We Don’t Know How Tall Everyone Is
Air Date: June 15, 2020
#12 We Don’t Know How Tall Everyone Is
June 15, 2020
One Market Listener Survey
11:08 Interview Jennifer Hicks, Career Consultant, Career Centre
21.24 Interview with Joel Schellenberger, Undergraduate Student, User Design Experience
Thank you to Melissa Weaver for One Market graphics and Nicole Morgan for campus promotion. Music by Scott Holmes.
Bruce Gillespie 0:04
Welcome to One Market, keeping the Laurier Brantford community connected. I’m Bruce Gillespie. This is Episode 12. This week, we talked to an Indigenous Studies professor who is about to start her first sabbatical and undertake a unique research project that involves her own family history. Then we check in with the Career Center to hear what the job market is like today, both in terms of full time jobs for graduates, and summer jobs for students. And speaking of students, we’ll talk to a User Experience Design student who’s currently doing a co-op placement from home. All that and more coming up on this episode of One Market.
Our first guest is Lianne Leddy. Lianne is an Indigenous Studies professor who’s about to embark on her first sabbatical later this summer. I started our conversation by asking her how things have been going three months into our period of remote work and study.
Lianne Leddy 1:01
Things are actually quite busy on my end. There are still, all good things, but we have just wrapped up WLUFA negotiations. So, that kept me busy for most of May. And we also very excitingly have a hire in ID for one year.
Bruce Gillespie 1:21
Lianne Leddy 1:22
Yeah. So, we’ll be busy throughout June for different meetings, you know, as we move through the process for that. So, all good things, as I mentioned, but, it’s a little bit discombobulating for me, as it is for everybody in the world, to do a lot of this kind of work over Zoom. So, that has been an extra layer to this, but it also has been really good learning experiences as well.
Bruce Gillespie 1:49
As terrible as this experience is, I think the way it sort of given us the extra boost to many of us need to experiment with new tools, and new kinds of communicating, and new kinds of schedules has been really useful.
Lianne Leddy 2:01
I think so, and for me as a person, because up in the air is not generally something I deal with, I like to have a plan I like to to know where things are going. It has been a challenge, but I think in a good way to be more dynamic and responsive to situations like this, and to be aware also of my privilege throughout all of this as well.
Bruce Gillespie 2:22
Yeah, absolutely. There’s so much every day I think about some things I’ve taken for granted, never really given a thought about until a situation like this.
Lianne Leddy 2:31
Exactly, yes. And also, I have a three year old at home. So, we are busy that way in terms of keeping keeping her busy. And so, it’s a bit of an adventure that way.
Bruce Gillespie 2:44
No kidding. So, you are looking forward to your first sabbatical, which starts July 1. Normally, a sabbatical is, you know, an exciting time because you’ve got a release from service and teaching to really focus on your research and your writing. I think for most folks, many folks at least, that also involves some travel someplace, which is something we don’t get to do a lot of while we’re teaching, obviously. Travel may not be in your plans, so tell me about how you are feeling about your sabbatical now, in the, sort of, pandemic era?
Lianne Leddy 3:16
Well, again, I mentioned having to be dynamic.
Bruce Gillespie 3:20
Lianne Leddy 3:21
Seems to be the thesis statement of my life. But, yeah, originally I was going to be embarking on a new project, and I think I still will be, just perhaps in more scaled back ways than before. It was actually, it’s a project that is co-designed between me and my partner. With the birth of our daughter almost four years ago now, we were interested in the ways that, sort of, my ancestors and larger kinship groups, and his, had been, sort of, in the same places at different times historically. So, we wanted to find out more about what the kinds of processes were that made that a reality, and the reality of lived experiences of people between Montreal and Mackinaw. And so, as you can imagine, Anishinaabe territory encompasses both what is now Canada, and what is the United States with, you know, lines drawn upon the waters, as the saying goes. And so, we had planned to go to places like Michigan and Minnesota to be able to gather some archival research that is located in some of those areas. So, we actually had an internal research grant, so seed money for a future SSHRC application to be able to do that. So, we’re eagerly awaiting any possible border openings, or even the ability to travel more domestically. There are also records in Quebec and Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, and also even some at York, or sorry, at the archives of Ontario, which are at York University. So, really just waiting to see how things go and develop with us to see, you know, what kinds of things are possible with this with this project? Or, maybe we had originally planned this to be, you know, front ended at the beginning of the sabbatical, maybe this will be, you know, towards the end, maybe the winter or into the spring.
