The doctor is IN. The first patient is Alicia. She has applied for an email diagnosis, after reading this therapeutic blog for most of a year:

I am not writing to you about real estate, though. I’m writing because I can tell from your personality that you will understand my predicament more than most others and maybe even offer some advice.

I am 25. I have an MBA and work for a fortune 500 company making close to $100,000 per year. I am not bragging about this, because I HATE this job. I hate working in an office, I hate what I do, and I hate this city. I am from small town Ontario and enjoy the simple things – weekends with loved ones, cottages, and having a lawn. I want desperately to live a simpler life where I can make a comfortable living and not spend every ounce of free time feeling sick with worry about work. This job is making me a boring person, and an unhealthy person as well.

There are 2 issues I have. 1) Golden handcuffs – I have $30,000 left on my student loan and can’t think of a better way to pay it off. Plus I live in Toronto, so even now I am just barely average. 2) I don’t even know what i want to do, I just know that it isn’t this. It’s worrying to think about leaving the ideal situation for something when I don’t even know what it is. I have about $20,000 in the bank and could suspend my student loan payments if I had to. This could last me for over 6 months. The current economic situation makes me think that I would seriously regret this, but anyone that sees what this job is doing to me would understand. I seriously feel like it’s killing me sometimes.

You seem to have taken an unorthodox path. I just have a feeling that you could offer some advice. I’m not afraid of hard work and I’m good with people, I just don’t know how to apply my skills.

Well, Alicia, in a moment I will throw your sweet flesh to the blog dogs. Some of them, I know, will consider you a whiny, spoiled, impetuous, self-centered brat child. After all, when thousands of people are losing their jobs every week, how in conscience could you kiss off a six-figure income?

They will say, Ally, you have no idea how easy it is to hate you. After all, there hasn’t been a serious recession since you were in pigtails and training wheels, and here you are just sliding from college into a cushy job which you’re treating like a broken nail. You have no idea whatsoever the misery and despair millions of people are feeling now – people who have more than their own pampered asses to worry about, burdened with the responsibility of caring for others in an uncaring world.

With the economy in a spiral, with retirees crushed at the sight of their life savings vanishing, with young couples seeing debt overflow their homes and others sick every morning thinking this could be the last day of work, you ask for sympathy? How dare you?

So, prepare yourself. Brutal, babe.

But if you’re want my opinion, as questionable as it always is, I say this: flee.

A defining moment in my own life, Ally, came when I was your age, less than two years out of school and three years married. We had it made. Dorothy landed a coveted job teaching high school in a Toronto suburb, and I scored the position of editor with a large regional newspaper. We leased a flashy apartment, and bought two shiny cars to get to our shiny new jobs. We were so smart. So I thought.

Then Dorothy got sick, and threw up every day and cried every night. She was totally stressed at being an authority figure to a bunch of delinquents, yet more stressed at the thought she’d be a failure in the eyes of parents and society by finding something suited to her gentle nature. We tried to talk it through. We tried time out. Nothing worked. She worsened.

One night one of our shiny cars was parked outside a hospital somewhere. Inside Dorothy was getting shot up with Demerol to control a seizure that hit her as we drove the 401. The doctor held up a scan of her stomach and said it looked like that of a 45-year old. She was 24.

The next day I drove to her school and quit for her. I drove to my paper and quit for me. We sold the cars, bought a beater and moved to an old house in a distant city where I got a job as night editor at the crappy local daily. In a month, she was smiling again. In six, she got a job taking pictures. And not a day goes by 35 years later that I regret my decision. Better, not a day passes we don’t remember that as our best house.

Get out, Alicia. Get out.


For Garth’s latest podcast, click here.



#1 Joren on 03.09.09 at 10:12 pm

I agree with Garth. Money is not the be all and end all. Though I have to admit that I could put up with an awful lot of stress unhappiness to make 6 figures a year. Now the others here?

Incoming in 3…2…1….

#2 Anon on 03.09.09 at 10:27 pm

Seconded. Money is not the be all and end all. Go and do something that makes you happy. If you work that one out in your twenties, I would say you’re ahead of the game.

#3 CS on 03.09.09 at 10:27 pm

I am so glad you gave the advice you did Garth and I totally agree, for whatever that’s worth. I had what was supposed to be a great job with the RCMP in my 20’s, and 2 little kids depending on me. I was a colour-outside-the lines kinda girl, a writer at heart, and the strict regimen of my job was killing me. One day my back seized up and I lterally fell over at work and I got ambulanced out, then I cried for days. And then I quit my job, moved into a cheaper rental, and did ‘so-what’ jobs while I learned how to breathe again. My kids had less stuff and more mom and they were much happier. Just before I left the job, I used to say I felt like my soul was dying – no point in having the big pay cheque if you are losing your soul, girl.
Alicia, if you can stand it for a short time longer, say 6 months, cut back on absolutely everything. Pay down the student loan, save some and then get outta Dodge. If you have really had it right now, take the student loan suspension, your $20,000 and…flee. You are obviously smart and you are very young, you have time to learn how to breathe again, somewhere where there are cottages and green grass – go find them, hon.

#4 Foreign Investor on 03.09.09 at 10:30 pm

Good for you Garth!

I spent ten years of extreme stress owning a franchised fast food outlet. One of my friends, a fellow franchisee in the same chain died of a stress induced heart attack!

Those ten years took twenty years off of my life!

Good for you Garth!

#5 Observer on 03.09.09 at 10:31 pm

This all falls under the same infection that has fallen onto all of us over the last two decades. We have become obsessed with having all the monetary trinkets we can muster. I had lost everything in the Dot Com bust and was a wreck, both physically and mentally for the better part of 2 years. Everything I had scraped and built gone, nothing but debt left. I was with my 3 year old daughter at a function where I ran into a very dear friend of mine. He is an extremely successful German businessman with many furniture factories in Europe. He saw how much weight I had lost and how distraught I looked. He then told me he just got back from Germany because his two year old grandson was sick, leukemia. They told his son there was nothing that could be done so he thought he would go to straighten out the matter. He met with the doctors and ensured them that they had had carte blanche to “fix” the problem. Cost was not an obstruction, just get to it. They spent a month traveling from hospital to hospital all over Europe, but all of them had the same conclusion in that it was only a matter of time. He looked at me, then turned to my very healthy playful daughter, then said to me, “I will trade you all that I have, everything, to have my grandson be like her.” Would you be willing to trade all your problems, for the measly one that I have? Needless to say, my life has never been the same since. We only pass through here once, focus on what’s important.

#6 David W. on 03.09.09 at 10:34 pm

What you have now is something that many would covet… but if you are sure it is not for you… get out.

Leave that opportunity for someone who is better suited to it and who will love it and the lifestyle it requires.

In the words of Joseph Campbell… “follow your bliss”.

#7 meemee on 03.09.09 at 10:39 pm

Absolutely. Don’t sacrifice your health. You will find a way. Put the loans on hold, get a working VISA, go travel and work some temp jobs overseas. Come back in a year or two after having the time of your life, gaining a little perspective, and perhaps realizing how you want to apply your skills. Life is too short. You are too young!

#8 Paul on 03.09.09 at 10:39 pm

Something must have got you to take the job in the first place. Roll up a fatty and relax for a few years and save.

#9 [email protected] on 03.09.09 at 10:40 pm

Is this the sign of our societal values changing? Where we value free time and family values and human relationships? Where modesty comes before affluence. NA needs to change.

#10 gloom and doom on 03.09.09 at 10:46 pm

I have though about doing the same thing myself…not sure what I want to do so I continue to go to a job that I hate. I agree with Garth, get out and try to find something that makes you happy. Just pay off the debt and have some cash in the bank before you do.

#11 James Pike on 03.09.09 at 10:48 pm

Get out is obvious to me as well. I think you are in a position to plan your exit a little more than Garth, however. I think the process of doing that planning will make your job more tolerable in the short term. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to come to a decision/plan how to figure out what you want to do. Make lists of things and narrow it down to 5 and figure out how to test the waters. Keep reexamining with what you learn about yourself. Volunteer, read, talk to people. At the same time set some boundaries on your current job. Doing it competently is different from killing yourself. Aim for competent and no more. What is the worst that can happen? Don’t make the same mistake again. Listen to your small town heart the whole time – they are a lot smarter than people give them credit for.

#12 Ultraman on 03.09.09 at 10:49 pm

This job will take every bit of your soul and will kill you. You never regrets decision that you make. What you regret are decision that you didn’t take. The money is nothing. Be grateful that you have the freedom to be able to make such a choice.

#13 Jeremy on 03.09.09 at 10:50 pm

Agreed, good advice Garth.

#14 Harold on 03.09.09 at 10:53 pm

Been there, done that. At age 54 I had an unexpected serious heart attack brought on mostly by job stress. I got out then and there and now make much less than I did then but have no regrets. I loved what I did but hated the environment in which I did it. When I think back on the bullshit I was expected to take in that job I realize that it wasn’t worth it at twice the pay.

#15 Bruce on 03.09.09 at 10:55 pm

It takes a while for comments to get put up sometimes, so I have no idea how many people I’m echoing, but I’d have to say that if your health isn’t seriously threatened by your job stress then first pay off your debts, and THEN flee. $30k is a serious amount of debt if your next job (assuming you can find one where you want to live) is somewhere within sight of the poverty line.

If you keep in mind that you’re quitting as soon as you can anyway, you should find it easier to not worry about your job when you aren’t at the office. What’s the worst that can happen? You get fired? Welcome to the future you wanted in the first place.

#16 Pat on 03.09.09 at 10:57 pm

Hi Ally – If you are miserable and unhappy – let someone have that dream job that will appreciate it and that will make them happy – BUT first make sure it is the job. I work in the counselling profession – and I have met with many, many people that talk about the 1 thing that could change to make them happy, healthy and their life would be perfect – BUT that thing changes (the marriage, their place of employment, their location, their boss) and they find out – that wasn’t it – they are still unhappy. So, ask yourself – is this the REAL issue – is there something else that I am just not addressing??

#17 MMMM Squirrel on 03.09.09 at 10:59 pm

I am with Garth and Joren. I work with lots of people that earn six figures++ and most of them are quite miserable.

Many have created lifestyles that now require them to maintain the job they hate so much…..big houses…..two new cars…..expensive vacations. And they have been on this track so long they have forgotten there is another way to live.

I dont like whats happening with the fiscal situation right now, but I hope that an uninted outcome might be that we come to realize that life is about so much more than working. I say bring back the four day week and lets restore some balance.

#18 Lance on 03.09.09 at 11:00 pm

Money isn’t everything by a long shot. Look at how greed and keeping up with the Joneses has got us in the current pickle we’re in.

My wife and I lived very happily on my $40k/year income for several years while she was going through school and likewise lived very happily on her $50k/year job when it was my turn. If two people can live off of $40k/year and be happy, one person can do it that much easier.

Find out what makes you happy, take some time off if it helps. If you hate your job, you will never learn to love it and will only grow more and more bitter as the years go on. Do yourself a favour and look after your mental health and happiness first and foremost.

One thing that living on a low income teaches you is how to survive with a small amount of cash. And when you start to make more, it’ll be that much easier to save the extra. My wife and I still live like we’re making a combined $50k a year even though we bring home double that now.

#19 Bay Street Lawyer on 03.09.09 at 11:00 pm

I’m on Alicia’s side. I’m 31. As you can tell from the handle, I have a good job. I grew up on Cape Breton Island and now live in downtown Toronto. I’m six months married.

When I was younger, I once told someone who asked that I would consider my life a failure if I did not have children.

