5 Things I Wish I Knew During My First Job

I may not remember what I wore last week, what I ate for lunch yesterday or even all the lyrics to Justin Bieber’s song Sorry, but if there’s one thing forever etched into my memory, it’s the day I got my very first job.

It was Halloween, and like most 16-year-old’s I was dressed in my not-so-creative store bought race car driver costume, ready to spend the night with friends at a house party. Just as I was about to head out the door, the phone rang, I picked it up, and my life was forever changed. Well as much as a part-time job at the mall could change it. After sporadically walking into an open job fair and bumbling away about how I’d make a great sales associate, I actually got the gig! I accepted the offer that day not knowing I’d spend the next five years working in that retail store, and eventually move on up to their head office after graduating university.

Getting your first job is certainly a big deal and sometimes the excitement and awe of working can make you forget certain rules and rights that you’re entitled to. Looking back there are a lot of things I would’ve done differently, so today I’m sharing 5 things I wish I knew during my first job.

1. It’s okay to say no to your boss.
I remember being so eager to impress my boss no matter what toll it would have on me or stress it would cause me. My boss was the nicest lady, but since I was one of the youngest employees at my store, with my only previous experience being hanging my own clothes in my closet when my mom yelled at me to do so, I really wanted to make a great first impression and prove to everyone that I could not only do the job, but do it great. Impressing your boss is a good thing, but it’s important to know when to draw the line. I’d agree to take on extra shifts which would force me to work 7 days straight. Balancing these full-time hours while being a student made me feel extremely tired and overworked. It’s important to remember that you have the right to refuse work, such as overtime hours or even a dangerous task, especially when it comes to putting your health at risk.

2. But listen to the rules they enforce.
My boss didn’t get to the position she was at by chance, she had years of experience so she definitely knew what she was doing. I remember that my coworkers and I would shrug off and ignore a lot of rules put in place, like not stepping on shelves to reach products. Those shelves weren’t sturdy, let alone strong enough to support the weight of a human, but it was easier than going all the way to the backroom to get the ladder. Only now do I realize how dangerous that was and how badly we could have been hurt.

3. Don’t do something just because everyone else does it.
It’s easy to forget you’re breaking rules, when everyone else is doing so too. There were a lot of times when I wouldn’t request my 15 or 30 minute break because no one else was, even though my feet were killing me. The store may have been busy, but being able to rest for a couple minutes wasn’t only necessary but was my right. Other times I’d find myself lifting boxes that may have been okay for our stock boys but were way too heavy for me. Because let’s face it, I definitely do not lift, bro. Everyone has different strengths, weaknesses and capabilities so know yours and don’t go beyond them. The workplace is not where you want to be taking risks.

4. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
When it came to talking to my coworkers, who let’s face it after spending up to 8 hours a day together quickly became my friends, we’d have so many complaints/ideas to improve the workplace but we never brought it up to our manager. It’s kind of hard to make change when the boss doesn’t know change is needed. As cashiers we would always say how having stools or chairs would help our tired feet and backs, and now that I think about it, if we suggested it to our manager back then she might have fulfilled our request!

5. Appreciate it!
Once the excitement and awe of that new job faded, there were many days where I just wished I was Trust Fund kid who didn’t have to work. But working a part-time job gave me more than just money to spend on clothes and food, it gave me experience, new friends, and taught me a lot of values, lessons and importance of hard work and integrity. Looking back, I definitely appreciate the opportunity and can see how it has led me to where I am today.

This post was published in partnership with Parachute Canada, be sure to check out safe4life.work for more info about workplace safety.

Weird Summer Life Hacks Tested!

I can seriously never get sick of life hack videos. Which is a good thing because I swear every Youtuber and their mother has created one! So I figured it’s about time I jump on this train and create my own. And while I was looking for some super cool new unique life hacks that no one has ever heard of (yes, I attempted to do the impossible) I came across some very interesting… okay they were just plain WEIRD life hacks that I haaaad to test out! And so a new video was born…er, created! Enjoy! 😀

The F Word Red Carpet Premiere With Daniel Radcliffe

Red carpets are always a fun affair. As a journalist, they’re not as glamorous as instagram pictures may make it seem (try waiting an hour or two for talent who never arrive on time, therefore making you miss the first ten minutes of the movie screening and having to sit in the first row… or third, if you’re lucky).