Bruce Gillespie 5:22
Right. So, so not giving up on it fully, just maybe changing some of the timing.
Lianne Leddy 5:26
Exactly, yes. Yeah, no, not giving up on it fully. Trying to see also, before all of this started happening, we had already worked with Bayliss library in Sioux Sainte Marie, Michigan, through interlibrary loan to gather some of those records. So, we can at least get started on that to see what is on those reels and things like that because they were scanned before.
Bruce Gillespie 5:54
Lianne Leddy 5:54
Yeah, before the research, sort of, lockdown situation happened.
Bruce Gillespie 6:01
I don’t do a lot of archival research, but I’ve done a little bit and I’m, every time I do it, I think, “Wow, this is so much easier,” to call a library, ask them to scan something for you, whereas 25 years ago, you would have had to actually maybe photocopy it, or probably actually go to these places in person. So, I think that digitization actually gives us a little more leeway than researchers would have had.
Lianne Leddy 6:20
Exactly. And that’s one of the aims of this project, is to, we wanted to travel to the archives to see what was, you know, what were in the documents, or what were on the microfilm reels as well, because some some libraries also don’t want to ILL them either.
Bruce Gillespie 6:35
Lianne Leddy 6:35
Yeah, so being able to travel with the aim of digitizing them to make them available to a wider audience, you know, so the next people who want to use these records can be able to do so easily from home.
Bruce Gillespie 6:48
Yeah. So, what kinds of records are you expecting or hoping to find?
Lianne Leddy 6:52
In some cases, they are fur trade records, so the kinds of records that will demonstrate, you know, who comes into the area, who is wanting to trade for what, the kinds of information about what’s going on in a particular area. So, we don’t know exactly what are going to be in these records, and so, or what’s going to be in these records. So, this is something that, you know, we were hoping to find out to be able to get a sense of what would be important, not just for the the content piece of what we wanted to do, but also for the digitization piece, the more methodological piece of it. Also, there are marriage records, birth records, or baptismal records, I should say. Those kinds of records that can show you, you know, oftentimes, who was related to who based on you know, godparents, or witnesses at weddings, and so on. So, it gives you a sense of a kinship network as well, not just necessarily immediate family, but other people who are coming into these stories for various reasons as well.
Bruce Gillespie 8:02
What a fascinating way to try to track those kinship communities with those kinds of documents. Like, and I always think of genealogical records and things like that and think, “Okay, it’s parentage, you know, at best, and that’s it.” But, you’re right to look at, sort of, witnesses and guests at events and stuff, you would see that larger community pictures sort of develop.
Lianne Leddy 8:21
Exactly, yeah. And you can sometimes see that the name has come in, you know, several times. So, not just, for instance, to use a marriage records, you have also then the the names of the parents of the people who are getting married. And so, you can sometimes even go a little bit further than you were planning to, so you can get that one generation back. And so, I find it very exciting to be able to trace these these patterns.
Bruce Gillespie 8:52
Yeah, and I think, I mean, part of the joy, I guess, of doing any archival research is that, you know, going in not knowing what you’re gonna find, right? I mean, it takes time to sort of dig through all this stuff, especially if it’s not all digitized. But again, in the limited research I’ve done in archives, that the exciting part was always thinking of what could be there, but also finding stuff that I never expected to find, which led me off in different directions altogether.
Lianne Leddy 9:16
Exactly. And that is actually how we came to this. We were just originally doing genealogy with the birth of our daughter just to see, you know, get a more sense of rootedness, I guess, and then it, sort of, just went from there. And then, you know, as you read documents, and you come up with more questions, and you then have to find more answers to that. Sometimes even in my past work, I’ve had to, you know, okay, make a note of it and, and try and not go off on that other tangent because you really had to focus, and then go back to it later, which is also fun. So, yeah, it’s a different way of thinking about the past.
