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Nov 1, 2021 | .Wisdom, 2021, Interview, Q4 | 0 comments

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.Wisdom, 2021, Interview, Q4 | 0 comments

Written by Jacques Lalonde

Rashminder Kaur Shota’s Story

Rashminder came to Canada at the age of sixteen and couldn’t speak a word of English. She studied at Cambie Secondary School in Richmond and quickly started picking up the language. When she graduated, she was offered a job as a security guard for the late-night shift in a mall.
“At first, I was quite frightened, but there were cleaners in the mall so I wasn’t completely alone. Still, it was definitely quite the experience. Of course, there was a lot of walking. The best part was that I was going to University at the time studying criminology so when I wasn’t doing the rounds I was basically being paid to study.

After a year of that, I got a job at a call center for a bank. I was in customer service so there were a lot of angry people. Fortunately, it was almost always their fault, so once I was able to solve their problems and show them how to fix their mistakes they were quite grateful.
As a new immigrant, I was not very verbal, so the call center really improved my English. It was very much sink or swim.
Eventually, I was doing so well that they made me an account manager at the bank, all the while with my dreams of being a policewoman or maybe even a lawyer.

After 4 years they moved me to a branch in Vancouver where I worked for three years. At one point a friend from Simon Fraser University invited me to her wedding. “I want you to meet my cousin”, she said. “It wasn’t necessarily love at first sight, but it was not long before I had a big decision to make.
There was a lot of family pressure to have a family and I knew that to pursue Law would be another four or five years of studying only to end up in a world dominated by men. It would be a big struggle for a woman to be taken seriously as a lawyer, I thought. By the time I’d achieve that it would be too late to have a family…so I guess you could say that Love conquered Law in the end.

I took one-year maternity leave from the bank after my first child was born, but after my second I asked if I could work part-time. It’s funny, but banks won’t let you work for less than 30 hours a week. So I had to quit. It was too bad because I loved working with people and helping them grow. I am still friends with many of my old clients years later.”

 She became a mortgage advisor for another bank, which gave her the flexibility she needed.

 “I do my work early, before the kids get up, in the evening after their bedtime, if I’ve got the energy, of course!”

“We recently had a lemonade stand to raise money for the Children’s Hospital. We used my eldest son’s piggy bank as a money box. The youngest served the drinks. It was a team effort. Everyone from the neighbourhood came and they all want to be involved next year so hopefully, we can raise even more money.

I would never have been able to do that with them without a flexible job.

 I really believe in self-employment, especially for someone who has kids. It allows for balance, which I think is the key to a healthy family environment. My family has to be first.
My dream is a simple one. I want to grow my business so I can help out more clients…so we can all make more money.

And maybe, just maybe, more lemonade.” ◆

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