Rather than simply posting a typical “about me” section, I decided to write a bit of a story about my past to help you gain an understanding of who I am, what I’m doing, and why I started this blog:
My Ever-Changing Road
My name is Alexander J. Yolevski, and since I can remember, I’ve always had a plan. At the same time, those plans rarely unfolded as I would have liked them too. I frequently find myself becoming entwined in different interests and opportunities, overwhelming myself with what I could be doing for the rest of my life. The problem: I want to do everything. Perhaps I have too wide of an interest spectrum. Or do I get bored easily? I like to think that I try to do too many things at the same time, leaving myself in overdrive, and eventually, in potential burnout.
We all try to create a road ahead of us to walk on. Never mind the obstacles; it’s the road that we need to worry about. The ever-changing path makes the road itself our biggest obstacle in life.
I’m sharing this with you for several different reasons:
- Share my story
- Curiosity of whether I’m in the same boat as other people or not
- Wanted to hear other people’s stories and experiences
Let me explain my experiences, and where I am today. I’m warning you. There are more than a few twists and turns in it.
Even as a child, I have always had a passion for the arts. Whether this be playing music, singing, dancing (no, I can’t really dance and look like a sane human being at the same time), acting, etc. Since then, that’s probably the only thing that has remained static in my life. I know that I love music and it will always be a part of me. I would love to do music for a living.
However, I also want to achieve a whole lot of other things in my life, which require a more substantial amount of income. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “You have to give it all up to do what you love. You need to sacrifice” You know what? You are probably right. I’ve thought about it, and always believed that if I just stopped and quit everything, I would eventually become successful in my music career. If you work hard enough at something, and love it enough, you are bound to achieve. I mean, that’s how all these “rags to riches” stories occur, right? I’ve even gone to the extreme of saying, “If you’re not poor, or don’t become poor, you won’t become famous”. Of course, if you are extremely wealthy, that can help too.
I’ve also had these fraudulent beliefs that if you are middle class, you are probably going to stay middle class for the rest of your life. You hear of “rags to riches”, but do you ever hear of “Ralph Lauren to riches”? Well, fortunately (for middle class people like myself), they exist. They just don’t get publicized as much because, well, they make for boring biographies. I would much rather read about someone who slept in a car (not their own), did blow, prostituted for the blow, crashed parties for free food, and never showered, until finally someone said “this kid is f*&ked, but he’s extremely talented, you need to check him out.” Nonetheless, there is hope for the middle class.
Yes, I understand sacrifices need to be made (and they have been in the past), but while I love music, there are other interests which can not only act as a reasonable source of income, but can help maintain my music interest as well. More importantly, according to most naïve people, they are interests “you can make a career out of!!” (sarcasm), although I couldn’t care less about that. I want to be able to enjoy life, by doing what I love. Who doesn’t? But if you are doing what you love, while scrambling to find your next meal, then are you truly enjoying your life? Sure, large success can occur from taking large risks, but large success also comes from working hard and being consistent. Nobody said success comes from quitting everything else in your life.
Anyways, let’s continue down my ever changing road.
We’ve established that I have, and always will, have a passion for creating music. However, as I began to explore secondary routes for my life I decided in elementary that I wanted to become a lawyer. This isn’t my bio (although it’s almost turning into one), so I’m not going to elaborate on everything. In high school, I then realized I had more of an interest in psychology. This interest was sparked from a grade 11 English class, talking about Carl Jung and Freud.
In grade 12, after taking my first philosophy course, I became mesmerized and intrigued by theoretical debates, and theories of our world (in existence or not). I liked that it made me think.
For whatever reason, while I was applying to university, I decided to take the psychology route instead of philosophy. I saw more applicability with psychology; a larger window for career development. I figured I would become a psychologist, or maybe an occupational therapist, perhaps a counselor. I switched between these interests within my first two years of university.
In addition, during university, I was the lead singer of a band called Times. We ended up being featured on a reality show on MuchMusic. We did quite well for a band with so many things going on, other than our music (school, work, side projects etc). We were able to sell out Much Music for the live airing of the show. We also released an album in iTunes and HMV. This continued for almost 2 years. However, soon after our CD release party, we slowly but surely parted ways.
During my last year of university, I had become more interested in Philosophy again, taking more philosophy courses, but only out of interest. In addition, I have always admired teachers and what they do, and I wanted to become a professor; or high school teacher. So get my Masters, then PhD, publish a book, and become a professor. That was my plan. Unfortunately, I became intimidated. I was intimidated by the amount of educational years required to become a professor (and the amount of income-less years I would have to endure before anything would stabilize in my life). In addition, I was intimidated by the very little demand for teachers in Ontario, and the contrastingly high numner of applicants trying to get into teacher’s college.
Just to back track a bit, at this point, I have been working at Apple for about a year or so. During my employment there, I played with the idea of becoming a mentor or trainer of some sort. As much as I admire and love Apple, however, things became a bit stale and robotic for me.
At one point, I figured Human Resources seemed like a great opportunity to apply my psychology and educational background. When I was offered a position in a Human Resources Department, I viewed this as the foundation for a potential career. Also, it was my first stabilized, consistent, Monday to Friday, 40 hours a week, standard job.
This is where things get a bit haywire.