Bruce Gillespie 9:57
Well, as you say, hopefully as things start to return to some sense of normalcy, that you’ll have an opportunity sometime in the next 12 months to actually go into these places and sit down with the records and see what’s there.
Lianne Leddy 10:10
Exactly, yeah. And in the meantime, I also have an ongoing project that is performance art, through historical society that includes me, Brittany Luby, and Kim Anderson who are at the University of Guelph. So, we have done a few of these performance art pieces, we’ve done three, and so we are working on the actual writing up of those results as well. So, that is something I can do at home over Zoom, in Vevo. So, it is something that I can stay grounded with here as well.
Bruce Gillespie 10:47
That’s good. I mean, I wasn’t concerned he wouldn’t be busy, but it sounds like you’ll have lots to do that day.
Lianne Leddy 10:52
Bruce Gillespie 10:53
Exactly. That’s great, Lianne, best wishes for a wonderful first sabbatical, and we look forward to hearing updates about how your research goes.
Lianne Leddy 11:01
All right. Well, thank you. And thank you for having me on the program.
Bruce Gillespie 11:06
Our pleasure. Our next guest is Jennifer Hicks, a career consultant at Laurier Brantford’s Career Development Center. I started by asking her what the summer job market looks like for students this year.
Jennifer Hicks 11:20
Yeah, that’s a really great question. The, for sure, at the end of March and early April employers were really uncertain, you know, with restrictions and shutdowns, and just not really sure what the next few weeks and months would look like. So, they didn’t have a lot of postings at the end of March and into April. But we are starting to see more employers, most recently starting to break out some of those job postings. The Canada Summer Jobs program has started up again, so that’s a really great opportunity for summer employment.
Bruce Gillespie 12:01
That’s just so good to hear. So, for students listening, if they’re actually looking for jobs, they can come to the Career Center and and find some postings online, presumably.
Jennifer Hicks 12:09
Yeah, definitely. So, we have Laurier Navigator, which is our, the Career Center portal, so you can search for job postings for summer, for part time, and for full time work. So, anybody who’s also graduating can look at those job postings and their locations are all over the place, so it doesn’t, it’s not restricted to the campuses of Brantford or Waterloo locations for those employers. So, we have employers all over the place, posting positions, as well as remote and work from home positions.
Bruce Gillespie 12:45
Excellent. So, you mentioned graduates, which is the next thing I want to ask you about. Clearly the summer job market is unusual. I presume that the job market for folks who are just graduating and would have been at convocation on the day that we’re actually recording this, it looks a little different than usual too. What’s that look like these days?
Jennifer Hicks 13:03
Yeah, you know, a lot of the employers that we work with have been recruiting with us throughout the entire academic year. So, we’ve had employers posting their jobs all throughout last fall and winter semesters. And so, they’re looking to hire students that are graduating this year. So, they had already started the recruiting process before the pandemic hit. So, for those employers, it was just a matter of changing into an online format, perhaps for online interviewing or onboarding. Like, when you’re starting a new position you might have started working from home instead of in person. For employers that we hadn’t been working with already, yeah, some of them did slow down with their postings. They almost put a pause on it and to wait and see what the pandemic would look like for the labor market. But, definitely in most recent weeks there have been more postings for graduating students.
Bruce Gillespie 14:12
That’s good to hear, and I’m sure very reassuring for all those folks who are graduating.
Jennifer Hicks 14:16
Bruce Gillespie 14:18
Strange time to go out in the world, right?
Jennifer Hicks 14:20
Bruce Gillespie 14:22
So, obviously, you folks have lots of support services available for both current students, but also graduates, you’ve probably had to, like the rest of us, move a lot of those services remotely. How’s happened looking these days?
