In Jen’s shoes: Cultivating Careers … Yours and Mine

Name: Jen Narayan

Hometown: Toronto, Born and raised

Where do you live? Toronto, I haven’t lived anywhere else. It’s one of the most diverse cities – love it!

What does it mean to have a voice?

It means to feel heard. That one’s ideas can contribute to a greater good and be appreciated.

How did you find your voice?

My voice really came when I became self-employed.

What event or series of events led to you finding your voice?

I grew up in a diverse suburb in Toronto with people from all different social classes. It helped me become down to earth and treat people the same from all walks of life. My voice has come in spurts but has been expressed more in my mid 30s when I left the corporate world and became an independent contractor. My cultural identity allows me to relate to people who feel they get dismissed for promotions because of being a minority. I can relate to how they have to work harder to prove themselves while climbing the ladder. Leaving those feelings behind meant I could be more authentically me and not worry about the office politics, which was a huge stressor for me.

Tell me about when you finally found your voice.

I am more expressive now that I am self-employed. However, being self-employed has its own hustle and stress as you are solely responsible for earning money and don’t have checks deposited in your account on a bi-weekly basis.  So worth it though!

It also helps that I can really connect to my clients. They come to me because they feel anxious about moving forward in their job search and are simply unhappy with the current state of their career. This is so relatable and why helping them comes naturally to me. I know the type of help I needed at that time, and didn’t necessarily get, so I made the transition mainly on my own which took a bit longer. For over a decade now, I have been guiding clients towards their ideal career by defining their objectives and goals based on their individual skills and passions to create a plan that is easy to execute.

Define “voice” and why it is important?

Voice is to feel free to express your opinion and have the confidence to believe in yourself without worrying about rejection, especially based on gender and race. Voice is to feel no less than. It means to feel heard, and not feel like my opinions don’t matter. It means that my ideas can contribute to a greater good and will be appreciated.

What advice do you have for someone trying to find their voice?

The most powerful lesson I’ve learned from childhood is to “Treat others how you want to be treated.” I genuinely love seeing people happy in their careers. I know how consuming work can be, so it’s my personal mission to help all my clients achieve their career goals and find them more freedom and happiness in what they do.

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