This blog post is part of the “Making it Work” series, where we share the stories of professionals who are working flexibly.
John Glynn-Morris is a consultant and self-employed. He has a background in planning and currently runs public participation processes on a project- or contract-basis. He usually has 6-8 projects on the go at any time (he completed 31 last year). John typically schedules his days so that his interactions are during the work day and he does his independent work at night. He resides with his wife and two children in Whitehorse, Yukon.
The fact that John and his family live in Whitehorse is key to “his story”. John was born in Vancouver and resided in Halifax for a decade before he and his wife decided they wanted a change. They began researching smaller, northern communities while she was on her second maternity leave and selected Whitehorse. Lifestyle-wise, John and his wife liked Whitehorse’s opportunities for outdoor adventures and wanted to raise their family in a strong community. Economically, they believed that communities with colleges had more diversity and they were also attracted to the capital city because of the government presence. The decision made sense to them when they bought their house sight unseen and without jobs lined up. “Function follows form” is how John refers to their plan.
John believes that the majority of people living in Whitehorse are there for the lifestyle, and he is no exception. There is “so much opportunity to have fun”. He owns a fat tire bike and rides to work every day. John loves to skate-ski and belongs to the cross-county ski club. He also enjoys Whitehorse’s vibrant arts scene. John is both a Director and member of YuKonstruct and (co)space. He is looking forward to helping bring together the maker- and co-work spaces into one facility later this year.
John knows that much of the lifestyle in Whitehorse is funded directly or indirectly by the transfer payments that Yukon receives from Ottawa. For example, they have many kms of trails and a huge Canada Games facility which are viewed as investments to attract and retain people north. This funding model also means that money is accessible for other projects and initiatives, which relates to some of the work that John does.
As a consultant, John lends his expertise in public consultations and engagement to help move initiatives forward and push his clients toward better decision-making. His primary clients are government-based: either municipal, territorial, federal or First Nations. Almost all of his work comes from word-of-mouth referrals. He is proud to include his peers at (co)space in some of his projects and also helps out with theirs. They are a community, after all.
It is pretty clear that John enjoys his lifestyle and is grateful for the opportunities in his northern community. However, he does struggle with the workload, joking that he is living on Main Street and working Bay Street hours. This means that he doesn’t spend as much time with his wife and kids as he would like much of the year, though the trade-off is John closes his office in the summer months. John also feels vulnerable as a contractor at times, particularly in his small city of 27,000, and is worried about becoming a “three-trick pony”.
John has some interesting perspectives on work and the gig economy. He believes that there is huge potential to open up the economy and the question isn’t “if”, but “how”. He believes that thinking about how to make it work on both an individual and community basis will lead to great things. It isn’t hard for him to imagine the next evolution of the cowork space that is so important to him…or the scenario where a professional from another country chooses to reside in Whitehorse for its long ski season…or the opportunity for innovative ideas such as Amazon Turk to improve existing processes within his region, while wondering how to leverage global innovation in a way that build local community economic development as well.
John Glynn-Morris is making it work!
Are you interested in connecting with John? Reach out via LinkedIn.
Feeling inspired? Are you ready to make it work too? Work Evolution has many flexible jobs and useful resources for professionals pursuing flexible work. Check us out today: workevolution.ca.