Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Monday, January 16, 2017

"There is a second act"/ "Can you make money going back to school?"

Jan. 13, 2016 "There is a second act": I cut out this article by Craig and Marc Kielburger.  Here is another article about getting a meaningful career: 

Joanna Bowen had to start over in her late 30s. The job she loved for 13 years in international development was abruptly eliminated, and she feared there would be nothing else like it.

“It shook my core about my life and what my purpose was,” she told us.

After hunting in vain for a meaningful new gig, Bowen made the brave decision to go back to school. She pursued a longtime passion at Vancouver’s Institute of Holistic Nutrition. In a classroom abuzz with youthful energy, learning how to boost people’s health through food, her spark was re-lit.

“I had direction again,” Bowen says. “I felt I was alive.”

Millennials aren’t the only generation seeking meaning in the workplace. More than two-thirds of Canadians take a fork in their career paths at some point, and almost half change fields three times or more, according to a 2014 Workopolis survey. It’s a bold move that involves significant sacrifices of time, money and security—and it’s not solely driven by job loss.

Going back to school is an opportunity to re-educate yourself for an occupation that’s infused with purpose, so you gain much more than just a paycheque.

Karen Graham knows this well. The pharmaceutical consultant who lives in Orillia, Ont., has gone back to school twice—the first time was to be a career counsellor and life coach, helping others transition to rewarding new jobs. “People are waking up and asking, ‘Is this really how I want to spend a third of my life?’”

Graham guides clients so they find careers that make use of their passions and interests—and feel every day they’re contributing to more than just a retirement fund.

Three years ago, Graham walked her own talk. She enrolled at the local campus of Georgian College for certification as an addictions counsellor. At 54, she was the oldest person in the class. But she was rejuvenated by the younger students and the potential to earn a living supporting others.

We spend the majority of our waking hours at work, for four decades or more of our lives. Why not get paid and feel like you’re giving back at the same time?

In the U.S., organizations like ReServe and and are popping up to link experienced workers from the 55+ set with new careers serving their communities. Laid-off experts in information technology are now showing local charities how to build databases, and accountants have taken early retirement to teach financial literacy to low-income individuals.

While Canadians await similar groups, they can use the federal government’s “lifelong learning plan” to make a withdrawal from their RRSPs to finance a return to school. Ontario also has a “second career program” that pays tuition and living costs for mid-career workers seeking retraining in a new direction. Check out what’s available in your province.

Carole Angus made the switch from goldsmith to special education teacher all on her own, one course at a time. She took a low-paying, part-time job as a classroom assistant in an inner-city Toronto school to be sure her new path was the right one. Then she plowed slowly through her degree program.

“My jewellery career was leaving me empty somehow,” she remembers. “But as a teacher, my work mattered. I knew I could do this for the rest of my life.”

Back in Vancouver, Joanna Bowen has launched a new online nutrition clinic. “Running my own business is scary but exhilarating,” she beams. “I get to help people bring their body and mind to full capacity.”

Bowen now knows it’s not only pinto beans and avocados that maximize human potential, but also having a career with purpose. It’s amazing what one can learn, at any age, by going back to school.

Brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger founded a platform for social change that includes the international charity Free The Children, the social enterprise Me to We and the youth empowerment movement We Day. Find out more at

"Can you make money going back to school?": I cut out this article by Garry Marr in the Edmonton Journal on Sept. 29, 2015: 

There was a price to be paid for going back to school and Susan MacDonald was willing to pay it.

The 54-year-old registered psychologist gave it all up at 35 —  her job and her marriage — to go back to school and pursue a dream she’d always had.

“I was a single mom with two little kids. I left my husband to go back to university because he told me I had one degree and that was (all I was) allowed to have. I used to be an accountant in the oilpatch until I realized how much I hated the work I did. So I went to back school. I got fantastic grades, I excelled and I loved it,” said MacDonald, who now specializes in career counselling as part of of an overall practice that deals with personal counselling and corporate services. “I feel like I’ve never worked a day in my life (since). My work is pure joy.”

The school year has started again and for some older Canadians the decision has been made to go back to further their education and career. There is little doubt they are in the minority on most university and college campuses.

A research paper from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario published in 2011 found 9.7 per cent of people in the province aged 25 to 64 participated in a college education program, and 10.1 per cent of respondents participated in a university education program.

CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal said the value of education has been declining relative to the cost, but noted that some degrees like engineering, math, computer sciences and commerce pay for themselves, compared to a high school diploma, even after considering tuition.

Tal said the argument about going back to school after you are in the workforce is more complex because you are probably giving up salary in prime income years.

“It’s not really that school won’t pay for (itself), it is the degree that you choose,” Tal said. “When you go as an adult to do an MA in history, that might not help you (economically).”

For most professions, it’s difficult to calculate how much going back to school will directly affect your salary. Some companies or unionized jobs, such as teaching, may offer specific bonuses or promotions based on higher education, a benefit that is worth taking into account when calculating the cost of taking time away from work.

As an aside, it can make even more sense for women to go back to school than men. “It’s because the income women are giving up is lower than men,” Tal said, adding that if you have no income and are unemployable, the decision to seek more education becomes a lot easier.

For people leaving a job to go back to school, planning how to manage cash flow during time out of the work force is an important consideration says Tony Salgado, manager of tax and estate planning at Investor’s Group.

