The search for meaningful employment: jobs with impact

Written for Kitchener Today

There’s an old saying that goes, “do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.”

Careers in social responsibility are becoming top priority for job seekers.

To be able to support yourself financially while doing something you feel passionate about is no longer a pipe dream. Employment opportunities in roles that include sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are allowing job seekers to align their career goals with their personal values.

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer 68% say that CEOs should take the lead on change, rather than waiting for government to impose it. There’s been a shift in whom the public deems as trustworthy, with media and government suffering most. Canadians expect businesses to advocate, and as a result this has created employment opportunities in CSR and Sustainability.

From grassroots administrations to organizations who use their brand power to foster change – there’s an emerging work trend that hinges on the importance of a work-life balance, encouraging employees to examine their own core values, while creating opportunities to find meaning in the 9-5.

According to a survey done by IPSOS Reid and Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) 68% of the Canadian public is paying attention to issues related to corporate social responsibility.

Heather Mak has been working in sustainability for over a decade. Her self-named consulting business, Heather Mak Consulting, was founded on the intentions of acting as an agent of change for sustainability, in food and consumer goods.  She says, “businesses can use their scale and voice to make changes that can affect the everyday lives of people.”

With almost 70% of Canadians as an active and engaged audience, internal CSR opportunities encourages employee satisfaction, increases public reputation, and stimulates support from stakeholders.

Earning a sustainable living, while genuinely loving the process, was once reserved for the elite few. Leaping out of bed in the morning, anticipating the day ahead, wasn’t something the average human could afford. Dream jobs were for those who were either born into them or had the good fortune of becoming wealthy – but meaningful work is no longer wishful thinking, it’s a human right.

Unique job opportunities include cause marketing, communications, ethical hacking, impact investing, engagement, and philanthropy roles. Experience levels embrace entry-level, to senior leadership roles – with commitment levels encompassing everything from part-time, to full-time and even work from home.

CSR roles rarely necessitate nonprofit experience, but requirements do include some variation of communications or marketing experience, as well as a form of secondary education – a fraction require a Master’s degree.

Do what you love and you will never dread another Monday. Here’s how to get started with your own meaningful job search:

Welcome to the career site that helps you connect purpose & paycheque. (Yes, it’s a thing). Resources, job listings, and profiles of companies where you can bring your values to work. Canada-wide job listings.

Find your next position on Canada’s favourite site for nonprofit professionals. The CharityVillage Knowledge Centre is where you can find free resources to help guide your career in the nonprofit sector along with industry news and information about CharityVillage.

Canada’s premier environmental job board. Environmental Careers Organization of Canada (ECO Canada) is a not-for-profit organization that was founded in 1992 to help nurture Canada’s growing environmental sector.

A sampling of such job postings, from across Canada, found recently on Monster.ca. They’re listed in ascending order of experience required, from none to five years or more.

Top 20 Corporate Social Responsibility jobs in Ontario. 

Grand River Hospital’s POGO Satellite Clinic: a place of healing for local children battling cancer.

Written for and published by Kitchener Today

Beyond the revolving doors, past the wheelchairs, resides the entrance to the POGO Satellite Clinic. Like a parent’s bedside after a bad dream, it’s a place where children go to feel safe. These children are battling cancer. The clinic is one of eight in Ontario.

Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO) offers financial assistance to families to help ease some of the burdens associated with a childhood cancer diagnosis. POGO Satellite Clinics bring care closer to home for these families, also easing the burden of travel.

POGO Satellite Clinic Coordinator, and Resource Nurse for Children’s Outpatient Clinic, Cristina Peter has been with Grand River Hospital for eight years, “this was always where I wanted to be, in pediatric oncology.” She describes the best part of the job as “seeing the kids coming in looking well – able to receive their treatment, leave, and return to school.”

“Kids go through this and it’s the hardest journey of their lives, but many times they’re happy, singing, dancing and playing. It’s just amazing.”

The GRH POGO Satellite Clinic is the only hospital that sees children from all three tertiary centers; The Hospital for Sick Children, London Health Sciences and McMaster Children’s Hospital. Kids come to the clinic for anything from bloodwork, to chemotherapy. Clinic staff remain in communication with pediatric oncologists from the referral hospital.

Peter says all of the children are special to her, although; the ones that are diagnosed in the clinic hold an extra emotional connection. “Jonathan (J.T.) is one of the many families in our area that came in with symptoms and was diagnosed in our clinic. So, we were there when he had his first bloodwork done and results come in. Watching the family go through a cancer diagnosis is heartbreaking, but at the same time when you see them coming back feeling well and happy then it just helps us deal with the grief as well.”

Leanne Kukla, J.T.’s mom, recalls their cancer journey, “J.T. hadn’t been well for months but we didn’t know what it was.” Eventually they were referred to Sick Kids. On January 31, 2018 Jonathan’s family received a cancer diagnosis; non-Hodgkins’s T cell lymphoblastic lymphoma, stage 3. He was 10.

Childhood cancer affects the entire family. During critical stages of his treatment, J.T. and his mom lived at the Ronald McDonald House, in Toronto – separated from his dad and sister; Amber. Once he was in the intermittence phase, he was referred to the GRH POGO Satellite Clinic.

Again, they found themselves facing fear of change, “we were comfortable with the team in Toronto. We didn’t know what to expect or who we’d be working with.”

During their first visit they met Cristina. Leanne knew it was going to be ok when J.T. turned to her and said, “you know I think it’s going to be nice here.”

With treatment now 15 minutes from home, J.T. can attend school and sleeps soundly in his own bed – under the same roof as his mom, dad and sister.

“I can do anything, pretty much. I play hockey, I have a tournament this weekend, I’m excited for that.”

The Kukla family has also accessed POGO’s financial support – including meals and accommodations. “It’s not something you expect to have to spend, you have to and you don’t think twice about it but having the extra support, it’s been helpful.”

J.T. is in treatment until June 2020.

Find out more about POGO here.

KW Run for POGO happens early fall, find out more here.

Leanne Kukla, J.T. and Cristina Peter (left to right)