A day in the life: Matthew Smith

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It’s interesting to think back to where I was last year at this time. Having recently graduated and starting my professional career, writing this blog post helped me to reframe some of the challenges I am currently facing.

Back in the fifth grade, my elementary school teacher at the time recommended that I use a planner to help keep track of events and homework in order to stay organized. She added that a well-kept planner could also serve the role of a time machine, almost like travelling back to a specific moment in time and reliving experiences that went along with it.

I invite you to travel back with me and experience a bit of what my life was like and how it compares to the present day:

Wednesday November 1st, 2017

In Fall 2017 my time was typically split between school and work. As a fourth-year Management Specialist, I had already completed the majority of my required courses and was now focusing on my two minors, Political Science and Philosophy. When I wasn’t in class, I’d spend my time working part-time as a lifeguard or helping out in the Professional Development & Learning Centre (PDLC) as a work-study student.

6:30 a.m. – Alarm Rings
Like most days it begins with my iPhone violently waking me from six hours of sleep. After hitting the snooze button one too many times, I finally force myself awake and start getting ready for the day ahead.

7:20 a.m. – Leave for Campus
I leave my house and quickly jog over to the nearby Brampton Transit bus stop. I grab my earbuds, pick a Spotify playlist, and begin my hour and a half commute to UTM.

8:50 a.m. – Arrive at Campus
First things first, I walk over to my locker in the basement of the Kaneff building and store my jacket before making my way over to IB 270 for my first lecture of the day.

9:10 a.m. – MGT491H5F Introduction to International Business
Professor Yousie welcomes the class and after reviewing the results of the midterm, he begins the week’s lecture topic on the levels of Regional Economic Integration. As well, how these themes relate to current events such as Brexit and NAFTA.

11:00 a.m. – LinkedIn Resume Critique
As soon as the lecture ends, I head over to the PDLC to help with an event aimed at helping students utilize LinkedIn for job searching and networking.

1:10 p.m. – PHL220H5 Existentialism
Beginning my second lecture of the day, this week’s theme centres around Jean-Paul Sartre’s Theory of Consciousness. In short, Sartre discusses the concept of “lying” and the duality of the deceiver and the deceived, as well as the collapse of this dichotomy in a term he coined as having “bad faith.”

3:00 p.m. – Late Lunch
The first bit of downtime in my day, I take a moment to eat and relax with some YouTube videos before starting my third and final lecture of the day.

4:10 p.m. – PHL365H – Political Philosophy
Coincidently both PHL220H5 and PHL365H are taught by Professor Ware, and luckily Political Philosophy draws on some of the same themes as Existentialism. In fact, the lecture is also on Jean-Paul Sartre’s Theory of Consciousness but goes into greater depth than the second-year course.

5:10 p.m. – Commute Home
Bookending my day I journey back to my locker from IB, grab my things and head over to the UTM bus stop. The bus arrives and I begin my commute back to Brampton.

Thursday November 1st, 2018

Month five into the Rogers New Grad Leadership Development Program, I’ve gotten a bit more comfortable in my role as a Continuous Improvement Analyst. In a broad sense, it might be comparable to an internal consultant, identifying and resolving small-scale customer pain points.

While no day is ever truly the same, this is a day in my life now:

5:40 a.m. – Alarm Rings
My day starts much earlier than before, which at times makes me miss my 9 a.m. lectures. Although I still set multiple alarms, you’d be surprised just how much of a motivator getting paid is. I get dressed, eat breakfast and head out the door.

6:20 a.m. – Leave for the Office
Commuting to work takes a bit over an hour using a mix of transportation methods. Often taking the GO Bus to York Mills and then the subway to Bloor Station. Luckily there are no delays, which feels like a small miracle.

7:50 a.m. – Arrive at the Office
I swipe my passcard, take the elevator to my team’s floor and walk over to my usual shared space seat. Opening up my laptop, I skim my calendar and create a high-level mental plan of the day ahead.

8:00 a.m. – Getting Started
Next, I check my inbox for any emails that I have missed from the day before. There are a couple of meeting requests, company newsletters and general FYI emails. Overall, it’s nothing too urgent which means I can get started with my work.

8:10 a.m. – Rogers NHL Live
Being a part of the Continuous Improvement Team my role is to make the business aware of customer pain points and suggest possible resolutions. This morning I’m drafting up an email to Rogers’ NHL LIVE Program owner. I’m about to finish sending out my email when I get a Skype message from my Mentor.

10:00 a.m. – Mentorship Meeting
In the New Grad Program, you are paired with a mentor who offers guidance on transitioning from school into the working world. However, this week I’m invited to watch in real time as she and her team react to the competition suddenly lowering their prices on cell phone plans for business customers ahead of Black Friday.

11:00 a.m. – More Emails
The Small Business Pricing team reaches a consensus on a preliminary strategy to achieve gap closure, and I head back down to my floor and continue typing up that NHL email.

11:30 a.m. – Internal Networking
Next, a relatively new practice of mine, I’ve begun blocking off time in my day for the specific purpose of building contacts. It’s been convenient to set up coffee chats or keep in touch over Skype.

12:00 p.m. – Lunch
Meeting in the common area, my co-workers and I eat our lunches together and chat while watching SportsNet highlights on the wall-mounted TV.

1:00 p.m. – Even More Emails
Battling post lunch tiredness, I manage to send an email to the Rogers/Fido Roaming Team and present them with a situation where an unknown system glitch caused a customer to receive 22, “Welcome to the United States,” roaming SMS messages in under two hours!

1:30 p.m. – Skype Meeting with IT
A brief status update call with an IT stakeholder to discuss a technical issue that they are investigating.

2:00 p.m. – Scrum
My team finds a meeting room and Skype our remote teams in Brampton and Burnaby. Essentially these remote teams sit in with frontlines call centre agents to gather customer pain points. Scrum is our chance to keep a pulse on new and reoccurring issues that need to be addressed.

3:00 p.m. – Planning and Prioritization
Towards the end of the day, I’ve found it to be beneficial to take an hour and complete any outstanding work that I may have missed earlier in the day. As well, I prepare for tomorrow or stay ahead of anything in the coming weeks.

4:10 p.m. – Commute Home
The benefit of arriving early means I can leave early as well. I pack up my things take the subway to Union Station, board the express GO Train to Bramalea Station and make my way home in a commute totalling a little under an hour and a half.

It’s a little surreal to contrast these two days. Just a year ago, I was stressing about midterms and coursework. In hindsight, there wasn’t a need to worry so much, and I should have trusted that things would work out. Thinking about my current day-to-day, although the responsibilities of my role are at times difficult, they are never unbearable.

It is truly a cathartic experience to reflect on the past in the hopes of gaining perspective into the present. I challenge you to take a few minutes to think back about how much you’ve progressed and changed in the last 365 days.

What a difference a year can make!

Matthew Smith
B.B.A., Class of 2018

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