Now, given the economics, given my work commitments, given this City… I find myself questioning whether my life has room for children.

This isn’t what I wanted. But I don’t have the guts to change it.

#20 Stoneleigh on 03.09.09 at 11:02 pm

Where did the idea of a beet-powered Mac come from in the last comment thread? For some reason, this site does not let either of us post here, at least from home. We get a message telling us our computers have viruses, which is odd since Ilargi’s is a Mac and mine is a PC, so it’s very unlikely they’d be suffering from the same problem. I have no trouble reading and posting while I’m away, as I am now (in your neck of the woods as it happens).

Ilargi and I both watched your TVO interview the other day. Both of us agreed with much of it, but not with your prescription near the end. Neither of us would touch equities with a bargepole right now. Neither of us sees a light at the end of the tunnel either, although I do think a major sucker rally is coming that could last several months. I fully expect people to think the worst is over by some time this summer, just in time for the light at the end of the tunnel to be revealed as an on-coming train.

IMO deflation will end when the (small amount of) remaining debt is acceptably collateralized to the (few) remaining creditors, in other words once deleveraging has run its course. My guess is that this will take a minimum of several years. I would also say that depression is a given during that time, and a depression worse than the last one at that. Right now we’re still much closer to a top than to a lasting bottom.

We never sugar coat anything at TAE. We know perfectly well that this makes us sound extreme. Imagine how it sounded when we said in 2006 that a credit crunch was coming, complete with bank failures. We were considered part of the lunatic fringe back then.

#21 Knight in Shining Armour on 03.09.09 at 11:02 pm

Alicia, want a new boyfriend? Together, we can use your big bucks to buy all the happiness in the world. And no, my real name is not Kevin Fedderline.

#22 Vankover on 03.09.09 at 11:02 pm

Your job is killing you – quit. The advice Garth gave you is the same I also gave of a former student of mine – today as a matter of fact. Not worth it. Leave…quickly.

#23 Danny on 03.09.09 at 11:03 pm

I’m with Garth here. Get out and be happy.
You gotta do what makes you happy.
Throw out ‘need of approval / shiny job at big city’
badge and do what feels right for you.

However, I find it a bit funny that I am going through
somewhat similar pain but my trouble comes from
living in sub area.

I am city boy by my nature and I find even downtown
Vancouver extremely boring.
I absolutely hate quite area.
I don’t want lawn or backyard. I want loud city.

Funny how different people are, huh?

Good luck with your decision.

#24 MSC on 03.09.09 at 11:07 pm

I’ve had serious job stress for a lot less than that. But money is hardly the issue here. Relentless stress at work is a killer. Garth presented a great example.

#25 jj on 03.09.09 at 11:09 pm

Alicia. Leaving a job you hate is a win win situation.
First you will save your sanity and gives you the opportunity to try out the ones you really like. You’re still young. You can pay off that loan even if you get a job at Wall Mart.

Second, you may just give up that job who loves it and really needs it and who have other mouths to feed. At times like this, we need saviours like yourself.

#26 hal on 03.09.09 at 11:11 pm

Alicia: been there done that like uncle Garth. Life is not about money or possessions. It’s about being happy and having quality relationships. Bail. ps I’m 60 years old.

#27 Mi Too Bitz on 03.09.09 at 11:17 pm

Ally, Get Out…

Here’s why.

I have learned a few things on the way. Some things I have learned by watching others (successes and mistakes) but most things I’ve learned the hard way.

The best lesson that I’ve learned in my life is “DO NOT TRY TO BARGAIN WITH YOUR INTUITION” It NEVER works.

I bet you’ve done the whole gamut too.

You’ve bargained with God “if you make this or that better, I’ll do this or that differently”.

You’ve compared yourself to others….”My situation sucks but his or hers is worse” (…doesn’t make your situation better).

You’ve compared yourself with yourself….”I’m making more than I was a year ago. It’s better than that time I had to eat noodles and mayo for dinner…ad infinitum

You’ve cried.

You’ve made cosmetic changes. *bought something for yourself because you ‘deserve’ it.

You’ve told your friends and family your predicament. They’ve told you to quit. You’re not satisfied with that answer. Some told you to stay. You’re not satisfied with that answer either.

You’ve worn our all your friends and family, so you’ve logged onto blogs looking for someone to magically make the decision THAT YOU ONLY CAN MAKE. You KNOW what you have to do…but you’re paralyzed with fear to do it. You want somebody else to do it for you. That way, if it doesn’t turn out, you can blame THEM.

Quit bargaining with your intuition. You’ll end up at best on meds to ‘calm your nerves’ and at worst with a hole in your head.

Peace, inner and outer.

#28 lgre on 03.09.09 at 11:20 pm

no amount of money is worth your health, if your health is in jepordy, quit asap. Stress is the root cause of many health related issues in todays world.

#29 60ish on 03.09.09 at 11:24 pm

Alicia, your story sure bring back memories.

Mid 80’s, I was in the same boat. Big bucks with a Fortune 500 company (P&G). There were offers of promotions, but they required relocating in Toronto.

We had a joke within our division — a consumer contest. The first prize was an all expense paid, one week trip to Toronto. The second prize — two weeks in Toronto.

Didn’t do it. Went to work for smaller companies using some of the same skills. Made a lot less money, but didn’t need as much out in the ‘sticks’. I’d be retired now, if it wasn’t for Mr. Harper’s big ‘income trust lie’. But in spite of the market over the past year, I can almost retire now. Have led a hell of a great life in considerably smaller cities.

And the Mrs and I will probably move to an even smaller city when we do ‘pull the pin’. More house for fewer dollars. Nicer life style…

Your health and happiness are infinitely more important than the big bucks. Only certain people thrive in the Toronto pressure cooker. You’ve got to get out, if that’s what your gut is telling you. If you’re worth $100K in Toronto, you’re worth good money almost anywhere.

#30 squidly77 on 03.09.09 at 11:25 pm

poor child
25 years old and making $100,000 a year and shes depressed because she doesnt like her job
i wonder if shes ever gone hungry
in my 46 years especially when i was in my twenties me and my brother would occasionally go hungry because we would spend all our money on booze and women

but i was happy

#31 Chincy on 03.09.09 at 11:26 pm

The answer is really quite simple…trust and follow your intuition and your gut…from the way you wrote, I would be surprised if you were still working there tomorrow morning. Good luck to you but it doesnt sound like you need it compared to alot of others.

#32 Ivana Peace on 03.09.09 at 11:27 pm

Garth, you are a kind man.
You had enough compassion for this young person to tell her she is allowed her feelings, they are valid. To tell her she is not a failure for giving up a well paying job that may make her ill in time.
If more of us followed suit, I wonder if we would have a better world. I dont think humans are haters, but are made to become haters b/c of economic and power interests.
In my opinion a lot of what is going on in our society today is about waste, living way beyond our means.
And I dont think we become happier b/c of it.
In the end what matters more is that we have friends to walk to, than nobody to drive to in a Hummer.

#33 Crash on 03.09.09 at 11:31 pm

I agree with you as well Garth. I have also left jobs where I felt it was not a good fit for me or the dysfunctional management made it too difficult for the staff to function properly. Money isn’t everything, and since we have to spend 8 hours a day at work, it may as well be something somewhat rewarding. It doesn’t have to be barrels of fun, it is work after all, but it is nice to get some reward for our efforts. Someone with the smarts to earn an MBA shouldn’t have trouble getting some work that’s more suitable to them, perhaps she could even start her own business. It’s times like these that can offer the most opportunity.

#34 No dilemna here on 03.09.09 at 11:32 pm

I could throw a ton of cliches at Alicia such as “you can’t take it with you” or “there are no luggage racks on hearses” but that would only trivialize the issue.
As someone who left a high salary job to follow a more altruistic path I can say five years later I am happier and wealthier with more time for family, fun and fitness. I can honestly say I feel 10 years younger. To top it off, the money more or less has worked out- I spend a lot less as I have time to do the things I used to have to hire someone to do.
The only caveats are way less status and the trappings.
You have to be willing to be a nobody.
Besides, a 25 year old with an MBA? If there was ever someone who could afford to roll the dice…..

#35 In 2 Deep on 03.09.09 at 11:34 pm

I wish i had that choice. Run and never look back. Do what every insane :) person here wishes they had done.

#36 hobbygirl on 03.09.09 at 11:37 pm

Quality of life and peace of mind are worth their weight in gold.

You are lucky you are learning early on in your life how important that is, some of us had to go through years of torture to get the point. I give you credit for having a high common sense IQ which is rare these days.

I love my small house and less than stellar socioeconomic standing and wouldn’t have it any other way.

#37 Lee MacFarlane on 03.09.09 at 11:37 pm

Ok, ya, I’ll put my two cents in.

there is no other option… leave. @ least you’ll live free for 6 months then dead in a month…

i know this is on the edge or weird side, but you may find comfort in getting help through the company too. Usually companies provide councilling services that will help you through… and hey if your a sensitive pisces or something… go see an astrologer, JUST DO SOMETHING!

Everyone can say they have 3 kids and can’t afford to feed them, but heh… you don’t have kids… again do something!


#38 Norm on 03.09.09 at 11:38 pm

What a wonderful and moving testimonial. Thanks for sharing that experience Garth.

#39 Sam on 03.09.09 at 11:39 pm

Alicia, what do you do? I am preparing my resume. I hope to apply to your job. I am to an MBA, working a crappy job but only making 65g.

Please let me know where you work.

#40 kanata squirrel on 03.09.09 at 11:39 pm

I make plenty and your number does not make me blink in the least. Tell you the truth if I was in my 20’s I’d go back and get PHD in antropology since that is far more interesting than IT and Management consulting.

My wife and I made a decision, I bring in the cash, but she stays home and keeps the family wholesome. Life at home with my 2 kids and wife is very nice since I see the love my boys get. Both couples in the rat race with kids not having parents to take care of them is aweful in my view.

Do I like what I do? I have plenty of experience to do what I like and make it fun where I work. If my bosses (clients) don’t like it, I’ll go elsewhere … bottom line is a do my best, I bring out the best in people around me and in the end make sure my work environment is great for everyone.

However, it takes time be at this level and at times you have to deal with crap along the way – or you don’t and move one.

Personally I think you should:

1. Pay off your debt.
2. Money is not everything but if you have something steady, be yourself and start enjoying life – your boss doesn’t like it … so what? They will tell you and then you can chose to go else.
3. If you reallly hate it, get the next job and move on.
4. You are young, so chill out. In my 20’s I was very intense with my career – now it’s a paycheck and a way to enjoy life for my kids.
5. Self-actualization … I get elsewhere.
6. Leave at a normal time and be balanced … I’m a director and when someone is balanced I respect that. You bosses should do … otherwise what? F them.
7. Get a less paying job with less stress and more fun. If you can get 80K with no over time (OT) or your job with crazy OT … do the math and figure out what you want. $20K after taxes is $10K at your bracket. $10K/12. =$830 extra month. IF you are working 40 hours OT a month that’s $21 a hour … is that worth your time? Maybe or maybe not. Then consider daily travels, rent in TO, …. BTW TO suck, move to Ottawa.

Good luck

#41 Marti on 03.09.09 at 11:43 pm

Alice, when I was 27 I was doing very well in terms of income, and a couple of years later I was very close to the 6 figures. Life as a bachelor was nice, had amazing business trips, the car, the platinum AA card, professional exposure and people admired me, friends and clients.

Although not like you, I loved the job, the pace and the rewards. But I also distanced myself from my family, I became arrogant, impatient and hard. 7 years later I left the job, and my friends were in shock. How could I leave such a “paradise”! But to me, it actualy felt like a relief.

