Gratitude: my career story so far (Part I)

In the wake of my 7th anniversary with PepsiCo, the present I’m giving myself is gratitude. Gratitude for the people who have shaped my path. For the trials and tribulations that inadvertently guided me to where I am today. And for what’s to come.


Last week, as I was sipping my coffee having just gotten settled at the office, I felt a rush of gratitude overwhelm me. I suddenly became hyper-aware of the people, the environment, and the energy around me. The steadfast clickity-clack of a keyboard from a fellow cubemate. The casual chitchat a few rows down laced with comforting laughter. The linear tempo of Fred’s footsteps trotting down the hallway. Even the haptic familiarity of my beloved office chair.

I realized that this office has been my home for the past 7 years.

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Why your career is not like a video game

4 min read

A few years ago, an article by Oliver Emberton that compared human life to a video game went viral. In a brilliant way, he used the structure of a video game to explain why it’s important to live with a strategy in mind. Think of it as the ultimate game guide for life. I loved the article so much that I had it bookmarked, and occasionally still revisit it 5 years later.

I definitely can’t call myself a hardcore gamer, especially now that I’m a stuffy, boring adult (whoa). But at 13 years old, I received my first Nintendo Gameboy Pocket for Christmas – Pikachu-yellow and glorious. I spent most of my allowance money on AAA batteries because my parents wouldn’t buy me a charger. Whatever money was left, I saved up to buy the latest Pokemon games as soon as they were released. I was sentenced to wearing glasses shortly thereafter, probably because of the countless days and nights I spent leveling up my Lapras to beat the Elite Four.

Today, it seems everything can be gamified. How fun your latest vacation was can be measured by the number of likes on Instagram (fortunately, this might go away). How good you are at public speaking can be measured by the number of connections who endorse you on that skill on LinkedIn. How savvy of a shopper you are can be measured by how many PC Optimum points you’ve banked. But the more I thought about the analogy of a video game, the more I realized it shouldn’t be compared to your professional life.

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Most people have this on their résumé and it’s completely pointless

4 min read

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that résumés are daunting to perfect.

For those who are still in school or just starting out, you barely have any experience to begin with, so you have to euphemism the heck out of simple tasks (yes, I just used euphemism as a verb).

“I maintained the visual identity of our brand by selectively transferring products to primary merchandising locations”. Translation: “I re-arranged and re-stocked shelves”.

– Example from a real life résumé I’ve screened

What aggravates the issue is that most people have never been taught how to do it properly. Particularly if you did not study business, meaning you were likely left to your own devices without structured and credible guidance provided by your school. In a previous post, I dive deep into what a good résumé should look like for new grads looking to start their marketing careers.

But today, I want to address a specific part of the résumé that I see way too often, that I plead for you to avoid like seeing your ex on the street.

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#10yearchallenge

I was talking to a coworker today about all of the recent Facebook/Instagram posts on the #10yearchallenge, and I’ve come to one conclusion: the only people who do it are the ones who haven’t visibly aged (and want the kudos for it). Am I bitter about not being one of those people? Not at all…

Regardless of the intention, I do think the idea of taking a long look back and seeing how far you’ve come can be rewarding. In a lot of posts, I see people talking about difficult situations they were in 10 years ago that seemed impossible to overcome (long-term partner cheating, complicated medical conditions, rock bottom self-esteem). Fast forward to today, those same people can now only remember snippets of those episodes because time has diluted most of the emotional charge associated with those bad times.

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How to interview (much) better with emotional intelligence

8 min read

Over the last 5 years, I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring more than 100 aspiring marketers and students. We work through anything from finding the right job to excelling at the job. But there’s one thing that has consistently puzzled me, that is hard to explain in words. It’s embodied by those who look perfect on paper, but who fall flat when you meet them in-person. Those who seem eager and passionate, but you can’t bear talking to them for more than 5 minutes IRL. Those mentees of mine who do everything right, but still can’t convince someone to hire them. So what’s the issue?

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What to look for in a marketing job posting

6 min read

As the new year approaches, I’m almost certain that many of your new year’s resolutions include mention of “getting a new job” or “move to a new role”. As it turns out, almost half of Canadians are dissatisfied with their jobs, and 55% of workers aged 18 to 34 want to bid adieu to their current gigs. It seems too many companies nowadays still do not understand what it takes to retain talent (or perhaps they just don’t care, in which case STEER CLEAR). This is why it’s critical to apply to new jobs with your eyes wide open!

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Recruiter’s guide to a stand-out résumé: marketing new grad edition

6 min read

No one is born with the ability to write a great résumé. When it comes to one of the most important documents in your life, it’s generally true that effort leads to result. In fact, the résumé that landed me my first “real job” was probably poked and prodded over the course of ~100 hours. You read that right: ONE HUNDRED HOURS.

“Come on, is that really necessary?” you may be wondering.

Keep in mind that 100 hours was over the span of about a year, and as I collected more relevant experiences, I continued to make tweaks and refine. So no, I didn’t lock myself in a room for 4 straight days until my fingertips were raw from turning the pages on my thesaurus.

Now that I screen résumés as a regular part of my job, I wanted to share a crash course on crafting a stellar résumé, from a recruiter’s point of view.

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