“You need to know what your expected cash flow outflow will be. But you also need to review your net worth to see what your options are for paying for that school,” he said.

One of the first things people think about is pulling money of their Registered Retirement Savings Plan via the Lifelong Learning Plan. Over five years, you can pull out $20,000 without the money being taxed, but it must be paid back in 10 years.

“You really need to be mindful of what is your taxable income in the year where you are  withdrawing the monies and what … your marginal tax rate (will be) when you have to recontribute the money back into your RRSP,” Salgado said.

Another option is to finance your education using debt.

“It’s very cheap to access debt. A line of credit might charge you three per cent. So what’s the opportunity cost of taking that money out of your RRSP (instead),” he said, adding some people seek family loans.

But there is more to the decision than money. The key to going back to school and making it worthwhile is choosing the right degree, said Alan Kearns, the founder of

“The right education has never been more valuable and the wrong education has never been more expensive,” he said. “It’s easy to go back to school because there are lots of options. The real issue is the program you choose.”

Kearns advises people to do a thorough analysis of their situation, looking not just at salary, but also whether a career change will make them happier.

The likelihood of success is another important consideration before you decide to go back to school. Kearns said the goal should be the top 20 per cent of your chosen program.

“If you are in the bottom 80 per cent of any program, it’s not going to be that easy to find a new role,” he said.

Other things Kearns recommends considering when switching careers are your talents, your passion, the kind of environment you want to work in and your lifestyle. “You need to look at these things multidimensionally. You look at only two things and those people end up not as happy,” he said.

One back-to-school scenario that might inspire older Canadians to pull the trigger on education might be a buyout or severance package at the end of a career.

“You could use that and say ‘I’m thinking of this as a gift. I don’t have to worry about money. My mortgage is paid off, my kids have moved out and I’ve always wanted to do this,’ ” Kearns said.

The career move paid off financially for MacDonald, but the psychologist stresses that when she counsels people she tells them that going back to school shouldn’t be solely about making more money.

“If you find your passion, the money will follow. The top three dissatisfied professionals I see in my practice are lawyers, engineers and accountants,” she said.

“People sometimes throw time and money into educational program that are not who they are.”

Feb. 10, 2016 Public Outreach: I'm looking for a job and I remember this.  I applied there before way back in 2010, but then I got a job at my restaurant.  I don't really want to go up to people ask them to donate to charity.  I write about charities on my blog and then you can click on the link so you can donate.  Here's what it says on the website:

Public Outreach Fundraising is an international face to face fundraising agency that recruits and retains high value monthly donors for some of the world’s most respected non-profit organizations.

At Public Outreach, we are professional fundraisers who raise money for a select group of non-profit organizations. We provide monthly donor recruitment, retention, and strategy solutions.

Our honest, respectful and effective practices result in high quality donor interactions which maximize their long-term value.

We attract staff who are passionate and articulate about the mission of the organizations we represent. We have a great track record of completing large projects on-time and on-budget, delivering thousands of new monthly donors to our partner organizations.

Public Outreach is an inclusive organization that is committed to creating a welcoming and supportive environment for donors, clients, staff and the public. Public outreach is committed to providing excellence in serving all customers including individuals with disabilities. The Ontario-specific Accessible Customer Service Plan for customers with disabilities is available to the public here. For more information contact Human Resources at or 1 888 326 5535 x4000.

Jul. 19, 2016 "Why not be the change at work?": I found this article by Marc and Craig Kilburger.  It's about working and getting paid to help people.  In Australia, there were a lot of people sniffing gasoline.  BP Australia then created a gas where it was impossible to get high off because of low aromatic hydrocarbons. - Connecting People Through News

My week:

Jan. 12, 2017 Pure: I decided to watch the pilot.  When I watched it, I saw the name Michael Amo. 

Tracy: Wasn't he the guy who created The Listener

I was right.

"PURE tells the story of Noah Funk, a newly-elected Mennonite pastor, who is determined to rid his community of drug traffickers by betraying a fellow Mennonite to the police. But instead of solving the problem, Noah's actions trigger an ultimatum from mob leader Eli Voss: in order to protect his family, he must get involved in the illegal operation. Noah decides that if he must work for the mob, he will secretly gather enough evidence to dismantle the organization. Noah finds his beliefs and principles challenged every step of the way. Struggling to save his soul and complete his mission, Noah receives help from an unlikely source: his high school nemesis, local cop Bronco Novak. With his law-enforcement career hanging by a thread, Bronco sees the case as his ticket to redemption. - Written by CBC "

Jan. 13, 2017 Tues. night: I went out once this week.  I was to attend an event last month, but it was cancelled and rescheduled to this week.  I mentioned I was kind of happy because it was cold out.  Well I went out on Tues. and it was cold.

Job interview: I did attend one interview.  I felt a really good rapport with the man who interviewed me.  He was nice and friendly.

Work: This week I was working at my 2nd restaurant job and it was busy.

McDonald's burgers: My mom got 2 free burger coupons from a co-worker and told me about it.  I redeemed them.  That was like a highlight of the week.  I'm sure some of you guys are laughing at this part.

Jan. 15, 2017 Devani Freeman: This is a Lady Boss Marketing Series.  It's a telesummit to interview women who make big coaching independent businesses.  Even if you aren't an entrepreneur, it is a fun and positive interviews to listen to.

Today is Sun. and I don't do my job search on the weekends, but today I did.  I was listening to this.  It was inspiring.


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