Chasing your passion, wherever it leads

From the Philippines to Winnipeg to Vancouver, DDA’s Joann De Guzman tells a small part of her story

When she left Winnipeg and arrived in Vancouver without a guaranteed place to live or a job lined up, Joann De Guzman took a leap of faith.

“I packed my backpack and I said, ‘there has to be a better city where I can actually grow because I’m not growing here in Winnipeg. I just don’t see my future here.’ I packed the backpack and moved to B.C. without knowing anybody here, not having a place to stay. I landed at the airport at midnight and I’m like, ‘Okay, what’s next?'”

Joann would proceed from that place of uncertainty to multiple successful careers. From working in the media, to cooking, to computer programming and IT, to finance, she had developed a broad set of skills and experience that she could use to move into many different fields. But at the DDA, she found a place to do the kind of work she had been dreaming of since high school: care giving.

“It was just, you know, one of those things that just happen,” she says. “I found my way to DDA from a niece of mine, she actually was applying, she had an interview with DDA.”

Through the years, she had been doing health care volunteer work; all told, she had about 20 years of part time experience built up, and that was enough to get her foot in the door. And now she’s found a career that she finds deeply rewarding.

“The DDA is a people job, person to person,” Joann says. “You can measure your results. Working with people, you can actually see the interaction right then, you don’t have to wait until the end of the year for your boss to tell you if you did your job.”

If you want to get into care giving but lack formal education, Joann recommends volunteering to gain experience and learn how it all works. As for that it takes to do the job, she says that there’s one particular quality that all care givers need: compassion.

“[Care givers] need to know how much compassion they have. Because being compassionate and enjoying it, it’s just like, it’s the most important thing in this job,” she says. “If you have absolutely no compassion you, have nothing, because if you’re not compassionate enough you won’t understand anyone.”

Now with a packed schedule, a family, and multiple jobs, Joann is a long way from that young woman who stepped off the plane in a city she didn’t know. That leap of faith took her a lot further than she could have guessed, and now she’s following her passion to help people as a residential care worker. When we consider our own dreams and our own possible leaps of faith, we can often be deterred by a question: what if it doesn’t work out?

Joann’s success poses another: what if it does?

Posted by dda-editor in: Blog