What am I doing with my life?

Cam Rollins | November 28, 2011

There is an impending labour crunch in Alberta. You hear about it constantly, “people are retiring, average age of our industry is 48, next ten years we’ll lose 1/3 of our workforce, blah, blah, blah”. Basically what it comes down to is that anyone with any kind of experience in a natural resource industry will get to choose whatever job they want 10 years from now. So what’s going to set one company, or even one industry, ahead of all the others? I think it’s going to be the responsibility they’re willing to give you.

MEANING

When you come out of high school, college or university you’re usually brimming with enthusiasm and confidence. I was ready to take on the world and make a difference in the forest. Nobody wants to go to work everyday and not have an impact. Nobody wants to slug away at the same old thing and not achieve anything. You want responsibility and the opportunity to have an impact on the people you work with and the company you work for.

THE REAL WORLD

Often when you enter the workforce with all that enthusiasm, you get beaten down by the real world. Your ideas are squashed because of the bottom line. You’re a rookie and your opinion isn’t even considered because of a lack of experience. All the people above you on the totem pole are going to meetings and getting free lunches. Most of the time, when you enter the workforce, employers make you feel more worthless than a penny (although “every penny counts”, I could really do without them). Because of that, many young people entering the work force change jobs a lot trying to find the right fit. The grass is always greener on the other side I guess, but sometimes you burn the grass you were just eating when you jump the fence.

WHAT HAVE I LEARNED
My last job doing forest planning at Silvacom I had a decent amount of responsibility. I was given goals I needed to reach however possible, and when I reached those goals I was rewarded. Mostly they rewarded me with food. Boston Pizza lunches, sandwiches from Feif N’ Deckel, sometimes even Haggis on Robbie Burns day, and once even a bacon explosion, which is weaved bacon rolled into a cylinder stuffed with sausage and more bacon.

Constantly being full had some consequences. I got fat, butI was generally very happy with what I was doing. The fatness also didn’t bother me much, because everyone around me was eating the exact same food…

My current job I have even more responsibility. I have to set my own goals and surpass them. If I don’t, I won’t have a job. If I do, I might have a job. I’m also the only person doing what I’m doing in Alberta, so I think it’s pretty important. That helps me go to work everyday and I rarely have a case of the Mondays.

WHERE DO YOU FIT IN
So what I’m saying is that I hope you can find a job that provides you lots of meaning. Could that job be in the forest industry? Possibly. You could contribute to how buildings are built, public forests are managed, or maintain safety and be responsible for people’s lives. You could operate the biggest machines in the mill, or program computers that are responsible for millions of dollars of revenue. There’s some pretty sweet options. Let me know what you’re interested in, and through Work Wild, we can find you careers that will help you to feel more accomplished than ever before.

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Work Wild is a campaign that reaches out to youth who are about to make one of the most important choices in their lives — their career. We’re here to educate you on the diversity of employment choices in forestry and open some eyes to the amazing benefits of working in this sustainable industry.

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