Fearless is Her Name

When I was a little horse crazy girl on the farm in country New South Wales around forty (mumble mumble) years ago I saw a telemovie about Marco Polo's journey along the Silk Road through Mongolia to China.

My poor stock horse pony had to endure hours of me playing Mongolian Horse Archer around the paddocks with a couple of sticks and piece of string for a bow. If you know anything at all about horse crazy little girls you'll know that they are utterly fearless.

I used to lie down and look over the edge of the (2 storey tall) grain silo and frighten the living daylights out of my Mum because she didn't know I'd climbed up there.

Fearless little girls get thrown from a horse and bounce back up - catch the horse - remount and take off again at a flat gallop.  Fearless little girls get squashed down and told to wear pretty clothes and "play nice with the other kids".  Fearless little girls have to be taught to be afraid.

Nice little girls don't play horse archer on the Mongolian steppes. Nice little girls don't climb trees or hang over the lip of the roof of a grain silo. Nice little girls don't join the Army for the purpose of collecting adventures and seeing the world. Nice little girls keep their knees together and don't draw attention to themselves. Nice little girls don't argue or make waves.

Nice little girls far too often learn to hide their heart fire.

Not too long ago I met a little girl at a Farm clearing sale - maybe seven years old. This little girl was polite, confident and energetic. She is an absolutely fearless little firecracker and a thoroughly likeable little girl. She was climbing on tractors, chattering to everyone, dragging her little brother into mischief and having an absolute ball.  I taught her a game where we pretended to be cows charging at and tossing people into the air. We had a whale of a time  - man we could have cooked up some mischief!
 

Her Mum on the other hand spent the entire morning worrying about the little girl being a nuisance or possibly offending other people. All I heard was this mother telling her little girl "Don't this, Don't that"


Don't don't don't don't don't.

I've spent a lot my life being afraid - sometimes for good reason - but mostly because of an undiagnosed anxiety condition. Afraid of failure, afraid of social ostracism, afraid of the spotlight, afraid of criticism, afraid of confrontation, afraid of losing control, afraid of crowds, afraid of losing my job and on one memorable occasion afraid of losing the use of my arms and legs.

My transition from the military was not voluntary and it wasn't easy - I spent a lot of years afraid of a lot things. I guess it kind of got to be a habit.

In the last few years I've put a lot of work into losing a few veteran behaviours and habits that no longer serve my interest. Thanks to the help of a lot of people I feel I've reached a point where I can quietly celebrate my achievements.

I wanted to mark this time in my life in a memorable way.

I saw a picture of a little Mongolian girl at a flat gallop, pigtails flying, bareback on her pony shooting at a target I couldn't see. I wanted to be reminded of what it was like to be that little girl.
 

My friend Alice is a superb digital artist and stands proudly among my tribe of Fierce women friends. We were talking one day about my interest in all things Mongolian and Alice mentioned that one of her Artist friends is a fiercely proud Mongolian living right here in Australia.

Tumen is mainly a digital artist but he accepted my commission and consented to design and print me a figurine that I could put on my desk. I hope to have her cast in bronze one day.

Every time I hesitate, every time I fear, every time I see her I am reminded.

Fearless is her name.

Stories of WYWM - My Journey to WYWM (Dari Version) by Tariq Zia

مسیر من به WYWM

من داستان خود را با سخنی از مولانا بلخی-رومی آغاز میکنم ، قسمیکه میفرماید؛ "در مسیر وقتی قدم بگذاری، مسیر بر تو نمایان میشود."

بنده، محمد طارق "ضیأ" متولد ولایت بامیان، اففانستان، در یک فامیل تحصیل یافته و از لحاظ اقتصادی متوسط چشم به جهان گشودم، جائیکه پدرم تنها شخص نان آور فامیل بود. من دقیقاً بیاد دارم، پدرم چگونه زحمت میکشید تا زمینه درس خواندن را برای مان فراهم سازد ولی هیچ گاه کوتا نیامد،  تا تحصیل خود را ادامه دهیم. از همان روزهای نخست که میتوانستم دست چپ و راست خود را تشخیص دهم، تصمیم گرفتم تا درس بخوانم و تحصیلات عالی خود را تکمیل نمایم.

بعد از فراغت از مکتب به درجه عالی (اول نمره) راهی دانشگاه شدم و در اولین شغل خود را به حیث کامپیوتر اپراتور در وزارت عدلیه افغانستان آغاز بکار نمودم، تا باشد از لحاظ اقتصادی فامیل را کمک و هم توانسته باشم مصارف تحصیل خود را تأمین نمایم. پس از فراغت از دانشگاه به درجه عالی و اکمال دوره لیسانس خویش در بخش انجینیری ساختمان، به حیث انجینیر دیزاین سترکچر بعداً به حیث پروجکت منیجر در وزارت شهرسازی و اراضی، افغانستان شروع بکار نمودم. پس از اتمام قرارداد، به حیث مترجم(سوپروایزر و تیم لیدر) برای نیروهای آسترالیایی و ائیتلاف(ناتو) انجام وظیفه نمودم.