Jennifer Hicks 14:37
Yeah, you know, it happened so suddenly, that, I mean, luckily, a lot of our resources were already available online through Laurier navigator or through the website. And so, it was just a matter of switching our appointments and our in person workshops that we would typically be doing in person. So, we have moved to all of those to online platforms. We’re using Microsoft Teams to do video and audio calls individually with students, and we’re also doing all of our workshops online, either through the Teams platform or through Zoom. We are doing some employer information sessions, also through Zoom, or through Teams
Bruce Gillespie 15:26
So, you’re still keeping very busy.
Jennifer Hicks 15:27
Bruce Gillespie 15:30
What do you think the response is like from students?
Jennifer Hicks 15:34
Really great, the students didn’t have much of a transition, actually, I think students were very used to using these online platforms. So, the first week or so was a little bit unusual of, like, just figuring out what platforms we were going to use. But, other than that, the students have been really great, and it’s been easy and to connect with them. And we’ve actually had a really great turnout with our workshops, I think students are really liking the webinar format of workshops rather than needing to come in person for them.
Bruce Gillespie 16:15
I find that so reassuring as a faculty member who will be teaching online, some of our questions are, will students actually like this kind of format? So, to hear that, they’re coming out to online workshops and webinars is actually really encouraging.
Jennifer Hicks 16:28
Yeah, we’ve been a little bit surprised, even during the exam period, we were running some webinars, which we wouldn’t normally do, but we wanted to stay engaged with the students who might be feeling a bit stressed with the job market. And we had some really great turnout for all of the sessions that we were offering. So, this is definitely something we’re gonna be exploring moving forward when we are back in person.
Bruce Gillespie 16:59
That’s great. And I think as lot of folks have said, I think this time of remote teaching, and learning and working has really, you know, forced us to experiment with different kinds of platforms that are actually really useful, and students really like. They like doing a lot of this stuff remotely if they can, so I think there’ll be a lot of those things that, sort of, holdover once we get back to normal.
Jennifer Hicks 17:19
Mm hmm. Yeah, I think we have always had the option of doing a phone or Skype version of a one on one appointment. But, now that we leave use Teams and students have been using Teams, definitely we’re going to be offering the virtual appointments moving forward, even when we’re back on campus. We do provide a lot of services to alumni, so this is a really great way that we can connect with our alumni when they’re not in Brantford anymore. We also have a lot of students that commute to campus, and they may not be able to come to campus for a one on one appointment. So, this allows us to expand our services to meet those needs of students and alumni as well.
Bruce Gillespie 18:08
Absolutely. So, what kinds of general advice do you have for students who are looking for work right now in terms of, are there things they should be doing differently? Or things they should be thinking of that they might not think about in a normal job seeking climate?
Jennifer Hicks 18:24
Yeah, yeah, great question. The online platforms are really helpful right now. So, taking a look at your own Linke dIn profile, for example, and making use of the LinkedIn platform, updating your skills, updating your profile, and seeing if there is ways that you can network through some of the online platforms. So, we have Ten Thousand Coffees, the Career Center has a Ten Thousand Coffees platform that allows students to connect with Laurier alumni, and do some virtual, like a coffee chat idea. So, students can email alumni to find out any tips and other jobs or specific industries that they might be interested in. Also taking this time to explore what skills you have and what skills you might be interested in developing and looking for ways to develop those skills. I’ve been recommending LinkedIn Learning as a really great form, you know, if you’re interested in developing some skills around Excel, or learning skills around project management or human resources as a couple of examples, LinkedIn Learning has short webinars that you can participate in, and develop and enhance your skills in those areas.
I think overall, just taking a look at what skills you have and ways that you can be expanding your skills now during the time when we are at home. I also wanted to mention too, on Laurier Navigator there’s a lot of resources that we have there. So, we have recordings of any employer sessions that we have done previously, we have resources on how to get started with networking and doing informational interviews where you’re connecting with a professional in a field that you’re interested in. So, we have lots of supports available through the Navigator portal. We are also throughout the month of June doing employer panel sessions all through Zoom. So, looking at the event calendar on Laurier Navigator. You can see what sessions we have coming up and get a chance to connect with employers and hear from them how they’re doing their recruiting process a bit differently during the virtual, the time that we’re all virtual.
