I came back to Newfoundland this year after six years living and working in Ontario. It has been exciting to see all of the activity in St. John’s, but the thing that’s on my mind today is people, and in particular the value of a community of professional peers.
See, I used to work in the province as a programmer. I hated it. The pay was lousy, the work was uninteresting, and the professional culture (in which I was theoretically immersed) was completely inaccessible. Then I took a bunch of time off to pursue theatre, which I thought might be a better fit for me, even might be my calling.
For reasons I won’t go into that didn’t work out, so I moved to Ontario, where my sister was living at the time, and found a job there. It took me a long time, as it always does, and the job that I found was not equal to the professional “level” I felt I should be at. But it was about twice what I’d been making previously, and I recognized a lot of their problems as things I’d solved or helped to solve before, so I took it and I stayed through thick and thin for six long years.
Here’s the thing about moving halfway across Canada, though: You don’t really know anyone at the other end, or if you do, they probably are personal rather than professional connections. So when I came back and started to see people that I have known for a long time, it really was a pleasure.
It’s funny, because I would describe myself as an introvert even now, but I experience what I have learned is an unusually large amount of joy when people I know show up in my life. Two of my old colleagues have now joined my team at work, and a friend from World of Warcraft is on another team. I’ve been delighted to see them, and I feel a lot more at ease knowing that I have even this relatively limited network available.
Of course, I have a network in Ontario now too, and in several other places by dint of working and interacting with people in divisions around the world. And if I ever need to go back, or to move to, say, Singapore, perhaps I’ll end up running into some of those folks. It’s a nice idea to contemplate.