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October 02, 2017
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My Job Now: Lizzy Karp

Welcome to My Job Now, a blog profile series featuring workers from across Canada. Engage with the SFU Public Square community by reading stories of career aspiration, professional development, and bumps along the road. Be sure to share your story with us in the comments below. If you want to be part of the series, please reach out to us!

The views and opinions expressed in SFU Public Square's blogs are those of the authors, and they do not necessarily reflect the official position of Simon Fraser University or SFU Public Square, or any other affiliated institutions in any way.

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Like most kids, I wanted to be a hybrid of a few jobs. Creative Writer x Vet x Actor. I wanted to write kids books, or work at an ad agency like my grandpa. I wanted to work in the non-profit world like my aunt and uncle, or help families like my parents do working in a children’s hospital. In high school I wanted to be a physiologist for musicians, to drive around on their tour bus and help them through their lives. The combinations often had to do with serving or helping people, while being creative in some way. Lucky for me, with most of the projects I’ve touched, those magical ingredients are still a part of my life.

How has your career path unfolded so far?

Path? Oy. More like a career choose-your-adventure book! My education was focused on storytelling, music history and environmental philosophy - and I chased that with a certificate in public relations and marketing.  

Being spit out of University into the 2007/2008 “depression” was a rude awakening. I wouldn’t be plucked out of obscurity for a well-paying job at a publishing house or ad agency? Weird! Those first hard years I cobbled together a bunch of gigs - working in a book store, as a nanny for two families, writing short essays for an online magazine, taking any random events gigs. Ask me about running the Look Alike tv show auditions to save up cash to move to Vancouver. This collection of jobs, side projects and short gigs established a pattern that I am still in today.  

I’ve always been a really curious person, and a self-starter, never needing permission to make something happen. I feel so lucky that I’ve learned from some fantastic designers and marketers that a special look and feel can change any project.  

When I arrived to Vancouver, with very few connections and no job prospects, there were a few things that served me. I said YES to anything that really interested me, taking on small jobs and projects.  I reached out to people that interested me, asked for coffee and offered to get involved in projects. And I started my own projects, which became a way to connect with hundreds of people and organizations across the city.  

With eight years of working experience in Vancouver, I can look back at the threads that connect all the work I’ve done. I’m attracted to working with smart teams of people, especially those lead by strong and smart women. I love flexible work days, projects with travel, and work that creates space for people to connect. I currently have a full-time gig that I love, and on the side have founded a creative events studio and produce products on the side. This seems to be the combo that keeps me happy! 

The way we work is constantly changing, from the types of jobs we have, to where we do them. What new opportunities or challenges do you think the future of working might bring?

With so many things on the go for me I am thrilled to be able to work with flexible hours, and anywhere I really want. Typically I spend a few days downtown at the TELUS Garden working on STORYHIVE, but can dip out for meetings for side projects or to produce an event. I spend a few days home, taking calls while walking my dog Farley. I meet with collaborators or my team in coffee shops in Mt Pleasant because I love the creative energy it brings. Because I’ve worked in such a flexible way, with so many gigs, my entire career, I really thrive in this environment.  

For those who aren’t self-motivated, or have difficulties connecting with team members or clients online and/or in person, I think there are a lot of challenges. My husband is a creative entrepreneur and both of our lives have flexible schedules, which can be complimentary or stress inducing. And obviously, finding time to REST and turn off is really hard when work is available 24/7.  

What challenges have you faced in securing your desired employment situation?

Is any employment secure? Maybe my challenge is always having so many things on the go (back-up plans) as things change so often. Maybe that’s the anxious millennial in me, or maybe it’s a strategic move. Only time will tell

If you were offered a guaranteed basic income of $1,000/month with no strings attached, how might your life be different?

Right now, it wouldn’t be. I really love the work I am doing, so I’d likely use that income for new projects and/or travel! I realize I am in a very privileged situation for that to be my answer.

Are there any projects you are working on that you would like to tell our readers about?

By day I support creators and filmmakers across Western Canada at STORYHIVE. By night, I am the co-founder of creative studio Here There and producing community storytelling events Rain City Chronicles/Record Club. I’m ALWAYS up to something - and happy to chat more; @lizzypearl or lizzy.karp@telus.com

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