Bruce Gillespie 21:19
Those all sound like really great resources. Jen, thank you so much for telling us about them today.
Jennifer Hicks 21:23
Yeah, thank you.
Bruce Gillespie 21:26
Our final guest is Joel Schellenberger. Joel is a student in the User Experience Design program’s first cohort, which means that this summer, he’s also among the program’s first co-op students. As you might imagine, completing a co-op placement during the pandemic is a little different than usual.
Joel Schellenberger 21:44
I guess I’ll start by saying that I’m currently serving my co-op with the Ontario Digital Service. I’m having a great term despite the environmental, I don’t know if issues is the right word, but environmental change. I had gone through the hiring process and sort of worked through all of the ins and outs of applying to a bunch of jobs and going through interviews, trying to make sure that I found somewhere that worked for me, and where I could be a value to an employer. And I had accepted a job pre, sort of, lockdown, if that’s the word that we should use. But, I had accepted a job and after the company put on a hiring freeze, I took a couple weeks, reevaluated, reached out to another company who had offered me a position during the first round. And, obviously, that’s the Ontario Digital Service, that’s where I am now. So, you’re right that it’s a little bit strange, for sure. Not having met my coworkers and in real life is an interesting,
Bruce Gillespie 22:46
Right. A first.
Joel Schellenberger 22:46
An interesting first. Yeah, yeah, for sure. We were having a conversation the other day on Zoom about, just like, the fact that we don’t know how tall everybody is. We were laughing about the fact that we had only seen the shoulder up for most of these meetings. But, it’s been interesting, for sure, an interesting challenge, but I’m really happy where I am.
Bruce Gillespie 23:08
So, for people who might not know, what is the Ontario Digital Service?
Joel Schellenberger 23:13
That’s good question. Ontario Digital Service is a branch of, like, the public service, sort of, the foundation of the government. These are people who are full time, permanent employees who work, in my case on the digital team with, like, digital products and digital services. My focus on the digital side is about improving the way that Ontarians are able to access services online. And the, sort of, motto is “Simpler, Faster, Better.” There was an act passed in legislation a couple years ago, that was the Simpler, Faster, Better Services Act, and it requires all government projects to pass a digital first assessment. And so, a lot of the digital teams work to, sort of, prep for those digital assessments, make sure that the products and services that are being built are really tailored for this digital world that we live in. And now more than ever, that’s super important.
Bruce Gillespie 24:13
That’s I was thinking, I mean, considering the we’re all, sort of, you know, self isolating or locked down, if we need to do things like renew our license stickers, we’d normally do that, you know, in person, but we’d probably be doing these things online. So, having a user friendly website to be able to do this is probably really important.
Joel Schellenberger 24:31
Yeah, it’s on the top of mind, for sure, for everybody involved. And there’s so many different, sort of, ministry projects and different areas that my coworkers, sort of, work on. But, everybody right now in this isolation era has really put a focus on trying to make sure that things are accessible digitally. and, and that means different things for for different people, right? Because if you think about rural Ontario, their access is different, and I’m not going to pretend to be the most educated on things like the poverty cycle. But, it definitely plays a role in the design that we build. So, it’s a very interesting time to be working in government digital service for sure.
Bruce Gillespie 25:13
Can you tell us, and if you can’t, that’s totally fine. But, can you tell us a little bit about these specific projects you’re working on? Or the kind of work you’re doing?
Joel Schellenberger 25:21
Sure. So, when I got to Ontario Digital Service, the first, sort of, project that we undertook. And when I say we, I mean our lab team, so the broader Ontario Digital Service works out of an office in Toronto when, you know, people work out of offices. But, our lab team is a team of six or seven people that work out of the Communitech Hub in Kitchener-Waterloo. So, there’s our lab leader, and Michelle Pu, she’s fantastic. And then, there’s Suki, who is a full time product designer. And then, there’s a cohort of co-op students, some from the University of Waterloo and, obviously, me on the team. So, we started when I got there, working on a research project around logging into government services, and trying to, sort of, unify what that login might look like from a user perspective. Because although in the government everything is structured around like the ministry model and the, sort of, priorities that each individual program area has, to the end user, it’s all just the government, right?
