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Apr 8, 2019

Q: I started a new job that I’m really enjoying. I like my manager and am getting a lot of good feedback on my work.

Recently, one of the managers from a different department keeps giving me unsolicited advice and critiques. Not only are most of the suggestions bad, but also a little insulting at times. They keep bringing things up, even if we previously discussed and ‘resolved’ the issues. One of my main issues is that they want me to focus on the accomplishments of their department, in the place of others who also deserve credit.

My manager and I are both happy with my work. We also have more expertise in this area. How do I get her to stay in her own lane? I don’t want to be rude to a manager, but I feel like boundaries are being crossed.


A: I agree with you, boundaries are definitely being crossed here especially since she’s not even your manager. You can always politely say “I appreciate the feedback however my manager and I have already discussed what we’re doing and have already resolved the issue.”

Something along the lines of that might help her get the hint of she’s not involved or needs to be included in what you’re doing.

If it doesn’t seem like she’s getting that hint you’re going to have to firmly but nicely let her know that she is not your manager and if she has any comments, issues or critiques she can take it up with your manager.

Mar 17, 2019

Q: I am pretty sure I never learned any quadratics or formulas in high school but I am failing my ECE class and now I am thinking of becoming engineer. Does anyone know a quick YouTube tutorial? Or do you think I can kinda figure it out as I go along?


A: The math involved with becoming an engineer is definitely something you can’t figure out along the way so check out some YouTube videos to really be sure if it’s something you want to pursue before you apply. There’s the link to a popular YouTube account that has a separate category specifically labelled Science and Engineering that will give you great videos you can follow along with:

Engineering is hard, I have a friend that is in the program at Ryerson and you need to be fully committed and ready to do the work.

Mar 16, 2019

Q: I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about two years now. He wants to get married and constantly asks if I will say yes to him when he proposes. He is an amazing guy and very hardworking. I really do love him but I am not sure if I want to marry him.

The thing is he use to talk to his exes until I found out and asked him not to. He did stop after I asked and even blocked them off of social media. But because of that I don’t trust him as much as I use to. We are also of different religions and my parents are very traditional and would want me to get married to someone who is of the same religion as me. Do you think these factors should play into the decision to marry him? Do you think I should marry him?


A: I think all those factors should absolutely play a factor in your decision to marry him. If you have doubts and concerns than I think that’s a big indication. You should be one hundred per cent on board with no doubts about wanting to marry him.

Being in contact with an ex is always a very emotional situation, one that I sympathize with. My ex was also in contact with his ex during our entire relationship and that trust you once had just won’t ever come back. Even though your boyfriend did a much better job than mine by blocking them off social media and stopped talking to them, it’s still something you’re still thinking about a month or two later. That’s a big deal.

If you’re close with your family and religion is a big deal, as much as I want to say fuck it choose love, I need to be the practical one here. You need to decide if having different religions will affect your relationship with your parents if you do decide to marry him. If they’re not going to be okay with it than chances are they never really are and later on if you guys have kids, it can get messy.

I can’t answer if you should marry him or not but I think deep down you already know the answer but you’re just too afraid to accept it.

I think you need to take some space to really think things through and decide. If you just can’t marry him no matter how much you love him the break up needs to happen soon so you’re not stringing him along anymore.

I know it’s going to hurt like hell but it would be the right thing to do.

Mar 15, 2019

Q: So, I completed all my internship hours but I’m required to stay until end of April due to a contract. If I opt out of the contract would the consequences be severe? Or will this have an impact on my reference letter?

I am just tight with money right now and I feel like I could be working extra hours at my part-time job until graduation, but being at my placement full-time is stopping me from doing so. Please help! Thanks.


A: Well, I mean, what does the contract say? If you have a good relationship, there’s no harm in asking them to change the terms, especially if you state the money reason. Ultimately, walking away from the contract without talking about it will leave a sour taste with your employer and it will have an impact on your reference letter. If you don’t think they’d agree to something like that maybe just ask to cut down the hours to something more reasonable so you can do both.

It’s tough because in this day and age we need experience but we also need to make money.

When I completed my internship this semester I was working at my internship five days a week and working at my job three days a week which was tiring but something totally doable.

If something like that works for you, just ask them to do something like that or if you can start earlier so you can leave earlier.

If not and money is really tight you might have to forfeit the reference letter in order to make money but no one can blame you. It’s a tricky situation.

Mar 14, 2019

Q: My internship is coming to an end and it’s time to start thinking about my next career move. My boss has expressed interest in hiring me on. The problem is I currently live near school where I have a short commute, but this summer I’ll be moving back home. If I stayed after my internship my commute would be just under an hour, but maybe more with traffic.

What offer would make this commute reasonable? I could probably get a closer job but I’ve already put in time here and would be able to move up the ladder fast. What’s a reasonable starting salary for a new graduate in marketing?


A: There comes a point in life when you have to choose whether you want to tough it out for long term gain or stay within your comfort zone probably making less money and risk losing a great opportunity. As someone who has lived in Toronto their entire life, I can say that a one-hour commute is pretty average no matter where you’re going in the city. While it sucks–and trust me I know (I pretty much live on the TTC)– commuting for an hour whether it be by car or public transit is typical especially when starting your career.

