I came to Canada from Ireland in 2014. A lot of Irish people my age came to this great country then. Ireland was struggling through one of the worst economic depressions since the founding of the state. A lot of people my age came to Canada as it was difficult to find work. Many people had lost their jobs, taken pay cuts or just couldn’t find work after leaving third level education. This wasn’t the case for me.

I had started working for a large financial institution in Dublin’s financial sector in 2007 and managed to make it all the way to 2014 still with the same firm. I witnessed all of the market turbulence in Europe and the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 that caused so much havoc. I worked on some interesting problems when I was in that position. I was exposed to a lot of different types of securities, learned how they operated in the market and worked with some amazing people from across the globe. There were some extremely high points during this part of my career. I worked with one of the largest insurance companies on the planet as they navigated their exit from a distressed market currency which had never failed before. The fallout from that crash had lasting repercussions for the country, its leaders were ousted and prosecuted. The deal we managed to work through was an extremely heavy loss my for client but they couldn’t afford to stay in the market in it’s current position so I helped facilitate the communication channels between the client and the regulator so they could get out as quickly as possible without moving the market to the detriment of the other participants. It took 5 business days to complete the whole but we successfully completed the deal. It was a huge personal and professional win for me and I will remember the feeling of triumph forever.

My change of heart with regards to my career and Ireland came when the financial crisis hit Greece. I was working with some clients helping navigate the markets with the extreme conditions they faced, both economic and political. My clients were all based in Athens which erupted into riots and the government had snap elections caused huge unrest in the country. During this time a mentor of mine in the bank died suddenly. A relationship manager in the local market, he was someone who I spoke to on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. He was a huge help to me and the clients we looked after. His death was very sudden but it affected me in a way that I still feel today. I knew then that I didn’t want to stay in Ireland, and no matter how stable or “good” my job was, it wasn’t worth giving up what I truly wanted for. So I made the decision and I left. I came to Canada, Toronto to be exact and haven’t regretted it.

I got a job, tangentially connected to my previous employment, working with a software company called Tier1CRM that makes enterprise level software for capital markets clients. While I definitely have an interest in tech, I had crashed out of a programming degree in 2011 so didn’t think the space was for me. Before coming to Canada I had no idea the sheer number of roles available in a technology firm. The company has been an amazing place to grow, learn about technology but keep a beat on what I loved about working in the securities markets. It has allowed me to grow, presented different parts of the business that I have never interacted with before and taught me so many things I lose count if I try add them up. Without the company I probably would not have been eligible for residency, and in a year where I saw many of my friend leave for different countries, I got to stay and make Canada my home. Probably the most valuable lesson was how to streamline my workflows using the applications developed by the company. I’m biased but they are quite excellent. I will be forever grateful to the company and people who made it possible.

They say write what you know and write with an authentic voice so that is what I hope this piece conveys. Companies do not just represent a place to gain the funds to live with, they are a huge part of our lives. Our jobs and the people we work with everyday make huge contributions to how well we live. I hope I can grow Creative Sidhe to be as influential to another individual as the companies I outlined have been to me.

How have the places you worked shaped your life? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading.