My Essay Submission

Dilshan for Lethbridge College

Plans for the Future

I am seeking a higher education because I crave higher learning; the Tsunami, life, necessity got in the way of my plans to seek a University Education and I thought that chance was gone forever. In Sri Lanka it is somewhat unheard of to go back to school at age 29, but in Canada things are different. If you hold onto your dreams you can still make them come true. My wife taught me that, as she got her College Diploma in her 30’s and is now finishing a second one.

As a new Canadian I am at somewhat of a disadvantage seeking work in a field where I have 6 years experience. I am 150% willing to start at the bottom and work my way up but employers see me as being overqualified and are unwilling to hire me because they feel I will jump at the first chance of a better job. To continue where I was I would need Canadian experience in the field…and there I am stuck between a rock and a hard place because I am too qualified to get hired at the bottom and not quite qualified enough to continue where I left off in Afghanistan.  I need to get the education to back up my experience in order to enter the job market be fulfilled in my work again. Now is the right time for this to happen because every minute I am out of my field of experience the less marketable I become for hiring.

Business Administration is where my interest lies. My passion is Project Management; I was a Project Coordinator with the American/Sri Lankan Red Cross after the Tsunami hit my country, I loved managing teams, working with budgets, overcoming challenging situations and making a difference in the community. In Afghanistan I worked four years as a Site Administrator where I did everything under the sun, I have loads of experience leading and managing people but I need some formal education to reenter the job market.

I would be a good fit because I have experience in this field. I am confident that this program will be a perfect fit and will help me get integrated into Canada in my field of experience.

Education and Interests

I loved all school and all learning growing up. I continue to love learning as an adult and challenge myself always; my latest passion is learning to cook from youtube!

From my work experience I enjoyed tracking, monitoring, and processing on-going projects specifically as project coordinator with Sri Lankan Red Cross. I loved making a difference in people’s lives and being involved in the community. Naturally, I am drawn to non-profit organizations but I also love big business. Afghanistan was ‘Big’ business with multi million dollar contracts at every corner. I thrived there also. What made me effective was my natural ability to lead people and I went the extra mile-always. In Afghanistan I spent many a night in the hospital with staff who were injured in the field because I knew they were alone and had no one to support them being away from their family, I would stay up all night by their bedside and work business as usual the next day. I do what needs to be done and 90% of the time I do it smiling!

My special talent is Crisis management; I have a knack for reading people and situations and finding solutions in high stakes environments.

One of my greatest accomplishments was being recognized with awards for Best Staff Retention and Island-Wide Best Project Coordinator due to outstanding leadership and coordination efforts in Sri Lanka. I also received a letter of commendation from NATO which I have attached to this submission at the end.

My Support Systems

My family is healthy and my wife is strong.  My parents are proud of me and support me in my decision to proceed in this contest. My wife and I have lived through all sorts of hell in Afghanistan and right now we both work two jobs to make ends meet so we barely see each other anyways! J If I have to spend Mon-Fri in Lethbridge and come home to Calgary on weekends we might actually see more of each other and have more quality time together than we do now!!! My wife believes in following dreams and that having a happy work life nourishes all the other areas of life and is willing to make sacrifices in the everyday to help me make this happen if I am chosen. The question about stress made me laugh…after being pelted with rockets in Kandahar for 4 years…1st world stress is a peace of cake but to answer properly I generally rise to the occasion. I actually absorb a lot of things or try change the pace, transform it, slow it down or look at things from a wider perspective etc.

My Work and Experience & This Contest

The most challenging part of my current employment is that I am not working in my field, I am grateful to be employed but I am underemployed. I have great co-workers though and I have great bosses, I will be indebted to them always for giving me a job when no one else would. If you were to contact any of my employers past or present they would say that I work like 10 men and that I am loyal to a fault. When I got my Canadian residency and gave my resignation in Afghanistan my boss put his head in his hands and said, ‘I will have to hire four people to replace you!’ He then went on to offer to double my salary and triple my vacation on the spot to keep me!’ That statement is a testament to my ethic in work and life and school.

Winning this competition would change my life because then I could do what I love again, make my wife proud, and to be able find passion and be inspired and fulfilled by my work again.

http://www.lethbridgecollege.ca/extreme-career-makeover

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