از آنجائیکه نیروهای ائیتلاف و هم پیمانان شان خروج شانرا از افغانستان اعلام نمودند، تعداد زیاد از همکارانم وظایف شان را ازدست داده و خانه نشین شدند. من یکی از محدود مترجمین بودم که هنوز هم شامل وظیفه بودم. با گذشت هر روز اوضاع امنیتی وخیم تر میشد، روزانه بیش از ۱۰ تماس تیلیفونی از طرف همکارانم دریافت میکردم که از مشاورین در مورد درخواست ویزا های مان بپرس؛ وقتی به آنها مراجعه میکردم، آنها هم قادر نبودند تا سوال های مان را جواب دهند. دقیقاَ این همه با شروع همه گیری کووید-19 همزامان بود. همانند سایر همکارانم من هم منتظر ویزای خودم بودم، حتی با وجود ارسال بیش از ۱۰ ها ایمیل به اداره امور دولت آسترالیا هیچ خبری از ویزا نبود.

این دقیقاً زمانی بود که متوجه شدم، بطور انفرادی صدایمان شنیده نخواهد شد؛ بنأ، تصمیم گرفتم تا همه همکارانم را جمع و آوازمان را یکجا بلند نمایم تا خود را از یک مرگ حتمی نجات بدهیم. با شرایط حاکم در کابل خیلی مشکل بود تا جمع کثیری از مترجمین را دور هم جمع کرد؛ اعتماد کردن خیلی مشکل بود، اینکه ما کجا میرویم؟ اگر هویت مان افشا شود؟ اگر دهشت افگنان(طالبان، داعش، شبکه حقانی و غیره...) در مورد مان اطلاع یابند؟ چی اتفاقی برایمان رخ میداد؟ آنچه می توانید تصور کنید اینست؛ که همه ما کشته ویا محاکمه میشدیم. 

بنأ، من پیش قدم شدم و این ابتکار را بخرچ داده، تصمیم گرفتم تا تعدادی از همکارانم را اول به خانه خود دعوت نموده و نظر خود را با آنها شریک نمایم و بپرسم که آنها چی نظر دارند، طوریکه پلان خود را برایشان بیان نمودم، همه موافقت نموده و گفتند؛ هرچه میخواهی بنویس ما در پای آن امضا میکنیم. بعد از اخذ نظریات آنها یک بیانیه مشترک تحت عنوان (تهدید وخیم) نوشتم، یک گروپ واتسپ ایجاد کرده و همه آنها را شامل گروپ ساختم، جائیکه 62 مترجم به شمول 3 مترجم اناث همه دور هم جمع شده بودیم، با خود فکر کردم که به این شیوه به آسانی آنها را گرد هم جمع کرده، و میتوانم به آسانی به آنها مراجعه کرده و نظریات شانرا بگیرم. وقتی هریک از آنها با آنچه نوشته بودیم موافقت کردند، یک ایمیل آدرس تحت نام مترجمین کمپ قرغه (QAATBWADF) ایجاد کردم و همان نامه مشترک را به تمامی ایمیل آدرس های که منحیث نقطه وصل با دولت آسترالیا نزدم بود ارسال نمودم. در همین هنگام، به واسطه یکی از دوستانم به نام (نوید آرمان) که او هم یک مترجم بود، به یکی از نویسندگان روزنامه گاردین (کیت بنوایل) در ارتباط شدم، همان نامه مشترک را به وی ارسال نمودم؛ که خوشبختانه در روزنامه گاردین نشر گردید1. همزمان با یکی دیگر از ژورنالیستان چینل 10 بنام (سوریا لینی) در ارتباط شدم، آنها یک برنامه تلویزیونی دارند که تحت نام (پروژه) به نشر میرسد. با یکی از ژورنالیستان آنها در کابل مصاحبه نمودم، مصاحبه ای که میتوانست برای من خیلی خطر ساز باشد، باید روی خودرا پوشانیده و هویتم را مخفی نگه میداشتم، که خوشبختانه آن مصاحبه نیز به نشر رسید2.

با اذعان کردن فشار از راه های مختلف، در نهایت ما قادر شدیم تا از طرف اداره امور دولت آسترالیا جواب دریافت کنیم. اداره امور دولت آسترالیا با ارسال ایمیلی خاطر نشان ساخت که "به درخواست های ما تحت شرایط خاص و استثنائی رسیدگی خواهد شد، به زودی ما شاهد دریافت معاینات صحی و صادر شدن ویزا خواهیم بود."

