Nate Wessel

Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

Charta Vitae

Started: 2020-06-29 and still going

After a long, brutal battle with un/under-employment, my enemy turned face and ran. Ex machina! I had been applying endlessly, rejected silently. Both under-experienced and over-qualified, the world had no use for me. The pandemic hit mid-battle and I considered moving to cheaper pastures; I might be in Ottawa right now if a government job hadn’t been obliged to hire a Canadian instead. I was actually excited about that possibility after years of saying I would never move to a new city again. The invisible hand felt like it had me on a short leash.

And then came (cue the sunshine and chirping birds) a casual inquiry from a friend:

Would you be interested in…

Why yes of course! (with literally no hope or expectation)

And you could start soon?

Yeah, sure. (still totally dead inside – this is an insane long-shot)

Would you want to work closely with [other good friend]?

Uhh… (this is starting to feel like a set up for a cruel joke – I know better than to take the bait.)

Great! You both start Thursday. Here’s a 9-month contract with benefits.

(thermonuclear explosion of relief; mushroom cloud of disbanded anxiety)

It’s weird starting work in a pandemic. I never knew I could bond so much with a screen. And I never expected to be working for a Canadian think-tank on Asian foreign relations. In case it needs mentioning, I always considered my expertise to be in public transit, a topic which has yet to come up outside of virtual water cooler talk about what commuting used to be like. My GIS skills were always secondary, design and cartography skills tertiary, long pushed to the background of a too-long academic trajectory. But now: my title is GIS Researcher but, dare I utter it, it may more accurately be designer of interactive data-viz and web-cartography. Designer. Cartography. Joy! Working with friends. Pants optional. Schedule flexible. A (sadly empty) downtown office if I want it. A job doing the thing that I’d given up on thinking could be a job.

I am satisfied.

CartographyPaid WorkRemote

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