Floating With The Tide
How a 28-year-old Toronto native found purpose in swimming for a goal – Sales to Digital Marketing.
Tyler Nemeth’s life was fine. He was comfortable enough. He had just returned from half a year traveling and was bouncing through random part time jobs, living with his parents. In the words of Hunter S. Thompson in his famous letter peptalking a friend, Tyler was choosing —consciously or unconsciously—to “float with the tide.”
But this was temporary—it had to be. Floating was fine for now, but Tyler knew there had to be more than this. “I wasn’t really making anything of myself,” he admits, capturing in a few words the woe of so many others like him.
It’s the classic human plight, pondered by some of the greatest minds in history: what is my purpose? For Tyler, the answer wouldn’t be so easily summed up with a title—electrician, professor, philanthropist—but rather, an action.
Starting the hero’s journey
Less than a year earlier, Tyler had given up an enviable position. “I had a very good corporate job doing sales—great pay, excellent benefits, awesome office,” he says. But when looking down the barrel of his life, it didn’t feel like he was aiming in the right direction. Admittedly, he had fallen into the line of work before determining whether it was what he wanted. “I realized sales just wasn’t for me,” he puts simply, with a decisiveness so convincing there’s no need to explain further. (The saying ‘when you know, you know’ applies to more than just finding your soulmate.)
The metaphorical Boggle board needed a good shake. And so, like in every good story, Tyler began his ‘hero’s journey’ by leaving the predictable comforts of ‘home’. He quit his coveted, yet ill-suited sales job and flew to South America for a reset.
Turning over stones
Six months of adventures later, Tyler was back—reset, his sales days behind him—but with no direction. “I came back to Toronto and realized I had no idea what I wanted to do,” he says. “I bummed around, working part time jobs here and there, living with my parents.” Two attempts at restaurant jobs fell flat. He left both before the contracts ended. “I really don’t belong in the kitchen,” he laughs ruefully.
Searching for a direction that felt ‘right’ was no easy task, especially with pressure coming from all sides. “I had so much uncertainty,” Tyler says. “There was a lot of influence from people in my life—my girlfriend at the time, my parents, my friends.” But he had to move forward somehow.
The only thing to do was to begin turning over stones. Tyler enrolled in college to be an electrician, but partway through realized it was no better a fit than the kitchen. “It felt too old school, archaic even,” he says. “Trust me, sometimes I think the benefits and paycheck would be nice, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do long term.”
So he began looking into schools for coding; some of today’s great tech leaders say everyone should learn to code. But he tried out some tutorials and realized it, too, was not for him.
In the process of looking at coding schools, Tyler had discovered RED Academy. Its methods looked unique and intriguing, and so he looked again—this time to see what other programs it offered. Digital Marketing caught his eye; it occupied a big chunk of the job market in Toronto, and Tyler felt like he already had some transferable skills. “Marketing is a bit familiar to sales—you just don’t have to call anyone,” he says. “Which is great for me.”
A taste of the real world
After a few overturned stones, Tyler had found something to move towards with decisiveness.
Upon jumping into the Digital Marketing Professional program, Tyler quickly noticed the bonding effect of a small class size. “RED created a really tight knit community,” he says. “To the point where I can now show up on a Thursday night and I’m still welcomed like family.”
“RED created a really tight knit community, to the point where I can now show up on a Thursday night and I’m still welcomed like family.”
But getting to that familiar point required Tyler to be challenged in ways he didn’t expect. “It wasn’t like I was having an ice cream social every day, it was real work,” he says. “It had its ups and downs—which it should, because that’s how life works.” Being teamed up on real client projects, for instance, gave Tyler practice for the real world. “Sometimes the team works and sometimes it doesn’t,” he says honestly. “But what it did is prepare me for coworker conflict management.”
Through the process of working closely with others, Tyler made lasting friendships. “I am still good friends with people in the program,” he says—which includes the people doling out the assignments. “They weren’t just Instructors, I became friends with them too,” he points out. “They’re the same sort of age range as me, yet they’re all very experienced and have the actual work experience to justify teaching.”
Wrapping up his 12-weeks of training, Tyler again moved forward on his journey—this time with new allies and a new set of skills.
The joy is in the choosing
Using the career resources RED offered, Tyler quickly landed himself a job. For the past five months, he’s been working as a Marketing Strategist and Project Manager at a boutique agency in Toronto. But his journey certainly isn’t done. “Eventually I want to be a marketing strategist for a larger firm,” he says. “I still have a lot of experiences to go through between then and now.”
While he diligently works his way up in the industry, Tyler is filled with purpose. Instead of floating with the tide or doing what others think he should, he’s now swimming for a goal. And, he says, the fact that his life now is a result of his own intentional decisions makes all the difference. “I chose Digital Marketing, I chose RED Academy, I chose this path,” he says. “It feels good to have picked a direction for myself.”
If he could do it all over, Tyler says he’d choose RED again in a heartbeat. “I honestly do believe that RED empowered me with the knowledge and skills and community to be where I am right now,” he says. “I one hundred per cent believe that if I didn’t do that program, I’d be floating around in crappy jobs or doing work I didn’t want to do.”
“At some point in my life I’m going to hire someone who has just come out of RED Academy, and I’m going to know that I can trust them because it’s a great program,”
Tyler is sure that his educational stomping ground will come into play in his future, in one way or another. “At some point in my life I’m going to hire someone who has just come out of RED Academy. And I’m going to know that I can trust them, because it’s a great program,” he says. “Or I’m going to meet colleagues who went to RED Academy and we’re going to high five.”
Tyler’s advice for anyone floating with the tide and feeling unsatisfied? “If you’re thinking of taking control of your life, and thinking of getting a sense of community, I would absolutely recommend RED.”
Written by Carly Walde
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