Jerrie Lynn Morrison |

Author Archives: Jerrie Lynn Morrison

How to Work From Home and Get Your Boss to Say OK


Want to work from home more often?

You might be afraid to ask your employer if you could telecommute, especially after Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced in February 2013 a ban on telecommuting in an effort to make Yahoo more cohesive.

We’ve already passed a tipping point in the death of the 9-to-5 office

In a memo to employees, obtained by CNN, Mayer states:

To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices.

Since Mayer’s announcement, the issue of telecommuting has been debated on both sides of the coin with every major news outlet having a say. (For example, see The Atlantic, NBC, Forbes, Inc., the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Globe and Mail.)

Is telecommuting dead? Or can you still make the business case for working from home?

A Short History of Telecommuting

The word “telecommuting” was coined by Jack Nilles in the early 1970s, after the Arab oil embargo and energy crisis forced American commuters to find alternative means to conduct business without the expense of daily commutes. Continue reading

Job Loss: How to Prepare Before It Happens


I landed my first real job in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo. (And yes, that really is the tagline used by the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce.)

I took the job in Kalamazoo because jobs were scarce in Toronto when I graduated. After leaving behind a depressing and fruitless job search to make the trek across the border, I was finally excited and filled with thoughts of possibility. And possibility soon became reality.

Knowing what your reality looks like leads you to the question: If you lose your job, what are you going to do to survive?

My husband and I were newlyweds on an adventure. Life in Michigan at that time was cheap, too. Rent was about $450 for a 900 sq. foot apartment. Gas was $10 to fill up our ’98 Chevy Cavalier. We had our first child. Life was grand.

And here’s my favourite part of the story whenever I talk to Vancouverites and Torontonians with their sky-high housing prices: we bought our first house—a brand new 3-bedroom rancher, with a full basement—for $99,900. Can you believe we actually thought it was “expensive”?

When life rolls along nicely, you tend to forget how vulnerable you really are.

Then, while driving to work one morning, the radio newscaster announced that my company was just acquired by a larger corporation.

On the radio.

On the way to work.

I wondered whether I should just turn around and go home!

But curiosity got the better of me and I went on to work to find out… wtf?!

Thankfully we were still relatively young when my first layoff happened, so we weren’t as hard hit as the mid-western Americans who had known nothing other than the “job for life” mentality that sustained families in towns like Kalamazoo for many generations. We may not have been 50 before losing the only way of life we’ve ever known, but it was no less devastating and stressful.

What I witnessed and experienced in Kalamazoo back in 2003 has shaped the way I view the world of work ever since. In fact, the story of being blind-sided by a layoff has been so often repeated, and then amplified with the recession in 2008, that now everyone knows the lessons learned by thousands of workers before them: always have a plan B.

Making Your Plan B (and C and D)

Continue reading

Cool and Crazy Workplace Perks


Do you appreciate perks that are crazy, fun and outrageous? Or would you prefer that the company you work for spend its employee retention money on great perks that make your life outside of the workplace easier? Read on, and then tell us what matters to you.

Perks Defined

The term perks is slang for the original word perquisites, which are privileges granted to employees in addition to their salaries and benefits. ‘True’ perks  have little or no cash value or tax implications and may include large and small luxuries such as a company car, vacations, reserved parking space, and spacious offices.

Nearly one-third of employers (32 percent) reported that top performers left their organizations in 2012, and 39 percent are concerned that they’ll lose top talent in 2013

Why Perks Matter

Companies trying to build and sustain highly profitable businesses want to motivate good employees to stay. However, nearly one-third of employers (32 percent) reported that top performers left their organizations in 2012, and 39 percent are concerned that they’ll lose top talent in 2013, according to a recent survey of 2,611 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3,991 workers (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) by CareerBuilder. While most workers (66 percent) stated that they are generally satisfied with their jobs, one in four (25 percent) said they will change jobs in 2013 or 2014. Continue reading

Examples of Awesome Company Culture


“Examples of Awesome Company Culture” Click to share and ReTweet

What defines an awesome company culture? A company where employees can answer yes to the following questions:

  1. Do you look forward to going to work every day?
  2. Does your company have great perks and benefits that you value?
  3. Does your company have a clear understanding of the business priorities?
  4. Do you have an opportunity for growth and advancement?
  5. Do you feel like the work you do is valued?

Of course, not every employee in a company will answer yes to all of these questions, but companies with awesome cultures strive to create an environment in which most of their employees feel as if they could answer yes to most or all of these questions.

We have people who are so passionate about their jobs they want to work all day

Do such work places exist? Yes. Two newspapers, as well as creative firm Penna, Powers, Bryan and Haynes, surveyed satisfied workers by asking them to respond to the prompt, “I love my job because….” The answers given can be summarized in the reasons identified above.

Award-winning examples:

One company that has consistently won awards for cultivating an awesome company culture is The Great Little Box Company (GLBC). In 2012, the Richmond, BC, company was recognized by Waterstone Human Capital as one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures. It was also listed in the Globe and Mail as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2013. Continue reading

Office Design Trends for 2013

Cool Office Design 1I love looking through the online galleries of the “coolest,” “best,” and “most innovative” offices and workspaces in the world. It’s like visiting an IKEA showroom on steroids, and a great way to find inspirational ideas for my humble home office.

Contemporary office design often reflects the needs and values of society at large. When we spend more or less half of our waking hours hard at work, it only makes sense to be in workspaces that are both functional and conducive to personal well-being.

