A Money Coach in Canada

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134194708_89b801a96d_m2Yellowknife has a population of about 20 thousand. I’ve always maintained it does not have a “small town” mentality – for one thing, it’s fairly transient plus people here travel internationally a lot (anything to get away from -40) plus it’s a fairly educated group of people and a government town.

Nonetheless, you probably won’t go anywhere without bumping into someone you know, if not several people.

This Saturday, while at the local wifi cafe, my boss’s boss came in. Later that afternoon, at the opera (broadcast in the theatre), I bumped into someone else higher up my indirect chain of command.

Both experiences were pleasant enough, but rather startling after Vancouver. Thankfully I was reasonably well dressed (and things are pretty casual here), but it raised questions for me:

In smaller towns/cities what are the social mores about these kinds of incidents? In Vancouver, had I bumped into someone I know, I may have been inclined to ask if they wanted company while having coffee. But when it’s likely to be a common occurrence, like here?

And how do we compartmentalize seeing a coworker picking things over at the legendary dump or discover they are on our new-to-running-training group?

In short, worlds collide here, and I’m not entirely sure to handle it. I’m used to my life being fairly transparent online, but IRL?

Readers: any of you live somewhere where your personal and professional lives intersect all over the place? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? How do you handle it?

Photo Credit: Kansirnet

About the Author


Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com

12 Comments

  1. Fiona Brownlee

    Hi Nancy,
    I too live in a small town/city – about 20,000 people and also work for the church as does my husband. We both run into people we know from various situations all the time. Most of the time what is needed is just a friendly acknowledgment and then move on to what you are doing yourself. It can be interesting and somewhat disconcerting from time to time. My boss, is also my husband’s bishop, which can make things even more interesting. My life has crossover moments every day. Enjoy it and don’t worry, everyone is aware in a place this size that it happens and it doesn’t imply anything about the way we work at our jobs.
    Fiona living in a town trying to be a city.

    [Reply]

    Mar 09, 2009
  2. Nice post. I too have lived in small towns in the past, as well as spending some time in Yellowknife. I have always had a fairly informal relationship with my superiors so have treated chance meetings very much like those with my friends. In more than one case they were one in the same. I think how you act in these types of situations really depends on your relationship with your boss. If you have a more formal relationship with your boss it is important to maintain some level of decorum. Either way it is always wise to know something about your boss, not only for these sorts of situations but also for the work place. If you take time to know your boss she will be more inclined to know something about your and that can only benefit you in the long run.

    Anyway, this is my two cents worth.

    Good blog post…

    Gerry

    [Reply]

    Mar 09, 2009
  3. It was a realization for me too when I moved to my small town that I suddenly really had be more aware of people around me because chances were I would know them. I quit the job I had initially taken to move here after a week (it was a bad situation) and worried for a long time I would run into those ex-bosses. But I haven’t! Yet I run into people all the time normally, some I am happier to see than others. I think it is something to enjoy, it certainly very quickly builds a wonderful sense of community, and tempers any loneliness of being in a new town. Last Saturday at the pool my husband and baby and I ran into 2 neighbour families plus other mom’s I go to baby’s groups with- very cool for us and the little ones (and yes we either just said hi and moved on, or had a quick chat, and then went about our pool playing). Sounds like a lot of fun in Yellowknife compared to the large city atmosphere of Vancouver. Love hearing about your adventures!

    Wooly Woman’s last blog post..Arrives the first tooth!

    [Reply]

    Mar 09, 2009
  4. Perhaps it’s a bit different in a larger (relatively) centre like Yellowknife than here in Fort Simpson (~1200 people)…but I just remain polite with any higher ups. No need to display any particular acts of generosity unless I really mean it. You can’t avoid people from work in a place this small; same goes for people you may not particularly get along with. So you just deal with it but living your life without worrying about those things! At least that’s what works for me.

