Globe & Mail Columnist Roy Macgregor on Why He Believes in Canada

Proud to be Canadian this week? Alex Bilodeau won Canada’s first ever gold at an Olympic games held on our land. He has made us proud, raised our collective sense of belief in our potential and talent, and his life will never be the same. According to the CTV over 23 million people watched some portion of the opening day of the 2010 Olympics. 84% of all televisions were watching the opening ceremonies. This week’s podcast is with Roy MacGregor, one of Canada’s most gifted storytellers, author and Globe & Mail columnist.

Countries, professionals, and athletes that are successful in the competitive global marketplace have a number of things in common – they have a clear and distinctive identity, they have something to offer that the market needs, and they are proud of who they are. Roy says, “why is identity so important? A separate national identity is key when you live so closely to a large influential country like the United Sates, much like a teenager expressing their uniqueness and independence from their family. We even speak differently in our little world.”

Roy has invested his career discovering and sharing what makes Canada such a wonderful and complex place to live and work. Ironically, his first full-time writing job was at the magazine, The Canadian. He then went on to work for MacLean’s magazine, The Ottawa Citizen, and The National Post. Roy now writes a daily column in the Globe & Mail called “My Country.” Over the past 35 years, Roy has travelled from St. John’s to Victoria as a keen observer and has written a number of books that are a powerful reflective reminder of who we truly are. He shares some of these observations in his book Canadians: A Portrait of a Country and its People . Roy discovered that while there are some regional differences, there are a surprising number of commonalties about our cultural identity:

“We are accepting.”

“We don’t sell ourselves.”

“We are not Americans.”

“We love hockey.”

“We value community.”

“We’re obsessed with the weather.”

“We are resourceful.”

“We wear our flags outside our country.”

Identity as described in Webster’s dictionary means “the distinguishing character or personality of an individual.” The root word of the word, “id”, means “it.” We know what “it” is when we describe the elements that make up “it.” Tim Horton’s, and “eh,” lead us to the understanding that “it” is Canada.

What makes you unique? Why, in a very competitive market, would I hire you? How would an employer know about you? Canada has a name, a birthday, and distinguishing characteristics that are unlike any other country in the world. You too have a name, a birthday and are unlike anyone else in this world.

Recently I was coaching a client in our Career Identity Program. I asked ‘What do you have to offer?” The client stumbled with the question. I further clarified with a second follow up question and asked, “Why would an employer hire you?” Silence, and then the penny had dropped. He understood why the answer to the first question mattered when he was in his job search. They are both identity questions.

What do Canada and a successful career have in common?

  • Knowing who you are – clearly what talents and knowledge do you have to offer?
  • Knowing how to market yourself – consistently and confidently
  • Evolving what you do in a global marketplace – continually adapt what you have to the changing conditions in the marketplace.
  • Maybe you feel that up until this point you have not found the place for yourself, and you are discouraged. Roy’s advice is: “I am a great believer in not dwelling on the past. If bad things happen, shut the door and move on.”

What does Roy love about Canada? “I love the people. I love the fact that they have amazing stories – very moving, very sweet. It has always been the people for me.”

On a more personal side, I myself immigrated to Canada as a young boy. My family came seeking new opportunities. A big reason my parents came here was to give me a better life, and I am very thankful. I think our country is a unique hybrid between Europe and the United States, with the best of both.

This week’s CareerPoll ; How confident are you about using your skill-set in a new career?

See last week’s CareerPoll results from the question, what impact did getting laid-off have on you?

The Canadian Career Development Webinar Thur Feb 18th 12-1 PM ET Reinventing your career, re-purposing our skills and moving forward with your life; Legendary Blogger Anil Dash founder of lastyearsmodel.org

P.S Visit the CareerJoy YouTube channel for other job search tips. Or, join our weekly FREE TeleWORKshop. What are you going to do this week to clear up your career identity?

With glowing heart, along the road with you!

Alan