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Expect the Unexpected – An Unconventional Career Path!

Suzanne Solsona

April 3, 2024

Perhaps it was just meant to be.

It was both expected and unexpected.

In grade 3, my teacher had all the students in the class write down what they thought they would be when they grew up. I quickly wrote down “laywer” and sealed it in my envelope. Several years later at middle school “grad” we all opened those envelopes, having forgotten all about them. I laughed when I saw my spelling mistake and tossed it aside.

For as long as I can remember, I have railed against injustice. “It’s not FAIR!” was a phase I was quite familiar with. I am a middle child after all. Such injustice! For better or for worse, for me, it went innately deeper. If I sensed something was unfair, it bothered me and I would instinctively try to make whatever it was, better and more just.

The Expected

When I went to law school, no one was surprised. During those years, whenever someone would ask why I was there, I would say, “Because I want to save the world!” I meant it. So, for me, landing on the practice of employment and labour law makes complete sense.

People often spend more time at work than anything else. When something falters in the sphere of employment/income/purpose it’s a vulnerable time. Both employers and employees deserve guidance from a lawyer wanting to create the most justice, for the most people, at all times.

The Unexpected

Enter children and family, including moving to another country. This juncture was unexpected and necessitated leaving my law career behind, which wasn’t an easy decision. But then again it happened…

The Unexpected

Eventually, in an attempt to solve a personal problem, and without any training in footwear design or manufacturing, I introduced a new toddler boot to the outdoor footwear market.  So many things would have to be researched, tested and retested and investigated until I could hold in my hand a patented children’s boot that we would sell globally. But we did it!  My partner and I really believed in our invention and design- so much so that we auditioned for and were offered a spot-on Dragon’s Den. Yes, the TV Show. I would lead us into battle and slay those Dragons! “What happened?” you say? Watch the show and see for yourself!

The Unexpected

2020 was a memorable year for the entire world. Some family-owned businesses survived the pandemic, but ours did not.

The Expected

It only made sense that I go back to the legal profession. I’ve eased into it to preserve a healthier work/life balance but am not surprised that I am finally returning to the practice of law. Equally expected and pragmatic, labour and employment law continues to be my desired focus. On a daily basis, I get to witness the humanity and goodness in people, exhibited by employees and employers alike. I also get to help the navigate the more difficult aspects of owning a business and being an employee.

This time it is different though. I understand both sides. I have experienced both the fear and disgruntlement of employers when a job isn’t done right and the deep sense of being wronged as an employee when relationships at work go sideways.

I now have a clearer vision of the pitfalls employers want to avoid to go along with my empathy for employees who face challenges at work. 

Lucky for me, returning to the bar in BC right now is exciting! With the changes in technology, demographics and industries, it makes sense to pivot back to providing service to others to help them achieve their own successes in the workplace.

Joining the Ascent Employment Law team as an associate has been the logical next step. Our team is comprised of people with multiple and various talents who all have one goal – provide service with value and help our clients.

The trajectory my path was unforeseen, but as Maya Angelou so beautifully puts it, “In the journey of life, the unexpected is the compass guiding us to extraordinary destinations.”

May we all find ourselves at those extraordinary destinations.