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  • Julia Cherry

I was 19 years old when I started looking for a job in marketing. Employers still saw me as a kid, even though the rest of the world wanted me to be an adult. I interviewed for countless positions I had no interest in. I found work at a big name corporation where I felt like a small fish in a very large pond. I interned for entrepreneurs who took advantage of my lack of experience, all while having little to no interest in helping me develop my career. I thought I was doing what was expected of me; that it was all fine because at least I was developing my resume — right?

I was stuck in an in-between stage, and I wasn’t sure where I fit in, or who I was supposed to be. Honestly, I’m still in that stage, but my first year looking for jobs taught me where I didn’t fit and who I didn’t want to be. I learned I don’t fit into “boys club” businesses, whose power structures depend on seniority. I also learned that I didn’t want to play a supporting role in someone else’s success story. Ultimately, I learned that what I wanted was a job where I could learn and be supported.

After 2 summers of some bullshit, a friend told me about CRUEL. Unknowingly, this was the start of my journey in marketing.

The summer after my second year at Western University (Go Stangs), I started with CRUEL part-time as a Brand Ambassador. It was my first time being exposed to marketing in a tangible way, not just through a textbook. Although I wasn’t entirely sure about pursuing a career in the field, I took the job seriously as I knew I was definitely interested in the field. The next summer I was offered a full-time coordinator position. It was during that time that I was given the independence to fully explore my interests and develop my skills. I took every opportunity I was given to grow, not only as an employee, but as a person.

Every year, the entire team at CRUEL leaves the city for a company retreat. The annual retreat is called Development Camp, affectionately referred to as D-Camp. D-Camp is a time for us to take a break from our normal day-to-day work, where we get a chance to analyze what we’ve done and how we can be better — as a group. The 2018 edition took place at the end of my summer as a coordinator, and included the 10 members of the CRUEL core team at the time.

At the camp, I was given a chance to work on CRUEL’s recruiting program — a part of the business that we were leaning on more and more as the company grew. The program needed a considerable refresh, and as someone who found CRUEL through that channel, I was asked to share my experience. I had the opportunity to recreate the job hunting process that I so reluctantly had to go through, and I jumped at it. I thought back to my state of mind: anxious yet eager, scared yet excited. This inspired me to start developing a version of CRUEL’s recruiting program for students experiencing those same tiring emotions. Out of that one week up north in a cabin with my co-workers, Campus Collective (CC) was born. Even more exciting though, is that this platform I developed was going to live on university campuses across the country.

As the summer drew to a close, I was offered the position of Manager of Strategy & Operations — a chance to continue my work on CC, as well as work on a few other areas of the business. The opportunity was starting in January, and although I had two semesters of school left, I knew I could do extra online courses and finish a semester early if I wanted to take the position.

At that point in my life, a mere 1.5 years ago, I had a terrifying decision to make. On one hand, I had an amazing opportunity with people I liked where I was learning a lot. However, for so much of my life, I had been told to follow a safer path — take a job at a big corporation and develop my resume. Ultimately, it was my parents who encouraged me to take the position with CRUEL. My mom, who started her own business at a young age, understood the appeal of working for a startup. My dad, having recently started his own business, said “the only thing you need to ask yourself is: do you care about these people and the work they do? And if the answer is yes, you’ll figure out the rest”.

So with that encouragement, I began my full-time marketing career (aka my big girl job — semantics I suppose, but let me live). My first big project? Develop a team of students at campuses across Canada for CC 2019. When I went through the recruiting program at CRUEL, it was really just a job listing online. I realized that having only this one touchpoint made us no different from other employers, and that we had to update our recruiting strategy to better reflect the needs of students. Our program had to address the realization I had a few years prior, that companies today need to develop a more reciprocal relationship with their staff and their community. So, we determined that Campus Collective had to provide value for students and the on-campus organizations we largely depend upon

Today, most recruiting tactics depend on third-party job posting sites, targeted advertising through social media, and traditional job fairs. These tactics focus on quantity over quality, and dehumanize the recruiting process. Our program is different. CC is a touchpoint for students interested in the world of marketing, who also want to connect with CRUEL. We use a people-first strategy to develop a community of quality applicants who can continue to interact with us year-round regardless of their employment status with us. Events, merch drops, word-of-mouth, and animated shorts — we will always be different.

At first, I was a product of CRUEL’s recruiting program. Now, I’m on the other side, helping people find the same opportunity that I’ve found. Life has enough challenges; and we’ll face a lot of them throughout our careers. So, give the kids what they want — fulfilling jobs in a young, creative, and fun community.


Featured on Strategy Online

In addition to retail programming, on-premise drink features, experiential events, print advertising targeting licensees and bar staff education, the new bottle and label was featured in a short video shot in Toronto, centred on the cold temperature the shot should be served at (-18 degrees Celsius). The video itself was a way for the brand to test its in-house capacity to drive local awareness, according to Alvoët . Within the first 48 hours, the video gained more than 75,000 views via YouTube and Facebook.

  • James Nahhas

I quit my design job to build a creative agency — that’s all I really wanted to say when I started writing this. Call it a shot at self-promotion, you wouldn’t be wrong. But somewhere amid a half-hearted biog about how I became Creative Director, I realized what I had written was whack, and took a shot at writing something real.

I started working with CRUEL when I was 21 years old. It was a passion project for all of us at the time, and the company was far from fully formed. CRUEL was the first real arena for my creative work. But it never felt like a job, at least, it wasn’t what I thought a job should feel like. I did what I thought was expected of me when I graduated University, I went and got a job I could justify to people. I quit that job this past December to return and help build a creative agency; when I wasn’t even sure if this was the industry I wanted to be in — or if I even had a choice anymore. I want to think that a lot of people my age feel the same, too far in to look back, too invested in our young careers to take a risk. I feel young in my own mind at 25, but it doesn’t seem like the rest of the world will wait.

Why now? I’m doing this when there wasn’t anything wrong with where I was. I had no dire need to change, no unruly bosses or terrible hours, I wasn’t underpaid, unhappy or uninterested. I’m doing this now because I want my job to mean a little more. I want to finally control the conversation and dictate where the next five years will take me. I want my job and my passion project to finally be one and the same — for better or for worse.

I loved my job and the people I worked with — maybe that was my problem. I was happy with where I was, but not with the work I was doing. That scared me more than the idea of leaving — that I was far too content. I felt like I had lost track of where I wanted to be by 25, as if I was in the same place that I had been a year earlier. In my opinion, our 20’s are the most defining decade of our lives. We discover what kind of people we’re going to be, and part of that journey is challenging ourselves; seeing if we’ve got what it takes to handle the pressure by testing the proverbial notion that hard work pays off. We’re not defined by our job title or our industry, we’re the product of what we care for. It’s still rewarding to be good at your job, but it’s fulfilling to care about that job and what you’re doing — when what you’re doing means something to you.

I feel like there’s a change happening, a shift in paradigm about how we feel about our jobs—maybe it’s already happened. Am I late to the party?

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