- Region: Lower Mainland
I went through weeks on end, waking up knowing that the way in which I envisioned my early twenties to play out were slowly evaporating into the snowdrifts through the small, half cracked window ofmy dorm room. Instead of having a degree and a year of professional hockey under my belt, I was waking up at 4am in Northern Alberta, putting on my space boots and slithering through the snow to a low puning diesel truck. The sky was always black, and the cold air cut though the layers of clothes like a knife through butter. The days were mostly spent in solitude, heaving on and synching tight heavy pieces of green insulation over kilometers of pipeline, listening to my feet crackle on the snow and entertaining myself with wildly creative monologues in my head about the ways I would treat the small fish if I was ever a CEO of a company. I visualized what it would be like to delegate tasks and help my workers that were struggling in life, whether it was a pay raise or some time off, I critiqued my own judgments and decisions like a hawk. This was one of the many odd introverted exercises discovered that would help pass the monotony of twelve hour days in the woods in relative solitude. The sense of urgency to improve my situation came to a tipping point after seeing a co-worker who was dying of cancer almost drink himself to death. He had objected to going back to camp at a decent hour and stayed at the bar to have another drink, he eventually broke his arm on an arcade game that measures a man's power in his punch. The next day, during a stoppage in work to eat some lunch, he had to lie about how he fell stepping over a log and broke his arm just to get the day off; I've rarely seen something so tragic. Here was a guy, who was walking the plank of life and knew the end was coming soon, but still had to spend his last days in a camp full of uninterested men because his past decisions and financial circumstances left him no other choice.
I decided shortly after witnessing this kind of brokenness that I was going to make some practical moves to increase my chances of finishing my post secondary education and further my chances of being a success story. I refused to even slightly entertain the hypothetical scenario of waking up at age thirty with nothing but fond memories, a pedal bike and an extremely poor credit rating. This sort ofreality was not an option for me, and I knew that an ounce of help was better then a pound of preaching, so I tried to surround myself with helpful, successful people. Opportunities don't get given to you in a clean and organized fashion, they often come out of asking questions and being intentional with the answers you're given. After leaving the pipelines for good and living with my brother in Calgary through the Christmas of 2009, I decided to apply to the Metis community of Canada because I knew my cousin had been tangibly helped a few years before. After speaking with a counsellor about my situation and where I wanted to see myself in a few years, I completed the application process for financial assistance. I was told I would be contacted with the decision from the Regional Employment & Training Committee if I was chosen as a candidate for funding. At this point, I was running out of options and my internal drive to finish my degree was exhausting itself. I knew I was capable of hitting a home run but I needed to be handed a bat and a uniform, I was merely a spectator in the game of my own life. The turning point in this dilemma seemed to finally gain momentum for the good when I was con tacted by the Metis Employment and Training Program counsellor and confirmed that I had been chosen as a candidate for funding. This was a powerful source of encouragement for me and the resources provided by this service greatly affected my ability to finish my degree. The road was by no means smooth, but having a steady source of income from the Metis training program made the whole process less ambiguous. I could focus on my classes and my athletics instead of taking on too much. It helped me simplify my life and move forward in a lot of ways. It's very simple, if I didn't have the support from the Metis Employment and Training Program, I wouldn't have been able to get to where I am today.
With that said, I am currently working full time as an international sales rep for Leavitt Machinery. Leavitt Machinery is among the largest material handling equipment dealers in the Pacific Northwest. Leavitt Machinery has built a reputation on providing the right mobile equipment solutions for their customers through quality personnel and a wide range of trusted product lines. I attained this position by meeting the qualifica tions and applying as fast as I could. I followed through with the hiring process and was selected to become a part of the team. It was a significant moment in my personal and professional journey, and considering the road I'd travelled the past few years to be more equipped, I'm very thankful and committed to the personalities and minds that saw potential throughout the process. I have been placed on salary and intend on continuing on the trajectory I'm currently on. I plan to learn as much as I can about the Industry and help Leavitt Machinery in their national and international development. I am incredibly grateful for the funding I received from the Metis Employment and Training Program and hope to be a great example of your help and support moving forward.
~ Peter Masterton