این زمانی بود که اهمیت و نتیجه کارگروپی را درک کردم، نمی توانم بیان کنم به چی اندازه من و دوستانم و خانواده های مان خوشحال بودیم، اینکه چگونه امید های مان یکبار دیگر زنده شده بود. خوشبختانه این همه نتیجه داد، ما قادر شدیم تا این را رقم بزنیم، تمامی اعضای گروپ مان یکی پی دیگری به آسترالیا منتقل شدند، جائیکه آنها زندگی جدید شانرا آغاز کرده اند. من به تاریخ 26/جون/2021 به ملبورن انتقال یافتم؛ جائیکه در صدد این بودم که چگونه زندگی جدید خود را آغاز نمایم، از اینکه بنا بر بعضی قوانین و محدودیت ها نتوانستم فامیل خود(والدین، خواهر و برادر) خود را شامل پرونده خود بسازم، آنها در افغانستان باقی ماندند، از اینکه پدرم از کار بازنشسته بود و من تنها کاریگر فامیل مان بودم، باید در جستجوی کار میشدم تا بتوانم آنها را از لحاظ مالی کمک نمایم. از اینرو در یکی از فابریکه ها منحیث کارگر شروع به کار نمودم، مگر این جایی نبود که من متوقف میشدم، در صدد این بودم تا دیپلوم که خارج از کشور به دست آورده بودم را تصدیق کنم تا بتوانم یک وظیفه خوبتر جستجو نمایم. در همین هنگام یکی از مشاورین که در افغانستان با وی کار میکردم آدرس سازمان(WYWM) را برایم فرستاد و از من خواست تا در این ویبسایت ثبت نام نمایم، برایم گفت؛ این سازمان برای ترجمه مواد درسی شان در صدد استخدام یک تعداد مترجمین است. این دقیقاً زمانی است که من با (WYWM) وصل شدم.

بعد از ثبت نام در این برنامه، با خانم (ریبیکا) تماس تیلیفنی برقرار نمودم و در مورد تجارب و سابقه کاری خود با ایشان حرف زدم. حدود یکماه بعد از طرف آنها یک ایمیل در یافت نمودم، که میخواهند شخصی را بحیث مدیر برنامه آموزش افغانها استخدام نمایند، او افزود؛ "از اینکه شما میتوانید به هر دو لسان دری و پشتو تکلم نمائید، من در مورد شما فکر کردم اگر علاقمند هستید، وقت ملاقات بگیرید" بعد از انجام یک سری از مصاحبه ها با وی و آقای (جولیان)، و بعد از انجام مصاحبه تطابق فرهنگی، من منحیث بهترین کاندید واجد شرایط به این سمت انتخاب شدم. نمی توانم بیان کنم به چی اندازه خرسند هستم.

حال، منحیث مدیر برنامه آموزشی آفغانها، میدانم ماموریت و مسوولیت های که فرا راه من وجود دارد چالش زا خواهد بود، اما، با در نظر داشت تجارب، ظرفیت، شبکه مخاطبین و از همه مهمتر کار کردن در کنار یک تیم فداکار در سازمان (WYWM مطمئن هستم که در راه رسیدن به اهداف خود و چشم انداز سازمانی موفق خواهم بود. برای اینکه در نقشم موفق باشم، مهم است تا اساسی ترین ارزشهای سازمان (WYWM) را بدانم. بخاطر درک این موضوع، برای من، میتواند جواب به سوال های ذیل باشد؛

میخواهیم سازمان را به کدام مسیر ببریم؟ ما حقیقتاً چه میتوانیم حاصل کرد؟ و نهایتاً، سازمان قصد دارد چه  مشکلاتی را حل کند؟

من، منحیث مدیر برنامه افغانها، تلاش خواهم کرد تا این سازمان را به عنوان یکی از سازمانهای خلاق داشته باشم؛ تا فرصت های شغلی را برای هر یک از اعضای جامعه نیروی کار ایجاد کنم، و زندگی بهتری را برای پناهندگان افغان فراهم سازم. مهم تر از آن، بتوانم تأثیر مثبت بر زندگی تعداد زیادی از مردم جهان سوم داشته باشم. تا احساس کنم کار خارق العاده ای برای مردمم و کسانی که به حمایت ما نیاز دارند انجام داده ام.

با حرمت،

محمد طارق "ضیأ"

Stories of WYWM - Curiosity and Bananas by David Richardson

While it may have killed the cat, with risk comes reward. 

There was an experiment called the “Five Monkeys Experiment”, it was said that five monkeys shared an environment where a ladder to a bunch of bananas existed. When any of the monkeys ascended the ladder chasing rewards of golden deliciousness, they were sprayed for five minutes with ice cold water. A couple of attempts in and they learnt to associate the consequence of using the ladder. It was at this point a monkey was swapped out with a new, fresh and curious monkey, by this point though there was no need for an ice-cold spray bottle, the original four monkeys that were left stopped the new monkey from ever getting up the ladder. When a second monkey was introduced, it too was stopped, even by the first new monkey who had no idea why but just followed the mentally of the group.  

