TOKTW DAY ASSIGNMENT
PART 1: THE INTERVIEWS
David Bowra – President
Chris Bowra – Vice-President
Gordon Brown – Assistant Vice-President
Pamela Rekhi – Administrative Assistant
If I had to describe my TOKTWD experience in one word, it would be “understanding”. I spent the day with the Bowra Group, an insolvency firm based in Vancouver, BC. I attended work with my mom, but I didn’t actually do too much with her. I still have no idea about what it is exactly she does, but I assume it is something very similar to what her co-workers do: the job description and the tasks vary. This is because the field of insolvency is very wide, and the definition broad. “Insolvency” is when you cannot pay your bills, so insolvency administrators help their clients get their companies back on track and maintaining cash flow, and in the worst case scenario, file for bankruptcy. The people I interviewed are mostly Trustees in Bankruptcy and chartered accountants, which basically means they deal with various creditors, write reports, and solve problems.
David Bowra, President of the Bowra Group, particularly likes solving problems and helping people. During our interview, he told me about one of his favourite files he has worked on. The account was that of an 80 year old pulp mill up north, and it was in desperate need of repairs. Many people relied on this mill for their jobs and income for their own companies, so it couldn’t just shut down. The Bowra Group found someone to buy and repair the mill, and it is still running to this day. Bowra explained that helping people and saving jobs is what’s really important in insolvency, and that he really truly enjoys his job. However, sometimes things can get frustrating. Employees at Bowra Group agree that many clients can be infuriating when they do not realize or will not admit that their company has a financial problem. These clients have varying objectives, and when dealing with any type of business, one must be direct. An administrator, or an administrative assistant, must have a thick skin and be able to handle angry and negative people. Working in insolvency can get very frustrating, obviously.
However, there are perks to the job. All the people I interviewed particularly enjoyed the variety of their jobs. Their tasks are constantly changing and they get to deal with different people, personalities, companies, scenarios, and career fields that you can never be bored. There is also a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day knowing that you helped save someone’s job or you accomplished your goal. Results in insolvency are almost always visible, especially when companies that were once in massive debt begin to flourish once more. However, then comes the next client who does something completely different than what you just worked with. I did say the job varies, but those in the insolvency field enjoy it.
Those looking in to pursuing a career in insolvency are advised to be thick-skinned and understand your strengths. One must be able to deal with people, especially when they’re having their worst days. Fortunately for those who are just getting started, the field is not expected to change too drastically. As insolvency is based in law, it’s pretty much set in stone, so the rules probably won’t change. However, as more opportunities arise, more independent firms could pop up, and there will definitely be a change in how everything is organized due to an increase in digital use. The type and number of clients all depends on the economy, since insolvency firms do profit from how many companies need financial aid.
Insolvency may look fairly boring on the outside, but once you delve in a little deeper, it becomes a wide and complicated field. If someone enjoys working with people, is interested in business law, has patience to deal with those who may not have the right goals, and can write reports effectively should absolutely look into insolvency. It may be the start of an exciting adventure in your career.
PART TWO: STUDENT REFLECTIONS
After spending a day at an insolvency form, I have to say I am definitely more interested in my mom’s job than I was before. I greatly enjoy writing and I am interested in law, and I want to do something that helps people. I also get bored fairly easily doing the same thing all the time, so a variety in tasks and companies I work with would be really nice. However, I am not particularly interested in business or finance. Maybe it’s the adolescent in me, but business matters and the economy bore me. I am also not the best when it comes to people who are angry with me, as I normally yell right back. I might lose my job after that, so I probably shouldn’t pursue insolvency quite just yet.
Although, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about it. The TOKTWD initiative is innovative and definitely gives students a better idea of what life after high school is like. I think students can learn a lot from going to work, especially if they visit the workplace of a job they are interested in. One of the things I learned today is to know what you like, know what you don’t like, and know what your strengths are. It’s incredibly important to know what you actually enjoy before you spend thousands of dollars on an education for it. Personally, I don’t have very specific post-secondary plans. I don’t know what I want to pursue yet because I am interested in so many things. I have just started high school, and I have not found my one passion yet. However, I think I would lose my mind staying in an office in front of a computer all day. I would prefer something a little more exciting. Not that insolvency isn’t exciting – it is – but I need something explosive.
Here are the recorded interviews and completed PDF Reflection sheets (the last question is answered in the above paragraph)