March 8

It’s International Women’s Day!

Those who know me, know I’m an independent woman.  With strong beliefs that men and women are equal.   Through both my professional and personal life, I hope to help women realize their true potential.

You see, I used to be a board member with a women’s shelter in Ottawa.  I often spoke public about the reality of violence against women.  And nothing made the commitment more worthwhile than hearing the success stories of the women who went on to positively change their lives.

So this year on International Women’s Day I can’t help but think about some of the women whose stories keep me going.  Women I admire for turning their challenges into opportunities.

Like my friend who has completely and selflessly changed her life to care for a special little guy.

Or a strong, single mother who is making the best of the situation she’s been left in, while doing an amazing job of raising her two little men.

A professional colleague who’s respected as a leader in her the social services sector for her dedication to supporting women fleeing violent situations.   (And also someone with a wealth of wisdom about all kinds of things.  I consider myself lucky when I get to have lunch with her.  Or just a chat!)

Women in the “sandwich generation”, caring for aging parents, their own children and husbands, plus their grandchildren.

My “Moroccan sister” who works as a lawyer for a non-profit organization in developing countries.  And the other one who just this week flew to South America to follow her dream as well!

A grandmother who went to university in the 1930s, held a job as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse, and rode the rails across Canada to be with her husband while he fought in World War II.  And filled me with a love of reading at an early age.

And while the list goes on and on, I can’t forget the girls I see working away at physically demanding jobs, laughing and singing all day, as the money they earn supports their families.

But now it’s time to head out with a gal pal who at 17 was offered a contract from Universal Morocco.  She’s planning to make a comeback.  And I’m lucky enough to celebrate with her tonight.

Be strong. And don’t let anything stand in your way.

xo Mandy

That Sunday-evening feeling

It’s Sunday. And that means tomorrow’s Monday.  The start of a new work week.

You may be excited. You may be dreading it.

I used to be in the latter category.  Well not exactly dread.  But unexcited.

So I decided to walk into my boss’s office and quit.  To move to Morocco.  Where I had no job lined up. But I didn’t care.  I’d reached my expiry date in the public service.  I was starting to rot.  To complain. To get frustrated. Reached my limits with unions. I was unmotivated. Coffee breaks and after-work drinks with some fabulous colleagues got me through the day.

In other words, I had lost the passion I once had.  And it was no longer the professional life I wanted to live.

Of course, I’d given it some thought for quite awhile.  About a year in fact.

Where would I go? What would I do?  Would I stick to a career in public relations?  What if it didn’t work out?  Was I crazy for giving up a government job?  Just read any newspaper and you’d hear all about the global recession, the struggle to find a job, high unemployment rates. So if you had a job, you should keep it, right?

No.

I knew I had to dare to follow my dreams.

So I gave up the benefits. The 9 to 5 life. The job that “people work their entire lives to obtain.”

The payoff?

A dream job.  A city where opportunities seem to be endless.  And creativity is abundant which means opportunities to explore new projects.  And develop new interests. The past week has been absolutely fabulous and filled with exciting potential opportunities. Ones that I would have never imagined possible a short while ago.

So maybe your time to quit that job you hate isn’t now.  But perhaps it’s time to start thinking about an “exit” strategy. An alternative. A cure for that Sunday-evening feeling.

Let’s keep in touch and motivate each other to follow our dreams!

@MandyinMorocco

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