By the end of the experiment five monkeys, none being original co-existed in a world where you could not use the ladder and they had no idea why.  

Sometimes in life especially after maturing into adulthood we stop being so curious about the world around us, we don’t seem to ask the questions “there is a banana up there, so why not eat it”. In the search for truth regarding chasing a metaphorical banana we may learn why it should not be pursued, but other times we realise that just because it didn’t work one way in the past doesn’t mean we can’t make it work now.  

Curiosity in the early days of mankind was responsible for starting fire with flint, skip to today and its still playing a pivotal role in progressing our species, those who embrace it set their self-up for a fulfilling existence.  

Many companies will dismiss certain levels of curiosity, playing it safe on a business model that predates even their own birth. Marvel didn’t think making an R rated superhero movie would be a success but after realising support from fans they ended up making the most successful R rated film at the time.  

With You With Me promotes and drives curiosity by flipping the way people are hired. Gone are the days of a resume, a design older than sheep shears. Now the most logical way to hire people is based on their potential and ability to enhance a workplace and other members of a team. People are intricate beings and at some point, a piece of paper isn’t an effective tool for building the success of a business  

Never accept that a ladder can’t be climbed, always aim for a banana or two. 

Stories of WYWM - Linked In post by Jack Desmond

Lots of people doubted me throughout my life because I am Autistic, I would be “unable” to get a skilled job and would spend my whole life not achieving anything. After being rejected by employers from thousands of interviews, who said because I didn’t have ALL the skills they wanted or experience, I was unsuitable to the position and even the jobs that I had all the skills for, the employers refused to employ me due to my Autism because "they saw me as a liability” instead of an ASSET. A few employers outright told me that they couldn’t employ me because I wasn’t normal…

I started to doubt myself after years of searching for a job and thought that what those people said might be true. So I started to spend thousands on Udemy courses trying to improve myself and change the way I was, but depression started to kick in with the constant knock-backs that caused me to have high anxiety, low esteem and lack of confidence in my abilities. I started to become super critical of myself and I kept trying to think what was wrong with me? I was at a point where I was even offering to pay employers for a job to gain experience….

However, after meeting the CEO Tom Moore and the rest of the guys at WYWM I was given an amazing job offer which I accepted! They hired me on my potential NOT skills or experience and fully embraced me for who I am.

Today is my first day at WYWM and I am so grateful for the opportunity, have met lots of great people in the company and am ready to exceed my potential.

When are you going to exceed yours?

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Stories of WYWM - My Journey to WYWM by Tariq Zia

I will start my story with a saying from #Rumi; “As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” 

I, Mohammad Tariq Zia, was born in a middle-class, but educated family in Bamyan province of Afghanistan, my father was the only one working in our family, and I remember how he was struggling but never came down to pave the way for us to get us educated. From the very beginning days that I could define my left and right hand I decided to study and complete my higher education. 

After graduating from high school as Top Graduate and joining University, I started my career as a part-time Computer Operator at Ministry of Justice, Kabul, Afghanistan; in order to support financially my family, and to pay my studying tuition fees. After graduating from University majoring in Civil Engineering, thankfully once again as a Top Graduate, I started working in construction field as Structure Design Engineer and then as Project Manager at Ministry of Urban Development & Land (MUDL), Kabul, Afghanistan. Once my Contract finished I started working as Interpreter/translator (supervisor, Team-Leader) for Australian and Coalition Forces at different basses in Afghanistan. 

As the NATO and their counter-parts announced their withdrawal from Afghanistan, many of my co-workers lost their jobs and went home. I was one of the very few interpreters still on work, day by day the security situation was getting worse; I was receiving more than 10 phone calls from my colleagues to ask the Mentors about our Visa applications, as I was referring to them, they also couldn’t answer us. It was just the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, same as my colleagues, I was also waiting for my own Visa but there were no updates; even after sending more than ten emails to the Department of Home Affairs. 

This was exactly the time where I realized that; as individuals our voices will not be heard. Thus I decided to grab all my colleagues and raise our voices together to rescue ourselves from a certain death. With the ongoing situation in Kabul, it was really difficult to bring a large number of interpreters together; it was difficult to trust, where we are going? If our identities got disclosed, if the bad guys (Insurgents,Taliban, ISIS, Haqani-Network…etc.) find about us, what would have happened to us all? What you can imagine is; we all would have been killed and prosecuted. 

