Working in Vancouver

This summer semester marks the beginning of my 8-month co-op placement at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. I am now finishing up my first month at the Vancouver office as a Communications Assistant.

This is the first time I’m experiencing a full-time office job. The added privilege of being able to say, “I work for the Government of Canada” also stimulated many of my initial worries.  So far though, the experience has been very exciting and I have yet to look back wistfully at my previous life as a student.

To summarize my first month, here are 4 things I have noticed and learned about working in Vancouver:


Salad and Other Green Things

I’m not too big on the whole “Eating-Healthy” craze. I try to eat healthy sometimes, but I also let myself indulge in the unhealthy.

From my co-workers in the office kitchen to the strangers in the food courts, Vancouverites seem to lean more towards salads, quinoa (?), kale (??), and anything green. There are lineups for the salad bar. The color scheme of many restaurants are green, white, and maybe yellow or orange. Vancouver seems to be facilitating a healthier lifestyle, leading to my next point…

Dude… you don’t know how to ride a bike?

Vancouver has an insane number of cyclists. These people cycle everywhere, including to work. I was aware of the multiple bike shops located around Stanley Park, but I wasn’t aware that cycling is such a popular mode of transportation for everyday life in Vancouver. Green (again!) bike lanes can be seen painted in the middle of roads, whereas I am used to seeing cyclists bike near the sidewalks. It makes me want to cycle to work as well… and then I wonder what people do when it rains.

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Business Casual… Casual

This may only be applicable to my office, but the dress code is not as formal as I thought it would be. I am sure other places require a more strict dress code (i.e. banks). I’ve seen runners, jeans, and leggings/yoga pants- all of which were taught to me as big no-nos for office wear.


I have met several (feels like a lot, but I don’t want to exaggerate) colleagues who graduated from SFU. Let me tell you that this is wonderful news to me because like every other post-secondary student, it is the dream to have a job waiting for you after graduation. And even better… a job in Vancouver!

Vancouver gets heat about its high living expenses and inadequate pay. There are also complaints that it rains too much. However, it’s no lie that many of us would work and live in Vancouver if we could, even though eastern provinces are much better places to make money. I’m sure  Calgary, Toronto and Waterloo are beautiful cities too, but Vancouver must have some extraordinary in comparison. I, for one, do not know what this extraordinary quality is (as I have never really worked outside of Vancouver), but I can confidently say that I do enjoy working here very much.

Would you ever want to work in Vancouver?






Note: My previous statement is based off of a 1 month sample period.




One thought on “Working in Vancouver

  1. I’m sure you will also enjoy your full time pay check that goes along with the job. :)

    Yeah, it’s surprising what some people will wear to work. I’ve seen some high mini skirts, but yoga pants would seem obvious as non work attire.

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