My Book is finished and ready to share with others

Posted Thursday, October 3rd, 2013. Filed Under Voices of wisdom

Wow this has been one of the greatest journeys of my life. This journey began in 2004 when I began to question my own core beliefs. What I discovered was that a lot of my beliefs were not eve mine. So I learned to ‘give them back to the original source!” and take on ones that resonate with me. When I separated from my husband I was at a very low point in my life; I had become so disempowered and began to question everything. I realized that much of what I was questioning dated back to childhood and what I was doing was carrying forward patterns (mostly self-destructive) that did not serve me.

In 2004 I had one child who was four and the other one was two. I looked at them and thought to myself, there is no reason why our children cannot learn life skills and learn to empower themselves at a young age. So thus began the journey. I wrote an extensive outline of life skills and soft skills that I believed are crucial to teach our children so they can create a strong foundation when making life choices; lead to their success.

When I look back over the last decade I see that my words have not shifted much. I am still writing about the same topics. What is different is that it took the general population/collective consciousness a decade to catch up to my thinking and vision.

The result is the new book I have published called: We’re Not Gonna Take It, a youth’s tool bag of essential life skills for transitioning from high school to post-secondary to the workplace. It has been a labour of love, inspired by my sons. I could no longer sit by and watch the world that was being handed down to them or any child. What really scared me was the thought that in a few years my older son will be applying for post-secondary schools and there is no way that I will spend $84-100,000 for him to complete a four year degree only to come out and not be able to find a job because he doesn’t have the required skill sets needed for the market. Unacceptable.

So I researched the labour market, looked at the political, social and economic climate of Canada and the world post-recession (2008-09) and I wrote this book.

Tonight I want to share my personal mission that I have included in this book:

My Personal Mission

We’re Not Gonna Take It is a call to action to the millennial youth of today. I have directed this handbook at young people between the ages of 15 and 25, to provide them with essential tools, life skills and resources for guidance in this precarious time as they maneuver from high school into post-secondary education and finally transition into the workplace. You, the generation most in peril of losing its way, can no longer stand by and accept what you’re being handed. It is time to stand up, speak up, speak out and become innovators and the creators of what you want. Achieving this will mean working in a system that, in many ways, no longer serves you or your country (but will take years to meaningfully change). So be it. It also means being accountable and responsible and walking your walk. It can be tough but you are not alone. This handbook is full of information, exercises, questions, suggestions and action steps designed to move you along the route of your success.

In order to create what you desire, you must know from where you start.

Your generation has been variously termed by others as “Gen Y,” “the echo boomers,”
“millennials” and, most recently, “the lost generation.” In order to navigate in these stressful times, you must first be aware of the landscape that defines them. For those who live in Canada and the developed world, you live in an environment that has been created by, and for, the baby boomers. This sweeping reality includes our education system, hiring practices and workplace values. The economic downturn of 2008-09 hit the world hard, and arguably its youth most of all. According to an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report, it left nearly 75 million of the world’s young people either unemployed or, arguably worse, underemployed in 2011. Still, many will argue that you in North America are better off than your counterparts in Greece, Spain and a slew of other European countries, which suffered unemployment rates of over 50 percent, while you only endured 16.4 percent at the height in July 2009, according to Statistics Canada research, which reported a 14.7 percent unemployment rate in February 2012. And others will remind you that you’re better off than the 15-to-24-year-olds who experienced the recession in Canada in 1983 and in 1992, when 19.2 percent and 17.2 percent, respectively, were unemployed.

But the difference today, you might advise these bystanders, is that the social climate has changed forever, and so the unemployment — and, more importantly, the underemployment — rate represents an ever-shrinking piece of the puzzle.