So, I stepped forward and did this initiation, I decided to invite a few of my co-workers first to my house to share my ideas with and ask them what do they think, as I told them what my plan is, they all agreed and said; write whatever you want and we all will sign. After having their ideas, I wrote a general statement (Dire Threat), created a WhatsApp group and added all of them to that WhatsApp group, there were 62 interpreters including 3 females, I taught it was safer to have them together online and I could easily get back to them to have their ideas. Once everyone was happy with what we had wrote, I created an email address by the name of QAATBWADF interpreters and submitted that joint statement to each and every email addresses I had as point of contact to Australian Government. Meanwhile, I found a link to one of the writers of The Guardian (Kate Banville), through one of my friends (Naveed Arman) who was also an interpreter. We sent the joint statement to her; luckily, it was published by the Guardian 1. In the meantime, I got connected to one of the Journalists of Channel 10, by the name Soraya Lennie, they were/are having a program broadcasting by the name of The Project, I had an interview with one of their Journalists in Kabul, due to the security threats we were facing, it was a very risky one, I had to cover my face and keep my identity hidden, fortunately that interview was also broadcasted 2.  

By applying multiple pressures from different channels, we finally got a reply from The Department of Home Affairs, Australia. Adding that; “our cases will be processed under exceptional circumstances and soon we will receive our medical appointments, and visas will be granted after.” That was exactly the time when I realized the outcome of teamwork; I can’t describe how much I, my friends and their families were happy, how our hopes were alive once again. Fortunately, it all worked, we were able to make it happen, and all the guys in our group got evacuated to Australia one after another 3, now they have started their new life in Australia. I arrived to Melbourne on 26/June/2021; I was planning how to start my new life and career here, as I couldn’t include my family (parents & siblings) in my application due to the policy for Applications, which are left in Afghanistan, and as my father had retired, I was the only one working in our family. Therefore, I had to find a job to support them financially, I started working as Pick-Packer in a factory, but that was not where I was stopping, I was trying to get my overseas Engineering diploma verified. In the meantime I was doing some translations for Channel 10. One of my Aussie mentors sent me the link of WYWM website and asked me to sign in to the platform, she told me they are looking to hire some interpreters for the translation of their courses, this was exactly the time when I got connected to WithYouWithMe. 

After signing the platform I made a phone a call to Rebekah and told her about my background and experiences, a month later, I got an email from her that they are looking for someone to hire as Afghan Training Program Manager, she said, “as you can speak both Dari & Pashto languages, I taught of you, if you are interested, book an interview”, after having a couple of interviews with her and Julian, and the culture fit interview, I was selected as the best eligible candidate for this position. 

Now, As Afghan Training Program Manager, the mission & responsibilities, I have ahead is way challenging, but I am sure; with the experience, capabilities, network of contacts, and more importantly working alongside a dedicated team of WYWM, I am sure, I will succeed in achieving my goals & objectives, and our organizational vision. In order to succeed in my role it’s important to understand the core values of our organization (WYWM), to understand that; for me, it’s to answer the following questions; 

Where do we want the Organization to go? What can we realistically achieve? And finally, what problems does the organization intend to solve? 

I, as Afghan Training Program manager, will try to have WYWM as a creative organization to create job opportunities for every member of workforce and create a better life for Afghan refugees, and to community. More importantly, to have a positive impact on lives of a huge number of people lived in the third world. So, I can feel like I have done something extraordinary to my people and those who need our support. 

Audio learning tip: Using a web reader (Microsoft Edge)

How to use Microsoft Edge's Reader Mode to help study web articles.
Using Microsoft Edge reader along with Microsoft Word

Steps used:

Note that although I used Microsoft Learn DP900 this will also work for Microsoft Learn AZ104, an AWS article, a college biology course or anything that piques your interest.

**In the video, I actually didn't change the voice, oops. Find the Australian English voice that one is cool.

Stories of WYWM - Success Story by Leo Asuncion

Migrating to Australia was a decision that I should say was not so difficult even if it meant leaving behind a progressive military career. ‘Why’, you might all ask. My answer is simple, it was very easy simply because I believe that many can take over my rank and position in the very huge organization like the Armed Forces of the Philippines, but nobody can replace me as a husband and a father to my growing children who were at that time already residing here in Australia. 

I did not however, realize that starting a new career in a foreign land is going to be an uphill battle. My experiences and skills as a veteran seem to be insufficient in the eyes of recruiters and companies.  I did odd jobs to help my wife in our finances raising our three young children. Until I got a job with a logistics company supplying electrical and plumbing requirements of the construction industry in Canberra and its neighbouring regions.  From a store person, I was offered by the regional manager the stock control position of the warehouse.  This gave me the opportunity to learn about a database solution for business processes. I went through a two-day orientation and training at the main office in Sydney and then a hundred hours calling my mentors for questions as I learn more about the system and application.    