I got back in touch with my loved ones, I listened and cared more and my health got much better. I discovered that a simpler, healthier life (this is just my opinion) is more rewarding. I have learned to become self-reliant, fixing things in the car and around the house myself and I’ve taken the time to go back to school for a masters degree. Although I’m still in sales and exports, I make less than before but I also worry less, enjoy my time more and have a different perspective on what’s really important for me.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that money is not everything, but health and love and hapiness is.

#42 Bulls eye on 03.09.09 at 11:47 pm

Actually I can relate with Alice… With a background in Hospitality I eventually made my way over to the big Oil and Gas companies in Calgary. This move was done because of the massive bubble that was growing in the city. I felt that day by day things were getting expensive and the wage gap between the two left me with changing careers. I too don’t like my job and especially the stress these days of falling commodity prices. Secretly I look forward to the collapse – sombre days in the city were things are more realistic. Maybe we can once again attract Doctors, Nurses, Artist, etc. and with all the free time again – enjoy life.

#43 hobbygirl on 03.09.09 at 11:52 pm

Following up on my previous post, I also worked at a job I hated and walked away for my own good. I was an inspector with Canada Customs making good coin but having to put up with constant yelling from irate travelers accusing me of voting for whoever was the government of the day so I can get as much money from them as possible to outright violent offenders with no regard to rules of functioning and total indignant disrespect for humanity in general.

I learned in my years there that mortality was high likely due to mental stress, saw a few breakdowns in progress (a staffer threw an office chair clear across the room unwarranted, left and never returned), and a heart attack requiring air ambulance to our location at a remote highway crossing.

You might want to look around at your surroundings and see how many colleagues are older workers. I did. Pay attention next time you travel internationally and see how many 50 plus workers you see on your return; and no, they haven’t moved up into cushy management positions as there aren’t that many. Gee, where did they all go?

What’s the point of having a high paying job if you don’t live long enough to enjoy your life?

#44 Ted on 03.09.09 at 11:55 pm

Hi Alicia. I remember being your age without your situation, wage, but with all the angst of a job I hated. I had few opportunities to make it rich and the ones I had, I failed to realize or act upon. At 40, I am trying to scrape money together for a home for my family and with the sudden surge in home prices, I feel that renting an apartment is where I am destined to be; for good and bad.

I am not going to belittle your situation. Through intelligence, work, and a little luck you are making a good wage at an enviable time of your life. Listen to me very carefully –

Don’t quit your job.

Earn the money, save it up, and plan your exit. Get counselling and learn to destress in healthy ways. Plan to do something you’ve fantasized about doing (a pilot, a travel guide, a farmer, whatever); you can likely do most of these things with your intelligence and with the money you save.

Quit your job before you have positioned yourself to jump and your opportunities will diminish by leaps and bounds. Good luck to you.

#45 rory on 03.09.09 at 11:55 pm

Good for Alicia …she used what the system gave her … the problem I have is a 25 year old MBA …the MBA designation is becoming worthless …there is no experience behind it…sorry A.

As far as Garth’s advice …never fear leaving …the first one is hard and it gets easier after that …pay off the bills and remember it is easier to get a job if you already have one

#46 robotgirl on 03.09.09 at 11:55 pm

Well, all I can say is, if I felt the same way this girl does about her job, it would be the money that kept me going… for at least 10 years and I’d save like a squirrel so I can quit and use that money to do whatever I wanted. But that’s just my pain threshold. And according to some people the end of the world is in 2012.

#47 Chris L. on 03.09.09 at 11:56 pm

I say grin and bear it, but do it frugally. Save all you can for 2-5 years or as long as it lasts then book it. With $500k in Canada, one can be free. Buy 2 duplexes or more in a medium sized town, be mortgage free…you’ll be set for life. After that work on your passion, whatever it is. Or do as Garth says, life frugally and hope your passion can pay you what you are worth. Frugal is freedom, it always has been.

#48 GrammaHon on 03.09.09 at 11:57 pm

Good advice Garth…..good luck Alicia!

#49 RJAG2034 on 03.09.09 at 11:59 pm

Fair enough, good for you to have an MBA and land a 6 figure job at age 25. All these things, school, work and play count as experience and stepping stones to hopefully something better. A job is not a jail sentence and if thats how you feel, then make a decision.

So perhaps Garths right or maybe he isnt. Only you’ll find out. You’re gonna get every opinion under the sun on here. so my 2 cents while things are still sane (before someone tells you to move to vancouver and horde gold)

Set yourself some targets, yes you hate your job but what do you fear more? the idea of being shackled there for the next 10 years or the idea of not having anything to do to if you walk away?

So with targets you may be able to achieve what you want. Can you handle giving it a year before walking away? By doing that and focusing you could save some serious coin to set yourself up for the next step. And the good thing here is that every day you wake up you know you are one day closer to the last day.

Like anything you need a roadmap, plan it out and give yourself some end dates, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. We did and are mortgage free after 10 years.

Good luck

#50 Wealthy Renter on 03.09.09 at 11:59 pm

Garth should be profiling a couple having their “Oprah moment.” Picture a camera panning to a late twenty-something couple, weeping that they go to bed at night feeling crushed by a 800K mortgage they can ill afford, and smothered by credit card bills to pay for Ethan Allen furniture and trips to Swiss villas to go squirrel watching. I don’t worry about people like this either, but they would be much more fun to mock and heap scorn upon!

Perhaps wealthy renter is jealous of said people as he sits on Ikea furniture and makes frequent trips to the Swiss Chalet! :)

Alicia sounds like a thoughtful person. To choose to live a more simple life away from the Fortune 500 machine is a reasonable choice. And she has choice. I don’t worry about people like her. She has some savings, and she is relatively free from responsibility. She also has an excellent education and some work experience, so I would imagine that she could start up a small town, small business, and probably be quite successful.

#51 Republic_of_Western_Canada on 03.10.09 at 12:00 am

Make no extremes right now, despite Garth’s past.

Take your max vacation days off ASAP to somewhere you might like. Unwind. That’s what they’re for. Then get back to work to pay off the whole damn student loan, pronto.

Afterwards, look for a new job. The way things are going right now worldwide, you might not even have to quit by then. So you’ll get severance plus UIC. Or, maybe you’ll be promoted, or whatever broken process or people you’re dealing with will get changed or downsized by then.

Debt is crushing; get rid of that shit.

#52 George Walford on 03.10.09 at 12:01 am

My personal take would be, pay off your debts, then get out. You will find things far less stressful without debt over your head as you figure out where you want to go.

(Myself, I would stick it out, and invest in equities like crazy as they are so beaten down at the moment.)

#53 Roial1 (AKA) Al on 03.10.09 at 12:02 am

Alicia, Drop out.
I can tell you, from many years of experience in the school of hard knocks, that NO job that makes you feel bad is worth any amount of money.
For what it is worth: Take that 20,000 and buy an old (but tested) car and head East to the Maritimes.
Do the Cabot trail, then meander down to Yarmouth.
Then double back to see P.E.I. After that just follow your bent right across Canada till you find the place that just says stop here!
If you are like me, I made it all the way to Vancouver Island before I stopped.
That was 48 years ago and I am still here.

There was no work for me here in my trade (electronics) so I just reinvented myself and it worked.
I consider myself the luckiest man alive. As I found my place and life. (As in “get a life”)

Too Many don’t.

#54 Patrick on 03.10.09 at 12:06 am

hi Alicia:

I’m with Garth on this. I think that a stress-free life (or as stress-free as possible), is more important than making a six dollar figure. I am not sure what you will want to do, but you will find something, to match your personality, and make you happy, just like it did Garth. I used to work in a computer call centre. The money was not bad, but it was very stressful (think mental sweat shop). So when i had the opportunity to quit, i did. So now i make a bit of extra money repairing computers (i have a really wonderful small client base, of wonderful people, and it’s nice to have a small home business). The other thing is that i’m training in the alternative health field, so i’ll be needed in either field, and with the latter, recession or not. So i would say, follow your gut (except if you’re George W. Bush lol). It is never wrong :)


#55 prairie gal on 03.10.09 at 12:06 am

My time and integrity is worth way more than a 6 figure salary.

I have student loans too but I don’t let the bank dictate my career path. Be your own person.

God knows we could use a few less yes-men around here.

#56 victoria reader on 03.10.09 at 12:10 am

Better to be miserable in a $100,000 a year job than miserable in an $8 per hour job. Make sure you have a plan B before you leave, regret is an asskicker.

#57 Glenn on 03.10.09 at 12:10 am

Ah, how I love the whole concept of karma. The feminists spend 40 odd years kicking men in the teeth at every given opportunity, labelling all men closet pedophiles, and generally destabilizing society.

Now, all of the sudden they no longer want the “independence” they oh so loudly demanded? Is this the much vaunted “glass ceiling” the femnags drone on and on about? Now that its time to grind through a *mans* world of mind numbling wage slavery, all bets are off?

Hows the old joke go? Women have spent the last 40 years proving men have been right for the last 50,000? I would advocate letting this kid lay in the bed she and her ilk made, but with marriage rates at the lowest in recorded history AND the world slipping into The Second Great Depression, I dont see the point.

Fait accompli!

P.S. SOOOOO glad I married a foreign girl!

#58 Soylent Green is People on 03.10.09 at 12:10 am

Of course, something has to change. Go ahead, make plans to leave. But are you SURE you couldn’t pay off those school loans first over the next four months?

Go online and talk to a therapist. You need someone to help you frame out your situation a bit more. Perhaps with help you could temporarily change your attitude at work just until you get the loan paid off. You never know, it might work short term.

If you feel like killing yourself, resign tomorrow though. No job is worth that hell.

#59 Coombsgirl on 03.10.09 at 12:16 am

I also agree with Garth. I have quit very well paid jobs to ALWAYS follow my heart–and I have also never looked back! I was SOOOO miserable making triple what most people I knew made, but ultimately it didn’t matter and after reading Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins, I had the courage to quit–that was 14 yrs ago. I took a job making a third of what I had made and LOVED it…then another and another…Point was, I learnt that I had to always enjoy what I was doing and there was ALWAYS work for a good diligent worker. It was really, really worth it–i still have the occasional nightmare from having stuck it out 10 years before quitting…your heart and health will thank you…next….

#60 Happy Renter in North Van on 03.10.09 at 12:18 am

MBAs are the most useless inventions of the 21st century… They give their graduates the illusion they can lead without having any knowledge of the industry in which they are involved. My boss used to be a Harvard MBA who had absolutely no “street smarts” in the financial industry…

My advice to the 25 year old… You are paid too much for what you actually know… You’re overpaid… If you don’t quit, you will soon be fired…

#61 Just a Girl on 03.10.09 at 12:19 am

A lot of people give up jobs paying golden salaries, to stay home and raise their children, go to school, take care of a sick parent, or take some time out of life from the ‘golden handcuffs’ just to gain perspective.

Some people only find out who they are, by who they are not.

You are young, educated, employable, and deserving of so much more happiness. And, it seems a student loan is the only thing holding you back.

Not every decision is made for monetary reasons. You need to decide what your life’s legacy will be. Hanging onto a job you hate, because the money is too good, simply names your price.

#62 Steve on 03.10.09 at 12:21 am

If a complete exit is too scary, Alicia could ask her employer to allow a telecommuting arrangement. As long as her small town of choice has broadband, it may offer the best of both worlds.

#63 tsharpoon on 03.10.09 at 12:28 am

Alicia, for what it is worth, I truly admire your honesty.

I can truly say as a former small “towner” get the heck out and apply Garth Turners earned wisdom. I kindly say to you, get out as I have recently to do for self-gratifying decent reasons that are my own.

