Build a Career in Clean Energy

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.

General Fusion

Corvus Energy

Ballard Power

Photo by David Monje on Unsplash

Where Do Leaders Come From?

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?

The Psychology of the Career Search – Understanding Value

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:

  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Empathy
  • Integrity
  • Humility
  • Impact
  • Courage
  • Creativity
  • Inclusion
  • Collaboration
  • Learning/Growth

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.

Find your dream job without ever looking at your resume | Laura Berman Fortgang

Know your worth, and then ask for it | Casey Brown

The Psychology of the Career Search – Your Perception of Time

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
  • Reference checks
  • 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!

Looking for your next career opportunity? BC’s life science companies are hiring!

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!

adMare BioInnovations

STEMCELL Technologies

Zymeworks

AbCellera Biologics

Aspect Biosystems

Precision NanoSystems

Notch Therapeutics

For a more complete list of BC’s Life science companies, visit Life Sciences British Columbia.