Then came an opportunity for me to join a project delivery team as a contractor for a government agency that rolled out the New Generation Desktop / End User Computing for the agency. Not have much knowledge of data analytics, I learned as much as I could in the role. When the project was terminated, I was unemployed for a couple of months.  It was this time that I came across ‘WithYouWithMe’ through an active member of the Australian Defence Force, who told me to explore what ‘WithYouWithMe’ can offer.  Desperate to get back to the work force, though hesitant at first knowing I am not an Australian veteran, I attempted to connect. My circumstances were reviewed until I got a positive response. I even received a call from Tom Moore, I guess to reach out to a fellow veteran and know more about me, and that time I do not even know who he is in the company. The conversation I should say was very casual but accommodating and friendly. The company provided me access to its IT courses available online for free.  I enrolled in the basic IT Fundamental Courses, knowing well my limitation in data analytics and later ‘Fundamentals of Project Management’.  After several months of applying for work, I started another job as a contractor for a company that works for the government under its Defence and National Security account. Instead of working for a project, I did administrative work where I felt my potential was not fully utilized.  My contract was abruptly cut short and was again unemployed for more than year, a period when getting back to work was very difficult because of COVID-19.   

A new opportunity came when a company required a Stock Administrator for the Chief Information Officer Group of the Department of Defence.  Working for the project New Generation Desktop and having experience as Stock Control of a logistics company, I was immediately hired. As I progressed as a Stock Administrator for the warehouse, I was given additional role as Disposal Officer that required me to liaise and collaborate with the clients directly and other stakeholders. My career in logistics was in a full swing but I still felt that the potential for career growth was limited, because of the very traditional structure of the business where seniority matters. I was confined to my role and   had limited interaction with the organization. Nonetheless, I did my role to the best of my ability, and 2 months into the role, the company awarded me a star award for client satisfaction because of the positive client feedbacks.  It was then that I received a call from Josh Vogel, asking me if I am interested in a role as Systems Applications and Products (SAP) Associate.  Without any hesitation and reservation, I agreed to go through the selection process.  After a little more than a week, an offer was emailed by Josh after a long chat about the role and what were the expectations.  Though hesitant because of the “what ifs”, I accepted the offer and informed my current employer then. 

Going through the onboarding process facilitated by Courtney Banman, was truly an outstanding way of learning about the company and the people behind its growth.  The entire process, though online, allowed me to have a grasp about the company that made me proud to be a part of an organization that helps employees to be the best they can be.  After getting my Certificate as SAP Associate, I am fully ready for deployment, knowing that my company will continue to support me.  I thank the people behind my first success story with WithYouWithMe: Josh Vogel, Mel O’Sullivan, Scott Bird, Jessie Gaudry and Daniel Scully. 

Stories of WYWM - Finding Meaningful Employment as a Military Spouse by Johanna Allen

It’s the thing every spouse dreads whether it’s come about due to a relocation or for any multitude of reasons – finding meaningful employment as a military spouse is hard! It’s not always the case, some spouses are able to transfer their qualifications state to state and that is fantastic! However, so often we as spouses put our career on hold to support our serving member and ultimately end up employed in a range of positions that may not be relevant to our career goals but necessary to bring money into the household – if we can find the employment at all! 

  

A typical problem spouses face is transferring their skills and potential into a standard resume. This then leads to time-poor recruiters failing to identify a spouse’s ‘career thread’ and ultimately the spouse missing out on the position in favour of someone who clearly displayed their strengths. There are a few ways around this, and one is engaging a career coach to assist you in identifying suitable solutions, such as connecting you with defence friendly employers and writing a resume designed to effectively engage with the recruiter to get your foot in the door. But without the right network of support in employment services and options, spouses can become disillusioned about finding suitable employment that values their informal skills and experience and become resentful about the military lifestyle. 

  

I stumbled across WithYouWithMe while researching spouse friendly positions. We had recently posted interstate and were struggling financially on one income. I had applied for job after job after job, writing a new cover letter for each position but repeatedly missing out on the job offer. Something that surprised me about the WYWM process was not needing to submit my resume at all. By investing heavily in aptitude and psychological testing, WYWM are able to match candidates with positions based off their skills and potential to excel in the role. Finally – a fair chance to show what I’m capable of! I did my aptitude assessments and the results told me I’d be a good fit for a Pega role. I had no idea what Pega was but I thought “why not?”. Within three business days I had two interviews and a job offer. I couldn’t believe it! I never saw myself as a technologist and quite simply, I didn’t think I was smart enough for it – especially without a tech degree! WYWM scooped me up, trained me up, and tech-ed me up and I’m now a Certified System and Business Architect in Pega software, working with Accenture to kick goals and solve business problems. 

