Douglas Coupland's Advice For Young Job Hunters

 Renowned artist and author Douglas Coupland visited Ryerson to instil in students valuable career and personal development advice, but many of the students who wanted to listen were denied access to the lecture.

Douglas Coupland Ryerson 2013
Douglas Coupland speaking to a packed house at the Rogers Communication Centre

“I snuck in, I was really lucky,”said Anthony Morgan, a recent industrial design graduate. “I saw a T.A. I once had standing outside and he said that I wouldn’t get in, they were kicking people out.”

Coupland’s talk was organized and funded by Ryerson’s Faculty of Communication and Design, its most recent instalment of the Dean’s Lecture Series, but it was open to the public. Over 100 people waited outside the Eaton Lecture Theatre (RCC 204) before doors opened. The room reached capacity twenty minutes before Coupland took the stage; people had to stand against the walls.

The presence of students from other schools, namely OCAD, and Coupland fans in their thirties, forties and beyond prevented Ryerson students from benefiting from Coupland’s many valuable tips and anecdotes, by filling up the theatre. (continued below)

Douglas Coupland Ryerson 2013 exploding teenage pop-head
Coupland's "Exploding Teenage Pop-Head"
“This is something at a university specifically aimed for university students and people that are in their mid-twenties when life is so hectic,” said third-year Journalism student Kayla Walden. “That would have been a lot more helpful and would pertain to [young] people’s lives alot more than some fifty-year-old business man that’s successful just sitting there for the hell of it.”

The main themes of his lecture were aimed at students and people beginning their careers. Coupland focused a great deal of his lecture on practical tips for young job hunters, including the dos and don’ts of a resume, the beauty of interning, the importance of seemingly random skills and finding mentors. But most importantly, Coupland said to never piss people off because “people don’t die, they just get older and more powerful.”

He also spoke about his own career’s many strides and occasional stifles since he started out as an art student at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Today, Coupland has penned over twenty books, has dabbled in television, film and theatre and is also an established modern artist. Coupland has more recently collaborated with Nuit Blanche, the Design Exchange and the Interior Design Show. 

“One of the most important things you can have is enthusiasm, figure out what it is you enjoy doing,” said Coupland. “Being enthusiastic is very, very sexy.”

“Despite his age, he still remembers so vividly what it is like to be twenty-something, and the awkward pain of physical and mental growth,” said second-year journalism student Sofia Mikhaylova. “It was a good talk. Now I feel better about myself.”

When asked how to deal with failure as a twenty-something year old, Coupland playfully said, “The way you deal with relatives, you never discuss them.”

From the February 27, 2013 issue of the Ryerson Eyeopener

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