A path to make-up artistry…

By Monica Pavez

Goblins. Werewolves. Aliens and beauty queens. Pretty much any character’s look you can think of in any movie (or TV series) has been created or worked on by a makeup or special effects artist. If the job has been right, you won’t even notice the immense amount of work that has been done.

Growing up, like most other people, I didn’t really give much thought to the people working behind the scenes to bring stories to life on stage or screen.  I knew of course that there must be people who’s job it was to make movies, but it seemed like this unrealistic dream job that a few lucky people got to do. Like oyster divers or panda cub babysitters, we can’t all do that for a living. Not to mention, how does one learn those jobs? Do you need schooling, or can you learn on the job? Do you have to know someone who can get you “in”?

Towards the end of my high school career, I, like the rest of my classmates, was feeling the pressure to decide on a postsecondary program.  I had been an artisitic person my whole life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I would be a good artist. The problem was that when I started to go over the university materials and programs lists, nothing really jumped out at me. I decided instead to enroll in a 2 year art program at H.B. Beal Secondary School in London, where I could take arts courses that were in many cases equal to or better than taking the equivalents at an arts college. After graduating from that program, I worked for a while before deciding that I could see myself doing costuming work for theatre as a career. I applied to the Fashion Techniques and Design Program at George Brown in Toronto, intending to specialize in Costume Design afterwards.  The program wasn’t quite for me, and I ended up dropping out. I spent the next several years working a few different jobs, but still feeling like I was waiting for the next phase of my life to start. I knew I wanted to go to postsecondary school, but I was at a complete loss as to what I should study. 

Around what is now roughly two and half years ago, I began to hear about a school in Toronto called C|MU College of Makeup Art & Design. It was and is a private college that offers courses and programs for aspiring makeup artists. My girlfriend at the time knew someone who was attending the school, and so I booked a tour and info session at the school.  Almost as soon as I finished the tour I knew that I had finally found what I was looking for in a school. It would give the skills, techniques, and contacts I would need to become a successful makeup artist. I immediately applied to the school, and I was accepted into their Complete Makeup Artist Program, which gives you a two-year equivalent diploma and you learn everything from beauty and fashion makeup to makeup for theatre and film, as well as prosthetic and creature makeup. During the program I was able to gain experience in the field by way of the job posting board that the school oversees.

I graduated from the program in early June, and am now in the process of building my freelance portfolio and hopefully a career as a makeup artist for film. If I learned anything over the years while trying to figure out my life, it is that you have to know yourself. Know what you are good at and what you are not; know what you do want out of your career and what you don’t. It will at the very least help rule out what you don’t want to study. I guess most of all, don’t panic, everyone has their own path to take!


Look for the open doors!

By Rachel Gardner

Rachel Gardner headshot.jpg

Hashtags, Twitter handles, video editing and Facebook posts are a part of my daily job at the Council of Ontario Universities (COU). My path to this career was not straightforward, but I am certainly glad to have ended up where I am today.

COU is a membership organization for the 20 provincially-assisted universities, advocating for policy issues such as research, accessibility, jobs, and graduate studies. As the Communications and Public Affairs Officer with COU in Toronto, I wear multiple hats, doing everything from updating social media to managing the organization’s website and editing news releases, reports and government statements. It is a rare occasion indeed to find some spare time in the day!

The journey to get here has been not been without its twists and turns – I graduated from Mount Allison University in 2012 with an honours bachelor of arts in international relations, and a double minor in economics and environmental studies. I was interested in everything, but especially loved writing, editing and journalism. I had spent two years on staff at my student paper, The Argosy, first as the political beat writer and then as the news editor, and loved the thrill of chasing a story. By the time of my graduation, I had accepted an offer into the master of journalism program at Carleton University.

