Lynn Johnston – How to create a better career

Well, if you are like millions of Canadians, you start your day by reading the newspaper and most likely check out the comic section. This week’s podcast is with Lynn Johnston, creator of the comic strip “For Better or for Worse.” How would you like to get paid to send spend your days doodling? Lynn’s cartoon strip started with 150 newspapers and now appears in over 2,000 newspapers in 23 countries and is translated into eight languages. She is a winner of her professions highest honor, The Reuben Award.

Lynn grew up in Vancouver in a very artistic family. “My parents were wonderful, supportive artists,” Lynn shared. “In school, I was a pain in the neck. I couldn’t concentrate on work, especially math.” One time she could not do the math exam so she doodled. “I was going to cry, but I said no, I am going to look like I am working and doodle over the entire exam”. In grade 6, she got an F for math and an A+ for art. Her math teacher worked with her after school, encouraging her talent in art and helping her to do much better in math. “Teachers like that make life worth living as a kid. You never feel smart enough and you take for granted your special skills”. This early encouragement got her onto the right track of becoming a cartoonist.

Her first job in Vancouver was as an animator and came from a person she used to babysit for. “People are watching you; your first job is your first reference.” She then moved to Hamilton where she worked for Dr. David Sackett at McMaster University as a medical artist. This new role was the perfect blend to combine her artistic talent with her interest in people. Pregnant with her first child, she also was encouraged by her obstetrician to bring in her art to “cheer” up his office. She had such a great response that this led to her writing her first book, David We’re Pregnant which, sold slowly. A new publisher was so impressed with her work, that he introduced her to Universal Syndicate, which published Cathy, Doonesbury, as well as Herman. They loved her work and offered her a 20-year contract. “This just floored me.”

With her new contract and her husband’s new job, they moved to a small town in northern Manitoba. The small town she lived in sheltered her from her fame and offered her a microcosm of life from which to draw stories for her column. Her unique blend of observations as a parent, wife and friend combined with her humour immediately resonated with readers and her column took off.
Here are five ways to make your career better:

You’ve got talent – “Everyone has something they are great at,” Lynn shared. All of us have been created with something unique to make this world a better place. Where is your talent?

Support from others – Lynn received support from a number of people, from her parents, to Dr. David Sackett, to the team a Universal Syndicate. According to a study from John Hopkins Medical School, you are 7.7 times more likely to succeed with support, rather than by yourself. Who do you need to help you?

Work is not a four-letter word – Lynn worked really diligently at her career. Hard and smart work was crucial in her success. How hard are you working, really?

Open your own doors –”Volunteer. Get in there and do stuff go to the market don’t wait for the market. Successful people have opened doors. This is where you will find your luck,” Lynn shared. You need to take action and look for an opportunity. It will not arrive in your email box. Where can you start?

Success takes time – I believe Lynn’s successful career started with her first job as a babysitter and the choices along the way enabled her to have long term success. Do you think long term?
So here’s the question in your career – is it for better or worse? This is up to you. Like Lynn, you can take ownership of your future and go and be found, or not. You choose. There is always room in the job market for those who are truly talented! Looking for the better? Join our free weekly teleworkshop- Get The Right Career Right Now! Find your own luck and book an initial consultation 1 hour really can be a great start to change in your career. Your career is no joke!

Better, along the road with you!

Alan