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 |  Tags: Networking, CareerPath, Change

Kasia Palkowski
Kasia Palkowski
5th-Year Human Resource Management Student

For the past four years, I had been set on working in Accounting for the Federal Government. It was what I had decided on as soon as I finished my summer internship with CRA back in August 2016. My following internship with DFO from May to December 2018, had validated that belief as well. I really enjoyed the work environments, the learning opportunities, and the people that I had been lucky enough to encounter on my teams.

In February 2018, push finally came to shove. My accounting courses became more demanding; my workload increased; I helped start Telfer’s very first women’s network, WMN, in addition to my role as a Telfer Career Centre Ambassador and Sponsorship director on CASCO. I started to feel overwhelmed and was having difficulty managing everything that was on my plate. (Looking back, it was a pivotal moment in my life as I had learned my professional limits and how much is too much for me.)

Simultaneously, other events were happening - both positive and negative - and they began to have an impact on my career path, although I didn’t realize this until after the fact. Taking Matt Archibald’s Seminar on Personal and Leadership Development (ADM 4396) gave me the opportunity to discover my passion and network with well-known leaders in the Ottawa community; attending different Career Centre workshops such as “Who Am I: Self-assessment and Career Testing” helped me evaluate my strengths, interests, and passions;  I was becoming aligned with the right people who would connect me to others; work pressures started to mount; the pressure of keeping my commitments and my grades up while maintaining a social life, was taking a toll on me. It got to a point where something just clicked, and I asked myself – am I happy in accounting?

This was my breakthrough. Switching out of accounting was something I had been deliberating on since taking Intermediate Accounting 1 - the class which typically acts as a wake-up call for many accounting students. But after the build up I had encountered over those last few weeks, I finally had mustered up the courage to admit to myself that maybe, accounting isn’t the right fit for me. I had a very hard time accepting this fact, and once I did accept the feelings of dissonance that had been bubbling under the surface, I relied heavily on my support network. Many of my peers, upon hearing of my decision to switch, would ask “Well, what are you going to do now?” My answer was the same for about 2 months – I’m not sure, but I know I will figure it out. And I did!

I now work at a technology startup named Oproma as an Inside Sales Representative. The company focuses on creating value out of people’s unstructured data. I never thought of sales as a profession - I believed the ‘car salesman’ stereotype was true for any sales role. However, I have come to learn that professional sales is about building relationships, and solving problems. My passions, strengths, interests and talents are finally aligned; no longer am I trying to force a career path that isn’t right for me! I have a natural ability to connect with people, and networking is one of my favourite hobbies. My people skills are excellent, and I’m happy that I’ve finally found a profession where I can use these skills daily. I have surrounded myself with very driven colleagues who act as mentors to me, and I take in as much knowledge as I can from them. The fulfillment I feel about my life right now is unparalleled to anything I have ever felt before. I feel as though I am not only satisfying my soul and its calling, but also helping others grow both professionally and personally– which is my ultimate passion.

Main point: Make sure you’re being honest with yourself, about the path you’ve set for yourself. People say to follow your passion and then you’ll never work a day in your life - but the fact is, many people have difficulty finding that passion to begin with. Three resources that I recommend for developing more self-awareness are the Career Centre’s Who Am I: Self-assessment and Career Testing and Jump Start Your Job Search workshops, as well as the Seminar on Personal and Leadership Development (ADM 4396).


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