Why I quit my job without having another position lined up …

Hello everyone! It has been a while since I have posted anything on this website. I have had a somewhat difficult 2016 and am hoping to turn things around for the better. For the last year and a half I suffered through working at a job that was not good for me in many different ways. I didn’t realize the toll that a bad workplace  can take on your professional and personal life. I had known for a while that this job was not the right fit for me, but it wasn’t until I started seeing a career coach that things really came to light. My coach asked me to rate my level of satisfaction with my current job on a scale of 1 to 10, asking me to consider various aspects of the job such as work environment, actual work, people, etc. After careful thought, I rated my job as a 1 out of 10. My coach was surprised, and told me that she rarely saw someone rate their job this low. She told me to seriously consider moving on, and that having such a low level of satisfaction wasn’t good for me mentally. I knew this all along, but her telling me this simply validated what I was going through and feeling.

The last year and a half was a struggle for me, I had a boss who didn’t care in the least about work, he wanted to chat about everything but work, never took responsibility for anything and never gave a clear answer. He actually lied to me several times, and lacked any trace of transparency. He barely showed up to work, was incompetent and well, the list could go on … On top of that I was thrown into a managerial position that wasn’t exactly something I wanted at this stage in my career. The work environment itself was toxic, plagued with gossip, politics and backstabbing, something I wasn’t accustomed to at all. Lastly, the actual work I was doing bored me to death. Everyday felt like a battle, I was miserable, and brought the stress back home with me.

I started seeing a career coach about 6 months ago. She helped me identify my strengths, values, interests and what type of work environments I would thrive in. All of this was eye-opening for me, in the sense that I knew this about myself, but I never brought these ideas to the forefront. All of this made me realize that this job did not align well with my values and interests. It wasn’t the right fit and I needed to get out. In the summer, I made up my mind to leave my job by November, regardless of whether I had another job or not. I was looking for jobs, but the stress of the day left me so unmotivated and discouraged to engage in an effective job search and to network with people. So, for my sanity and health, I gave my boss my two weeks notice and quit my job without having anything to go to. Do I regret my decision? Absolutely not. Only I know how toxic that job was for me and the toll it was taking on my health. Am I happier now? I can’t expect immediate happiness. Quitting my job does not equal joy. What it does give me is the relief of not having to suffer another day at toxic job. In fact, after what I have been through, I think it will take me a couple of weeks to get over the horrific experience of my last job. Of course I will feel anxious, not having another position lined up and not knowing where my career is going. But, I feel positive about the future and what it holds for me. I know myself better now, and I know that my next job has to align well with my values and interests. My next job may not be my dream job, but at least it will check off some of the boxes that are important to me and will lead me to the path of my dream job.

photo credit: Miranda Mylne N06/28807925893″>Letter of resignation via photopin (license)

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Toronto’s Best Restaurants Right Now

Ok so Toronto is buzzing these days. The NBA All Star Game is weeks away. We now have a train from the airport to the downtown core. And to top it all … we have amazing places to eat in this city. I love eating out, and I love good food. Here are my top picks for where to eat in Toronto. This is not a comprehensive list, just some of my favourite places!

1. Bar Raval – 505 College Street, Toronto

Yes, we have heard about Bar Raval time and again. But there is something about this place that makes you keep coming back. Whether it is the semi-heated outdoor patio where you freeze your butt off while eating tapas and sipping absinthe cocktails, or the indoor bar area with wooden arches, or the fact that you could be standing next to strangers and finding yourself conversing with them, Bar Raval is an experience. Grant van Gameren is probably my favourite chef in the city – his food is divine. Who ever thought bread with tomato could taste so good? But it does at Bar Raval. My favourites on the menu are the Manchego Cheese, the Mushroom Tower, the Chilled Octopus, and the Cuttlefish Fideo. Pair that with an Absinthe-minded cocktail and you are set for having a great night out!

2. Bar Isabel – 797 College Street, Toronto

Grant van Gameren makes an appearance again. This space has more of a restaurant feel to it, although I have sat at the bar and loved it. Food is spectacular – its Grant van Gameren after all. The King Crab is spectacular. Go there and experience it.

