The Worth in Our Life Stories

Social Education: So you hate your job?

Part 4

“Never undercount what your lived experiences give you in terms of transferable skills and knowledge that can be applied in the workplace.”

 Nrinder Nann, Hamilton Ward 3 City Councillor,

I am thoroughly enjoying the human side of these PATH Employment Services ‘Let’s Talk Careers’ conversations hosted by Catherine Johnston. We see job titles next to people’s name. We see them in our community, on the television, in our newspapers, but so much is missing in a title because as I have learned through watching three videos so far, these titles ideally constantly change.

Titles or letters are not what define the human we all are first. Learning about the obstacles others have faced along their own career journey’s including personal struggles, how our life experiences shape us in unique ways beyond any formal education – this is what I find intriguing about a person and it’s what has already helped me to start an internal dialogue with myself regarding what’s next in my own career.                

Leadership is certainly something that I look for in a new role whether running my own business, or leading a team within an organization. I love people. I want to help people be successful and recognize their worth. I love learning and sharing that knowledge with others.

I could look at my workplace resume and tell myself I have no experience in any kind of supervisory or management roles, but as quoted from Nrinder Nann below, there is more to our resume’s than what a title says on our email signatures or paystub.

I’ve organized community events. I’ve been a head coach for years.  I’ve led some significant projects within my current workplace. I led a campaign or two to save local community assets. I’ve ran a mayoral campaign, and I was the school board trustee for ward 3 here in Hamilton for one term. There is surely more and these are things I will list in an attempt to update my resume and CV. Once again however, my ‘title’ speaks little of these experiences that I have been called to.

I have a lot to learn about leadership and managing others, but the first thing I need to do is believe in my own abilities and that although I may not have much formal education or a title that speaks to being a leader in my day job, I have shown myself many signs of my abilities and the possibilities.  I simply need to take the leap to fulfilling these desires in a more permanent role.

Nrinder’s interview motivated me greatly. We have so much to be inspired by right here in our own city. Leaders with the passion, patience, empathy and fortitude to create a better world for us, and those to set an example for us and our children, of what leadership could look like and what we want it to reflect across all avenues of our local governance from our institutions, commerce, and community. Part of being a good leader, is allowing ourselves to learn from the type of leaders we want to be ourselves.

I am including some quotes that caught my attention throughout Nrinder’s interview below from her first role at 19, to New York, Toronto, her and her families health struggles and how that shaped her path, to finally finding a home in Hamilton as our current Ward 3 Councilor.

Thank you for taking the time Nrinder, to share your personal journey so that we might be reminded of the value of our own stories and the worth those experiences add to the ongoing resumes of our life’s journey.

 “At 19, being able to put Special Communications Officer to the Minister of Health, did something in my resume. It gave me the credibility to future employers. Being involved in my community, finding out who needed help, rolling up the sleeves, and just showing up to do it.”

Nrinder Nann, Hamilton Ward 3 City Councillor,

“My commitment in my community, my Inherent belief that we can actually create the communities we deserve and want to foster. That became so aligned with the work I did and university became less important to me; less attractive. I didn’t want to be studying these things. I dropped out in my third year because of a position I had been inspired by.”

Nrinder Nann, Hamilton Ward 3 City Councillor,

“I had the opportunity to see what’s possible when non-governmental organizations come together in a coalition to help change policy and regulation to help better meet the needs of people.”

Nrinder Nann, Hamilton Ward 3 City Councillor,

On exploring a job offer in New York:

“Their workforce was predominantly racialized, predominantly immigrant, predominantly woman, and the union reflected that. The top tier of that organization was all racialized. It was quite unique for me to see an organization with that much diversity in its highest levels of leadership. I personally needed to experience that. To see what is possible in terms of organization and leadership development.”

Nrinder Nann, Hamilton Ward 3 City Councillor,

“Hamilton is a place I came to heal and therefore, I feel a deep obligation to this city and the people in it. It was the spirit of this city that made it feel like home.”

Nrinder Nann, Hamilton Ward 3 City Councillor,

 “If you are curious about your own ability to step into a leadership role, whether it is to serve your community, whether it is to hone the capacity of other individuals, or whether it’s to enter into the political realm, the most important thing to remember is that your lived experiences are the most critical truths to which you can connect to other people. All of us are capable of leadership. Not one of us is pre-destined to leadership. Every one of us is called into leadership. Lean into your leadership. I cannot stress enough how much we need you and at every level. Speak your truth. Do not shy away from the difficult conversations in our community, in our organizations, and in our workplaces. Rely on your lived experiences.”

Nrinder Nann, Hamilton Ward 3 City Councillor,

“Nourish your relationships in your life. These are isolating times. Without our human connections to each other, we can wither away at a time when we need to actually be flourishing together, it’s so critical to find ways to connect with each another.”

Nrinder Nann, Hamilton Ward 3 City Councillor,

“Don’t be afraid to put things on your resume whether you have been paid for it or not, because you would be surprised what kind of opportunities open up for you by putting it down and talking about the experiences and what you learned. Celebrate your victories. Celebrate what you’ve learned. Talk about your mistakes in a way that aren’t based on shame and guilt. That kind of truth and authenticity will take you further in your employment and career path and goals than trying to get the right answer.”

Nrinder Nann, Hamilton Ward 3 City Councillor,

What’s Next? Part 3 | Part 5

You can follow along with the conversation on Facebook or preferably because Facebook doesn’t play nice, start your own thread below. I would love to hear your stories as I venture down my own path to now what, and for more people to learn from you as well.

You can also reach out to me at

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