But it’s always a great experience and incredible opportunity I could never pass up. I mean, the other day I had the chance to meet Daniel Radcliffe. Harry Potter IN DA FLESH. Who might I add, is a lot shorter than I pegged him to be.

Post Harry Potter, this talented actor starred in an Irish-Canadian rom-com that was filmed here in Toronto two years ago, The F Word (or What If? for American audiences) a movie that is not about the actual F word that first popped into your head and is instead referencing FRIEND. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September, but had an official premiere this month before its theatre release on August 22nd.

Mother Nature gifted us with perfect, sunny weather for an outdoor premiere and eOne really pulled out all the stops for this red carpet.


I’ve seen Daniel Radcliffe many times before. On the big screen while watching Harry Potter, on my laptop screen while watching Harry Potter, on my television while watching Harry Potter, and oh and in my dreams, while I dreamt that I was Harry, Hermione and Ron’s fourth best friend living the life at Hogwarts. (In reality, I’m still waiting for my acceptance letter or at least Hagrid to come barging into my house to tell me my parents have been hiding those owl-delivered letters all along). But nothing compares to seeing Dan in real life. Of course, as a journalist, the number one rule is that your fan-girl can never show. No screaming, no jumping around. Just very subtle eyeball bulging at the sight of one of your favourite actors IN DA FLESH.

Just take a look at how close he was while he was being interviewed by the media outlet before me, with this blurry photo taken on my phone WITH NO ZOOM:


While Daniel was definitely a huge highlight, the premiere actually had a majority of its talented cast in attendance including Meghan Park (Secret Life of the American Teenager), director Michael Dowse, screenwriter Elan Mastai and co-star Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks).




For more pictures and the actual interviews, you’ll have to keep a look out on faze.ca.

As for the film itself, it’s definitely something you should check out when it’s released in theatres in August. The big screen has been lacking rom-coms in the recent years and this is one that isn’t afraid to poke fun at it’s genre. It’s realistic, it’s funny, it’s dirty (in a make-you-laugh way) and Daniel Radcliffe got to keep his British accent. 4 out of 5 stars!


Two-time Olympic gold medalist Alex Bilodeau makes his way to Hudson’s Bay in Toronto

Hudson’s Bay on Queen Street in Toronto looked much like it would on Boxing Day with tons and tons of people crowding the area on April 1, 2014. However while great deals were present as always, what drew so many people to their flagship store was Alexandre Bilodeau, the two-time winning Olympic freestyle skier.


As the face of the Sochi 2014 HBC Team Canada collection, it was only fitting that the 26-year-old Montreal native came out to speak about his Olympic experience and meet and greet fans. He also brought along two of his closest friends—gold medals from Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014. Dressed in red and white with shirts that proudly read Canada and many of HBC’s Olympic gear including the famed toque and mittens, fans lined up early for the chance at snapping a #selfiewithalex and his medals. Also present was Hudson’s Bay Company president, Liz Rodbell who spoke with Alex in front of the excited crowd before the selfie session.



“It’s been very busy but there’s a lot of challenges in front of me,” said Alex. “I’m going to finish my studies in Accounting, it’s a bit boring compared to skiing in the Olympics but I have a great passion for it, and there’s a lot of changes, I’m also getting married this summer.”


Though he may be putting his professional skiing career behind him, Alex definitely left his mark as an athlete. In his final World Cup race, he snagged the title of most World Cup medals by a Canadian with an impressive 19 wins.  After winning gold in the men’s moguls at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, he made history by becoming the first Canadian to win a gold medal at an Olympic Games held in Canada. And in February at the Olympics in Sochi, Alex became the first man to ever successfully defend the men’s Olympic moguls crown.

Congrats to Alex, be sure to keep up with his future endeavors by following him on Twitter @ABilodeau_Ski.