When I was working at BMO, there was no place I loved more on a Thursday night than Earls. It’s the place I went to let loose and slam back pints after a long week at work. The reason I loved Earls was because it felt like home. Every person in that restaurant had a life as messed up as mine. No matter what random conversation I struck up, the person could relate to the life I was living. It was a bar packed with young professionals who had all forgotten why they were there in the first place.
When I think back to working on Bay Street, I inevitably think about Earls. I will never forget the first time I went in. I had just started working as an analyst and I had been sent to get dinner for the team. As I arrived to pick up my order, the host asked me if I wanted a glass of champagne as I waited. I took the glass, sat down and was hooked.
Earls wasn’t just a restaurant; it was a window into the Bay Street lifestyle. It was the bar that offered a taste of the good life without the extremely high price tag. Most young Bay Streeters dream of one day being rich and living the corporate card lifestyle of the executive class; Earls represents the first step towards that dream.
Unfortunately, most people don’t have the stamina to push their way to the top of the corporate latter. When they start out on the Street, they think they have the rest of their life figured out. They figure that going forward life will just keep get better. The hours will get improve, the pay will go up and the work will get more interesting.
This “everything to gain” mindset is exactly what you feel when you step into Earls for the first time. You know it’s a step up from the student bars you used to frequent and you expect that over time you’ll gravitate to even classier establishments.
Too often, however, your nights out end up mirroring your career and just like the way you feel about your job, two years later you find yourself in the same place. You realize that the hours haven’t gotten any better, that you now have more responsibility and that your stress levels are up tenfold. You begin to question yourself and wonder if it does in fact get better eventually. You will look around at your bosses and really contemplate if this is the life you want.
At this point, Earls’ prestige has worn off. You figured you would be eating steaks at Jacobs, but you’re not; instead you’re still pounding fish tacos and Cajun chicken dinners like they’re going out of style.
In other words, the Bay Street grind can lead to a sense of disillusionment. To keep your head straight, it’s important to remember what drove you to this career in the first place. Take the time to appreciate the progress you’ve made, but don’t get stuck. If Jacob’s is where you want to be, plot your route to get there and make it happen.
What Are You Competing On (Seth Godin)