The summer after the first year of my master’s program, I took an internship with the Council of Ontario Universities, using my journalism skills and knowledge of the CP Style Guide in a role as a communications intern. Though I had originally intended to spend my summer in a newsroom, I had difficulty landing a paid journalism internship and decided to learn more about what a career in communications would be like. My employers gave me a number of projects to spearhead, including the launch of a student career site, creating short videos and managing the organization’s social media. At the end of the summer, they offered me a full-time job with the organization. Despite it being a tough decision, I decided to put my schooling on pause and have now been happily with the organization for just over one year. No regrets!

If I could give one piece of advice to students searching for their own career path, it is to be open to new opportunities. Get involved in student clubs and extra-curriculars to explore the areas where you are most passionate and find the greatest challenge. See where your talents best fit with those of others. Be open to trying something new, and don’t limit yourself.

There are lots of possibilities out there – look for the open doors!

For a student of history, it doesn’t get much better….

By Marcus Kaulback

So you think you can dance? No, me neither. And so I’m not a dancer. Instead, I have the privilege to call myself a historian.

I got a job four months ago with a research management company in Ottawa. Clients come to us for a slew of reasons, but most of our work includes providing specialized research services, whether for litigation support, community development, or a person’s simple interest in the past. But whatever the reason, we’re the background workers giving our clients the information they need to succeed in their projects. We try to make hindsight even clearer than 20/20.

But enough tooting the company horn…

I’m working now on something called the Unexploded Explosive Ordnance and Legacy Sites Program (we’ll just call it the UXO Project) which is an attempt by the Department of National Defence to clean up all their old military sites, especially as urban centres grow and encroach more and more on previously out-of-the-way training sites. My job is to research the military activity of past DND sites across Canada to help determine the probability of there being unexploded ordnance still in the ground at these places.

My boss, the senior researcher, sends me lists of files that contain information on a specific site. I spend my days, then, after I’ve ordered these files from Library and Archives Canada (big Soviet-style building in downtown Ottawa with itty-bitty windows), sifting through them looking for any and all mention of live firing having taken place there. I’m looking at primary sources, things like Inspection Reports of camps and armouries, War Diaries of specific units, and even personal letters of the soldiers themselves. For a student of history, it doesn’t get much better.

Once we’ve fully looked at a site, we write reports on them and submit those to DND, which help them in turn determine whether or not there’s a point to actually going down to these places and surveying the land to find these bad things that might still lurk under it.

It’s a quiet gig, solitary too, but it satisfies my passion for the past. And really, how many jobs would do that? Like I said, I studied history in university, more specifically military history, so this job ticks a big box. I get paid to handle real-deal documents that speak to our country’s military past, and by doing it contribute to tidying up the sites that played such a huge role in that past, and I’m happy and lucky to do it.

As you can imagine though, I didn’t come roaring out of uni and into the interview. As most of us 21st-century job seekers know, there is rarely such a thing as a conventional path to employment anymore. No longer do we decide in childhood what we want to be, pursue it at some type of finishing school, and get the job right after graduation. As for me, I skipped town after I graduated, went to Asia where I spent nine months slumming around Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, India, and Nepal before landing in Busan, South Korea to teach kindergarteners the Queen’s English for a year. From Korea, not eager to get back home, my girlfriend and I took the long way ’round, travelling overland to England, five of those seven months spent in a 1981 VW campervan crisscrossing Europe.

I got home to Canada, moved to Vancouver, and continued my slumming. I took a few courses, among them editing, worked a few jobs, among them editorial assistant for a couple of magazines, but moved back to Ottawa after three years of overall professional nonfulfillment. Then the scramble for a job really ramped up. Kid on the way, bills to pay, no job to light the way. Six months came and went with no meaningful work, so I went to an alumni function – something I had never done – at the behest of my mum, “to network”, she said. It was here that I met my future boss.

I don’t have a lesson for anyone on how to go about gaining work. I don’t know the answers, obviously. But I guess that’s the point of WorkStory, to share our “journey to the job” and let all of you know that the whole point, when you’re down and nearly out, is to just keep chugging and plugging away. Hell, I’ve emptied ashtrays at a bowling alley and cut grass at a cemetery, but you just keep going. It took me almost seven years to find something worth it, but that’s just it…it was worth it.