I am certain that more office grinder types in big urban centres will do the same. And we should take notice.

Personally, I subscribe to the belief that we as a society need to drive less, work from home more frequently where we get paid to produce. Ultimately, we should collectively begin to make more things here (Ontario) instead of importing from say, China. It comes down to conservation, a quality of life measured by less dependency on fossil fuel energy.

Why not consider back to the basics? I am not just talking ‘A World Made by Hand’ (see author J.H. Kunstler) type of existence, but with a ‘adios Globalism’ mentality and a contracting North American economy (‘over a cliff’ as Warren Buffet put it today) and Ontario facing the have-not title, I say we are in for a change in behaviour. Reality has a tendency for being non-negotiable.

Your existence in that office is yet another example of a toxic reality that is not to be underestimated for its depression factor. Those environmentally unfriendly, antiquated toxic arrangements designed to suit an outdated ideology of maximizing profits needs to be re-evaluated. I always felt that Terry Tate ‘Office Linebacker’ should regularly go on tour.

So, for the sake of your sanity, for the preservation of your creativity, for the sake of your physical well being, drop into HR and tell them someone might be better off. But be prepared, as I have found it is harder to do on your own but well worth it.

Or, take a note from my wife, who admits to looking forward to returning home from her ten by ten office to my home office only to discover a new recipe waiting for us (usually for under twenty bucks) simmering on the stove. That eaxample alone Alicia, is but one personal example of behavioral change in the age of uncertainty.

#64 Zoronqueen on 03.10.09 at 12:29 am

Hi Alicia,

I agree with Garth, get out while you can. You are still young, single with little debt so it’s sorta a no brainer.

However there are a few considerations. If the economy goes south, people with more specialize jobs will be let go. Do you move to a smaller city where you can still find a similar job? ie. Edmonton or Ottawa? Cause the likelyhood of you finding a job in your area in a small town is unlikely.

Whatever you decide, you must make a plan. At you can find a secure job through the govt or decide to persue something that you enjoy doing?

Also will you be willing to change your lifestyle ie. Do I earn enough to survive and still have some low style hobbies at 20K per year. Or I still have to keep some resemblance of a lifestyle making 50K or more per year. And in the downturn, those 50K jobs are going to be hard to find nevermind 100K….

Weekends with loved ones, cottages, and having a lawn, may have it’s upside but are you really prepared to give up your currently lifestyle?? No starbucks, weekly manicures, no gym, working for peanuts, small town gossip, shops that close early everyday, no restaurants, movie theatre, no Louis Vutton, no bars and driving a beater, there is no escape between your work life/social life….. ect….

I lived in Claresholm, Alberta for 1.5 years, and even though I’m not a high maintance type woman, it was not for me….

#65 Jennifer Smith on 03.10.09 at 12:30 am

I also agree. My husband used to make about $60,000 in IT cubicle hell, which at the time was probably the equivalent to $100,000 now. He hated it. He hated the commute, he hated the middle managers, and he hated the stress. He used to have full-blown panic attacks.

Then the bubble burst and he got laid off, which he believes is the best thing that ever happened to him. He continued working in the industry on and off on a consulting basis (something Alicia should consider) while he built up his leatherworking business, and is now making about 2/3 his previous income doing props and wardrobe work for film and television. And loving every minute of it.

Follow your bliss.

#66 Diane on 03.10.09 at 12:39 am

Is it the type of work you hate? Or is it the job?

If it is that particular job, look for another employer. It could be just the culture of the company you work for.

But consider moving from Toronto. It sounds like you hate the big city. Maybe you’d like living in a smaller one better. A smaller city would have a smaller cost of living too.

#67 ulsterman on 03.10.09 at 12:40 am

Alicia, it’s time to flee indeed. I took a job with the now ill-fate Royal Bank of Scotland on the trading floor. I’d just returned from a year travelling the world and this graduate-level job was supposed to be a dream job. What i walked into was stress, living in an over-priced, stressed London. My co-workers worked 12 hour days and the 30-year olds looked and acted like crushed 50-year olds.

I quit after 2 years of misery and moved from London to Vancouver. I’ve never looked back. Sure i could have made large amounts of money trading currency in London, but a) i’d probably have lost most of it had i stayed at RBS and b) i’d look and feel 20 years older than i am.

I’m not saying you should just walk out tomorrow, but start planning your exit NOW. If you are really this unhappy in your life staying where you are is going to slowly kill your spirit. Your family will get over their “disappointment” of not being able to tell their friends that you are a corporate go-getter. Being able to tell your friends and family that you look forward to going to work (like i now do) is far more fun.

The hard part for you is to find something to do. Ther will never be a perfect solution to your quest. Eventually you will have to get your plan 80% right and then just go for it. If it doesn’t work, you will learn from the experience and will probably find new opportunities where you never thought they’d exist.

Over to you Alicia, good luck.

#68 Jay Currie on 03.10.09 at 12:48 am

Alicia, Garth is dead right.

There is no good time to stop doing what you hate. There is just the courage to downsize, move out of TO, find something you like to do and, with luck, avoid ten years of misery – or a lifetime.

Which is not to say be rash or imprudent. Plan the move. If possible have a job lined up. Do a serious personal balance sheet. And don’t forget, after the numbers, to include the intangibles, the goodwill and the intellectual capital.

Scout around. Did you have a favorite prof in B-School? Do you have an out of town client you can talk to? Do you have any skills which are not covered by an MBA?

Making lists is cheap. What do you love doing? Who sells the things you really love working with? Which of your friends has a job you might be interested in? (No, you don’t take their job, you talk to their boss and find out about the business.)

Plus, recognize that you are 25! You have time to make a mistake or three. The critical thing being that you let yourself really try new things.

And here is a bet: not only will you be vastly happier, in five to ten years you will be offered opportunities which, if taken, will dwarf your present earnings.

Good luck!

#69 René Kabis on 03.10.09 at 12:50 am

Personally? I would apply the 20 Grand toward the student loan (assuming no other major debts), apply for a six-month loan suspension, and take off. You have six months to find something else in order to start making payments again.

Follow your dreams. Figure out what you love doing, and find some way to make a living off of it. You can’t buy happiness, but if you can make a life off of what makes you happy, you’re 10 steps ahead of the other 99.998% of humanity.

As a wise person once told me, some people don’t know at 30 what they’re going to do with their lives. And some of the most interesting people still don’t know that answer at 50. So don’t stress the details; those will work themselves out in the end as long as you don’t make any truly stupid mistakes on the big issues.

Like what really yanks your crank.

As for me, I’m into computers (incl. programming and IT in general) for one very simple reason: when I turn on a piece of cutting-edge technology, it usually returns the favour.

#70 Gigglefinder on 03.10.09 at 1:02 am

I make sixish figures a year and I think about quitting my job everyday too.

If you’re not thinking about quitting you’re not working hard enough.

#71 . . . fried eggs and spam . . . on 03.10.09 at 1:05 am

“This above all: To thine own self be true.” — Billy Bob Shakespeare, in Hamlet or something similar

“Get out, Alicia. Get out.” — Garth Turner, in Omlette or something similar

Ignore the critics. Examine your own life, what you would REALLY like to do, then do it.

Don’t fall into the trap of being part of the herd mentality, a.k.a. sheeple. Far better to take stock of one’s own self and live according to one’s own needs and likes, not wants or dislikes.
Refer to me as a conspiracy theorist if you must — I’VE BEEN CALLED WORSE!

Lead-in follows. —

“Try as we might to salvage the residential real estate market, it’s at best worth $23 trillion in the U.S. We’re struggling to save the stock market, but that’s valued at less than $15 trillion. And we hope to keep the entire U.S. economy from collapsing, yet gross domestic product stands at $14.2 trillion. (APPROX. TOTAL, GIVE OR TAKE = $55 TRILLION).

“Compare any of these to the derivatives market ($700 TRILLION) and you can easily see that we are just closing the windows as a tsunami crashes to shore.”

Out of interest, how much do Cdn. banks have invested in these derivatives? If they are bailed out, will Flaherty add to the $75 bln. already spent, and if so what with? Monopoly money?

BTW, Dow 4,000 by fall, 1,500 by Spring 2010 — you heard it here first!

#72 Investx on 03.10.09 at 1:06 am

Wow. Interesting letter. Thanks for publishing, Garth.
Great response. Hopefully that’s what she needed to her. Hell, even I have to remind myself how lucky I am in comparison.

#73 soesoe on 03.10.09 at 1:07 am

Yes life is too short to live in a world that you dread! You should follow your heart and get out and live the life you want!!
However being a somewhat cautious person, I would set a reasonable timeline to quit and stick to that. Say 2 months or maybe three – whatever you can live with. YOu say you can live off your 20K savings for six months – if it were me I’d want to buffer that with a little more. During that time save every penny possible, search and plan for your next move and possibly most importantly start being excited for the future! Positive thinking always brings amazing things to us. Good luck!

#74 Future Expatriate on 03.10.09 at 1:09 am

Not all, but most people who make that kind of money got their jobs because of their physical attributes. Not saying they don’t rise to the occasion and learn to do the job; just saying that they got the job in the first place because someone wanted them as an employee because they were attractive.

This is devaluing to the spirit; chances are the reason people want to leave such jobs are because they realize this subconsciously. Even if fantasy never progresses to the point of actual harassment or intimidation.

I’d say if anyone is in a position they got because of their physical attributes, get out. No amount of money is worth being someone’s fantasy, either knowingly or unwittingly.

But that answers the question how people can easily walk away from “cushy” well-paying jobs and never once look back. And how someone who never was in such a position could never understand it.

#75 Roger on 03.10.09 at 1:26 am


I have been in your position several times in the past. I know the feelings that you are having. You feel trapped and the future seems like drudgery. The trapped feeling results from not knowing when it will all be over and you can do something you really want to do. But the money is tempting and acts like a set of golden handcuffs. When you have loans to pay off this is even worse.

So I will tell you what worked for me. I had a job that I found very stressful and not satisfying. One day I made a firm commitment to myself to quit at a particular date in the future. I did not tell anyone else but one close friend – not family, other friends and certainly not my employer. Then I stashed as much of my salary as possible in a savings account which I called my freedom account. I used my accrued holidays to take long weekends or short around town vacations when I needed to take a break. The key here was the commitment to myself to quit on a certain date. Once I did this the uncertainty was over, the internal pressure was gone and I could start making plans for the future. Since I knew I was leaving in the near future I spent my free time investigating and thinking about what I really wanted to do the day after I quit. The day I quit I had a plan and the future seemed bright not filled with uncertainty. Going to work actually became easier, and on some days enjoyable, because the end was closer every day.

When I quit people thought I was crazy quiting a high paying job and starting my own business. It all worked out. Part of my plan was to finish off my projects at my job and leave under good terms. This resulted in my previous employer becoming my first client. That was a much better arrangement than being an employee.

Alicia, you are young and have your whole life ahead of you. As Garth said don’t live it to meet the expectations of others. And don’t focus on the negative comments that will surely get posted on this blog. Good luck with your future.

#76 WesternGrit on 03.10.09 at 1:28 am

I’m with Garth. I left a corporate job with a top Canadian company… to pursue my passions. I left Calgary, and now live in the Lower Mainland in BC. I don’t look back. Life is great here. My business is stressful, but it’s a different kind of stress than “working for the man”… I know what it’s like when your every expression, every stitch of clothes, and every comment is scrutinized. I had a high salary, a department of 250 as my team, and was a “star” in the company.

If you’re not happy, NOW is the time time decide. I was in my late thirties before I figured out what I wanted.

