I’ve always been one of those people that just kind of falls into things by accident. Luckily, they usually seem to work out in my favour—sometimes it’s little things like finding a $5 bill on the ground right outside my car door, or sometimes it’s big things like picking a pet parakeet that would live for almost a decade. And, you know, definitely be a source of joy and support for some of life’s most tumultuous times.
My career definitely falls into that category.
See, I’ve never really had a clear idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I was a kid, the only thing I knew I wanted to be was famous. Eventually, my seven-year-old self decided I would be the next Spice Girls, so I found myself a couple of cohorts and started writing atrocious songs in my diary.
My ten-year-old self realized I wanted no part of that, and instead decided that I would be an author. That led to some chapters of a terrible YA book about a girl who was basically an Animagus (yes, this was around the time Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was published) and could turn into a unicorn.
My teenage self realized how horrible all my writing had been so far, and instead, I decided to set my heart on being an architect—before I met Calculus.
Then, I decided I’d follow my passion for Spanish and eventually translate books, because I loved the puzzle of translating phrases indirectly and I wouldn’t actively have to write anything. I went to university for that, and got several years in before I realized that much more than translating, I loved writing essays.
And for once, my writing wasn’t atrocious.
My first real job
All through university, I supported myself by working part-time in a grocery store. It wasn’t too glamorous, but it helped with bills, and that’s all I needed.
The first real job I got was actually while I was still in school; I managed to land an internship (yes, technically an unpaid one) at a wedding magazine. Because it was a startup, that quickly turned into a staff writer position, then an assistant editor position, and eventually a graphic designer hybrid.
I did the math once, and doing articles and design work for two issues a year, I made about $500 a year at that job. But for me, the experience was worth it. I could still do school, and work my other job, while learning how to manage a team, social media, blogs, and so much more.
Enter Blog #1: When I graduated, I decided I’d put my extra time into my first blog ever using all the new knowledge of blogs and social media I had. That blog—which was about book reviews and fun stories—got its introductory post and nothing more.
Then, I got an office job.
Half a year after I graduated, my experience as an assistant editor translated into an actual job. In job interviews, people tend to accept things at face value—which means that the words I had on my resume said so much more than the fact that I never really got paid for what I was doing.
I ended up with another internship (a paid one this time) at a news company in Toronto, writing about engineering stuff and architecture. I absolutely loved the work I was doing there; I learned how to research and write quickly, how to source stories, how to cite things, how to manage client relationships with huge companies like Autodesk.
Plus, a lot of the time I could get away with writing about pretty buildings, which the me-who-formerly-wanted-to-be-an-architect absolutely loved.
It was at this job that I met one of my dearest friends, who introduced me to things like Joe Santagato and Jenna Marbles and Starbucks.
Enter Blog #2: She and I decided to start my second blog ever, a design and architecture blog called eh+ design. You know, because we’re Canadian, my name starts with an E, hers starts with an H, and it sounds like A+. Such pun.
But that poor blog, which got a logo and a Facebook page and everything (and actually still exists), also fizzled.
Eventually, it was time for me to get out of that job. The commute (about two hours driving one-way) was becoming too much. I wasn’t allowed to work from home often, and I couldn’t afford to move closer. So I started looking for something new. There isn’t a whole lot in my home town, though, so I had to broaden my horizons.
That’s how I landed in marketing.
When I started my first marketing job, I had a lot of catching up to do. Sure, I’d been managing blogs and social media accounts for years—but drip campaigns? Conversion rates? I was lost.
I did a lot of research to catch myself up (including buying some For Dummies books), and eventually found myself in charge of things like campaigns and strategies.
Enter Blog #3: About six months into my new job in marketing, I decided I finally knew enough to succeed at running my own blog. And that’s where the Girly Geek Blog came from.
Eventually, I lost that job for some pretty political reasons that I’m legally not allowed to talk about.
That was when I started to question myself.
I spent six months at home, trying to find a new job, and trying to find enough purpose in my life to keep doing what I was doing. There were days where blogging was the only thing that got me out of bed in the morning, and days where I couldn’t face the idea of doing the thing that had gotten me fired.
I went through a pretty serious phase of depression; I had to scale back how much I was writing for my own fun blog. I gained a lot of weight. I got out of the habit of doing things like makeup or some days, even getting dressed. I was happy in my pajamas.
But eventually, I ‘fessed up to my Instagram friends what had happened, and the amount of support I received proved to me that there were people out there who genuinely believed in me. I stepped up my game, learned how to do what I was doing even better, and landed myself a job with people who believe in my work.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading my story. It’s been a long journey, but I wouldn’t change anything about my life for the world. And I hope it inspires you to trust your own work—because even if you don’t, other people do. And that should tell you something.