For more about Marcus  http://marcuskaulback.tumblr.com/

It’s a Jungle Out There: The Jobmanji Story

By Guy Baldwin

Starting a new business from scratch isn't the easiest thing to do, but that's exactly what Jacob Johnson and Guy Baldwin have done with their inspired idea to create a jobs website that pulls all the information from thousands of recruiters into one easy-to-access place.

Jobmanji is the new kid on the block in the online jobs sector and is taking on a market that has been established for many years and is highly competitive. The launch of Jobmanji's Canadian site, following hugely successful launches in the UK and US, marks another milestone in the company's global strategy.

Jacob and Guy knew exactly what they were taking on when they developed the concept of Jobmanji. As Jacob explains: "I had experienced the frustration of both recruiters and job seekers when I was doing IT work for a recruitment agency. Recruiters were having problems getting their information out to where they wanted it to go because there were so many different job sites available, and people looking for jobs either didn't know where to go for information or had to trawl through multiple sites to find what they wanted."

So the idea was born to create one website to pull together all jobs available on other sites as well as those posted directly by recruiters.

As Jacob says: "What we wanted to do was save job seekers the hassle of searching dozens of websites and making recruiters know that their jobs are easily accessible in the one place. We've put a lot of resources into giving recruiters and those looking for work the information and back-up to be confident that Jobmanji can deliver what they need."

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and Jobmanji has satisfied many appetites since its initial launch at the beginning of 2013.

Guy, Jobmanji's Marketing Director, says: "In our first year we have had 1.2 million unique visits, 7.9 million page views and advertised 3.75 million jobs in the UK alone. That shows that Jobmanji is offering exactly what people want, and our central hub is delivering a really effective service."

So how does a business idea in the sharp, competitive world of online recruitment become a reality? It needs the right people to deliver the vision, and this is where Jobmanji has brought together the ideal team. Combining experience of cutting-edge technology and astute business administration, the company has the expertise to continue developing its concept worldwide and the resources from investors to achieve the vision.

"Make no mistake," says Jacob. "Our goal is to help people who want to find jobs and those who want to attract the best people for their jobs. The process for Jobmanji is simple and that's how we intend to keep it. No more wandering through a maze of other job seeking sites – everything is here."

Jacob's background is in computing and includes the ability to program in several languages, administer Linux servers and work with cloud computing and network security. These skills allowed him to develop the basic site whilst Guy continued research and developing the company. Guy's experience ranges from working for a successful family business doing corporate restructuring and insolvency to managing a variety of enterprises including construction, manufacturing, haulage, marketing and recruitment, skills that have helped build Jobmanji into the successful company it is today.

The idea of one central job search site proved attractive to investors, and with that financial impetus the company took on Marcos Lujan as a core team member. Marcos' background and training is in IT, having studied computer science in the USA, and he has wide ranging knowledge of both hardware and software issues as well as the ability to program in several languages. His experience in online marketing has brought significant added value to Jobmanji, and he is responsible for the company's search engine optimization team.

Jacob is clear about Jobmanji's vision. "Everything starts from an idea, and our idea was to help people who recruit and those looking for work to place and find jobs from a central website'" he says. "We use sophisticated technology to ensure users are able to find jobs quickly, matching their skills and experience to what recruiters are looking for. Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for recruiters to upload information and for job hunters to access it.

" Another important aspect of Jobmanji is our section on tips and advice for jobseekers. We want to share our knowledge of the recruitment business so that people can find and prepare for their dream job.

"It's a jungle out there and if you can't see the wood for the trees you're looking in the wrong place. With Jobmanji you're looking in the right place!"

Since its launch Jobmanji has already proved phenomenally popular both with recruiters and job seekers, and the core trio of Jacob, Guy and Marcos are moving forward with their plans to add more countries to the site.