Why I asked the government to write me a big, fat cheque


The past few months have been a tumultuous time, wrought with opportunity. As a recent graduate I am eager to pave my road to success in the real world and ensure all my dreams flourish. In a world with highly-qualified competitors and now an economic downturn, the thought of accomplishing my desires can be all too daunting.

I never subscribe to the school of pessimism. Even now, as I work part-time and write for TalentEgg, I constantly look for the next opportunity to advance my circumstance. However, the differences between occupying this persuasion and  accomplishing it can be worlds apart. My grandfather once said to me, “Nothing will come to you. You have to go out and get what you want.” In moments where I am focused on a career for which I have no formal education, these words couldn’t carry more weight.

I am a business and philosophy graduate, yet I want to work in radio. While I have years of experience hosting radio shows on my campus station, I don’t have a communications degree and that is a challenge. However, I do have an intense knowledge of new media, business, and marketing. With knowledge of my foundations and an idea of my destination, I had to ask myself: “How do I get from point A to point B?”

After contemplating the answers to that questions I came up with a  motivating response.

Business degree + philosophy + new media knowledge = Empowered Entrepreneur

After hosting my own podcast for a year, I already have a project that I am willing to put my time and energy behind. With a great project, the right skills and knowledge, the only remainder was money. The government could take care of that with a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.With the culturally significant content of Well Versed (my podcast) as well as the innovative format of my show, I figured I would be an ideal candidate for this money.

Although I am confident in my project, I was entirely timid about approaching the Canada Council for financial support. Combined with my lack of experience in applying for a grant, I was ripe with nervousness over the four months I worked on my application. I had to prepare pages upon pages of documentation, fully outlining my ideas, to be reviewed by a “committee of my peers.”

I toiled over every detail of how I would plan, prepare, and execute an hour-long poetry show every week for eight months. Who would listen and why? How would I get an audience? What would all of this cost? Two pages about myself, five pages about my project, three pages of financial documents, three pages of a audience development plan, three pages of a work plan and two reference letters later I was almost ready to submit my application. I put together a portfolio of my work and sent off the very large application package.

Now I wait, four months, and hope to receive a large cheque in the mail. Somewhere along the line I decided that I can’t wait around and hope for things to fall in my lap. If I won’t stand behind my dreams, no one will.

So while new grads stress over having the “right” resume and a “perfect” cover letter, I wait to be my own employer.

JFK said, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” I am afraid. I’m afraid that I will be rejected. I’m afraid I’ll have to go back to the drawing board and start all over again. However, I’m hopeful for a career of my own. I’m hopeful to be my own boss. With a crumbling economy, there are loads of opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Recent graduates have a plentitude of new and fresh ideas. It is in times of strife that innovation must prevail for rebirth and re-growth. So, as you look to the opportunities beyond your front door, take a deep look inside and ask if you’ve got something better to offer.

About the author

Brian Cauley is a recent graduate from St. Francis Xavier University in business and philosophy. Currently, he is working hard to break into the broadcasting/media industry. Brian also writes at his blog, Everyone's Vision, and podcasts about Canadian poetry at Well Versed.