Good luck. Let me know if you’d like to work a grill… I have a spot…

#77 Almost Papa on 03.10.09 at 1:28 am

Have you read “The Joy of Not Working” by Ernie Zelinski?

I would recommend it.

#78 robert on 03.10.09 at 1:31 am

Hmm, I’m puzzled. What could a “still wet behind the ears” MBA be possibly be doing that is worth that much? No offense, but unless Alicia is a child prodigy, she earned the BA at 21, rolled it over into an MBA (2 yrs) which means she may have been on the job for 2 years. Assuming she’s a water carrier for the first couple of years, someone’s being grossly overpaid, starting from the bottom and working up.

#79 Grumpydawgs on 03.10.09 at 1:32 am

What Garth is saying is absolutley correct. You’re lucky to have access to a man of personal wisdom to give you a sound bit of advice. It’s true that you of the Diva generation haven’t got a clue about how to deal with the hard times that are forming like a zombie fog around your ankles.

Your generation has yet to experiance a long term recession. They last for years and never end well. A recession takes victims indiscriminatley like an outbreak of bubonic plague. Even people who seem secure and healthy now may be financially dead without advance notice. Warren Buffet warned today that this downturn may take five full years to work it’s way through.

In that sense , you’ve got a good job, you should make and save as much as you can before you get laid off. Pay off that debt before you bail out. Debt will hang around your neck like that albatross in the ‘Ancient Mariner’ , and you don’t want debt collectors hounding you forever, and they will. Intrest will compound.

The chances of a long term depression are 33.3%. Those aren’t odds a pro wouldn’t bet against.

Having said that I will repeat what I have told my own son and young people coming into my office for years…. Get out now while you can !!! Do something cool with your life. Don’t get stuck in a life that sinks you deeper into drudgery everyday. If you hate your job now, you’re going to hate yourself in the future. I was succcessful in buisness but I cannot admit to being happy. Buisness is not a happy game.

Keep in mind that when the recession/depression ends the job market will be full of fresh faced new MBA’s with Ph.d’s all armed with the very latest information and educational nuances, all ready to work nights and weekends for years.

There will be the unemployed pro’s in the hunt who will elbow you away from the breakfast table for a job and then there’ll be the ballast of the weak-kneed Diva’s who quit under the unhappy non life fullfilling pressure thinking they could re-employ elesewhere at a moments notice as had been thier previous experiance though now sorry, invalidated and desperate.

You may find your skills redundant, useless and obselete, so make your decision well, you could be deciding your life and the recession will carve it in stone. But by all means try for happiness, real life can be miserable. And for God’s sake get your whining over with before you have children. Once you start a family you can’t dream for yourself anymore. Money will become more important than you can imagine.

#80 Viking on 03.10.09 at 1:33 am

Yes, money is not the be all and end all. Alicia, you say you work for a fortune 500… what you need is to get some experience and figure out what you want to do. Big comapanies have many different departments… while you are there why not test drive something? I worked for a large fortune 500 company and our top priority was simply keeping our best employees. Talk to your boss and do some career planning… perhaps there is another opportunity in a different department that is a better fit. One of my old lines was ‘knowing what you don’t want ot do is half way there to knowing what you do wnat to do’. Another suggestion… whatever you do next… find a GREAT boss and good co-workers. So important when you are young. Learn the right things… Good luck!

#81 Munch on 03.10.09 at 1:34 am

LIKE I said – entitlement culture!


#82 Toronto Bear on 03.10.09 at 1:34 am

In general, I agree with Garth’s advice. However, if I were you, I would try to stick with the job for say another 6 months or so. Plan an exit strategy, and part of that strategy is to put EVERY SINGLE PENNY you can afford toward your debt.
There are multiple sources of stress in your life….the job, the city, and the debt, among others no doubt. Moving to a smaller city and finding a new job may alleviate some of those stresses, but they may create others, such as uncertainty. One thing is certain…if you can pay off that debt, that is one stress that will be gone forever.

Good luck in finding your new career, and to a healthy, productive, and debt-free lifestyle! :)

#83 wellwell on 03.10.09 at 1:34 am


Pointing out that others are worse off would be counterproductive, because your (entirely normal) crisis is about the ‘delayed gratification’ bargain you have made with yourself. While you were in school, that bargain seemed abstract and remote, but now you need to face up to the disconnect between the ‘delay’ of corporate life and the ‘gratification’ of cozy small-town Ontario. This gap may never be bridged, suggesting that Garth could be right about getting out now.

If I could add a note of caution, however, as someone firmly planted in middle age, try to realize that life is long. It is longer perhaps than you can imagine. And the small-town life you pine for may bring its own irritations and frustrations. Why not adopt a short-term goal of paying off your student debt? In the meantime, have a look around to see if there is some way of moving to a smaller community that won’t result in near penury. And, not to sound like your mother, but what about meeting someone? As Garth intimates, this can, and should, change everything.

#84 Vancouver_Renter on 03.10.09 at 1:39 am

Just watch this video and then rethink your life:

Several years ago I replaced my workaholic, big-income lifestyle with a lower-income, “free time” lifestyle by committing to work only half-time in my business. I was fed up with the rat race.

Yes, I took a big hit in income. But my wife and I intentionally reduced our expectations and began to live a far simpler and less expensive lifestyle. Our friends and family assumed that we must either be crazy or lazy.

Now I spend every other day in the outdoors with my wonderful kids and wife doing things that are almost free – cycling, swimming, hiking, building things together. In the mean time, my friends are working 10-12 hours days so they can afford to keep up with the Jones. Several of them complain that they rarely see their kids.

I think anyone can do it. It starts with getting rid of all the unnecessary, complicated “stuff” that enslaves you… the big house, the extra car, the big screen TV, the Costco/Walmart toys, etc.

Did anyone happen to see the study on CNN last week that concluded that it is EXPERIENCES – not THINGS or STUFF – that make you happy?

#85 JET on 03.10.09 at 1:46 am

It is conflictingly confusing when you finds yourself in a “ideal situation” that you hate and feel is killing you sometimes, which begs the question, “what’s so ideal about the situation other than money?”

I would also say to flee, but why not leave yourself a door back? If possible, why not ask for a six-month sabbatical, so that you can return should you change your mind?

There’s a Chinese proverb that goes something like “bitter now, sweet later”. It would seem smart and consistent with everything else Garth has said on this blog, to pay off that debt first, but do so if and only if you feel it won’t kill you first. You are so close – if you can bear with it just a little more and get that 30k debt off your back, think how much easier it would be to flee! Perhaps you could try to change the situation at work to make the situation more bearable short-term.

On another note, my drive home up the DVP in Toronto during the height of rush hour last night was really eerie. The volume was so much lighter than usual. I was strangely hoping this won’t be the start of a trend. When the DVP is packed during rush hour, it’s a good indication that employment is still healthy.

#86 Suspence on 03.10.09 at 1:47 am

I couldn’t agree with Garth more!! One thing my parents always told me, “Love what you do and the happiness will follow”. When I graduated university I went to work for a large multi-national and felt the same way she does. It was like they owned my sole and I was a prisoner to their demands; I hated it!! I grew up in the hustle and bustle of TO and thought that was what life was supposed to be, in the end I got out. Today I live with my wife and kids in a small rural town. I don’t nearly make the money I could if I lived in the city, but I don’t puke every morning either. My kids know me as the dad that plays road hockey with them and the dad that makes the breakfast every morning. Yes life is simpler, but ohhh how sweet it is that I don’t have “the man” breathing down my neck. At the end of the day, a simple, non-flashy, fun life always trumps a leased Bimmer and an a-hole boss. You’re 25 and your obviously talented, cut and run baby and I’ll bet you’ll be glad you did.

#87 $fromA$ia on 03.10.09 at 1:55 am

Ya what about if you meet some guy and get married but your job is making you touchy at times and your marriage is rocky and rolly because of it. After five years of building equity with somebody you divorce and your significant other gets half. All that work, time in an unhappy environment cost your health, marriage and savings.

Ah and that guy might of been not a bad guy at all.

I think Garth would agree that if you can find the right person then thats worth more than the ultimate profession.

P.S. Divorces really hurt savings. Personally I work too hard (happily) for my $$$ to even think of divorce not to say that I am not happy with my wife though.:P

#88 G on 03.10.09 at 2:01 am

I don’t know Joren, I’m in a similar demographic as her (26 y/o, professional, well above average income) and the stress/pressure that those types of companies heap on the young talent is criminal, and not even close to being worth the money in my opinion. Spending the vast majority of your day being miserable (or even slightly annoyed?) is no way to live. There is no point.

Alicia, I can’t entirely relate because I love my career, but I would also say to you, flee. Take a long vacation, re-evaluate. Surely there is some aspect of your education that you enjoy. I put in a compressed 7 yrs of post-secondary, so I can’t imagine how you managed to get through your MBA if you hated the subjects. Anyway, focus on that topic you like, find a small company (far better work environments in my opinion) in a small-ish city, and just take the leap. If you’re good at what you do, you’ll find your place easily enough.

#89 Sylvia in Vancouver on 03.10.09 at 2:07 am

I went through the same thing as Alicia over a decade ago. Things were tight in my industry at the time, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. So I quit, grabbed a backpack and buggered off the continent for a year.

Some people thought I was nuts; most admitted to me privately that they wish they’d done the same.

I’d recommend clearing off that student loan before any next steps. With $30,000 left, on six figures, it shouldn’t take long at all, and that freedom from debt will go a long way toward whatever you choose to do. People have paid down a heckuva lot more on smaller salaries.

But if ya can’t take it, just go. Your 20s are about screwing up and learning the hard way. Go get yourself some life experience, Alicia. if you can figure yourself out, the career will follow.

#90 jrochest on 03.10.09 at 2:20 am

Nope, I’m not going to throw rocks. I was lucky enough to wind up in a field I love, doing work I love. But it took 20 years and much education: I’m only just finishing paying the student loans. If I’d been ‘sensible’ and done something ‘realistic’, I’d probably be in the same situation as you.

One thing I’d say: hold off until you’ve killed the student loans. Throw the savings at them and pare your costs to the absolute minimum (ie, live on less than 2 grand a month, and pay 2500K per month to the loans): they’ll be gone in less than six months. Yes, you can go on interest relief, but getting rid of them will be a huge weight off your shoulders. And living on 2K a month will be useful practice.

While you’re doing that, take some time to think about what you might want to do: do you really hate what you do, or do you hate where you’re doing it? Would you be really happy in Peterborough doing the same work? or do you want to use the same skills for a nonprofit, or for a smaller company? Or do you simply hate what you do, period?

Once you accept that you want out, the ‘hate the job’ pressure will be less. Give yourself a year to build an exit strategy, and go into it with a sense of purpose for where you’re going, not just what you’re running from.

#91 Ess on 03.10.09 at 2:26 am

I agree with Garth. Quit and do what you like.
But just so that you know…almost every job sucks so don’t think that you’ll get a new one tomorrow and you’ll like it more.

If it makes you feel any better, I quit a job paying more than double what you’re making about 6 months ago. I make less money now but I’m WAAAAY happier and healthier.