  

I’m so grateful to WYWM for having the faith in me that I didn’t have in myself and showing me it’s possible to work in a role that’s just as important and meaningful as my husband’s. As a Squad Leader, I have learned to take ownership and lead by example in delivering value to the client as well as the team. I have learned to be the customer and be transparent but most of all, my time at WYWM has taught me the value of being fierce. Be curious enough to find that new challenge but be fierce enough to take it on and crush it. I know I can do it, and I know you can too. 

Stories of WYWM- What Even is an Archetype? by Chrissy Scott

And what exactly does it have to do with who I am as a person?  

I asked myself these questions when I first jumped on the Potential website and completed my testing. I had no idea that this was even a thing and realistically at the time if I had seen anything pop up about it, I probably wouldn’t have cared. Much like those psychic articles that tell you what kind of personality you have based on your star sign, when you were born compared to a full moon and whether Neptune was floating in Space at that exact time, you get my drift. Only parts of what they said I felt resonated with me and who I thought I was.  

So why then when I completed my testing did my opinion changed? 

My results popped up and as I started reading them, the first thing that caught my eye was the red fire symbol and the word Creator. I instantly clapped and thought that’s 100% me! I am a creator, I love photography, capturing and creating bright colourful images! I make invitations and memory boards and keepsakes for my kids and my friends’ kids. I love making complicated cakes! I have always been creative so that first initial insight into my testing results set the scene for my willingness to believe that this could be a realistic look into who I was. Was it 100% accurate with how I perceived myself? Well not really. Because perceptions can be biased and that would have more to do with how I saw myself at the time of taking the test and my state of mind- but that’s a whole other story. Why was that important? Because I felt like deep down, I didn’t really know anything about myself. In all honesty I still don’t. 

Red has always been a colour that I have associated with throughout my life for various reasons. It was and to an extent still is one of my favourite colours. I spent 27 years of my life playing for a sports team whose colours were red and white. I got my Archetype shirt in the mail and I felt like an old part of me had returned. Sounds weird right, but after wearing that sports uniform for more the 3 quarters of my life, and then losing that when we posted felt like I lost part of myself.  

I wear that shirt every chance I get. 

Why? 

Because red brings me comfort. Because it reminds me that I am a part of something meaningful. I watch my husband get up every day and put on his Cams. He’s part of something bigger than himself and I want that too. It’s like a uniform, a badge of honour and lets me know that I am in a team. That there is a place where I fit in and means that there are people out there that will resonate with me. And I don’t have to look far to find them. Are we all the same? Of course not! But it gives us common ground. It’s a conversation starter.  

That bright red shirt stands out whenever I wear it. I take pride in it. I want people to see that shirt and ask questions, go home and google the name. 

I would have worn the shirt no matter whether it was Blue or Green. Hell I would have worn it if it was the ugliest mustard colour just so that the WithYouWithMe mission was out there. Because it gives me a sense of purpose. But there is a lot to be said for a colour that’s heavily ingrained in your psyche. Red is passion. And thanks to WithYouWithMe I have passion again. I will wear that shirt until it's falling apart at the seams. And then I'll probably beg for some more shirts and anything else I can get! 

Because red is home. 

Stories of WYWM: My Chaotic Career Path (Michael Roach)

A Story of Doubt, Self-sabotage and Renewed Hope 

I was asked if I might like to write a brief article explaining how WithYouWithMe (WYWM) helped me. How I got here is embarrassing and convoluted. But I’ve been inspired by the transparency I’ve witnessed within the WYWM community, so here’s my story. 

In May of 1995, I was on top of the world. I earned a Bachelor of Engineering in Engineering Physics from the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC). I was a young and motivated Aerospace Engineering Officer Cadet in the Canadian Armed Forces, ready to take on the world. 

In February 2021, around 26 years later, I found myself unemployed, lost and depressed. 

What the hell happened? It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times. 

A Very Promising Future 

Growing up, I was focused. I was always an above-average student. I was athletic and I spent my teenage years in army cadets, preparing for a career in the military. I was eager and excited. 

When I entered RMC in 1991, Canada had not really been at war in a very long time. After a couple of years there, it felt like our military had become heavily bloated with bureaucrat-types who didn’t know what to do with their time, other than sit at their desks and write up policy memos. (Looking back, perhaps this wouldn’t have been such a bad gig…) 

It also felt like Canadians didn’t particularly respect their military, especially after the scandal in Somalia in March 1993, with the beating to death of a Somali teenager at the hands of two Canadian soldiers participating in humanitarian efforts. These troubles weren’t just outside our borders either, as there were many scuffles even in my town that year, resulting in one of my classmates being set in a body cast for a few weeks, his spine healing from a severe beating. We were warned to be vigilant whenever we left the campus. It was a weird time. 

Then came the government program later that same year -- the Forces Reduction Program (FRP). We were told that the military was too big and needed to be cut. The FRP went on for a few years and I figured this was my sign to leave. I opted into the program and was released shortly after finishing all my training to become a commissioned Aerospace Engineering Officer. 

