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We are wired for connection – Let’s Celebrate the Wins, Big and Small, Together

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By Canada InfoNet bilingual mentor Michèle Thibeau

As museums, hockey arenas, and shops open their doors and travel restrictions begin to lift between Canada’s provinces and territories, hope is in the air!

Many of us are standing on the precipice of change right now – that of heading back into the world of people and places, and being in close proximity to others.

It will be different; and, it will likely surprise us as we realize just how much we’ve missed: simple, daily experiences we previously took for granted. These experiences include the workplace, with its louder and quieter moments, from morning greetings and group lunches to focused work at our desk. We will be back together again, albeit with new daily habits and new colleagues.

I’ve worked with remote and hybrid teams for many years. Currently, I am part of a hybrid team, meaning that my colleagues and I are situated in different geographic places (as it was before the pandemic). That’s part of our strength in our field of collaborative economic development.

What’s interesting is that in many cases I have seen many of my colleagues (virtually) and connected with them more often since we all began working from home.

That’s because we’re now making much better use of the digital tools we have at our disposal. We are all in the same circumstances some of us were prior to the pandemic. This newfound opportunity to tap into conversations and share how we’re coping has been a blessing for which I am grateful.

Outside of work, I have been able to enjoy many opportunities to connect despite being isolated for a year and a half. While my immediate world has been smaller in terms of people I have seen in person since March 2020, it has also expanded to include individuals from all corners of our planet; this continues to be such a meaningful gift.

As a relatively new volunteer with the Canada InfoNet program, I’ve met and learned from a handful of determined, talented individuals eager for the borders to open so they can get started with life here in Canada! It is such an amazing gift to meet each person and welcome their story.

With the borders closed, conversations about finding employment in Canada before arriving were tough; few employers feel equipped to hire a new person when there’s no start date on the horizon. Instead, we worked on networking and taking time to discuss what kind of work in a given field was available – there are many employment opportunities across this country!

Once the borders are open, I look forward to continuing such conversations and focusing on using social media tools and local online programming to explore culture, workplace challenges and successes and vocabulary. The more we understand how to engage, the more successful we are in translating to an employer how we are the right person for the job!

These days, my motto is keep connecting with others and celebrating the small wins on the way to your destination and at every pause along the way. We cannot always see the progress we’re making. It’s through connection with others that we can reflect on just how far we’ve come.