#92 Peter on 03.10.09 at 2:42 am

This is for dear Alicia, or Ally as you called her,
First of all, you are not alone. Many people are waking up to the fact that they have ended up in a golden cage.
May I suggest that you have a severe case of not taking personal responsibility for your life. You can’t live your life according to the standards of others because that means you’re giving up your individuality! Regarding your situation, start by defining what you realy want in life, is it the simpler life and personal growth or are you going to stay on the tread mill of financial growth? Lacking that, at least define what you don’t want. You’ll discover that as soon as you start down the road of taking charge things will fall into place and the next steps will become obvious.
Next, get rid of unneccesary expenses and get rid of your debts; with that kind of income it shouldn’t take very long. Do not under any circumstances push out or ignore you debts, they will come back to haunt you. Believe me I’ve aquired some experience on that one.
And finaly, do not fear the unknown or the road less travelled. I’m saying this because I’ve been where you are now, big salary with Fortune 500 company and all that…..and walked away from it. People around me thought I was nuts but now so many years later I do what I love to do AND make more money…go figure.

#93 Anon on 03.10.09 at 2:46 am

First figure out what it is you want, then plan for it, then get out. And yes, stop whining.

#94 Barb the proofreader on 03.10.09 at 2:53 am

Yes Alicia, get out. When I looked for a job in Toronto 35 years ago and failed, I always wondered what if.. maybe you just answered that for me. But instead, Calgary happened. The stress was less, but somehow I got sick anyway.

Nearly 20 years ago, we wondered how we’d get by without my income. But no more downtown monthly parking, no lunches, no drycleaning, savings on business clothes, hairdressers, nails, not to mention bars after work.. the list goes on.

We got by, happily. We’ve really enjoyed our lives.

But we didn’t move back to where my family is.. probably not far from wherever in Ontario you’re missing.

My Mom passed away a few years ago. I never moved back like I’d planned.. to spend more time with her.. you still have a chance to. The longer you wait, the harder it gets.

#95 gold bug on 03.10.09 at 3:52 am

Amen to that advice.
My wife and I were making the six figures. We spent all morning, all day (we worked more or less together) and all night complaining about our jobs. And all weekend, too.
Then I read a book called, “Your Money or Your Life.”
We chose “life.”
We moved out of Rat Race City. We’ve never made that kind of money again. And there are plenty of times when I worry about income being equal or greater than expenses.
But we also don’t 18 hours a day complaining about our work. We don’t spend time at the doctor’s office with various illnesses. And no man owns me – not a banker, nor a mortgage company, nor a boss.
We work for ourselves. Poorer but happier.

#96 mjw2005 on 03.10.09 at 4:42 am

$100,000 at 25…..if only we could be so lucky….If you can last another year…why not pay off that student loan and then bank another $50,000 and take off and travel for a good year or till you get tired of travelling….I travelled and wandered for a bit in my twenties…and though I am sure it affected my career…it was the best thing I ever did for my soul….

If you truly can not stand it then leave….but know the grass is always greener……

#97 Mike (authentic) on 03.10.09 at 5:20 am

Happiness is more important than money. Yes, you need money to live, but having lots of money won’t buy you real happiness. It’s a balance.

I’ve personally left high paying jobs because I was miserable doing the job.


#98 HalifaxFamily on 03.10.09 at 5:52 am

Garth, what are your thoughts on this apparent paradox? Are we just in denial here? Are people just oblivious or perhaps naive? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

Housing starts defy slide
Construction jump in Atlantic region bucks national trend
By BRUCE ERSKINE Business Reporter
Tue. Mar 10 – 6:13 AM

A new 90-unit apartment development helped drive up residential construction starts in Halifax in February, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

“One of the city’s anticipated apartment projects began construction last month and this bolstered the overall numbers for February,” said Matthew Gilmore, senior market analyst with CMHC’s Atlantic Business Centre.

CMHC data released Monday showed there were 128 new housing starts in Halifax last month, compared to 86 starts in February 2008.

Mr. Gilmore said the apartment development increased multiple-unit starts in Halifax to 106 for the month and helped compensate for weak single-detached starts, which dropped to 22 in February from 73 in the same period last year.

“While demand for singles is expected to remain weak throughout the year, alternative styles, such as row housing, are already showing some strength,” he said.

Mr. Gilmore said in an interview that semi-detached dwellings provide good value for money.

In the Atlantic region, 262 new residential units were started in February 2009, up slightly from the 255 units started during the same period in 2008.

Pascal Gauthier, an economist with the TD Bank Financial Group, attributed the uptick, relative to a downturn in the rest of the country, to the region’s “more balanced market.”

Mr. Gilmore agreed, noting that Atlantic Canada doesn’t experience the economic peaks and valleys now being experienced in places like Western Canada.

“It’s more of a slow and steady growth.”

Nationally, CMHC reported that urban housing starts in February declined dramatically, by 59 per cent, to 5,594 from last year’s tally of 13,531 for the month.

Single-detached starts decreased 53 per cent to 2,019 units in February, while multiple-unit starts were down 61 per cent from 9,192 units in 2008 to 3,575 units this year.

CMHC said new residential construction in Canada is slowing to more sustainable levels and forecasts there will be 160,250 unit starts in 2009, down from the exceptionally strong 200,000 starts per year that Canada averaged over the past seven years.

In Halifax, CMHC projects that total residential housing starts in 2009 will be in the 2,000-unit range, down from 2,100 in 2008, while total provincial starts in 2009 are projected at 3,675 units, down from 4,000 last year.

Single-unit starts in Halifax are projected to drop to 1,000 in 2009 from 1,200 last year, while multiple-unit starts are expected to increase to 1,000 from 900 in 2008.

Single-unit starts across Nova Scotia are projected to drop to 2,350 in 2009 from 2,650 last year, he said, while provincial multiple-unit starts this year are projected to drop slightly to 1,325 from 1,350 in 2008.

“Nova Scotia is not seeing significant declines,” said Mr. Gilmore.

He said Halifax’s economy, while feeling the effects of recession, remains relatively strong in terms of employment and wages.

Paul Pettipas, CEO of the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association, wasn’t surprised by the February numbers and was positive about the prospects for 2009, despite the many doom-and-gloom scenarios in circulation.

“We had a tremendous home show (on the weekend) and people are ready to buy,” he said, agreeing that Halifax’s largely public sector economy remains strong. “The labour market is still tight.”

CMHC is a federal agency established in 1946 that provides mortgage loan insurance and mortgage-backed securities. It also conducts housing research and develops housing policy and programs.

#99 think_first on 03.10.09 at 6:05 am

Remember….if you love what you do/love your job, it’s not work…it’s fun!

#100 wjp on 03.10.09 at 6:17 am

I couldn’t agree more with the advice given to you by Garth, Ally. I too was in a job, filled with stress, making 6 figures and living a 6 figure life style. I wasn’t as smart as you either academically or as wise at such a tender age. My wife and I and our 4 children lived that lifestyle until I was in my mid fourties. The last ten were really impacting on my family and my general health. Thankfully, I got involved with some volunteer work with street kids, this opened a whole new avenue of vocation, I took one hell of a pay cut, but it was worth every penny, because now we were a real family again.
The strange thing is we didn’t miss the money one bit, our lifestyle changed but so did our list of wants and needs…and the kids benefited from seeing money didn’t grow on trees. Funny how short the needs list became. We paid off our house, sold it and downsized..and now we live in relative comfort in our retirement years. Sure, there are times we might like more, but what we have “is priceless”. WE have each other. Go home…and enjoy life, volunteer doing something you think you might like, until you find something you love to do…then live!!!

#101 David Bakody on 03.10.09 at 6:22 am

From an ode (Chief) to Alicia. Get your head together girl ….. go for a walk by the Ocean ( Lake Ontario will do) sit, be still and wait for your thoughts to clear ….. get a plan …. hello with 100K coming in you can leave debt free in 6 months with a nest egg move to any small town work in Tim’s or some grocery store ….. trouble is you will still have a boss ….. but you know what? you will have done something! And that beats the hell out of whining!!!!!

#102 pbrasseur on 03.10.09 at 7:33 am

If you are 25 and you HATE what you do every day of course you got to get out.

But unless your situation is unbearable (like Garth’s wife) you don’t have to get out this minute.

At least prepare to get you, have a plan. You may find that taking action in itself is very rewarding and can make you feel a lot better.

Figure out what you would like to do, does it just involve finding a different job albeit with less pay or do you need to go back to school? You may find it useful or necessary to use your current position as a springboard.

If you don’t like your life take action to change it. I did that 20 years ago, it was hard and it took courage to go through all the changes, but in retrospect it’s the best decision I ever made.

#103 Da HK Kid on 03.10.09 at 7:37 am

Yes, a whiner!!!! But it is likely the best time to jump ship, but dont expect a 180 to solve your problems either.

Especially if you are still IN DEBT!

Clear that DEBT, with a goal and note that having NO DEBT will open your eyes to all kinds of possibilities.

#104 Re-diculous on 03.10.09 at 8:04 am

Man oh man…..the economy still has some excesses obviously if it is possible for someone 25 to be making $100K/year – I don’t care what there training is. There’s alot of people who would do handstands in a bcket of you know what for a salary like that……I’m finding it very difficult to be sympathetic with our young heroine.

#105 Toronto C9 Renter on 03.10.09 at 8:12 am


My free advice:

– Don’t rush this decision

– Keep your options open – you’ve worked hard to earn the MBA and also to get your current job, don’t throw it away just because you’re having a bad day / month / year

-Think about making some small changes first to improve quality of life.

– Unfortunately, in Toronto you’ve picked one of the worst cities in Canada for quality of life on a small budget — but thats not a reason to completely give up

– Think about finding a similar job in a smaller / slower city like Kingston or even Ottawa

– And finally, teach yourself to stop worrying about work all the time – dont replay scenarios in your head, second guess decisions etc — just do a good job and move forward. Took me about 15 years to learn that and suddenly I started to enjoy work instead of worry all the time

#106 ralph on 03.10.09 at 8:19 am

Ally you need some goals. Short term goal should be to pay off your debts as soon as possible. This will make it easier to achieve your longer range goal of leaving the rat race.

Goals will give you a reason to get up every morning and face the BS. It is all in your attitude. At your age you have time on your side, but spend wisely.

#107 CM on 03.10.09 at 8:35 am

On the supposed “sacrifices” made by GM workers that everyone else is paying for.

The tally at the end of the article is the zinger.
GM, autoworkers give birth to an unimpressive new baby
Greg Weston in the Ottawa Sun

“Judging by all the breathless media coverage of the ‘historic’ deal between General Motors and its Canadian union, one would think the autoworkers agreed to sacrifice their left lugnut for company and country.”

Damn – I wish I’d written that.


#108 Jacqueline on 03.10.09 at 8:36 am

Maybe work for 6 more months and save up to pay off the student loan first. You’ll be glad to have paid that thing off.

#109 dave99 on 03.10.09 at 8:37 am

I disagree.

She needs to determine whether she is unhappy working at her present job, or whether she is simply unhappy working.

As a 25 yr old, it sounds like she hasn’t figured out how to work a fulltime job and still have the quality of life she enjoyed before.

I’d suggest that she first ask herself what does she enjoy doing? Dance class? Live music? Helping the homeless?

Next ask what does she dislike the most about her job? Travelling time? Her cubicle? Her boss?

Then spend 6 months focussed on making changes for the better, while keeping the job. If it doesn’t work, then sure, pitch the job and move to a commune or whatever.

I was in a similar situation when I was 26. I left the job, and only realized 10 years later that the job wasn’t the problem – rather it was me that was the problem. I eventually learned the hard way, and maybe that is in her future as well. But in these uncertain economic times I woud first recommend that she keep the job.

#110 McFly on 03.10.09 at 8:46 am

When I was 25, married and with our first baby daughter, I had a good paying job and tons of security. The stress nearly drove me mad! I hated my job and my environment. Felt like I had a ball and chain around my ankle. This was 1982. The recession then caught up and I got laid off work. Yeahhh! Before my employer could call me back, I packed up the family got out of Dodge and headed for the hills. Best decision I ever made despite an uncertain future. We learned to settle for less and and I learned that it was not only OK to work and live at where you love… it was great! Good luck girl… there are better days ahead when you take control.

