It hasn’t been an easy road for Jamie Johnson. Navigating long-term mental health issues and a life-changing relocation, she had previously struggled to establish herself in the working world.
But the office administrator, who identifies as an Indigenous person living in Canada, has found satisfaction, support and stability in her full-time role with GFL’s Liquid West division in Calgary.
“This is the first job I have really enjoyed. It focuses on my strengths, and when I need help it is always there,” she said.
Growing up in the Niagara region of southern Ontario, Jamie wasn’t raised in an Indigenous community and she admits she sometimes struggles with her heritage.
“It is something I am still learning about more as I get older,” she said. “My heritage guides me and helps me in making decisions, but I don’t know everything.”
Ten years ago, Jamie made the life-altering decision to leave her home province. Having failed to find her feet in Toronto, she craved a fresh start.
“There just weren’t the right opportunities for me and I needed a complete change, so I decided to move west,” she explained.
Landing in Whistler, British Columbia, she spent three years jobbing in the service industry before heading to Edmonton, Alberta to stay with her best friend since adolescence, Chelsey.
Despite a solid grounding in customer service and operations management, Jamie couldn’t find a job she liked, and less than a year later she moved again to the southern Alberta city of Calgary. It was there that her luck began to turn.
Settled in her new home, Jamie decided to enroll on a local college business administration course that required an office practicum placement. It so happened that while Jamie had been staying in Edmonton, her friend Chelsey had started working with GFL. So when Jamie mentioned her need for office experience, Chelsey suggested applying to GFL.
“Before my placement, I didn’t know anything about GFL,” she said. “Had Chelsey not mentioned it to me, I wouldn’t have considered [the job], so I’m very grateful to her.”
It turned out to be just the opportunity that Jamie needed. Having aced her placement and with her diploma in hand, she was offered a full-time office administrator position with GFL Calgary. She has now been with the company for four years, and Chelsey is now her boss.
Since joining GFL, Jamie has become a much-valued member of her team. Turning her talents to accounting, she progressed from the billing side of operations to managing invoicing for multiple GFL branches in the Alberta liquid waste market. She thrives on the diversity of her job and her responsibilities have grown alongside the business.
“I did such a good job of organizing my home branch in Calgary that I was asked to take on other ones in the area,” she said. “I’ve worked hard to cross-train with other [GFL] business units so I can be a source of knowledge and help out with almost anything that comes up. Now my work is being recognized, which is important to me.”
As someone who has continuously struggled with her mental health, Jamie says that working with GFL has been integral to her journey to better health, providing her with a steady job she loves and time to focus on her wellbeing.
“[GFL] have been really sympathetic to my needs,” she said. “They have given me the flexibility to go to appointments when I needed to, which has allowed me to take care of my health and get back on a road to recovery. I feel that people here care.”
Jamie has worked hard to overcome the challenges she’s faced and building her career with GFL has played a huge part in that process. She’s formed strong bonds with her colleagues and enjoys the daily work culture they share. Proud of her achievements, she feels she’s finally found her place.
“Prior to my career at GFL, my average job stay was around two months,” she said. “This year marks my four-year anniversary, and I am still here and happy. I see a future where I am.”
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