I still question this decision 25 years later. I could be retiring already with a full pension, or following in the footsteps of many of my wildly successful classmates from RMC. 

Nonetheless, I did manage to craft a rather successful early career for myself as a young aircraft structural engineer, and accomplished many things that I can still be proud of today. 

In late 2005, I also started a freelance copywriting (writing sales copy) side gigEven being lucky enough to have some early success. I worked hard at it and got a website up in 2006, while continuing to work as an engineer. I was generating many good leads, and life was good. 

Let’s Just Abandon This Whole Career Path, Shall We? 

Things were going swimmingly for several years until I began my journey of self-sabotage, disguised as positive thinking. I was destined to become a wildly successfully freelance writer and travel the world with the wealth that was inevitably going to flow my way. I needed to burn my bridges and go all-in. 

With 3 young children (born in 2003, 2005 & 2007), I took out a massive line of credit on our new house (that saw a very nice rise in value when house prices rose sharply in Calgary after we bought it in 2004) and used it to bankroll books, courses, memberships and conferences (not to mention all the travel costs involved). In 2008, I quit my job to focus on my freelance business full time. Even with a little bit of initial momentum, without a proper plan, it was a very irresponsible decision. 

Even with all the positive thinking that I had immersed myself into, self-doubt found its way in. “I’m still not making anywhere near what I thought I’d be making… Ugh, look at all that money I spent…” etc. It didn’t take long before I was focusing on the failures. Who was I to think I could be successful on my own? I allowed myself to slide into complete self-sabotage mode – turning down work, not being available, making excuses. When I exhausted our credit in 2011, I turned to a job in the booming, but volatile, oil and gas industry in Alberta. I was too embarrassed to beg for my old job back. 

Oil prices tanked in 2015 and I was laid off. For 2 years, I tried very hard to get another job. Constant rejections took a serious toll on my confidence. Our savings were depleted, and our credit was maxed out. Fortunately, drilling picked up again and I was back working in March 2017, just before I would have had to declare bankruptcy. 

Oil prices crashed again 3 years later in April 2020, and once again I was out of work – this time desperate to try and course-correct back to a stable career path. I applied everywhere and networked to the best of my ability. I even re-studied all of my previous structural engineering material. 

Out of countless applications, I only managed to get an interview with one company, Lockheed Martin, in October 2020. I worked for them previously, overseas in the Middle East. I had accomplished a lot thereonly leaving because their contract with the Egyptian Air Force ended and I closed up their office in the summer of 2003. Unfortunately, they had no more work at the time, so I had to move on. I felt very good about this current opportunity. I moved on to a 2nd interview in Novembereagerly awaiting their decision. 

Silence. 2 months later, I finally gave up hope that I would hear from them. I couldn’t believe that I had been ghosted. The emotions flooded in. I was a complete failure. I couldn’t beat myself up enough for ruining everything, for failing my family. I retreated into a very dark place. 

Enter WithYouWithMe 

On Feb 23rd, 2021, A concerned friend forwarded me a post on LinkedIn. It was for an online event the next day, with some company called WithYouWithMe. It was titled “WYWM Product Update… We are hiring come check out what we do!”. I really had no desire (or money) to check out some company’s products… but hey, they were hiring – so I signed up. I figured it would be just another hiring event, with hundreds of others competing, where my sad resume would probably never actually make it to someone’s desk. 

I signed in the next day to listen to this big Aussie man, Tom, begin to ramble on. It didn’t take long before I perked up, as everything he was saying was resonating with me. Potential over experience. This is what I was so desperately trying to sell, on deaf ears. “I’m at a point in my life where I can do great things for a company, because I’m capable and I’m motivated to do so!” – I just failed to sell that to the people posting job opportunities. I hung on every word. Man, this guy gets me! 

Before the presentation was done, I had already signed up for an account on their website and started browsing the course material. I loved it. These were all very interesting subjects – courses I would have never considered taking at this point in my life, assuming it was just too late. How could I pull off a job interview with no experience? I knew damn well I had the ability to learn this stuff and the potential to excel at it, if given the chance. And Tom here is telling me that I can. My hope was restored. I could finally start climbing out of this dark and lonely hole I had dug myself. 

I’ve been plugging away at courses ever since. My confidence has slowly resurfaced. I know with certainty that I’m capable of learning pretty much anything and using the potential I always knew existed. The renewed confidence is manifesting in other ways. Old friendships are being renewed and new friendships are being made. I now feel the energy to improve other areas of my life, especially my physical and mental health. 

I owe a lot of gratitude to Tom and the ever-helpful staff at WYWM. I can’t imagine where I’d be right now if I hadn’t received that invite. I shudder at the thought. 

I’d rather not think about it. It’s now time to focus on a brighter future.