Bruce Gillespie 26:30
I only want to login to one page, once, and yes.
Joel Schellenberger 26:33
Yeah. So, a lot of my focus, when I got there was around the idea that there’s a better way and a more clear understanding that can be developed of, sort of, your login and the way that you engage with services online, on like, the very first step when it comes to like logging in and accessing save data. So, that’s a six or eight week engagement. And I’ve since moved on to a different project as, sort of, my co-op term is 12 months with potentially an extension to 16 months. So, I kind of got tapped on the shoulder to to go assist a different project. And I’m less sure that I can talk about that one, so I’ll probably avoid it. But, well, I’ll just say that I’m doing some interface design for a different project in a similar vein, and it’s moved a little bit away from research. But, yeah, that’s kind of what I’m up to. I’m having a blast though.
Bruce Gillespie 27:31
That’s great. So, I mean, I think especially for students listening, what does your day look like doing a co-op from home? Like, are you, do you have to login by 8:30? Is someone checking that you’re at your desk? Like, how does that, what does that look like?
Joel Schellenberger 27:45
Yeah, I had the same questions. On my first day, I really had no idea. Typically, you’re spending a lot of your day in meetings or on Zoom, at least for the first, sort of, onboarding experience that you have. So, learning kind of the ins and outs, and the day to day of what everyone else does is a lot harder to figure out when you’re first onboarding. So, I spent a lot of my day on Zoom with my coworkers. We talked early in the term about Zoom fatigue, about how when you have something that you know you need to do, it’s easy to just put your head down and maybe turn it off. But, I probably spent the first three weeks from, I don’t know, nine to five, like regular business hours, I guess, just on Zoom, just chatting. A couple orientation days to try to wrap your head around the project, and then we jumped right into to some really intense research planning, and then user interviews. So, even if we’re not in, you know, a traditional meeting, we’re meeting with users still, digitally, and trying to reach out to Ontarians in this digital space. So, it’s been challenging a little bit that way, but yeah, a lot a lot of time on video calls and a lot of time at your desk.
Bruce Gillespie 29:05
I mean, it’s a weird experience, to be sure, but I think it’s probably, you know, down the road, something you can look back on as a really unique experience at the same time, like, what a great way to, sort of, learn about remote working while you’re still in school. Like, this is great experience to have by the time you graduate and may have to look at doing remote work of a different sort.
Joel Schellenberger 29:21
Yeah, absolutely. I was fortunate after my first year to do an internship for a company that was based out in New York and, obviously, moving to New York City in the summer of your first year isn’t exactly financially responsible. So, I did that term from home as well, and so it wasn’t exactly foreign to me, which is something that I’ve taken comfort in so far. It’s something that I have a bit of experience with, but that team was a lot smaller than the team I work on now. So, it’s a little bit of a different culture. It’s been really good though. I have nothing but positive things to say.
Bruce Gillespie 29:55
That’s great to hear. And we wish you the best of luck through the rest of your term. Maybe we’ll check in with you later and see how things are going.
Joel Schellenberger 30:01
Thanks, Bruce, I appreciate it.
Bruce Gillespie 30:02
Thanks for talking for us today, Joel.
Joel Schellenberger 30:04
Bruce Gillespie 30:08
And that’s a wrap. Thanks for joining us. We hope it’s helped you feel a little more connected to the Laurier Brantford community. If you liked what you heard, tell your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe on Apple, Google, Stitcher, or wherever you find your podcasts. Worried about missing an episode? Sign up for our newsletter. You can find the link on Twitter and Facebook @onemarketlb. We’ll be back with a new episode in about a week. One Market was created and produced by Bruce Gillespie and Tarah Brookfield. Music by Scott Holmes, graphics by Melissa Weaver. Thanks for listening. Keep in touch.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai