Not another “university” job !

Back in February 2016 I was at school in Ontario. All my friends at the time had begun the search for summer employment. Most were searching for the typical university jobs; bar tending, serving, landscaping, retail sales etc. After spending the last 2 years in Australia doing these types of jobs, I decided I would do whatever it takes to not be stuck behind a bar again. From February to the middle of May I was applying to an average of 10 jobs per day.  These jobs ranged widely from being an apple to being a data analyst for a large agricultural company.  You have to understand that it was a tough sell for me to get any of these jobs. I study philosophy – a topic that makes most of the science community shiver with recollections of the one compulsory philosophy class they had to take with the professor that had that weird tick every time someone said Plato.  I thought that maybe commerce would be a little more forgiving to my background.  Not so much. I was turned down by investment groups, research firms, beverage companies, food companies, travel companies and it goes on and on.

My first week - Ian.jpg

After all of this rejection, you would be correct to think that I was considering to submitting to another bar job but in a fluke eureka moment I realized that one of my biggest assets was not being talked about in any of my applications; my social media experience. I had started a YouTube channel a year earlier that was focused on teaching guitar lessons to songs that didn’t have guitar in them. I grew my subscriber-ship over time and had a video grow to 80,000 views in my first month. I then started a website and podcast to grow my personal brand and all of that experience taught me many of the underlying subtleties that dictate whether your digital following grows or stagnates. I had also gained the valuable experience of how to design a website and even learned some website and app coding. I knew I was ready for a challenge and social media was the means to that challenge.

I took to the web and found that Kent Homes was looking for a social media coordinator and I applied. During my research phase on the company, I was captivated by the idea of a manufactured home. I went and looked at their social media and I started off seeing ways that I would be able to help. Also, the idea of getting away from the big smoke of the cities of Ontario for a maritime summer seemed exciting as all the rustic cultural notes began to flood from beautiful fresh caught lobster to jovial friendly people. When it came time for me to interview for the role, this romantic maritime image in my head only grew stronger. The team that interviewed me was very friendly, charitable and cared about their business and customers stronger than many others that I had spoken to. Perhaps that’s just an east coast thing. Regardless, a company’s aimless pursuit of money is as uninspiring as a company that cares about helping the community is intriguing.

Later, when I got the job and was set to start I was nervous. It would be my first office job and I didn’t know what to expect. I had some general ideas and strategies on how we could improve our social media but I really didn’t know how they would leverage my abilities to help them.  When my first day finally came around, all of my fears were dissolved by the welcoming community in the office and the manufacturing plant. I instantly felt the communal culture and helpful spirit of everyone there. Quite a far cry from the aggressive every-person-for-themselves sense you might get in the big city. This was the moment I knew that I would do some of my best work yet here because of all of the support and culture with genuine interest in helping your neighbor.

Beyond the culture, the physical appearance of the office/site was very interesting as well. The office was immaculately clean and had a nice open concept to it. I’ve come to know that Kent Homes focuses on doing the little things well. A philosophy of “the way you do the little things is the way you do everything” is apparent. I was blown away to learn that the entire office had been built in our factory. It was a living example of the power of modular construction over traditional building. The office itself is situated in Bouctouche, New Brunswick. It is a very small and beautiful town with a proud history of commercial excellence. It is situated on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and has the historic Irving Church and Arboretum next door to the office. The history of the town is undeniable as is the history of Kent Homes.  The company started doing business in 1958 and has run a very successful operation since being one of the top companies in the industry since it’s conception.

First Week - East Coast - Life.jpg

I had the opportunity to see exactly why Kent Homes has been so successful when I did a plant tour. Beforehand I had no idea what a plant that makes houses would look like but it is quite the fascinating process. Over  100 workers working all day to manufacture different homes makes for a very efficient process. They can build a house from scratch in 12-15 days. What’s more, the houses they build are all custom made which, if you know anything about manufacturing, is a bit of a miracle. The whole process had advantages that I could have never imagined from keeping the house out of the elements during the whole construction process, to having an air tight seal put on for delivery. If you want to see what this kind of home making can produce check out Kent Homes’ Tech Home.

Modular Homes - what I learned.jpg

In closing, this is going to be an awesome summer with a great team in a beautiful place and I’m looking forward to all of the amazing events we have planned and the chance to help people with the biggest purchase of their lives.

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