An undergraduate degree is the new high school diploma. That revised reality means that the well-educated are pushing the 15-to-19-year-olds out of jobs. More than that, the return on investment (ROI) for education is being questioned outright. After all, the cost is going up and the amount you can earn at the end of it all is going down. Lauren Friese, the founder of (, created an online service to provide access to meaningful opportunities for students and new grads across Canada while also offering an efficient way for employers and organizations to reach students and new grads. She launched following her return to Canada in 2008 after receiving an M.Sc. in economic history at the London School of Economics. She saw that the UK had a multitude of services to help students when transitioning into the workplace, while Canada offered little help in this arena, and it’s still a mess. The website was designed to implement some of UK’s efficiencies in Canada. In an article titled, “The Kids Are Not Alright,” published March 29, 2011, she explained, “We facilitate a system in which, according to Statistics Canada, more than 75 percent of students enroll in programs or institutions that — from ‘our’ experience at — it seems only about 10 percent of employees are willing to hire from.” Given that alarming assessment, along with the $20,000-to-$30,000 average of student debt with which graduates enter the working world, it’s more imperative than ever to do your investigation prior to choosing a post-secondary or post-graduate career path.

One startling fact on this plane is the level of illiteracy amongst our youth. According to a Statistics Canada-sponsored 2003 international adult literacy survey, 37.8 percent of Canadians aged 16 to 25 did not have the literacy or essential skills required to function well in today’s knowledge-based economy. Literacy is crucial. It impacts your ability to fill out job applications and conduct effective interviews and sell yourself to a potential employer. And with the rise in immigration, this number likely has not decreased.

To me, the greatest looming concern for this population is underemployment. Of the 17 countries that are part of the OECD, Canada has the dubious distinction of posting the highest rates of youth underemployment. From the moment you first set foot in school, you’ve been fed a steady diet of drawing a direct line between getting a good education and being rewarded with meaningful work and success. This equation no longer exists, at least for many. Rather, today, you’re experiencing what economist Francis Fong terms “the boomerang effect.” Here, university grads, unable to find jobs in their field of study, retreat to another degree or job that can support them but not put their training to use. He says it can take as many as 10 to 15 years to close the gap of reduced wages. More than that, it can affect your lifetime earnings and, ultimately, your retirement savings.

The new reality is that this is not going to change any time soon. Even baby boomers have been knocked down by the recent recession. Many have had to work, either by choice or force, to recoup the financial losses they experienced in the recent downturn. This group of the world’s workforce is thus holding fast to jobs that would otherwise be the prizes for those younger than them coming up the ranks. Globalization has also shipped jobs abroad to developing countries, a move that’s produced increased competition not just from those graduating, but also from those who’ve been downsized and have many years of experience under their belts.

So what now? Well, you can sit back and watch this horror movie unfold, or you can push your way into the projection room and demand a new movie. You are part of the answer, after all. The future of Canada’s prosperity, and that of the world for that matter, is in your hands. And there are tremendous economic, social and health costs associated with your delaying your entry into the market (text box).

In this book, you will find the life skills, resources and tools that will allow you to succeed and create value for yourself personally and professionally. With it, you can develop the soft skills that are so desired by companies — but that many of your peers are lacking because you were never taught them in school. This book is a passionate call to arms to start the process of challenging our systems. You are the trailblazers for my children. I will not stand by and watch the world fall apart, just as it’s being handed down to them. I will stand beside you, encourage you and support you in this journey.

It’s time now to step up your game and declare the mantra: “We’re not gonna take it.”
This book is geared to the millennial however I also feel it is important the the parents and youth workers read this book in order to best assist our children in making life decisions. The world has changed and the path and road that the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers (like myself) took is much more linear than what exists today. In fact it does not exist. Our children, the millennial are operating in a different world. The good news is that they are flexible, resourceful, adaptable, entrepreneurial and tech savvy. What our children need is for the older generations to support, guide and mentor the youth so that they can make sound decisions that make sense for today and into the next decade.

Change must happen and it will come. Our youth will make sure of that.

I am fortunate to have the opportunity to speak tomorrow at the Student Life Expo. The topic I chose was: Your Next Move – high school to post-secondary. I am just beginning to reach out.

Tonight I was pleasantly surprised and taken out by 5 girlfriends who love and support my work. On the cake they put the cover of my book. You can learn more on the site or I have the Paper tradeback version or PDF that you can download. Soon to come are the e-reader versions.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful weekend.

May all of your dreams come true.
All my love,


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