Traveling for Work and Other Fun

This post was written on September 30, 2015, while I was 25000 ft above ground over British Columbia.

I'm writing this on my way from Vancouver to Fort McMurray, on a small Bombardier Dash 8 prop.  Usually, I'd be fast asleep by now but because this plane flies at a relatively low altitude, the view outside the window is too beautiful to pass up.

View from the Plane Over the Rockies in BC

Fort What?
You're probably thinking either of 2 things right now.  Where is Fort McMurray or if you know where Fort McMurray is, why is he going there?  As the tourist's destination of choice in Canada, I'm flying there to...just kidding!  It's really for work.  In 4 days, we would have covered 3 cities/time zones (Halifax, Vancouver, Fort McMurray), but earned only about 1000 Aeroplan points.  :(  The nice thing about travelling for work is that it'll bring you to places you typically wouldn't travel to during personal travel.  The bad thing about travelling for work is that it'll bring you to places you typically wouldn't travel to during personal travel. :)

At Ainsworth, we've been working on the implementation of a new work order management system that is to be rolled out company wide.  We're a midsize company (not a household name, but we did build the electrical systems of Toronto landmarks such as then Skydome and CN Tower) with about 800 employees across the country and this software will affect a large majority of the company.  That's why we're visiting the different branch locations to show them what's coming down the pipe.  I'm the project manager for this project and we've got a top notch team, and am very grateful because the team makes me look good!

Hilarious Sign I Spotted in the Airport Washroom

So, WHAT Do You Do? 
Throughout my career, I've been plagued by uncommon and non-descriptive titles.  When people ask me what I do, I usually hesitate to tell them my title because of this.  When I worked at ATS, my title was Systems Designer.  Now, my title is Manager, Business Process Management.  As you can see, anyone's response would be, "so really, what do you do?"  So, I end up saying, "I design machines," or, "I'm kind of like an IT guy, except I don't know how to fix computers."  I can't say I'm an engineer because PEO will come after me so I'm kind of stuck (Hopefully by the end of this year, I can get my license...finally).

Working for a midsize company definitely has its pluses.  My boss is the CFO, which makes me sound like I'm high on the corporate ladder (except I'm not), and I get to interact with the President and Vice-Presidents on a regular basis, which would be rare had I worked for a larger company.  But the best thing really is that my work impacts the company and I feel empowered to make a real difference.

Shaping Your Future
One of the many things that I've learned throughout my short career is that if you want to grow in your career, you have to be proactive about it.  Even if you do good work and work hard, you can't just sit around and expect to get a promotion.  If you don't make it known that you would like to grow, your employer would probably think you're happy where you are, because there are many people out there who have no desire to progress, and you definitely don't want to be grouped in with them.

Sometimes, there is no room for you to progress.  Maybe your boss is the CFO and you're not an accountant!  There could be a thousand other reasons.  I believe you have to search within your company for a gap to fill.  Blaze a new path if one doesn't exist.  Of course, it's more easily said than done.  It takes careful planning and strategizing, and probably a lot of convincing before you are given what you want.  I'm really not one to give career advice, but these are my thoughts...what do you think?

"Ask and it will be given to you" (Matthew 7:7). It doesn't just apply to your spiritual life.  I think it applies equally well in your career.

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