A Future of Open Doors

It is the tenth (well, technically eleventh, because I’m writing this the Tuesday after) week of this internship, and I am going to be sad to see it go.

I write this in Quebec City – I’m usually posted down in London, hence is why this post is a couple days late. Long car trips make me so dizzy, there’s no way I could have written a single word before I had a chance to settle on unmoving ground! But this trip has me thinking about my future goals and aspirations, and all my short-term goals with my career and my internship, and so I suppose I’ll talk about that in this post.

But, first, a quick update on the things we’ve been working on:

  • The logo came in for YOU. It’s SO GOOD! I’ve processed it through a vector system (which is a fancy way of saying I drew it in an open-source alternative to Adobe Illustrator), and so here is the final product:
The new logo for YOU’s Fiti Yogurt product line: YOUgurt. Designed by Josi Hunter, youth mentor at the YOU Made It Cafe.

         Isn’t it just the most comforting thing you’ve ever seen? I cannot imagine any better way this logo could have been made. Josi has it in the bag.

  • YOU is having a launch party for Joan’s Place, a new shelter across the street from the café designed for young mothers and expecting mothers. They want to hand out railcards and posters for this event so we’ve been charged with prepping all the marketing materials by August 5th.
  • The onboarding handbook for SAUT has seen its rough draft completed! Gurleen and Lisa will be meeting with Delphine to discuss it and any edits it needs, and then we’re onto putting together the final videos for the onboarding process.

So the list of key deliverables has shortened slightly, but man, it’s going to be some work. And I can feel a little bit of burnout setting in – something that routinely rolls into my system at about the three-month mark with anything new. A setback that can vary in intensity, but will always feel something like this:

Picture taken from Reddit. It is a favourite of mine.

(I am the hand. My brain is the dog.)

But! I’m putting in a lot of work to learn more about burnout and why my brain works like this, what it means, and how I can counter it. This vacation will hopefully be a really good influence on my brain and its productivity, and I’ll continue to compartmentalize my time to slot in breaks dedicated to anything but work.

Burnout is a real thing, and the last thing you should feel is guilt when you come across it. It happens. Your brain is trying to protect you. You’ve simply got to give yourself the rest you need.

But yes – Quebec.

I’ve been here for only two days, but I’m really enjoying myself. I’ve taken French all through high school and some courses in university, and just today I got to order food for my family in French. I really, really like it here. And, of course, when I like something, I make a point to see how I can fit it into my future plans.

This internship has made me realize that I would definitely like to see a lot of marketing in my future careers. It has been so much fun and so pleasing for my brain! Solving these puzzles and creating brands and materials from the ground up has been so cool, and so I’ve been thinking about ways to incorporate that into my future on my own terms. Maybe I’ll land a remote job with a London company and spend the summer in Quebec. Maybe I move here in my early thirties when I’ve landed a sweet new marketing job. Maybe I move after grad school and set up my own little business. All I know is that this internship has shown me what I like, and all the opportunities for travel and liberty available with remote work.

And there’s the moral side of things – if you’re not careful, marketing can be an insidious industry. The way they develop theory and practices is bizarre: they sometimes, at their worst, view everything from an angle that completely eliminates the concept of ethics. Getting people to buy your product or services does not take into account whether your methods are adding to their quality of life and access to information. Ethical movement has to be made deliberately in this field, and when you’re working for a large, commercial, for-profit company, I imagine you won’t have much wiggle room to insert your ethics into their giant predetermined plot.

That’s a lot of the reason why I chose Western Heads East. Working with non-profit organizations allows my marketing to take on the ethical approach I desire to have in my career. Marketing can be ridiculously effective even with these sorts of limitations on what you can do – that one step over the boundary is almost counterintuitive, decreasing quality of life in your pursuit to convince people that your product will increase quality of life. With this internship, I’ve been able to route my own marketing schemes and keep ethics front of mind, while working with companies who have the most genuine and community-oriented goals and morals.

Overall, this paints a distinct picture for my ideal future. I will probably end up working in traditional industry for at least a few years, but I know where I want to go and I know that there are options out there that won’t conflict with my core morals and intentions for my work. This internship has really helped me crystallize the image of who I want to be as I grow in this industry, and what impact I want to leave on the people who will interact with my projects. What jobs I’m going to take? No clue. Where I’m going to end up living? Beats me. And that’s fine. That should be open-ended. All I need is to know that I liked what I did during this internship, and I’m set to take on the world.

So, future interns: I hope this experience gives you everything you hoped for, and new knowledge you maybe didn’t expect. This internship is going to open up so many doors for you and I implore you to explore as many as possible!


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