13 Questions With: Sophie Cayer
November 18, 2019
IM Broker, Employment and Social Development Canada
Who inspires you in your career?
Although they have not had careers in the GLAM/IM community, my parents are a huge inspiration to me in my own. They started their own business from scratch more than 30 years ago and I am their biggest fan.
The first job you ever held and at what age and your first position in the library and/or information services field?
Speaking of my parents’ business, I was a fresh 16-year-old when I decided I’d like to join the family business. I spent a total of eight and a half years working part-time during my studies and full-time during the summer and any holiday. I gained valuable experience in customer service that still serves me well today. Then, in 2016, I landed my first job in the library/information services field, a part-time library assistant position at the Township of Russell Public Library. Working at TRPL was fantastic. The staff and the patrons were lovely. They made me feel as if I was part of the community and I will always remember those fond memories.
Why a career in librarianship?
I fell in love with archives and the idea of librarianship during my third year of my undergraduate degree. I actually remember the precise moment as if it was yesterday. I was at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) for the first time doing research, and the light bulb moment happened: THIS should be my career. I felt right at home. Less than two years later, I became an MIS student at the University of Ottawa!
Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?
Besides my sit-stand desk (which is a real life-saver for my back), my dad proudly gave me a “baby goats” calendar for Christmas last year. The calendar was so popular; I received many comments on how adorable they are!
What is your guilty pleasure?
Potato chips! I could eat a whole bag in one evening. Oops… My top three favourites are Ruffles’ All Dressed, Miss Vickies’ Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar, and Lays’ Lightly Salted Wavy.
Career advice – what’s your top tip?
Networking is key. I can’t say how many times friends, colleagues and former colleagues have had great job opportunities by knowing the right people. My top tip to help your career is to have a solid reputation as a positive, hard-working team player.
What useless skill(s) do you possess?
I don’t think I possess a useless skill. However, I usually remember a lot of useless details about people or random events, and some find it a bit unsettling. Oh well, I’m a weirdo and I’m okay with that!
Proudest moment in your professional life?
My proudest moment in my professional life is giving an important presentation to senior management about six months ago and receiving the greatest feedback of all time! The first comment following my presentation was the Assistant Deputy Minister saying as a general note “And guys, that’s HOW you present!” followed by a “wow”. I thought I was dreaming!
If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it
I pride myself in spending a lot of alone time. Like many introverts, it allows me to recharge my brain for a busy work week or various social events. The perfect 24 hours by myself would be at the family cottage, with no Internet and/or reception, sharing my time with various activities, such as a 1000 piece puzzle, a great book, crocheting and watching a few 1940s and 1950s classic films all while cozying up next to the wood stove.
If you didn’t work in the information industry, what would you be doing?
A Bachelor of Education was my initial plan as I was completing my undergraduate degree. My double major of History and Lettres françaises allowed me to both read and research. Teaching was definitely my plan B.
Finish this sentence: “In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to … “
Win a potato chip eating contest…LOL
How do you stay current in your field?
Keep up with the Librarianship.ca website of course! I also like to attend conferences, alumni events at the University of Ottawa and networking. This year I attended the Canada ARMA conference in Montreal and uOttawa ESIS’ 10th anniversary.
What would you like your headstone to read?
Stereotypical librarian and loved every minute of it!