I was so excited to get into UBC, and work on what I had always viewed as my lifelong, and life-long lasting dream of becoming a geologist. It was not nearly as easy as I had expected, dang university was hard! You mean I have to really study, what?? Once I had my degree (actually the summer before) I was in the bush in the NWT soil sampling, mapping, logging core. These were remote camps but a lot of fun. Great people (for the most part), helicopters, drills; even spectacular fossil hunting. This was where the learning truly happens, this is the work that teaches you what being a geologist is all about. During one of the down cycles in the mining sector I lost my job with a major only to be picked up by a junior in diamond exploration. It was the perfect sized camp, perfect weather for the NWT and NO mosquitoes (anyone that has worked in this kind of bush knows how utterly horrid the bugs can be!) but I realized I was not happy. WHY?? I asked myself over and over again. I am fulfilling my lifelong dream, in a perfect camp. It took a lot of long walks and evaluating my interests and passions to realize I needed to change direction. I asked myself what projects did I really enjoy? I drew detailed logs, loved drawing out anything, even did a painting of Snap Lake Kimberlite core. Hmm. the picture started to come together and I started to draw up a new plan and it involved going back to school. It was a difficult decision though to finally quit. A painful financial one as well but I knew it was the right one. I immediately pictured being an expert in visual communication for the mining industry. I am still working towards this goal, 10 years later. I feel I get better everyday.
When I tell people I am a graphic designer but I worked as a geologist for a large part of my life their is a moment of silence, and then the inevitable question or variation of it: “Why?” Well, it is a bit of a story, but really like most people these days my career path was bound to be fluid rather than static.
From about the age of six I knew I wanted to work with rocks. I collected them endlessly much to the chagrin of my parents (rocks in the house, scattered in the grass, going though the laundry) and as soon as I could read I wanted to read about volcanoes and earthquakes. I knew my career path when most kids wanted to be princesses and firemen. Of course I had no idea what a geologist really did. Through school I had an idea of being a world traveller and collecting rocks. All my classes in junior high and high school were focused on my end goal. Except one class: Art. Art and then commercial design, whatever was offered. The two passions were distinct and so important to me but when it came to “what do I want to be” the geologist side always won. I had to focus on the science side in grade 12 as I knew I had to maintain good grades to get into UBC. And I was successful. I think it was when I started university life the dream started losing its lustre..
Like many of you in the mining industry I have now seen a few of the cycles that this industry goes through. The first “pit” of a cycle I went through was just as I was about to graduate in the mid-90’s. I remember my TA’s finding it hard to get work. The next one was when I moved over into diamond exploration from gold, and managed to secure a pretty good job considering what a lot of my colleagues and former classmates were dealing with. I saw a lot of people leave the industry all together around that time. When it finally picked up again I had made the decision to switch into graphic design. Perfect timing really as I was able to land a great job with a mining company employed as a designer. Perfect fit, perfect timing and I got the best experience I could have hoped for.
For over a year now we have trended downwards. And down. And down. Is there some light at the end of the tunnel? I am far from knowledgeable on this topic, I ask other people more closely tied to the stock market and global trends for their opinion. I hope there is at least a sparkle up ahead.