    I do find that those types of people who act one way in the workplace (see: appropriate and calm) and then the complete opposite when at the bar on the weekends are exposed very quickly. Not saying people don’t “let loose” here after hours, but you definitely need to keep in mind that EVERYONE will know what you did if you do something really stupid…so try to stay in check!

    Alex’s last blog post..I would so take my dog to war with me

    [Reply]

    Mar 09, 2009
  5. I agree with Alex. You can’t avoid it. You just get used to it. Anonymity is a non-existent thing in a town like Yellowknife. Yesterday night, for example, picking my sister up at the airport, I saw at least six people I knew. It can’t be avoided. Thank goodness I had my pants on and wasn’t falling down drunk. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Mar 10, 2009
  6. Hey Nanc!

    I have lived in a couple of small towns, myself… And actually, I bump into more people I work with/know here in Yaletown (which I consider to be a community in itself, although not in the same way as say, Sechelt) — It’s bound to happen. I think that your time is yours — You shouldn’t be concerned with how you are dressed when you aren’t representing yourself in your job role… But, that’s me.

    Everyone deserves downtime!

    Tanya (aka NetChick)’s last blog post..Dell Customer “Service”

    [Reply]

    Mar 10, 2009
  7. @Fiona – tx for dropping by, and I *bow* to you for juggling those complexities!
    @Jerry – yes, I’ll need to learn how to read my boss and the others in these situations, I imagine.
    @WoolyWoman – you know, I remember when I first moved to Vancouver having the opposite experience and being really disheartened by how rarely I met someone I knew on the street. I guess I’ve really shifted! And I’m sure I’ll shift back and appreciate the warmth of this environment.
    @Alex – hey! another NWT blogger! When are we having our NWT blogger’s meetup? Or barcamp (not what you think). Are you on twitter? I’m @moneycoach
    @Amy LOL! ummm … do people go pantless around here often?
    @Tanya Good. Point. Downtown is downtime.

    [Reply]

    Mar 10, 2009
  8. brad

    I was called for jury duty once in a small rural town; the courthouse was built in the 1800s and the floor was so warped that the judge’s bench was visibly tilted and he had to put books up as barriers to keep his pen from rolling off onto the floor. The funniest part, though, came at lunchtime. There was only one place to eat in town, a general store across the street that had a delicatessen, so all of us — judge, jury, witnesses, plaintiff, defendant, lawyers — lined up together to get our meals. That’s something you’d never see in a city! It felt a bit awkward as we knew we weren’t supposed to talk with each other, so we all just stood there silently in line.

    [Reply]

    nancyzimmerman Reply:

    @Brad – too funny! That would have made an awesome Seinfeld episode.

    [Reply]

    Mar 11, 2009
  9. hiya!

    I always seem to miss out on the NWT blogging conventions…mainly because they’re always held in Yellowknife…but where there’s a will, there’s a…umm…err…shoot…uhhh…..a…way!

    I’ll be in YK for a while in a couple weeks…maybe I’ll see you around!

    Alex’s last blog post..I would so take my dog to war with me

    [Reply]

    nancyzimmerman Reply:

    Let’s make a point of it – I hang out a javaroma (wifi) a lot. We paltry few NWT blogging types need to stick together a little, I’m thinking!

    [Reply]

    Mar 11, 2009
  10. Sometimes the opposite situation bug me a little in Vancouver. Because it’s big and of course because I didn’t grow up here, I –never– run into an old teacher, a soccer team-mate’s dad, a cousin’s girlfriend, etc. I wouldn’t exactly call people like these “roots”, but still the total absence of people like this (for me) here in Vancouver has been very noticeable for me.

    And then it gets kinda surreal when I go to the various “Danes in Vancouver” events (which I’ve done maybe 10 times over the 5 1/2 years I’ve lived here). Suddenly there are 10-30 people around who speak my native language, share most of my cultural references, etc. and whom I –still– don’t have any personal historical connection with. We’re just people who happened to grow up in the same country and then later move to the same city in another country.

    Jan Karlsbjerg’s last blog post..Realtor, an untrusted profession

    [Reply]

    Mar 21, 2009

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