This morning, after my 9:30 Step class at Kerrisdale Community Centre, I distributed a stack of questionnaires among my participants. It was time for the annual class evaluation where the centre decides whether to keep me on for another year. “That makes twenty five years.” I said to the class as they were putting away the apparatus. “You should be used to this by now.”

“You’re here by default, Mike.” Said one. “We have to keep you because nobody else wants to teach on a Sunday morning.”

“How am I supposed to answer number 27?” said another. “How did you hear about this class. I can’t remember that. That was 25 years ago. Twenty-five hears of the same jokes and the same Tarzan yodel. You’re gross.

“I can remember how I got here.” I said. “I was subbing for a beautiful and mysterious young woman named Christine. I would have done anything for her – even sub her class.”

“You came here as a sub?”  another said. “I thought everyone had to be qualified.”

“Subs are qualified as well,” I said. I suppose I was just lucky.

Coincidently, I noted that there was a question floating around the Internet about subbing. “How do you be a sub?” the question went.

Most of the answers stated that you should try to take the instructor’s class as a participant. That way you could get introduced and also see what the instructor has in store for the class. I disagree. I believe in ambushing the class and showing them what you have to offer. Take ownership of the class. Teach the participants something new. Don’t try to follow the goals of the regular instructor. Be realistic. They probably don’t have any. Be yourself. Have some fun. They may keep you for 25 years as well.

The first thing I like to do in a new class is single out a participant and say, “This is my first time here. What are you going to make us do?

“Oh I dunno” she would say. “Some cardio, … some abs.”

“Well, you’re the instructor, aren’t you,” I would ask. (My lame attempt at flirting that only an instructor can do.

“No,” she would say.

“Well. I guess I’ll teach it then. What would you like to do?” Then I fire up the music.

“Oh I dunno” she would say. “Some cardio, … some abs.”

You can carry my philosophy of subbing to the world of real work. I recently got a job as a Vocational Rehab Counsellor at Fraser Health Authority. I was hired as a sub. I was replacing someone on sick leave. While there, I was determined to make my position count. I took ownership and I began to take some risks and initiatives with my clients. Clients got jobs and I got referrals. Last September I was hired on permanently.

When subbing, be yourself.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.


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