#111 Bruce on 03.10.09 at 8:50 am


You hit the nail on the head. Everything is nothing but money today. It amazes me the amount of unhappy people I see in my daily routine. Haven’t you ever noticed or wondered why hardly anyone ever smiles anymore? Customer service and common courtesy has gone to hell in a handbasket. Whenever I go shopping, I leave the store feeling as if I’ve somehow wasted the clerk’s time. We are surrounded by angry, frustrated people everywhere we go, from standing in line at the grocery store to filling up our cars at the pumps. They yell and curse, shake their fists, and mutter obscene gestures. It truly boggles the mind.

Everything is a mad rush. People today go go go like chickens with their heads cut off. Watch out for #1! It’s all about ME! I can’t even remember when was the last time someone held a door open or extended a friendly hello to me while passing on the street… I’m not mincing words when I say that over the past decade or so, I’ve seen our entire personalities undergo a drastic change. Not only our personalities, but our entire behaviour as a whole. It’s almost as if our self-worth is defined by the cars we drive and the homes we buy. And somewhere along the way, we we’re bullshitted into believing that we had to have the newest, latest, coolest, made-in-China “stuff”(or more appropriately-junk).

This, IMO, is also why we have so many health problems today, and why happiness seems to elude us, inspite of the fact that we seem to “have it all”, at least on the outside. Take a good look at society: Marriages are falling apart, kids are out control, people’s entire life-savings have been scattered to the wind, and we still can’t seem to find inner peace as we keep pursuing our never-ending quest for more and more… How many people, like this young lady, feel trapped in jobs they truly loathe and despise? I’ve watched how Generation X grew up with nothing to look forward to but a lifetime full of BS jobs and servicing massive debts they were forced to incure.

I’ve said before as I’ve maintained all along that it’s WHO you know to get anywhere in life, not what you know. How many of our students today feel as if they’re simply going in circles? How much more money needs to be spent on tuition and fees before realizing that it’s all vain? I know you practically need to have a post-secondary education to get anywhere in life, but at what cost to society, and indeed to our overall emotional and physical health?

In retrospect, you really do wonder if it’s all worth it. I truly hope this young lady finds herself someday. Welcome to the “new economy” folks. The ultimate reality here is that nothing is ever certain in life. Except death and taxes… There are simply no guarantees, no promises carved in stone, and no piece of paper that grants us success. I view life as a game of luck. You either win or lose at this thing. Just some words to ponder.

#112 mattbg on 03.10.09 at 8:55 am

One problem with some of these big companies is that they churn through young people quite quickly, squeezing the most they can out of them and exhausting them by taking advantage of their desire to impress and show that they’re not immature and can handle the responsibility.

The truth is that a lot of the impression about what you absolutely must do in the job is of your own making. But you don’t realize it until later, and it’s difficult to believe until you’ve been in the position for quite awhile. It’s easy to make young people feel insecure and overwhelmed. Sociopaths are masters at making people feel that way, and sociopaths are over-represented in high-ranking positions at large companies.

#113 Herb on 03.10.09 at 8:57 am

“I HATE this job. I hate working in an office, I hate what I do, and I hate this city.”

Quite the hate list, Alicia. What is the real killer? Your line of work – business? Your job – the company, or the particular job you are in? Or the much-maligned TO?

Isolate the cause of your unhappiness, then zero in and deal with it. If it is the business world, find another career with a purpose that might suit you, or at least a business job with another purpose attached to it than making money for your employer or yourself. Hate to suggest this, but what about government and the chance to serve the common good? If the career is not the problem, changing the job, company or city would be relatively easy. Just don’t expect to find a lot of work in administration that does not involve an office.

Only you can decide what the problem is, then make a plan to deal with it. Remember that the first requirement is to make a living – everything after that is gravy. Getting out of debt before you leap would be the rational thing to do, so stick it out until then if your situation is not absolutely unbearable. You know what your cost of living is, what you income is, and how long it would take. But if your situation is unbearable, leap now and take your chances.

There is a bright side to your predicament: thank God that you’re young enough to recover regardless of what you decide. It would be a different kettle of fish if you were 40 and had picked up responsibility for others.

Do let us know how you made out, Alicia. You have a lot of people rooting for you.

#114 dd on 03.10.09 at 9:07 am

“Get out, Alicia. Get out.”

Pay off your debt first. Then you won’t have the monkey on your back starting a new.

#115 Kestral on 03.10.09 at 9:12 am

Alicia, there’s lots of great advice here, I just want to add one more thing for you to think about: have you considered that maybe it’s not a business job in general that you are unhappy with but your specific job?

The reason I say this is because I was working at a “cool” high tech company (think Google), but the workload was that of two people and my boss was neurotic and micromanaging. I ended up moving to a financial services company doing the same thing, but because the boss is laid back and it didn’t have the constant overload of a place like a Google where working to 8 or even 9pm was expected, working weekends was a given AND I found out I was being underpaid. I thought I had a good salary until the financial company came back and offered me to do my job with half my workload for 50% more pay! So that put me in the six figure salary range.

So consider that it may not be the type of job you’re doing, but your specific job, maybe you have a boss that is a putz (imo how your boss is affects over 50% of how you feel about your job), or maybe you work for a slavedriving company like a Google where your co-workers are pompous pricks (that’s the other 50% of how you feel about a job) and it’s not just a job but it’s a “lifestyle”.

All the best to you!

#116 Calgary37 on 03.10.09 at 9:35 am

This Doctor requires more information

Before I make a life or death diagnosis I would need more information about the patient and her environment.

Firstly, we have a timing issue here. With the types of Global Crises that we are facing, this is NOT the time to take a trip around the world.

Is there anything that you can do to salvage your current job situation? Without naming names, what type of work do you do? What is your previous job experience? What were your real reasons for getting an MBA? What were your initial career goals? What type of job were you comfortable with? What are your other interests?

In your current office are there any changes that you might be able to make that could make you happier? Would a transfer to a branch office make any difference? Do you have some kind of mentor that you can discuss things with?

What kind of living environment do you have? Do you have a lease and when does it expire? If you live alone, would having a female roommate be beneficial to you?

If you cannot salvage your current job situation, then you will have to begin planning for a graceful exit. Your target date might depend on what the lease expiry date is.

Prepare a budget. What are your fixed expenses and actual cost of daily living? How much are you wasting on frills? What you are spending on frills is what you are going to start saving. Do you own furniture? If so, should you sell it if you leave Toronto?

You did not mention your family situation. Could you move back home for a while until you make a new career plan? Do you have an old boy friend back home that you considered as suitable for marriage?

Since you enjoyed your small time life style, could you use your MBA and other experience to start up a Survivalist Community? Do you like growing things? If so, find a way to start growing a lot of food to meet the coming shortage of food.

These are some of the items that you should consider before you make a life altering decision.

The only reason to bail out RIGHT NOW is if you are physically ill!

I hope that this is helpful to you. Good Luck.

Power to the People. Let the Revolution Begin.

#117 Mike on 03.10.09 at 9:42 am

OK … so this blog has something to do with Real Estate because???
Don’t all 25 year olds hate everything unless Mum and Dad are there to cook, clean, pay bills and drive around and do errands . To simply hate the city and your job means you either have to adapt to reality , a good skill these days, stick it out till times improve or just take a leap of faith and hope for the best. Someone with that much education is just throwing it all away on a bunch of hates. Pay off your bills and join the peace corps and then review your life a year later only to realize that you threw away something great.
Can we switch back to Real Estate now??

#118 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.10.09 at 9:45 am

Well, it seems people are NOT of the corporate mindset after all?

There is a STRONG message here to corporations, and especially asshole managers who love to play Little Adolf. The message is YOU ARE THE PROBLEM!

I gave up the corporate BS decades ago for my own sanity and true freedom. I started several businesses, went through the rigors of financial failure, stood back up, and went at it again. It was stressful but I had the majority of control, not some pissant prick using me to build their own career.

I still have the prinout of my Rock of Sanity which reads:

STRESS: When the Mind overrides the Body’s basic desire to choke the living shit out of some asshole who desperately needs it!

Stress is the MAJOR CAUSE of CAD (Coronary Artery Disease) which leads to not only heart attacks, but strokes, and a myriad of other diseases and ailments due solely to an impeded circulatory system that literally carries the Life Blood every single cell in our body needs.

You GO Girl and LIVE LIFE. Be FREE and HAPPY and let the Slaves take that job. They won’t mind…until they too WAKEUP!

Now, for those who are happy in their jobs…Good for you! Glad you are!

#119 Real Estate Deal or No Deal on 03.10.09 at 9:46 am


I understand your situation.

I was in something similar in the last recession, however I was a waiter living in a small town and had let 3 years of my life slip by without much thought of what I wanted to do just trying to pay off my debt.

I was living at my parents, driving to the GTA looking for a job on my day off at a local job bank … not doing well. This was before the internet, and Workopolis or … I know, I am dating myself.

One night, the reality of spending 3.5 years of my life listening to people complain and ask for refills at the restaurant.

It hit me and I walked around gave away my tables in the dining room. I then walked around and gave my two weeks of shifts away, and Quit!

It was a late summer night, I remember it like a movie moment, and looked back at the restaurant and thought “Holy $hit, I just quit my job and I still have my student loans. I guess I am going to move and then find a job.”

I got a cheap dirty apartment and moved the the GTA, and within two weeks a job found me … telemarketing for a business.

A few years, ago I said EMPHATICALLY “There are 3 things I NEVER want to do:

1. Be a Waiter, again. I did.
2. Telemarket. I did.
and I thought the worse was
3. Sell Life insurance. I am.

I must admit I really enjoy what I do, in the financial products field but would have never thought I would find happiness there.

Also, being a waiter and working as a telemarketer I learned fabulous skills of serving people and pushing through to find people that wanted what I was offering.

I might recommend you ask yourself this:

1. What do I like or love to do? … sounds like Garth’s wife loved/loves photography … as mine …
2. What do I do really well?

Do that!

Create a vision for yourself, take your time and move carefully. But when you have a clear vision and you can see what you want to do, then RUN FOR IT! Not away from your reality, but run to it.

If I did that, I would have paid off my debts sooner, not struggled for the last several years (doing great now).

I wish you the best, and I might recommend you getting the novel or DVD “The Secret” … I don’t give a rip what others say … IT REALLY WORKS.

#120 John on 03.10.09 at 9:46 am

during the recession of the early 90’s i worked for the provincial government in a job i hated.

after a short battle with cancer, my mom passed away and i inherited some money (roughly the amount alicia has in her savings). i quit my job (to the astonishment of my manager and many friends) and for lack of any other idea of what to do, travelled in a camper van for half a year.

that half year gave me plenty of time to “sort things out”. i decided to go back to school, and after a few twists and turns eventually ended up in a job i love.

quitting that “cushy” government job was, and remains, the single best thing i ever did for myself.

#121 Signal Loss on 03.10.09 at 9:52 am

I’m a decade and a bit ahead of you. In my late 20s I was a junior associate in a small commercial firm in Toronto. The hours were overwhelming and were not compatible with, well, life. The pay sucked too. I left and hung out my own shingle for a time, gained some life lessons and used the interlude to find employment in the same sector but in a different situation. I’ve been happy ever since. So I guess my contribution here is to say that although radical change may be necessary sometimes, in my experience a realignment is all that is necessary. Here, your early achievement of the token job seems to have sucked the oxygen out of your life, like fighting your way through all the maps in a computer game only to be let down by a really lame ending. So adjust the context. Get a different job in the same business. But why throw away the education, experience and cash associated with your current sector in the absence of the sort of anguished existence that Garth’s wife suffered? If you’re really fed up with the whole scene then ok you’ve already made your decision, but maybe you just need to tweak the circumstances.

