantly improves my mood and makes me appreciate clean air and the beauty the exist all around me just steps from my door.
Without your health, what do you really have? This pandemic has shown us just how quickly this precious gift can be taken away. I definitely appreciate the importance of health a lot more now and have been taking the time to work on my own personal health while I am at home. I see a world in which quality healthcare is readily available to all who need it and where the doctors and health care providers that deliver it, are celebrated and treated with the respect they deserve. A world in which people are taking the time and care to monitor and maintain their health throughout their lives is a beautify thing!
Do you want to know what you really value? Just look at where your time and money are going to right now. I’m not worried about buying a fancy car, owning a big house, flying off to some exotic destination or wearing fancy clothes. I’m trying my best to make sure my family has food and a roof over their head, that we are making an effort to be kind to each other, that my son and daughter are learning how to learn and develop new skills, that they are thinking about their future and paying attention to what’s happening in the world. I have also been teaching myself new skills and sharpening my leadership abilities every chance I get. I see the situation right now as an opportunity to re-invent myself, my career and my family and maybe even my world.
Moving forward, what do you want your life to look like? What do you want our country to look like? What do you want our world to look like? The choice is ours. Do you really want to go back to the way things were?
A good chunk of the world has been effectively put on pause and millions of people have been laid off due to no fault of their own. I have first-hand experience with what unemployment is like and how to battle through it and want to take the time to share some of my thoughts.
First off, I want you to realize that this is not your fault. Second, as challenging as this may get, I want you to realize that this is not a permanent situation. Your job right now is to find way to endure and move forward while we all work together to battle and defeat Covid-19. This is a mental game and there are some tools you can use to increase your odd of winning.
Your normal routine is out the window and you’ve likely been spending the last month or so trying to find a new rhythm that works. If you are at home and happen to have a family, then you’ll likely have a full house, which can be a challenge in and of itself.
I’m going to tell you first-hand that you’ll need to be on the lookout for two very powerful enemies. These are depression and despair. Not just in you, but in your family members and friends. Early detection and prevention are important.
Depression can set in when we feel like we’ve lost control of our lives and things are slipping away on us. I want you to take this to heart, you are valuable and matter regardless of your employment situation. You need to find ways to focus on things you can control and let go of the things you can’t.
Now let’s talk about despair. Despair shows up when you start having the sense that nothing you are doing is having any effect. Here’s what I’ve learned through experience. Even though it may seem to you that you’re not having an impact, quite often you are, you are just not picking up on it and there is usually a delay between your actions and the effect they have. If there is anything good we can learn from Covid-19 it’s a lesson on how interconnected and dependant we are on each other. You need us, and we need you.
So now let’s get into the main content I want to share in this post. It comes down to focusing on the things you can control and one of them is how you decide to use some of your new-found time. Since my background is in teaching and learning, this is where I think I can help you the most.
It’s going to be really tough right now finding work for a lot of people. I’m not saying you shouldn’t keep an eye out and by all means, if you see something come up it doesn’t hurt to apply. You can set up a routine to check for opportunities, but I can tell you for experience, you can become obsessive in your search, so try not to go overboard.
I’ve always held the motto that if I’m not earning, I’m learning. So this is what I propose. With a chunk of the free time you have, I want you to focus on learning and improving yourself. These tough times will end and when they do, I want you to be ready to seize the opportunities that are coming and maybe even make the jump into a new career. Also, keeping focused and busy working towards an objective is a very potent way to head depression off at the pass!
Now, if your situation is like millions of others out there, money is tight right now, so let’s talk about some low-cost ways to supercharge your learning.
Hands down, online learning is going to be your best friend. Let’s have a look at some great starting points. Remember, most of these have free or low-cost options and they can all be done online, at your own pace and have short videos you can watch and rewatch as you see fit. If this is your first time doing online learning, it’s going to be quite a bit different than traditional learning and if you give it a chance, I think you actually learn to really like it.
I also want you to change the mindset that education only counts if you get a degree, certificate or diploma. All learning is relevant and more and more top tier employers are de-emphasizing formal degrees and acknowledging alternative learning paths.
Coursera offers hundreds of free courses give you access to on-demand video lectures, homework exercises, and community discussion forums. Paid courses provide additional quizzes and projects as well as a shareable Course Certificate upon completion.
Except for professional education courses, there is no cost for taking edX courses when you enroll in the audit track, which does not offer certificates or provide graded assignments. However, if you want to be able to earn a verified certificate for a course and complete assignment, there is a fee that will vary depending on the course. The fees for the verified track usually range between $50 USD and $300 USD.
Udacity began as an experiment in online learning, when Stanford instructors Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig elected to offer their “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” course online to anyone, for free. Over 160,000 students in more than 190 countries enrolled. Udacity has continued to grow and add to their technology and computer science-based offerings. Check out their interesting Nanodegree programs that currently have discounted prices for those facing economic challenges due to Covid-19.
Lynda.com is a fantastic site for those of you out there looking to upgrade your computer, software or business skills. Outside of these core subject areas, you can learn about things like photography, painting, animation, music production and even learn to play the guitar! Lynda.com first month is free and I’d recommend you check if your local library to see if they have partnered with Lynda.com to give you free access. Make sure you check out the many learning paths Lynda has created that could help you shift into a totally new career when the time is right!
I recommend you find something that’s relevant and interesting to you and start with a single course.