3. Seven Lives – 69 Kensington Avenue, Toronto

Yes, I know, tacos are like so 3 years ago … but, this tiny hole in the wall spot in Kensington Market has heavy lineups. If there is one taco in this city you want to try (trust me there are a lot of tacos in Toronto), it is Seven Lives. Baja Fish is my personal favourite, but the octopus taco is a close runner up. Oh and the ceviche. The ceviche is one of the best I have tried in the city. They only take cash and be prepared to wait, and then stand to eat your tacos, unless you can find a spot on the one communal table. Hours are sketchy sometimes, they close at 7 sharp, no exceptions.

4. Buca Yorkville – 53 Scollard Street, Toronto

I never understood the hype about Buca. I went to the King Street location and was underwhelmed. I decided to give Buca Yorkville a try this summer and well, what can I say, I was impressed. This place isn’t cheap so come prepared to spend a lot of money on excellent food. Seafood charcuterie anyone?  The menu is heavily focused on seafood, which I don’t mind at all. Try the braised octopus or the zuppa di pesce – you won’t be disappointed.

5. Jacobs and Co. Steakhouse – 12 Brant Street, Toronto

There are some great steak places in Toronto. But Jacobs tops them all. Whether it is the service, the overall ambience, the piano in the entrance, or the table side caesar salad, Jacobs is where you want to eat your steak. They have an extensive steak menu, with varying prices of steak, but don’t be alarmed by the prices, you don’t need to spend $400 on a steak to have a good dining experience here. Let the waiters help you with ordering, they know what they are talking about. Sit back, relax and enjoy the experience that is Jacobs.

6. Byblos – 11 Duncan Street, Toronto

As much as I despise Charles Khabouth outposts for their lackluster food, and their “where to be seen” persona, Byblos actually has great food. The fare here is “Eastern Mediterranean Cuisine” – this isn’t your falafel joint, people. Start off with a Gulab cocktail – who doesn’t like rose petals in their cocktail? Then order the Turkish Manti Dumplings, the Yogort Baked Fluke and the Sweet Jeweled Rice. The food here is full of flavour, service is great and cocktails are delicious.

7. The Gabardine – 373 Bay Street, Toronto

If you find yourself in the financial district at lunchtime, this cozy restaurant is full of Bay streeters, getting away from the pretentiousness of it all. Home cooked meal – that is what the food at Gabardine tastes like. Delicious, simple food. Try the Mac and Cheese, the Po Boy, and the Chicken Pot Pie. They don’t take reservations at lunch so try getting here at 11:45 if you want a spot.

8. Burger’s Priest – various locations, Toronto

Sometimes you just want a good ol’ burger. But you don’t want a defrosted burger patty, that tastes rubbery. You want freshly ground burgers. That is what you get at Burger’s Priest. Melt in your mouth burgers. There are locations on Queen West, Queen East, and Adelaide Street. I personally like the Adelaide street location, it is bigger, lots of places to sit and no lineups. This is the best burger in the city hands-down.


 

The list can go on … Toronto is full of amazing places to eat, new restaurants are opening all the time. These are some of my favourites, places I go to repeatedly. Some other mentions here, Churrasco Villa on Eglinton Avenue (best Portuguese chicken in town), Pomegranate on College Street (best Persian in the city), Enoteca Sociale (Italian), and Queen Margherita Pizza.

Happy Eating!

 

3 Products to Help You Relax and Unwind

Let’s face it. Life can be hectic and sometimes all you need is to just take a minute and breathe! Taking time out for yourself and being able to unwind is extremely important and these products will help you relax that busy mind!

1. Now Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser – $45.00

If you don’t have an oil diffuser – get one right now!

 

This BPA free diffuser uses ultrasonic electrical vibrations to create an aromatherapy mist. There is no heat involved, so the essential oils don’t lose their holistic properties. It is easy to clean and really quiet and the compact design will fit anywhere in your home! Plus, you know there are no artificial fragrances or chemicals, unlike most scented candles.

