A Love Story: Working in KMb / Une histoire d’amour: travailler en MdC

Michael Johnny, RIR- YorkU

I have the best job within the university. I know this because I feel like I am 23 years old again!

J’ai le meilleur emploi de toute l’université. Je le sais parce que je me sens comme si j’avais de nouveau 23 ans!

This is likely not what you’re hoping this blog post to be.  Love stories are seldom about work, they are about people.   This is about my relationship with my work, does that make sense?

I tell people that I have the best job in the university.  Being a knowledge broker is extremely fulfilling; working within a service unit that is respected and appreciated, and has a capacity to help enable research to impact society is important.  I like it.  Check that, I love it.  It was in reflecting with some other brokers about my career path to get to this place of enlightened happiness that made me realize this is an important story.

When I was 23 years old I started my career as Aboriginal Literacy Coordinator within the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre, a Friendship Centre which provides diverse social services to the Aboriginal population of the Greater Hamilton area.  It is not an understatement to say the work was transformative for me.  I quickly developed a passion for my work.  Complex service work that is rooted in values of honesty, respect and humility are not only important for my professional happiness, they are essential.  Over a nine-year span I grew within my role and found interests in research (eventually going back to graduate school to research the very work I was responsible for) and community development (working with other skilled professionals to advance issues important to the community).  I loved my work, and the relationship was reciprocal.

Yet as we want to do sometimes, we seek more.  Growth opportunities were no longer readily available for me in Hamilton in my organization and my interests in literacy provided me contract opportunities for many provincial and regional organizations.  The work was important but there was a missing element (or elements).

And sharing my favourite beer in a great pub in Ottawa, I was able to tell my current colleagues how the work I am doing in KMb has brought me back to a place I was more than 20 years ago.  KMb has rekindled my passion for work and at the core of this is that the work provides a complex service base (after all, we are a service unit) and in order to be successful it is critical to operate with values that are completely aligned with my early career work in Hamilton.

This is a love story I embrace every day, along with a deep sense of appreciation from having thought I may have lost it for good many years back.

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