Author Archives: Markus McD

About Markus McD

Keepin' it real ;) By improving the world One word at a time. Writer, Blogger, Editor. Oh, don't forget: Funny man, Gay guy, and Nice fella! Check it, Click it, Schnipp It.

Make Time to Escape

My contribution to August’s issue of ViBrant Magazine

Life can get busy, and time escapes us. Sometimes the days can fly by and before you know it, your first days of summer have slipped into crisp autumn evenings.

I don’t know about you, but I appreciate a break from the busy. A timeout from work, yes, but also a mini escape from those regular days that manage to be full of errands. I’m talking about going on adventures close to home that you normally don’t get around to doing – staycations, if you will.

Recently, my partner and I went out with some friends to an area along Irvine Creek, near Elora Gorge. We were able to traverse the stone-laden terrain down to the water and, equipped with sandals and water shoes, wade through the refreshing creek. We trekked along the ravine, finding a few shallow caves carved from the rocky walls for us to explore.

irvine-creekMy favourite part was sitting upon a log that had fallen in the stream, my feet in the water, watching as the minnows swam against the current. In that moment, I was carefree and captivated by the natural beauty around me. Try and picture it: tiny fish darting around by the feet, the sound of trickling water flowing by, green trees along either side of the creek, the warmth of the sun on the skin, and the towering walls of rock encompassing it all.

It could have easily been one of those wilderness scenes from a fantasy novel, except I didn’t need to go to New Zealand to find it. Picturesque retreats are within reach and Ontario is full of them! You just have to look a little.

Whether you have one day or one week, you can get away from it all by planning an inexpensive adventure somewhere in the province. A forested park full of trails is always a great way to escape the city and get lost among the trees. Or perhaps a boat cruise is needed, say, near Tobermory, Gravenhurst, or Bobcaygeon – a few of my favourite places to enjoy gliding along the water. Other, more recurring trips, could involve themes like waterfall hunting in the Hamilton region, picnics in national parks, or even something like the Butter Tart Tour in the Peterborough region. A great place to start looking for ideas is Keep in mind, many of those packaged “deals” are really just advertising hotel costs in between day trips.

Whatever it is that you think might be interesting, I encourage you to try something out and enjoy the beauty of nature. Everyone needs to escape; make time for it. Break the routine, have fun exploring, and for the love of god, put that phone away – unless you’re taking some pictures!

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Posted by on September 11, 2016 in Life, Travel, ViBrant Magazine, Writing


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Where Did the Year Go?

So much can happen in just one year! I’ll be turning 27 tomorrow… but, what happened while I was 26?

Around this time last year I was getting prepared to return to college for Bookkeeping. I’ve been to college and university before, but I’ve never stuck it out ’til the end. This time I was going to! It helps that the program was an accelerated course, aimed at being completed in eight months. I could totally do eight months! Four years… not so much.

This past April I graduated with flying colours – it helped that I had a couple of peers with whom I could compete with! It kept me on my toes and striving to get higher marks. My experience in high school and the other courses I dabbled with in prior years did not feel as competitive – it was too easy. Almost not interesting.
But this course in bookkeeping was great. The same faces travelled from class to class, and we did our best. My classmate, Liz, and I were always neck and neck. Some areas I’d surpass her by one percent, and other areas she’d surpass me by one percent. We both got 100% in business math, but I got another 100% in the Sage 50 course – sorry, I had to brag! 😛

The first half of the school year, Sept-Dec, I also had a part-time job at an athletic gym. I was the greeter/protein shake maker/towel giver/phone answerer/messenger/and person-who-got-bitched-at-by-members. The last part I never understood… it’s a gym – get over yourself. There’s worse things in life.
But alas, my school was in KW and my job was in B-dot. I wasn’t too thrilled to continue the long trek to and fro when winter had reared it’s ugly head. So I quit and enjoyed most of December stress-free!
The next half of school, Jan-April, I got another part-time job at a furniture store that was much closer to home. Unfortunately I could not just go to school without working – income was required. But I did it; I survived! And I stuck it out with the part-time job as I looked for something more permanent once I graduated.

I applied to all sorts of things and thought I’d get more interviews than I actually did. It’s silly, the whole online process these days. You waste all this time filling out applications and doing questionnaires… and for what? For an algorithm to tell the employer if you’re a good fit? What happened to just seeing the credentials on a résumé, having an interview, and judging for yourself in person? A piece of paper never translated how personable and hardworking I was.
That’s my mini-rant for the day. 😛

I ended up having an interview with a recruiter – they contacted me – who then forwarded my application (which included a short video clip interview of me) to an employer. I was then selected to go in for a real interview with said employer, which was rather nerve-racking since three people were interviewing me at the same time. After that, I was called back for a second interview with another set of people. After some waiting (about a month later) the recruiter let me know that I was being given a job offer! It was all very official and felt very business-like.
Let me be clear, most of jobs have always revolved around retail. Whether it was sales associate, merchandiser, shipper/receiver, it was always in the retail industry. And to get hired in retail is rather quicker and easier, in my experience. This time I felt like I was applying for a big-boy job. I had to prove that I knew things now, like accounting, software knowledge, and that I could be a respectable professional. And, I guess I did, ’cause they hired me!

I’ve been there since July, and after two months I’ve learned a heck of a lot! You see, my schooling was geared towards accounting and keeping books – the rules are relatively the same whatever the industry is. Most places use Quickbooks or Sage to manage the books and track money. The job I obtained is more about production; tracking labour hours, tracking inventory, raw materials, work-in-progress and finished goods, efficiency and scrap-rates, and non-stop problem solving and investigative work. There’s so much extra learning because I need to learn the unique products that are fabricated. I need to understand the different steps a product goes through and how each step changes the part number. I need to learn so many new faces and what shift rotation they are on. I need to learn how to navigate two software programs to get the information I need from it.
For what’s it worth, I think I’m catching on! I just hope they think so too and keep me on past my probation period.

In a nutshell, that’s what I’ve been through this past year. A complete transformation, career-wise. After years and years of retail and customer service – never again! I now have a Monday-Friday semi-office job (I’m in the yard a lot).

I’m happy that I have a “big-boy” job! Now, I just need to get the hang of it so I’m not staying late all the time!

Hope your year has fared just as well, full of growth! All the best, xoxo!

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Posted by on August 27, 2016 in Life


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