Monday, 15 April 2013

Looking Back Part 2: On Life at True North Records

Hey everybody, this is an article that I wrote for a small publication about a year ago and I thought I'd share it here. I hope you enjoy it.
God has given me a lot of experiences in my life in my nearly 24 years on this earth. From band trips to Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa to great youth conferences in Toronto and Niagara Falls. From awesome places like summer camp to a mission trip to Mexico. Oh yes, I've been inside the CBC building, CTV Agincourt, MTV Canada and CTS Burlington.
I have Community Living to thank for the fact that I am currently employed at a Canadian record label. That's my foot in the door for future opportunities. My internship at CTS did the same. I'm not exactly sure what my future holds, but I know that I have been given a unique opportunity to bless the community that I am a part of at work and outside of it.
True North Records is an ordinary workplace with some extraordinary experiences. I recently had my picture taken with Bruce Cockburn's latest JUNO award win. I don't think many people can say that they have held a JUNO award before nor can they say that they have attended the JUNO Awards. I've also had the privilege to meet some really neat artists like Murray McLauchlan and Gowan (in addition to Manafest who is not on the label). Not to mention that I’ve made some really neat connections in the music industry. Not that it makes me more special, because I'm not the only person to have multiple extraordinary experiences that help shape me as a person. But I didn't ask for this. I didn't see this possibility when I graduated college. The chance of this experience was given to me and I chose to take it. For that, I am grateful.
About a year and three months ago my case worker told me that she had been made aware of a job opportunity for me that involved music. True North Records had approached CLB saying they had a job opening and they hoped CLB could recommend a potential employee; CLB had thought that I was that potential employee. Now my first choice career was for a television/video related environment but at this point I was not about to complain. So we went to the interview (a rather casual one) and I got the job...before the interview started. I was happy. My mom was happy...when I told her. My case worker was very happy! I'm not sure even she thought Community Living would actually be of help to my situation in searching for a media related job. But it happened and it made lots of people happy. Getting this job meant a lot to me and those around me. It’s no secret that having a job provides a huge boost to one’s self-esteem.
The job that I got at True North Records was a position working in the warehouse shipping and receiving product (mostly CDs and DVDs) as well as keeping it organized. My first impression of the job was that it was a great entry level position because I knew that most media related companies start new people at basic positions so that the company can get used to the person and the person can gain their trust. I had no problem with that because I was prepared for it. What I wasn't prepared for was the fact that I turned out to be a lot better than most of the people who worked the position before - at least the shipping part anyway. This fact was really good because not only did my excellence and precision in handling consumer orders conform well to any good company's expectations but they also conformed to my Christian values. The people were also really good to work with and they have helped me out a lot.
At the end of my first week I got invited to go to a Bruce Cockburn concert... for free! Yep, that's right, the perks started one week in. It was a fun night and I learned a lot about Bruce Cockburn; specifically that he wrote one of my favourite Barenaked Ladies songs - “Lovers in a Dangerous Time.” Over the last year, I have learned even more about the Canadian music industry: Where it's been, where it is, and where it's going.

Then there is my JUNO Awards experience. I went with our entire office as we were offered the chance to go at a discounted price. There was a lot of fun had and the nights were late. We went to the welcome ceremony, the Awards Gala (where most of the awards were handed out), and the actual Awards ceremony where the more popular awards were given out as well as major performances. I got to see Blue Rodeo, one of my family's favourite bands, perform live and receive special recognition for their achievements in Canadian music. That moment was a special for me and one of my favourite moments of the trip. I met a lot of neat people and I got to see Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, in person. That was just cool. My friends might have been a little jealous.
I think it's needless to say that the last year and a half has had real special moments for me in my life as I did not expect any of them. They just showed up and I took advantage of the opportunity. My life has since been changed for the better as I now also have a better idea of what I want in life and I have a clearer picture to model my life after, whether it happens at True North Records or elsewhere.
What can someone expect to take from this piece? I would hope that someone who reads this and is inspired by it learns to take any opportunity given to them wherever possible and squeeze out whatever experience that they can gain from it. I don't just mean the special experiences, but the mundane ones as well because that's where I received the clearer picture on how I want my life to be run according to God's purpose. Although I am not sure of what my long term future looks like, I know that if I let God lead me and guide me, I’m going to add to my life experiences and hopefully improve my quality of life as well as that of others.