Use this with your favourite essential oil, my personal favourite is the AromaForce Lavender oil which smells fantastic in this diffuser! $12.99 CDN at Well.ca.

2. Bathorium CocoCreamer Bath Bomb $9.95

We all know a warm bath is nice and relaxing. A warm bath with the Bathorium Bath Bomb is heaven! This isn’t just any bath bomb. It smells amazing, yet gentle. It is made from organic virgin coconut oil, creamy coconut milk, and lavender essential oils and it is amazing for dry skin. It is a slow-release bath bomb, meaning it won’t dissolve right away in your bath so you can feel the carbonation while in the bath -fun, right? Oh and they are proudly Canadian! Bathorium has a whole range of bath bombs which can be purchased on their website at http://www.bathorium.com/collections/all-bath-bombs.

3. Miiyu Flocked Cloud Robe – $69.00 at simons.ca

No bath is complete, without being able to get into a comfy in this adorable bathrobe! Spend the rest of the evening lounging in your bathrobe and then call it a night!

New Year, New You and where to go for Yoga in Toronto…

Hello everyone! It’s taking a while to get back into the regular routine of things after the holidays. I had a week off work, spent time with friends and family and had a few “do nothing” days. This past Sunday, I started to get the usual blues before the start of the work week. You know the “can I retire now?”, “When is my next vacation?” usual musings.

To say Monday morning was rough, is a bit of an understatement. The holidays had made me somewhat lazy, I was waking up at noon and sleeping at odd hours. The alarm clock was not well received on Monday morning (when is it ever well received?). Getting through the workday was a struggle. This morning was also a challenge. I am hoping I can get back into the grind by the end of this week – don’t we always do? and before you know it, the time off or that lovely vacation is just a fading memory.

I am trying to keep positive this new year. I don’t exactly love my job, but right now it pays the bills, and I am focused on finding myself a new one this year. Time to start networking again! Other than finding a new job, I want to spend time my free time doing the things I love, instead of wasting time idly surfing the web. Writing is one of them – I plan to enrol in a creative writing class in February. I also want to continue with my Yoga practice.

Speaking of Yoga, one of my favourite Yoga studios in the city is YogaBe. They are located in the Path which makes it very convenient to drop by during work or after work. The studio has small class sizes, so it is not overwhelming. The instructors are amazing and they have a variety of classes. If you want to try a class, try a class with David Good, he is amaaazing! My favourite classes are Computer Back (if you sit at a computer all day, this class is for you!), Beginner Basics, and Flow and Restore.

In addition to Yoga, I want to focus on my diet and eat as healthy as possible. I want to cook at home more often and incorporate more whole foods into my diet. I also want to listen to more health podcasts. One of my favourite local health podcasts is the Ultimate Health Podcast, by @Marni Wasserman and @Jesse Chappus. This podcast covers a range of topics and introduced me to the world of healthy eating and living!

Stay positive everyone!

XOXO

torontoGal

 

Finding Your Passion

Have you ever wondered how many people you come across that actually love their job? I remember a partner at the first law firm I worked at tell me that she works to make money to do the things she loves. Do you treat your job as a means to an end? Or, do you want to go into work everyday loving what you do, finding passion at your job and feeling like you have made a difference? I belong to the latter category. I want to enjoy what I do, I want it to be meaningful and what I do for a living forms an essential part of me. This is where the dreamer in me comes to life – do I like my current job? Absolutely not! Do I continue dreaming about finding my passion? Do I even know what that is? Will I end up broke and homeless if I do follow my passion?

I like writing – I want to become a freelance writer someday. I am also passionate about food (let’s clarify – eating good food, not cooking it!) and I enjoy engaging in academic research. Hard to pin it down right? Life’s practicalities also come into play – mortgage, student loans and bills. It come as no surprise then as to why so many people are in jobs they hate, finding your passion isn’t that easy and even when you do, implementing a course of action to turn that passion into a full-fledged career is not an easy task!

What’s my plan? For now, I will continue doing what I am doing, use my free time to engage in writing and hopefully things will fall into place.

Are you in a job you hate? What are you doing about it?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.