Just think about all the good tunes you will have time to listen to, the convenience of getting coffee every morning, and the stash of snacks you never knew you needed but always wanted to have with you wherever you go. In all seriousness, if your internship is offering you a position where you can be making real money AND be able to put it on your resume, why wouldn’t you take it? You’re not stuck there forever; give it a year then you can move on to the next thing that sparks your interest if you still aren’t happy with the commute.

Mar 12, 2019

Q: I’m hoping my boyfriend will propose to me but I don’t think he will cause I think he thinks I’m hiding something. The worst part is I AM hiding something. I took his cat to the vet and it turns out it has mesothelioma and now I don’t want to tell my boyfriend because I know he will choose the cat over paying his own education and honestly that cat is more trouble than it’s worth (is that harsh? gawd I’m terrible -_-) Anyway how do I get him to trust me better??


A: You’re obviously thinking about marriage because you’re hoping he’ll propose so you need to think about a few things: is this secret worth his mistrust? Is keeping this from him going to harm your relationship later on or will it be something he’ll understand because you have his best interest at heart?

Another thing to consider: is the cat going to be sick for a while or is it, god forbid, going to die soon? I think honestly, you need to tell him what’s up because to have him not trust you over something like this just doesn’t seem worth it.

As clichéd as it is, honesty is the best policy. To get him to trust you more, be truthful with him.  At the end of the day it’s not your cat, it’s his, and he has the right to know that his cat is sick.

So just come out and tell him, and maybe offer to help out a little with the cat so he can do both. But it’s his decision to make.

Mar 5, 2019

Q: I still work with the team from my internship and I’ve been doing free work for them for the past year. I agreed to manage their social media pages for the sake of experience but at this point, I feel like I’m being used as free labour.

Additionally, I’ve just been asked to write weekly articles and I declined because of the reason I stated above. But they asked what I would want for compensation to write an article on a weekly basis. I want to be properly compensated if I do decide to write these articles and with your knowledge and experience I can get a better understanding of what I can ask for.

How fair it is for me to be managing their social media and event calendar with no compensation? I feel conflicted because I’m grateful that I have this opportunity but a year later I feel like I’m being taken advantage of.


A: Michael Brown, content creator and owner of Messenger Bag Media and Emerge print magazine EiC 2014, says:

Interesting predicament we have here. I think the biggest indicator as to whether or not you should be paid is whether or not others you work with are being paid. If you’re working for a site where pretty much everyone is volunteer then that obviously makes sense, but if others are being paid and you aren’t it becomes difficult.

In terms of rates, they should have a going rate for their posts that they’d pay to any freelancers, so ask them what the budget is per article. If it’s just a blog post or something relatively small, I’d say between $100-$150 is what they might come back with. It’s tough because that still doesn’t sound like much, but to be honest I haven’t heard of a lot of culture sites like that offering much more per post.

I frequently found that if an outlet or company was resistant to paying, then it was best to move on. Nothing can take away the experience you gained from your time there and you can now use it to move forward. A lot of times the relationship you have with an employer is defined from the beginning and it can be very difficult to change afterward. So if they play hardball, find another job and set the expectation of what you want and deserve from the get-go.

The biggest piece of advice I could share is that you’ve got to spell things out to employers. I had many jobs where I would lay out exactly what I wanted. If it was a contract position, I would tell them I wanted to stay on full-time; I wanted to be paid more.

Another thing that would be good is that Magazines Canada has received funding to launch paid internships at magazines across Canada for the next 2 years. It’s open to university students, recent graduates, or anyone who has finished at least a high school education. It’s a really exciting opportunity and there will be a variety of internships, but this time they’re paid at a full-time level for the entire 6 month placement.

You have to decide what your time means to you and when you’re willing to take a cut. The most important time in setting expectations with an employer is at the beginning, so don’t sell yourself short there because changing your pay after the fact is an uphill battle.

A: Alisha Hunter, author and creator of the Just Peachy Positivity blog, Canadian Living and Style at Home digital freelancer, and Emerge print magazine EiC 2019, says:

First of all, I completely understand your hesitation here, but you deserve to be paid for your work! The fact that you have been working for free for an entire year beyond your internship baffles me. Many people in the industry understand how important compensation is, especially when it comes to students or newly grads, but there will always be those who try to take advantage when people let them.

Somewhere along the lines of student culture, we have been trained to think that experience is compensation enough. Don’t get me wrong, experience is extremely important, but there comes a point that compensation is required and some people might not be too keen on that part.

In my personal experience, you have to make those lines and boundaries clear to yourself before you can communicate them to others — including employers. For example, I’ve had my own blog (Just Peachy Positivity) for over two years now. In addition to my own blog, I have been featured on at least two other blogs, writing posts for free. I told myself that I was doing it for exposure, for connections, and for experience, but if they liked my work and I was desirable enough to be asked back, I would need compensation. I think this is where the line becomes blurred: if you don’t value yourself as a creator it can be easy to be taken advantage of. Media work is necessary for every business nowadays, but people aren’t always willing to pay for it. If you let them work you for free, they will.

My advice to you would be to continue to set boundaries and ask to be compensated for what you do. I’m very glad to hear that they are offering you compensation for the weekly articles after you asked for it, but I would continue this conversation into the other aspects of work you do for them. This is your job and it’s what you’ve been trained to do. You, like any other professional completing a job, deserve to be paid.