After combing through the design galleries and recent research on effective workspaces, three common themes were evident in the coolest, best, and most innovative office spaces: productivity, purpose and play. These themes will likely continue to form the essence of design in new office products and spaces throughout the rest of 2013. Continue reading

The Trouble with Itchy Feet


When I worked in the pharmaceutical industry, I used to be on a team that interviewed job candidates for upper management positions. One thing that struck me as I sifted through the short-listed candidates was that the fast-trackers who quickly rose to the top of the corporate ladder did so by job hopping. They moved from company to company every few years, taking on increasing responsibility with each move. It made me wonder why I was working so hard to establish myself within a company, when the key to success seemed to be to move to a different company when you were ready for the next level.

Job hopping is a hotly debated topic. Some people believe it’s the only way to get ahead, while others say that switching jobs too often signals a character flaw.

Workers today know they could be laid off at any time – after all, they saw it happen to their parents – so they plan defensively and essentially consider themselves ‘free agents.

The Evolution of Job Hopping

In an article for the Harvard Business Review, Monica Hamori, a professor of human resource management at IE Business School in Madrid, wrote, “Climbing the hierarchy used to be a reward for loyalty. But in the 1980s, as firms stripped out layers of management, promotions became fewer and farther between. To get ahead, executives started moving from company to company.”

Now job hopping is “the new normal for millennials,” according to Forbes contributor, Jeanne Meister. “Workers today know they could be laid off at any time – after all, they saw it happen to their parents – so they plan defensively and essentially consider themselves ‘free agents.’”

The phenomenon of frequently switching companies has also accompanied the shift in technology and its influence on culture. An article on the website of Michael Page, an international recruiting firm with offices in Toronto and Montreal, states:

Up to a decade ago, interviewers frowned upon a resume that betrayed you as a “job hopper”. However, this attitude has started to shift with industries such as technology, advertising and PR firms who have elevated job-hopping to a lifestyle and a necessity to keep up with industry changes. Because of this, the tables are turning in the more traditional industries as well, and the once negative image of job-hopping is now being seen as ambitious. In fact, according to one recruiter, in some industries, if you stayed at the same job for five years, you’d have some explaining to do.

Indeed, serial entrepreneurs are the quintessential job hoppers. “Job hopping makes Silicon Valley hum,” say ReadWrite business commentators Tim Devaney and Tom Stein. Continue reading

Should You Go With Freelance Work or a Full-Time Job?

Is it better to be a full-time office employee or a freelancer? Ask third-generation ad guy Rob Showell and he’ll say he loves both.

“I have come to love this business and the people and the ideas in it,” says Showell, who is now the Program Coordinator of Langara College’s Advertising Copywriting Certificate Program in Vancouver.

In addition to flexibility, Showell says another advantage to freelancing was being free of the office politics.

The new Copywriting program is the latest addition to Langara’s creative industry training grounds, which already boasts an impressive Communication Arts program that Rethink ad agency has been providing scholarships for during the last four years.

Ad agencies with offices in the west coast used to advise would-be copywriters to go to Toronto for training because Humber College was previously the only school in Canada offering an Advertising Copywriting program. Now with agency leaders like Chris Staples (Rethink), Alvin Wasserman (Wasserman + Partners Advertising), and Alan Russell (formerly with DDB, Palmer Jarvis, Grey Canada and BBDO) on the advisory council of Langara’s Copywriting program, up-and-coming copywriting creatives in Canada can choose where to train.

Prior to becoming the coordinator of Langara’s Advertising Copywriting Certificate Program, Showell worked for local and national ad agencies, partnered in a boutique creative shop and freelanced as a copywriter for hire for over 30 years. He has a Bessie, a New York Art Directors Award and a Lotus Best of Show Award among his credits.

“There’s no way I would have had the longevity of a career that I have if I hadn’t spent those first 12 years in agencies, moving every few years, working on better stuff all the time, with bigger budgets,” says Showell, highlighting the importance of strategy when navigating a creative career. Continue reading

Canadian Marketing & Creative Jobs Outlook

Despite sluggish economy and shifting life cycles, employment outlook in marketing remains strong.

Here at, we see job postings in marketing, communications and creative industries come through every day! So we remain confident that abundant employment opportunities will be ongoing in our industry.

New opportunities in digital marketing (Internet, mobile, etc.) expected to be the main drivers of job growth and spending in marketing over the next five years.

But we understand how easy it is for job seekers to get sidetracked with doubt.

“Canada’s economy is muddling through the second half of 2012 and into 2013. The weakness has been relatively broad-based across industries, as the struggles of the global economy have hit home,” said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director of Provincial Outlook at the Conference Board of Canada. Continue reading

Will This Job Crush My Soul? How to Find a Job You’ll Love

What do you do when faced with a job that crushes your soul? If you’re Greg Smith, you resign from your position as Vice President at Goldman Sachs by writing a scathing op-ed against you former employer in the New York Times. And then publish a book about the ordeal. Freedom and residual income! Nice.

Less than 4 in 10 employees feel that senior leadership is doing a good job of communicating what is happening in their workplace.

For most of us, public resignation is not an option. Instead, we sit at our desks surfing the web at work for fun distractions, like blogs that poke fun of our hometown.

Maybe it’s time to look for a new gig. But how do you make sure your next job is better than the one you have?

What to avoid

You’re not alone. According to the Canada Human Resource Centre, 60 % of employees are not engaged, and an additional 15% are actively disengaged. Continue reading