Jen Pearce, PCP
City of Whitehorse – Whitehorse, YT
For most people, getting their Payroll Compliance Practitioner designation is exciting. For Jen Pearce, it was a profound and life-changing experience.
Jen grew up in Newmarket, Ontario just north of Toronto. During her childhood Jen was faced with much hardship. Her mother’s battle with schizophrenia resulted in her father raising Jen and her sister. It was a strain for her dad to keep food on the table, all while he was coping with his own traumatic experiences.
By 15, Jen had left home and found herself relying on the generosity of friends. With no foundation of financial, psychological, or emotional support, Jen was forced to drop out of high school; she struggled to survive through minimum wage jobs.
Fast forward 20 years later, living in the Yukon and working in payroll, Jen got her PCP designation. “Getting that certificate was one of my greatest accomplishments,” she says. “I celebrated for three days. I knew then that I could overcome my past.”
Jen’s transformation started in 2012 with a weeklong visit to see a friend in Whitehorse. When she returned to Toronto, she got off the airplane and thought, “Nope, I can’t do this. I’ve had a taste of fresh air.” Six weeks later, she took a five-day drive to Yukon, where she quickly found a job in accounting and payroll at North60 Petrol. And within her first week in Whitehorse, she met her future husband.
With no experience in payroll, she was self-taught until finding the National Payroll Institute’s designation program. After attaining her PCP accreditation, she leveled up to a job as Payroll Specialist for the City of Whitehorse. She is responsible for processing the data for new hires and any kind of status change for current employees, such as position changes. This means that she can set employees up for success so that they contribute in meaningful ways to the City. “My job ensures that new hires don’t have to worry about getting set up; they can just focus on doing their jobs and making a difference,” say Jen.
Today, Jen has found the life she wants. Now married, she works remotely and lives in Marsh Lake, a peaceful community of 600 people, an hour’s drive from Whitehorse.
Excitement comes in the form of camping or canoeing, but can involve animal encounters. Last summer, while walking her dog on a trail, she rounded a corner to find a huge black bear only feet away. “I just stopped, grabbed my dog and didn’t move. He just ambled on!”
Jen and her father have reconciled and have a very close relationship now. He encouraged her to continue her education; she’s taking a business degree online. “He is so proud of me.”
She is deeply grateful for all that she has. “I feel blessed. Particularly because of where I come from, I’m able to appreciate the little things. I have found the life I love and being a payroll professional is a big part of that!”