Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gals We Admire: Sara Dimerman

Sara Dimerman has combined her two passions – her love of people and her love of writing – into a winning career. The relationship and parenting expert says she loves the balance and diversity of her work because she's able to focus on different things during the week while at the same time knowing that everything she does is intertwined.

Name: Sara Dimerman
Profession: Psychologist and Author
Twitter handle: @helpmesara

Describe your typical work day, from start to finish.
My work days are different depending on the day of the week. I see clients in my office from 9 until 7 on Tuesdays and Thursdays and occasionally on other days as needed. However, I do try to put the other days aside to work at home as a writer – working on my current book, writing articles or producing podcasts for my site or writing articles for other sites, newspapers and magazines. 

When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
I was always drawn to the creative arts so at first I wanted to be a speech and drama teacher (I was very involved with this as an extracurricular activity in South Africa which is where I was born). After emigrating to Canada in my teens and completing high school, I applied to become a speech and language pathologist but realized it wasn’t for me before I began. So, instead I applied and got into the Radio and Television Arts program at Ryerson and loved my four years there. I was particularly drawn to radio and writing. I realized that I loved learning about people and also loved writing. However, after graduation I realized that the field wasn’t for me so I applied to a Masters level Assessment and Counselling program at the University of Toronto and found my true passion during the following two years. In retrospect I was always a therapist to my family and friends and always loved digging deeper into the minds of others and trying to understand what made them tick. So, becoming a psychologist (which is the title I eventually worked towards), makes perfect sense. Being able to integrate both my love of people and love of writing by writing self-help books is something I feel so fortunate about. In addition, I am able to help others by being a relationship and parenting expert and sharing my knowledge through the media. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the balance and diversity of being able to work on different things during the week while knowing that everything I do is intertwined and that without one I would not be able to do the other as well. I also love being self employed because it allows me to enjoy and devote as much time as I want to my children and husband and to take time off whenever I want. 

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in your profession?
On the flip side of loving being self employed, if I want or have to take time off work, I have no income. I also have to keep on top of my game all the time as I am in a very competitive field, both as a psychologist and a writer, so I need to make sure that I am always thinking ahead and coming up with creative ideas to make me stand out. 

Do you believe you had a "calling" for your profession?
Absolutely. I am a therapist even when I’m not working – you only need to ask my fourteen-year-old about how she feels about me playing therapist at home – even when I don’t think I am! My writing has always come very naturally to me too – maybe as a result of keeping diaries when I was a kid!

What are the three most important pieces of career advice you would give to other Canadian Career Gals?
Network, network, network. Watch for open doors and enter them, even if it’s a little outside your comfort zone.

Remain positive. Even if something doesn’t work out exactly the way you had hoped or planned, think of how you can turn the experience into a learning opportunity.

Strike a balance between being persistent and obnoxious. Watch for cues and signs that you’re stepping on peoples toes or becoming annoying. Know when to pull back and when to step forward.


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