Bata Shoe Museum

The Bata Shoe Museum has over 13,000 items in its Toronto location. It houses 4,500 years of history from all over the world. Some displays were devoted to the shoe making process, inclusion of gold, classism associated with footwear, among other things.

Highlights included small and large shoes that demonstrated a craftsmen’s skills, the origin and use of Western heels, materials to make them (i.e. hair, grass, animal skins), tools used in the arctic, gender identity in the design, and bizarre floral patterns.

The Great Divide exhibit highlighted how shoes were a part of codifying identity, socio-economic status, and empire.

Writing Festivals/Panels: Recordings in 2020

During this time of social distancing, a lot of literary workshops and festivals have moved online. Throughout 2020, I collected a list of free recordings you can watch right now:

Do you know other workshops/festivals that have been hosted online? Feel free to leave links in the comment section.

NaNoWriMo 2020

This year’s NaNoWriMo is 100% virtual to ensure everyone’s safety during the pandemic. As a moderator for the Toronto region, I’ll be hosting a weekly write-in on Thursdays.

Don’t let geography discourage you from joining these events.

Check out the Toronto NaNoWriMo page and calendar for events, dates, and instructions on how to participate.

Life after Library School: Five Years Later

I graduated from Western University’s Library and Information Science program five years ago.

In August 2015, I submitted my final class assignment. I was both relieved that my schooling was behind me, but also worried about what lie ahead. Would I be able to find work? How long would the job hunt be? If I didn’t find anything, what were my alternatives?

After several contracts, I’m now in a permanent position and have grounded myself within the tech field. My knowledge of software, such as SharePoint and O365, has grown by leaps and bounds.

My creative goals to get traditionally published and self-published have been achieved and I hope to continue writing and sharing my works.

I want to share some advice to help those who will/have graduated and are uncertain about their future:

  • Job hunting tips. Apply to a posting sooner rather than later; being the second applicant is easier for a recruiter to remember than the one hundredth. Don’t use a generic cover letter. Recruiters can tell when you have or haven’t put effort into an application. Don’t be afraid of a long job hunt. It’s better to find something that you’ll like and stick with, rather than settling for the first position you’re qualified for.
  • Interview tips. Read up on the organization to know who they are and what they’ve been up to. If you lack experience tech wise, you can note in an interview that you’re taking the initiative to learn on your own (i.e. through lynda.com). When preparing for interviews, consider the STAR method. Come up with answers to generic questions before the interview (i.e. Where do you see yourself in five years? Why do you want this job?)
  • Willingness to relocate. This may not be viable for everyone, but if you apply for jobs/move out of your town/province/country, you may be able to find opportunities that you otherwise can’t get locally and  have less competition. When interviewing for these jobs, some potential employers will pay for flights and accommodations.
  • Part-time/contract opportunities. Some part-time positions can turn full-time. Some contracts can get extended and become permanent. There’s no guarantee that a temporary gig will turn into a permanent job, but it’s possible. It happens more often than than you think. Don’t overlook them in the job hunt, if it’s viable to apply to them. For most people starting out in the field, taking on contracts for years is standard.
  • Continuing education. No matter what, you’ll always be learning. Show an eagerness to try new things. As someone who’s in tech, I must keep afloat with changes or else I’ll fall behind in my skill set. There are plenty of free events out there to learn about the latest tech. If your organization has a professional development fund, take advantage to go to conferences in Canada and abroad.
  • Find your workplace champions. Fostering goodwill and your reputation in an organization is key to securing your place. If you get to know others and help them out to resolve an issue, they can advocate for your abilities to higher ups and can influence whether or not you get a contract extension or a permanent placement.
  • Interpersonal skills still matter. Being a team player, a good communicator, organized, self-disciplined, and writing concisely are still important skills to develop. If you don’t have certain technical skills, a good organization is willing to teach you. An organization will not have the patience to deal with employees who are argumentative, stubborn, underhanded, and unwilling to change.
  • Challenge yourself. Be willing to accept change, constructive criticism, new technology, and be a lifelong learner. Don’t be afraid to aim high or apply to jobs you feel unqualified for. Many people experience imposter syndrome and question their own abilities, but if you step out of your comfort zone and work in a supportive environment, you’ll be surprised about how capable you are and how far you can go.
  • Life outside of work. Your career is important, but it’s not your whole life. Find friends you can talk to and groups with your hobbies. Having communities you can unwind with or volunteering/pursuing an activity you’re passionate about enriches your life. Now that you’re done with school, travel abroad, read those books on your shelves, finish that creative project, play board games; do what makes you happy.