I was successful in my HR role, and the opportunity had been more than I could ever ask for. I’m sure any graduate would kill for the chance to evolve and develop in the field of HR. However, with weeknight and weekends free (and no school work to think about at home), I began pursing multiple interests and possible side careers.
This would include everything from my solo album, photography, video production, and even a tomato sauce business. I had gone as far as establishing and certifying two separate businesses. One was for the tomato sauce business, which quickly lost its fire, and the other is still running to this day. However, it’s become more of a hobby than anything else.
The second business, initially, encompassed photography, video production, logo design, and web design all into its services being offered. I had gone as far as buying all the required hardware and software as well. It is also registered with the government. Unfortunately, I realized my interest for the graphic design part of it began to fade. Video production became boring, when it wasn’t my own content, as well. Currently, the company’s website is being served as the blog you are on now, however, I am still maintaing many websites for various companies, reputable restaurants and agents.
As my own company began to downsize in what it had to offer, I was happy to sort of “trim the fat” and just slim down what it was that I truly wanted to do. Music was still there, and the feedback on my pictures being sold as of this week, has been nothing but positive. However, I needed something more.
I am a huge Toronto foodie, and was a food critic for blogTO, for a short period of time. Unfortunately, the meals soon became more costly than my pay.
I also still wish to write and publish a book at one point! (I’m not going to elaborate much on this either)
I mentioned earlier that I always wanted to become a teacher, but remained intimidated by my chances of becoming one. Nonetheless, as great of an opportunity my HR position has become for me, I could no longer picture myself wanting to develop and learn more within that field. I love to learn. Curiosity is what drives me. When I realized that I no longer wanted to pursue anything new within HR, I knew it would no longer be a career option for me. Whether I would be successful or not, I would not be happy.
I decided to enroll into Teacher’s College and become a high school teacher. I had one and a half months left in my employment in HR when making this decision, and was extremely excited to pursue a true passion of mine. Why was I no longer intimidated? Because if I work hard enough at it, and I truly love it, it will work out and I will achieve some sort of fulfillment in my life through this choice; this career change.
So go back to school, get certified, and become a teacher. Good plan right? I’m done. I’ve finally figured out what I want to do, and what I will be doing, for the rest of my working life – YAAAYY!!
Not so fast.
Did I mention I am a bit of a real estate hobbyist? Yes. I am fascinated and interested in the pre-construction market happening in Toronto. I love finding out about new downtown condominiums, architectural designs, floor plans, VIP list etc. Did the thought of getting certified as a real estate agent cross my mind? I’m sure you know the answer by now. Yes! But not now, considering I was trying to get certified as a teacher first. In addition, I didn’t know how much more change my family and friends can take at the moment. Maybe I can get my license in the future, and do some real estate during the summers? (You see where my mind goes sometimes and how it drives me crazy?).
Nonetheless, I’ve already invested in a condominium, however, with full time school coming up, and less income, this is going to become increasingly difficult. I reached out to a few contacts to find an opportunity for some part time work during school.
Finally, there was one more crazy idea left up my sleeve at the moment. I don’t want to say much about it, in case it unravels, but I will say its food truck related. Another thing I have always wanted to do, and I feel like it’s in my blood to do so because my family has owned a few restaurants before, is opening up my own restaurant. Of course, you need money to make money, and the costs of opening a restaurant are much more than I can handle at the moment. As a result, I have this amazing food truck idea that I had begun to pursue in terms of research and finding out what I need to get started. This never completely panned out because of a lack of financing, partnership etc. Nonetheless, it’s something always in the back of my mind.
Where am I now?
Completing my undergraduate thesis (after already graduating with a BA in Psychology a few years ago), to get into a post-graduate Masters program. I have spoken to various professionals in both the psychology and social work fields, as well as professor at various university institutions. What I love about psychology is the counselling aspect of it. However, in the “real world” it is the social workers who do the counselling and the psychologist conduct more of the diagnosing and assessments. This is what made me decide to pursue a career in social work, and why I will be applying to a Masters of Social Work program this year. In fact, I have remained determined to attain all straight A grades during my final thesis year so I have a greater chance of getting into the program I want. My plan now is to get become a certified Social Worker and work in high schools (eventually universities) to help students with their occurring dilemmas related to education, engagement, and anything else. In addition, I will be volunteering the field of social work, working with youth and their engagement in learning with an emphasis on digital literacy.
My creative media company is still successfully running websites and other related online services for various reputable clients.
This blog is something I’m giving a try as well. I am hoping this blog can influence a few people and spark some conversation about finding our passions, pursuing them, and creating a meaningful career out of them. It is my understanding that many people (particularly students) have concerns about what to do after graduation. Higher education, a job, or start something on their own? So we will see where this blog takes us!
This is the short version of my ever-changing road, but I like to think others’ are much longer. I also like to think that this is common, and if you are going to change something in your life, do it while you can, while you can afford it, before you become dependent on your job.
Here’s a recap (with some I pursued but didn’t mention):
Musician, singer, writer, actor, model, real estate, lawyer, philosopher, professor, psychologist, teacher, human resources generalist, graphic designer, photographer, web designer, videographer, foodie, restaurant owner, blogger, social worker and entrepreneur.
Let’s hope this page doesn’t change too much from now.