Hi everyone, happy Sunday!
It feels weird getting back to my WordPress dashboard and typing about everything that’s gone on in the past month and a half. It feels weird even typing that, a month and a half? What? How? It’s been a whole month and a half since I returned from travelling and then transplanted my entire life to Toronto.
This is pretty much how everything went:
Day 1: Get on a plane with two suitcases and entrust two other suitcases to my mom to ship after she dropped me off. Four suitcases. That was all I had to show for my 22 years. Land in Toronto and get to my best friend’s place. And of course, in the spirit of my first night in Toronto, go out and stay out until 5am.
5 days in: I found a teeny-tiny apartment to call home. This apartment wasn’t even listed online–I went to a separate apartment viewing and which the landlord refused to rent to me since I was unemployed at the time. He didn’t want to risk signing me for the initial apartment so instead he offered me a cheaper apartment elsewhere. He said he liked me and wanted to help me out. I lucked out like crazy! The Gods were on my side with this one, it was on the exact street I wanted and I’ve never felt so at home as I do in my new community. There’s a ramen place I went to 10 times within my first two weeks of living at the new spot. more coffee shops than even a coffee-lover like me can handle, a library (!!!) less than a five-minute walk away, and a clothing store that I intuitively slow down in front of each time I walk past (and I walk past it at least twice a day). I haven’t let myself go inside said clothing store yet, but as soon as I save up enough to rebuild my savings a little I’m going on a full-blown shopping spree and I cannot wait. There’s also a poster shop that I’ve been eyeing–there’s more white space in my studio than I want right now and I’m glad I don’t have to go far to fix that. And to top it all off, the apartment was under my budget by a lot (a down payment in the next few years is feasible now!!! “Nemee the homeowner”, it’s got a great ring to it)
1.5 weeks in: Got a bartending job in a ritzy part of the city and turned down two other bartending jobs. Still frantically sending off emails for full-time office jobs during the day at this point.
3 weeks in: The bartending job I was hired at never got back to me about a schedule. Starting to freak out a little since I’m spending money a lot faster than I’m making it (HA, jokes because I wasn’t making anything at all). Two phone calls to the lounge later and two confirmations that they would get back to me about a schedule I started panicking and resumed my search for bartending work. At this point I cut down on the ramen intake realizing that although I’d saved a lot of money, spending money in the city was just too easy (the woes of having an amazing ramen spot right across where you live).
4 weeks in: Hired at another ritzy lounge 10 meters away from the original lounge I was hired it–lesson for anyone else that has their hopes made and then dashed: if you can’t work where you initially wanted, go work for the competition. With a spring in my step and excited to finally be working after five months of not, I kept looking for daytime jobs. After about two weeks of being in Toronto and sending my resume off to over a hundred digital marketing agencies, receptionist openings, recruitment agencies, a few law firms, and other office settings and getting fewer replies than I thought was possible I realized that the degree I had worked so hard for wasn’t enough. All I’d come up with at this point was a temporary receptionist position for five days in November and December. I knew Toronto would be competitive, but the only things I was being hired for were door-to-door or event sales jobs, or as a customer services agent at call centers, and those weren’t positions I wanted. An even more important lesson learned at this point: save your money because you will need it if you’re going to hold out for something you want.
6 weeks in (cue the present day): I’m all done training for two jobs: working as a part-time receptionist in the first half of the week and bartending in the ritzy lounge in the second half of the week. It’s not what I anticipated I’d be doing but nowadays even receptionist jobs need at least two years of administrative experience and as a recent graduate I don’t have that. So instead I’m gaining my office experience in a dynamic and creative environment and making my money bartending. Luckily I get to work with great people at both jobs, and if the temp. position has shown me anything it’s that I can’t work in a stuffy office without windows. Sunlight is key.
What I’m also learning, after interviewing for entry-level positions in a marketing firm and a law firm, is that even entry-level positions will take on the individuals who have the most experience. This might sound straight-forward or, well, dumb on my part but I always figured entry-level positions were for people who needed to gain experience. They’re not. Even if the job description says you don’t need experience, if you have it you’re more likely to get that role. What that means for people fresh out of university, unless you’re graduating with a degree in accounting or finance where your career path is clearly marked, is that you’ll need to create experience for yourself.
The way I see it as a receptionist I’m learning skills like accounting, scheduling, and Excel. As a bartender I’m making money to pay for nice things and nice experiences. Outside of work I’ll be learning new skills, particularly graphic design and social media marketing (using my blog as my space to practice), so that in the next year or so I can move into the industries that I want to work in.
It’s been weird and scary, and definitely daunting, to be staring at all these realizations in the face. With moving you learn the hard way most of the time. I never thought I was naive about what life after university was going to be like, but I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it has. On the whole though, I’m so lucky. I have two exciting jobs, one of which will help me gain the experience I need to eventually work in an office; I have a cute little studio to call home; I’m reunited with my closest friends from university; and the dating scene in Toronto is so much better than I could’ve anticipated.
Moving from Vancouver, with a population of 650,000, to Toronto, with a population of 3 million, the pace of this city impresses me on a daily basis. The sheer size and the number of different communities and all the stuff to do and see makes me feel so at home. And I’ve never felt as at home in a city than I have in Toronto in the past month and a half. I moved here after only spending 20 hours here previously, I took a risk and the risk paid off.
Moving is always weird and difficult but having goals has made it much more organized and easier to take on. I created a list of goals a few days before moving and here’s my progress so far:
- Move in to a studio in a fun part of the city. Somewhere I could see myself living for at least 1-2 years: ACHIEVED
- Get a bartending job where I could meet new people and be sure to make good money: ACHIEVED
- Get a job that’ll get me closer to my goal of working in the publishing industry: sort of achieved–I’m getting office experience and that’s a first step right?
- Read two books a month to keep me grounded and pay attention to the things I like : MORE THAN ACHIEVED, I read four books in November
- Go to one networking event per month: difficult to do in the first month and a half but it’s on my list of goals for 2018
- Get involved in the Toronto art scene: This one has been harder than I anticipated. I sent out over fifteen emails to art galleries inquiring whether they needed volunteers or had any open positions. I got two emails back saying they didn’t have anything available. I got in touch with two separate art festivals inquiring about volunteer opportunities and still nothing. Still working on it though.
- Get into a regular gym routine: MORE THAN ACHIEVED. While I was still applying for jobs going to the gym was so important in helping create a routine. I need to be productive and working on things, without the pressure of deadlines and a schedule I get depressed, and quickly. Luckily getting back to the gym and having something to go to each day gave me a purpose while I was going to interviews and hoping for a job offer
Things are going different than expected but after a month and a half in I’m settling into a routine that I’m enjoying. I’m feeling at home, exploring the city, going on dates, and hanging out with the friends I missed so much after they graduated. I’m excited to be learning new skills and to see where this blog goes. I’ll be posting next week about my goals for 2018 and moving has definitely clarified how I want 2018 to shape up. I’ve also gone on the entire post without mention, but my birthday is later this month too!
The holidays are an incredibly packed time of year for me, and this year I’ll be turning 23. It feels like I’m finally an adult (although what it means to be an adult is an elusive thing). Anyways, a goals post is up next and I’m excited to share what I want 23 and 2018 to be.
Happy Friday everyone! And for anyone moving soon or in the process of moving now, know that it gets easier and you’ll make it!