Unlike traditional school, you can work your way through the lessons and videos at your own pace. Some courses may have an instructor you can contact when you need to, but many may not have any instructor at all. Remember to focus on developing your skills and understanding. This is not about trying to pass a frivolous test and then immediately forgetting everything a few days later. A half an hour here and an hour there over the space of a few days or weeks and you’ll have completed your first course.
I like to keep a notebook close by when I’m working through online courses, but if you feel more comfortable typing up notes, that works too.
As you progress through your courses, don’t forget to update your resume with your newly acquired skills and celebrate your victories.
While governments around the world struggle to deal with the virus that has shaken our world, I am inspired when I see people from all walks of life, from all nations and all ages rolling up their sleeves and making the decision to find a way to help.
Each and every one of us has something we can contribute to help us get through this global challenge and perhaps come out even stronger on the other side.
It can be easy to think that if you’re not a front-line health care professional, a scientist or government official that there is really not much you can do to help the situation, but you’d be wrong.
I’ll be honest, what’s going on in the world right now is kinda scary. I have no real reference point in my life that compares to what we are seeing now. Over the past few weeks, my family and I have been hanging out at home and doing our best to maintain social distancing and only really going out when we need groceries or for a quick walk around the block with the dog. I am thankful that going for a quick walk is even a possibility, as I know for many of you it is not. I’m also thankful that we are still able to get groceries and have food in the house.
As a leader I’ve always tried to encourage my team and myself to look for ways to be part of the solution and not stay being part of the problem. And so with this in mind, I’ve been trying to find a way that I can help out somehow with this very serious and very challenging situation we all find ourselves in right now.
I’m not an engineer, so making respirators is probably not going to be my thing (but I have seen some amazing people step up here and I salute you!). I’m not a doctor or health care professional so that’s out and I’m not a medical researcher, so I’m not likely going to be the person to develop the vaccine.
Instead of focusing on what I’m not, I took the route on looking for what I am good at and how that could apply to our current situation. For starters, I happen to know quite a bit about teaching and learning, particularly when it comes online education. I know a lot of classroom teachers out there who have little or no experience in this realm. I also know a heck of a lot of parents out there with kids at home. Like me, they want to help their kids keep learning but aren’t sure where to start. Here is a problem I can definitely help with. With this in mind, I’m starting to make posts for parents and teacher and trying to help people keep learning regardless of their current situation.
Keep in mind it’s not just the kids. A large chunk of the workforce has been laid off. I know what it’s like to be out of work and it’s really important to not let despair and depression rear their ugly heads. You don’t have control over certain aspects of your life right now, which sucks. One of the things you can do is put whatever extra time you have available to learning and developing your skills and trying your best to help out where you can. I’m going to try to help people who are out of work too. There are a lot of free resources that you can leverage online to develop your skills, and I will be doing posts that will tell you all about these soon, so stay tuned.
To finish this post off, I want you to really think about what you can do for your community and your country. We all have talents and skills that can help out and I encourage you to look at the millions of little problems that are out there and see if you can be part of the solution for even 1 of them. Each and every one of us has value and each and everyone one of us matters. If you help even 1 other person get through this, we will succeed!
With the the widespread shutdown of schools across the world, parents have suddenly had the important role of teacher placed in their hands. While schools scramble to find ways to adapt and take teaching online, the reality is that parents will have a larger part to play in the education of their children and their own personal learning.
Establish A Routine
While schools are far from perfect, one of the things they do provide is structure. With you kids now hanging out at home, it’s going to come down to you to provide this structure. Left to their own devices, most kids will not spontaneously crack open a math textbook and proactively further their education. Set aside dedicated time each day to be put towards focused and meaningful learning. Keep in mind that while your kids were physically at school for about 6 hours per day, in reality a large chuck of this time was not fully dedicated to active learning. Be realistic and shoot for around 2-3 hours per day devoted to learning. Make sure your kids are taking breaks and keep the learning sessions to under 1 hour. If you establish set times, it will be easier to get into a routine. Also, don’t forget to maintain a regular sleep schedule, which could mean turning wifi off at a certain hour to make sure you kids are staying up all night online.
Don’t Forget about Physical Activity
If you are not in a lock down situation, than attempt to get out for a walk as a family at least once a day. My family has been doing this after dinner. We are very fortunate to have a wealth of hiking trails around us and have been definitely taking advantage of them. Remember your social distancing and avoid large groups. We do see people out on our walks but we make efforts to give people space and be friendly. If you are stuck inside, you’ll likely be able to find fitness classes on TV or online.
A lot of us will turn to Netflix as a coping mechanism over the coming months but you may not have thought to look at Netflix as a learning rich resource. Netflix has a wealth of documentaries that you and your kids can learn quite a bit from. Set aside time each week to watch 1 or 2 of them.
Use Free Online Resources
You can learn just about anything online now a-days, so take advantage of it.
While you’ll be helping your kids learn, it’s just as important to work on your own personal learning too!
Some great sites to check out include Coursera, Udemy, Lynda.com and edX. Also, don’t forget that picking up a book can expand your mind and you skills too.
You can do this!
Remember, It’s not about being perfect. As a parent, we are all teachers in one way or another. Stay positive and try your best. Try to find ways to make learning fun for your family and discover what works best for you. We are all in this together and if we share ideas and resources and insight, we can ultimately come out of this stronger on the other side!