‘The market expects you to be 25 to 30 years old, it doesn’t expect you to be someone with dependants and a mortgage’
Jay Smith Hayward is at a significantly different life stage than many of her peers. An associate at a family law firm, she enrolled in the University of Alberta’s law school in her late 30s, and did her articling placement at 40, all while raising two children as a single mom.
Now 41, Smith Hayward said the age gap between her and other early career lawyers doesn’t faze her. “I don’t really have that much ego about hierarchies,” she said. “I have a life full of many things…and solid relationships outside of the workplace. I don’t have seniority here, but it is what it is.”
Smith Hayward went back to school in 2016, after more than a decade as a mostly self-employed journalist. Despite having a resume crowded with accomplishments — a master’s degree in English, several industry awards and years of experience —she struggled for years to find full-time work that would give her financial stability. Wanting to be able to better provide for her children, she went back to school.
Today, Smith Hayward said she’s happy with her choice, but was honest that starting from scratch was harder than she anticipated.