Working at a minimum wages job, I always wondered how it would feel to earn a higher income and not just be completely dependent on your bi-weekly pay cheques. I previously worked at Tim Hortons and then made my way to one of the top companies.
This was a long journey that came in with all kinds of struggles from emotional breakdown to all those financial problems.
I am from India and came to Canada in 2016 to pursue my post graduation. I was from a middle class family so it was difficult to cope up with all the financial requirements for an education abroad. Hence my father decided to give up all the savings for my dream and I started to browse through colleges that we could afford.
When I landed in Canada, my dreams were big but didn’t know what path to choose or where to start from. I knew I had to help my father to bring up all the savings for the future of my brothers who were still in school at the time.
So like other students, I decided to take up a part time job to help pay for the fees and manage my living expenses in Canada. I got a job at Tim Hortons near by my house where I worked for 20 hours a week and earned minimum wages so that I can pay for the rent, groceries, utility and hydro bills and if left, then would save the money.
I used to change garbages lying outside the store and clean the complete parking lots in -15C to -18C with wind chills of -25 to -30. My hands would go complete numb and my face would turn red like a tomato. It made me sick and feel completely exhausted. Going back home, I would also have to cook for next day as I had classes early morning.
Working at Tim Hortons, I made up my mind that as I worked 20 hours in a week for the pay cheque, the other 20 hours I would give in for the self development and focus on developing more skills for my career.
Previously I used to think that the part time job would not help me out in my career other than providing me some income. But I was wrong. I took up that opportunity to learn about the different cultures here in Canada as everyday we would encounter different types of customers. I started studying their behaviors and the way of communication. This was my first step towards self development – observation.
Going home, though I was completely exhausted, I would make up my mind and at least spend one hour in learning some new technologies, practicing them and making some projects from them. After I was done I would finish up my college assignments and would go to sleep at almost 2 am at night.
During the last semester, I started attending meetup events to enlarge my network which helped me to learn as to where the market was heading and what are the expectations.
I started applying for jobs blindly because I thought I was ready for the job opportunities based on whatever I had learnt and observed. But I was wrong. My resume was rejected by tons of companies. Everyday I would apply for nearly 30-40 job opportunities, sometimes even more than that and the next morning I would wake up with at least 10 rejections and other companies would not even consider my application as I was too young and did not have enough experience.
I would sometimes cry, reading those rejections and went into depression. This stage was very difficult because at the same time Canada had announced an increase in minimum wages because of which the job markets went down. There were less hirings going on at the time and even my part time job started to cut down on the hours due to which I was earning even below the minimum wage. I felt completely depressed. My savings were just crawling down and I didn’t even have enough money to go back to India.
At this point I decided that just being into depression wasn’t going to help me. I had to do something to bring myself out of this situation. I started creating valuable projects that I can put into my resume and went through each and every detail that I mentioned in my resume and kept on improvising them. Then I started working on the cover letters, created a portfolio that would cover up all the work and what strong skills I hold. With these changes, I was at least considered for a position and given a chance of an interview.
For sure I failed in the interviews. I started to rethink my answers, write them down and then took up some mock interviews and improved my answers. Along with that I researched about communication skills, postures and attire that are required for the job interviews. With all these preparations, I again applied to job applications and was successful to get into some interviews and even cleared out all the interview rounds but in the end while finishing up all the formalities, the companies would reject me saying I didn’t have a PR and that they would not help in any sponsorship.
Similarly I got a chance at General motors which conducted almost 5 rounds of interviews. I gave the interviews with my 100%. After all the interviews were over, the next day my family was trying to console me out for my depression and I started thinking of my way out of the financial problems that I was facing at that time. I got a call from one of the hiring managers at General motors and somehow due to facing lot of rejections, my mind was assuming that this call was also for a rejection. But instead the hiring manager congratulated me for clearing all the interview rounds and that they were happy to offer me this job opportunity. He went on adding the further details on my offer and what my package would be and I gladly accepted it.
It was one of the best days of my life. I called my parents to give this good news. They had tears in the eyes and my brothers were way too happy for me.
I learnt with this experience that there are tons of opportunities out there but you need to show them the way to your door.