When you’re young, tattooed, openly queer, and a woman of colour, it’s difficult to not construe any micro-aggression (or macro-aggression) as relating to one of the above characteristics that make me unique. It’s hard to let things go, not take things personally, and treat ignorant people with more respect than they afford to you. But, alas, I thought, that’s the price of being different.

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The Progressive's Toolbox

Most of my work experience has been in the nonprofit sector.

When I started working at a charity right after undergrad, I didn’t realize how profoundly that would alter the trajectory of my career.

Fast-forward 7 years later, I now spend my days at a legal aid clinic empowering unorganized, low-income workers who have been wrongfully fired for raising their employment rights at work.

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How To Maximize Your Time, Improve Productivity, and Reduce Burn-out

I wear many hats: I’m a lawyer, blogger, freelance writer, and newly-minted podcaster. I am no stranger to feelings of anxiety and overwhelm, with burnout quietly knocking on my office door. In order to stave off breakdown, I’ve researched and tested methods to increase the quality and efficiency of all the tasks that demand cognitive exertion. After an extensive period of trial and error, I have narrowed down 8 specific tactics that have enabled me to make the most of my waking hours.

[1] START YOUR DAY OFF RIGHT. I leave this intentionally broad because I am cognizant that not everyone works comfortably in the morning. I am a morning person — or more accurately, I have trained myself to become as such — because it is more conducive to my lifestyle: I have to let the dog out in the morning, I have to leave for work at 8:00 a.m., it’s the most time I am able to work undistracted.

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The Future (of work) is Here

When you think about it, 2025 is not so far away.

I mean, I’m no futurist, but lately things have been, as a friend affectionately states, “a hot pile of garbage." I've now, on more than one occasion, found myself daydreaming while sitting at my desk about what the state of the world will look like in 10, 20, and 30 years from now. Are we going to fight our way towards closing the wealth gap? Or are we just going to fire shots at each other on the internet? I am a pragmatic optimist disguised as a snarky pessimist, but some days I just don’t know.

I’m afraid.

I’m not afraid to say that I’m afraid.

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Justice, Acknowledgement and Self-Confidence

“You’re here early!” I smiled.

“Yes, I slept here so I wouldn’t forget.” My client replied as he rolled up a sleepingbag.

It was a brisk spring morning. At 8:00 a.m., the streets were mostly empty around Mackenzie Hall Cultural Centre, which is where our hearing before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board would be held.

Dressed in a black suit with a freshly ironed white collared shirt, I stood in stark contrast to my transient client who was quiet, polite and didn’t show that he was intimidated by the process that was to come. I didn’t tell him that this was my first hearing. He didn’t seem to care enough to ask.

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Please Don’t Work Somewhere That Makes You Miserable Just For the Money

I saw so many of my peers in law school focused on money. 

When On-Campus Interviews (OCI) came and went, the school buzzed with gossip about what firms had the highest-paying salaries for students and first year associates.

While I mostly hung around with other law students who, like myself, were trying to figure out areas of law we were actually curious about, most of my peers just wanted to work in Big Law — assuming their life would be set if they landed a position there.

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Why I Took a Lower-Paying Job When I Still Had $35,000 of Student Loans

In October 2016, I was a three-month old lawyer and sitting on $35,000 of debt.

For a year and a half, I had been working at the same organization, and although I loved so many aspects about the job — my colleagues, the work-life balance and, most importantly, the generous paycheques. But I became restless and felt, deep down, that I needed to pursue knowledge elsewhere.

Within a week, I noticed that a legal aid clinic that specialized in workers’ rights was looking to hire a lawyer. Although it was a contract position and most certainly involved a pay cut, none of that mattered to me. I was hungry to learn.

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