“Who here has seen the film Anchorman?” asked Nick from the podium.
A few nods of ascent, one muttered affirmation of “Classic!” from Lorne.
“So, for those who haven’t, Will Ferrell jumps in to a bear pit to sort out some trouble there. And suddenly he’s eye to eye with this grizzly bear and the first words out of his mouth are: ‘I immediately regret this decision.’
“Well, that’s kind of what I was thinking when I put my hand up to give this speech.”
It’s an act of bravery to volunteer for an “impromptu” speech. But that very sense of crazy courage, that overriding of the body’s alarm bells screaming ‘Don’t raise your hand!” often give impromptu speeches a charge that makes them great.
Nick’s speech this week was: funny, personal, moving. It was about his difficult search for a career-track job here in Canada, having made the leap from his native Ireland. But really, it was about his search for himself.
We heard hilarious tales of woe from Nick’s job history, including working for a Russian ex-military man who methodically fired everyone around him (Nick hung in there longer than most). Another corporate job was not much better but he so liked the people he was working with that he stayed there far too long. He burned up his twenties in this way, and now the screws are tighter.
Finding his “calling” in Vancouver has proven way tougher than he thought. The main problem is knowing quite what he’s looking for, quite what he was put her to do. “Every day I change my mind.” He is hungry and driven, but the perfect fit for his talents has proved elusive.
The speech was a showcase of Nick’s charm and honesty. It was a sales job, in a sense, for himself. And before stepping away from the podium he made a more explicit petition:
“If anyone knows of any good job opportunities,” please tell me.”
“That,” said chairman Niki, as she “was a brilliant bit of killing two birds with one stone.” An inspiring speech and a help-wanted ad, all in one.
Was the right employer in the VanCore audience that day? Or the friend-of-the-friend of the employer who eventually helps Nick realize his dreams?
We’ll find out.