September 22, 2023
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A workplace culture of constant urgency can lead to burnout.bunditinay/Getty Images

Content from The Globe’s weekly Women and Work newsletter, part of The Globe’s Women’s Collective. To subscribe, click here.

We’ve all experienced it: You’re relaxing after work when you hear your phone chirp or your email chime. A message comes in from a colleague requesting a document immediately.

You instantly feel dread and anxiety.

From weekend messages to multiple pressing projects to unrealistic deadlines, urgency culture is a phenomenon that many in the workplace experience. In her 2022 article for IONS (Impact Organizations of Nova Scotia), writer and researcher Lydia Phillip describes urgency culture as “the ‘less conscious hustle culture’ – a state of urgency applied to our day-to-day. … We’re constantly in motion, always feeling behind and in a state of overwhelm.”

Mary Ann Baynton, principal and CEO of Mary Ann Baynton & Associates Corp., works with businesses and governments on psychological health and safety and workplace mental health. She says that in 2004, after dealing with urgency culture and running ragged for decades, she burned out.

“That was enough for me to question, ‘Why the hurry?’ What was so urgent? Why was I unable to put life into perspective?” she says.

It was a turning point for her. Ms. Baynton points out that burnout – extreme emotional, psychological and physical exhaustion – makes it so that the person experiencing it can’t be urgent anymore.

“You’re just too tired to do it,” she says. “And you start to realize that the world keeps turning.”

Read more about how leaders can keep urgency culture at bay.

What I wish someone told me about working in Canada when I first immigrated

“When you’re a new immigrant to Canada and entering the corporate workforce, you need to strike a fine balance,” says Karima-Catherine Goundiam, founder and chief executive officer of digital strategy firm Red Dot Digital and business matchmaking platform B2BeeMatch.

“You need to believe in your value and in what you bring to the table, but also work to integrate into a whole new culture in which the learning curve can be steep. In the decades since I began that journey myself, I’ve gained a number of insights I wish someone had told me when I first arrived. I’ve also learned what some of the obstacles are that hinder growth and how to overcome those hurdles.”

Read Ms. Goundiam’s insights about communication styles, hierarchies, networking and more.

Many jobs will evolve to incorporate ‘green skills.’ Canada’s success depends on understanding this

Floods are ravaging Vermont, wildfires have brutalized British Columbia, and every day we hear of a new part of the world where record temperatures have been reached.

Weather events are disrupting activity around the globe and prompting a new urgency toward meeting previously set climate goals. As that happens though, there will be ripple effects to other parts of the economy including the labour market. We often think of that in terms of the jobs that will be phased out as sectors restructure, but in fact environmental transformation will also create new jobs as well as demand new skills in existing ones.

A new report from the Burning Glass Institute looks at the number of actual ‘green jobs’ now in existence and in the pipeline. After analyzing 200 million online job postings in the U.S., they concluded that many jobs that have not historically been considered green now require ‘green skills.’

Read about the actions organizations can take to help Canada succeed in the green economy.

In case you missed it

Gendered pricing gap keeps women artists earning less and putting in more unpaid labour

As a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, Rachel Joanis found it challenging to price her work, especially as she was getting her career started after graduating in 2015.

“I would naturally undersell myself,” says the Toronto-based artist. “I’d end up putting tons of hours into work for different projects and get very little money at the end of it.”

It was a chance encounter through Instagram that changed things for Ms. Joanis. One of her followers, the founder of a PR company in New York City, commissioned work from her and introduced her to other companies looking for illustrators.

“When she would refer me to clients, she would say, ‘You should charge this for this project,’” Ms. Joanis explains. The rates her mentor suggested were often double the amount Ms. Joanis originally had in mind.

Read the full article.

Doing business with an Indigenous worldview takes success beyond the bottom line

In 2019, Jenn Harper, the founder of the popular cosmetics brand Cheekbone Beauty, turned down a $125,000 offer from Vincenzo Guzzo on CBC’s Dragon’s Den in exchange for 50 per cent of her company.

Shortly after her episode on Dragon’s Den aired, Ms. Harper, who is Ojibwa, spoke to Fashion Magazine about her decision. “There are a lot of things I won’t do [with my business]. For example, a lot of investors would want us to take our cultural practices and put them [up] for sale,” said the St. Catherines, Ont.-based entrepreneur. “I would worry about working with a non-Indigenous investor, that they would push us to commercialize our spiritual practices that way.”

Reflecting now on why she turned down the Dragon’s Den offer, Ms. Harper says, “It is important to weigh all the costs and look at the long view; sometimes it means making decisions that protect our communities. Unfortunately, many investors wouldn’t agree with this idea, so who we partner with is critical.”

Harper’s decision to turn down a six-figure offer may seem surprising to some, especially considering how hard it can be for Indigenous women to succeed in Canada’s overwhelmingly white corporate landscape.

Read the full article.

Ask Women and Work

Question: I am considering transitioning to a career in data science and analytics, but I don’t have a computer science degree. Are there courses or training I can take to help me get into this area without going back to school full-time?

We asked Kishawna Peck, founder and CEO, Toronto Womxn in Data Science, to tackle this one:

The great news is that you don’t necessarily need a computer science degree to thrive in this field. I suggest you start with exploring and defining which roles you would be interested in pursuing to zoom in on which skills you’d want to build. Let me tell you about my own journey.

My background is in economics, and what I found essential to succeed in data science was my problem-solving skills, resourcefulness and continuous learning mindset. While I do have a postgraduate diploma in data analytics, what truly accelerated my growth was taking on various projects both at work and outside. Currently pursuing my Master of Artificial Intelligence, I can confidently say that a computer science degree is not a prerequisite for success in this dynamic field.

At Womxn in Data Science, our website is a treasure trove of resources tailor-made to support your data and AI education journey. We offer study guides packed with comprehensive materials to help you grasp essential concepts and skills. You can also find a wealth of knowledge in our extensive collection of past event videos, where experts share valuable insights and practical tips on data science. And don’t forget about our podcasts, where you can hear engaging conversations, industry trends and career advice from professionals who’ve successfully navigated the data science landscape.

If you’re looking for personalized guidance and mentorship to fast-track your career, our career coaching programs have helped countless people transition careers without going back to school full-time.

For building those technical skills, I highly recommend Dataquest. They are a leading platform that offers hands-on data science courses. In fact, we’re partnering with them for our #100DaysofCode Challenge happening in January 2024.

Whether you’re transitioning from another field or seeking to integrate more AI into your current work, rest assured it is possible, regardless of your educational background. Wishing you all the best as you take that bold step toward a rewarding and fulfilling career in data science and analytics.

Submit your own questions to Ask Women and Work by e-mailing us at [email protected].

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