#122 @Garth 2 on 03.10.09 at 9:52 am

Stop! Too many violins at once! The conductor is mad.

#123 POL-CAN on 03.10.09 at 10:01 am

I was not going to comment but I do have a few observations:

1. Too many people are stuck with jobs they hate. This is a real problem and I can not see how it can ever be resolved.

2. At 25 even with an MBA you should not be at 100K unless you are super gifted. Maybe if you are a prodigy from the computer science program at Waterloo but other then that no way.

3. Jobs like this will not exist within the next several months if this deflation continues to accelarate. If there is any justice in this world maybe just maybe my phd cab drivers will get these types of jobs instead of 25 year olds with useless MBAs.

4. Too many people can not handle stress. Try working 80 hour weeks while being on call 24/7. I do and I thrive. I love what I do. I make the time to read blogs like this one to take a break from work.

5. I was married to some one like Ally. Same background, same wants and needs. She could not handle the stress of work either and that ruined us. She chose to get out of both the work and the marrige and I am a much happier person for it :)

#124 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.10.09 at 10:01 am


Read all the comments here because they are a gold mine of people’s personal experiences. Also realize, you are NOT ALONE in your feelings. In fact, most people have or do feel what you feel. Some changed their lives early, and some wish they had.

The key is to Take Charge of your own time table. Do NOT let those you work for set it for you. Sit down, do a complete analysis of What makes you disgusted and then counter those issues with a game plan.

Do not let them family, or friends Push Your Buttons, and above all BE HONEST with yourself. Then, and only then, will you be the Master of your own Destiny.

I wish you Courage, not Luck. This is a point in life all people face. You are fortunate to have had it happen now.

Yesterday is History

Tomorrow’s a Mystery

Today is a Gift!

That is Why it is called the Present

#125 Makeorbreak on 03.10.09 at 10:06 am

In my view, you don’t quit a job unless you have another one lined up. Unless you have a passion that you want to follow, but this is not Alicia’s case. Alicia is still searching herself. She doesn’t know what to do or what she would like to do. She has no plan.

She should put the focus on paying her debts ASAP. They are like a sword over her head. Whether she gets a six month suspension on her loan is irrelevant. The loan isn’t going to go away. The day will come when she will have to repay it and her personal circumstances at that time may be dire. Better to not take any chances on that.

Alicia doesn’t say her job is making her sick. She hates what she does, hates the office and hates Toronto. She hasn’t been admitted to an hospital with heart palpitations nor does she throw up every night or do overtime. In my view, she should take this high paying job opportunity to at least pay her debts. With $20,000 to apply to her loan, that leaves her with $10,000 to fork out which can be done within months if she saves every penny. Meanwhile she needs to find what she would like to do and then search for those opportunities in the areas of her choice.

If I were her, just taking off with my $20,000 without anything concrete ahead of me isn’t an option. I would be more stressed than being at my job. I would worry about how to reimburse the loan all the while having to search for employment.

She needs to dedicate any free time to the search of employment in a city or area of her choice. Network. Even on your lunch hour. Travel to that area on week-ends. Make it your first priority and you will find getting at work in the morning easier. You will have something to look forward to after work. Finally, remember than there is something worse than being miserable with a high pay cheque: being miserable with a small pay cheque. There is no greater stress than having money problems.

#126 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.10.09 at 10:08 am

#117 Mike on 03.10.09 at 9:42 am

Obviously, your focus in life is MONEY! Be patient, RE will come back soon. Maybe you can fill Alicia’s position when she leaves? Sounds like you’d fit right in based on what you think is important.

#127 Patrice on 03.10.09 at 10:12 am


So inspiring and moving.

You should write novels.

Thank you for this nice post!

#128 Kris on 03.10.09 at 10:14 am

Here’s my advice – get that debt paid off, sock away as much cash as possible, then quit your job and go traveling for a year.

While you’re doing that, there are ways to make your job more enjoyable. Take it less seriously, too many people (especially high paid people) have lost their sense of humour. Here’s a few tips:

– stick your tongue out at meetings
– get a lion hand puppet, name it the “Lion of Truth” and allow it to answer questions from work people who make your life miserable
– practice your best funny walk around the office
– create figurines out of carrot sticks and gift them to co-workers
– moonwalk to the water cooler
– wear a low-cut blouse and put on a big patch of Austin Powers chest fur

You see Alicia, the possibilities are endless. Best of all, your bosses may feel you have become mentally unstable and offer you a nice big “redundancy package” which will pay off your debt in short order.

For more ideas, contact me via

#129 RS on 03.10.09 at 10:19 am

Garth that story brought a tear to my eye – you have a heart after all!.

Alicia get out while you still can! Before you have dependents and other huge responsibilities!

#130 PTDBD on 03.10.09 at 10:26 am

Thanks for sharing that Garth. All the best to Dorothy, and Toto.

I’ve often wondered if we choose our paths to travel down, or if that mad hog of fortune that we ride upon decides the turns on its own.

#131 Calgary37 on 03.10.09 at 10:29 am

CRISIS: Army running on empty

If the British Army and the American Army were being degraded by their missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, then it was only natural that the Canadian Army was being degraded by its long mission in Afghanistan, a mission that it was not prepared for.

Common-sense Canadian citizens say that NOW is the time for the Canadian Military to come home to re-energize and to prepare for the upcoming Troubles.

P.S. To the young 25-year old lady. Joining the Military has been used by many young people as a means to solving a problem. Are you officer material? Cheers.

Power to the People. Let the Revolution Begin.

#132 CalgaryRocks on 03.10.09 at 10:36 am

Turn off the blackberry and tv after hours and on weekends and spend them trying things that you think will make you happy. After you’ve tried at least 20 things you will have a better idea of what you want to focus on.

Remember though that in order to achieve your goals, whatever they may be, it requires hard work and sacrifice which of course is no fun at all.

#133 McFly on 03.10.09 at 10:42 am

#124 Bill… well said. We make our own luck. It sure does take courage to do so!

#134 Expat from NC on 03.10.09 at 10:45 am

Okay, here is my 2 cents.or 6 months to a year, reduce your expenses, save and pay off your debt. Stay at you job but treat it like a job. Work 8 hours. Don’t take your work with you. Outside of work do stuff that makes you happy (without blowing a ton of money). Once debt free and more saved up, I echo those above me that said TRAVEL. Not travelling first class, but cheaply, working a few months in France, Italy, Eastern Europe, teach English in Japan, a stint in Australia. When you return (IF you return) your perspective will be completely different, you’ll be happier, and hopefully stress free. Chances are you’ll have found your passion on your journey, so persue that as a career when you get back. At 25 it feels like life can go on forever, at 42 I can tell you that those 17 years inbetween you and I can go by in a blink. Enjoy, live and don’t look back…you are too young to be starting off like you are. (Me working doesn’t make my kids smile and laugh, me NOT working and playing them is what they enjoy the most…THAT is what is important in life!!)

#135 Ned686 on 03.10.09 at 10:49 am

You people are all missing the problem that this girl has. She NEEDS a MAN in her life, or at least somebody to share the problems with. Right now she is alone feels helpless. It is simple. GET A BOYFRIEND. You will fnd that you will be stressed less (probably because he will stress you more at home:)))), and all of a sudden the problems at work will look like nothing.

At this point of her life, this girlhas no pint of reference. The first set of problems make her run.

And all of you giving her advice to just run away: Well I bet that in 99% of the cases you had somebody to lean on (husdband/wife). You were not alone.


#136 jt on 03.10.09 at 10:58 am

Alicia, don’t let your job control your life. Prioritize what is important in your life. Too many baby boomers made thier job the highest priority in their life. You are too young to be this upset about your job. If it turns out to be a mistake to quit, so what! You are only 25.

#137 Jonathan on 03.10.09 at 11:10 am

What company pays $90 some odd thousand to a 25 year old just because she has her MBA? I know alot of managers would laugh at that.

Unless its a Harvard MBA and you get a job at an investment firm or bank. Accounting designations are much more popular. Havings said that, even the ones with accounting designations are lucky to beat 100K before they are 35. So you definitely lucked out on pay. But usually jobs that deal with the dirtiest and the most dry work pay the most. So maybe your not so lucky.

Either way, I’d suggest that you leave. I hated my job since day 1, but thought of it as a stepping stone. It was an intermediate position that started at 60K. I thought that was great money 3 years ago and the position was ranked as an intermediate role, so the potential was good. I’m still in it. I already said to my manager, in a respectful manner, that if I don’t get a position that allows me to build this business, then I will leave in the next 6 months – even if this economy is in crap shape. I have spent more effort trying to build my company in areas outside my role then anyone else, and i know upper management recognizes it and appreciates it. It’s just the company has been doing more layoffs and very little promotions in the past couple years.

Hopefully I’ll get ten weeks severance and then I’ll pursue my own business. I have quite a few ideas. Or maybe the company will take a chance on me. Either way I win. I look forward to taking a chance in life, and so should you.

#138 HJD on 03.10.09 at 11:12 am

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – Shakespeare

#139 JM on 03.10.09 at 11:16 am

Garth’s advice to “wittle Awicia” makes perfect sense if, and only if, he assumes that people will always infantalize her as much as he has. In coaching our young scholar to flee the unpleasantness of work rather than to “suffer” it long enough to pay off her debts and build a small financial cushion, he puts he in a dangerous position. I guess he is just taking it for granted that Alicia can always return to Mommy and Daddy, to that magical world where adult “independence” has no costs. But what if Alica’s parents think that a 25-year-old female is a woman, not a little girl, and they tell her to piss off? Will Garth then build her a cabin on his rural compound and let her eat all the rodents she can kill?

Garth, give reasonable advice and stop playing “Mr. Understanding”. Obsequious doesn’t suit you.

#140 Rural Rick on 03.10.09 at 11:22 am

Takes a lot of courage to ask for help. My two cents would be. Make a plan if you can for an exit strategy with a fixed date. This might relieve a lot of stress if you have a firm goal. If that doesn’t work for you. Bail.
At 25 the world is your oyster you can be and do anything you want. Sure might be a bit of a struggle but that is what makes life worthwhile. Counseling may help just make sure you see a psychologist and not a psychiatrist.
Chances are your boss is a sociopath if you are feeling like you do. I know I have been there though it took me years to figure it out. They are the greatest of manipulators.
A friend of mine quit a “good job” and when asked why said “I wanted to avoid that long black box.”
Stress can kill you as well as sucking all the joy out of life. Stop focusing on the job and concentrate on you. Make yourself happy whatever it takes. You will find it is like jumping off a cliff and finding out you can fly.
Go have a great life.

#141 renting in w2 on 03.10.09 at 11:26 am

Hi Alicia,

Have you tried meditating? IMO, is a great start.

One way to handle your predicament is to get out of the environment that makes you miserable.

Another way to handle the situation is to use tools such as meditation to help you cope.

If you are sincere and earnest about not wanting to “bob about in the waves”, you may find meditation a great help.

Best of Luck.

#142 Mike B formerly just Mike on 03.10.09 at 11:26 am

Bill Muskoka Nam 126… Thanks for the advice.. maybe you should get off your soapbox and read the heading of this site. Greater Fool, the troubled future of real estate in Canada. RIGHT. I am not sure what a discussion about a 25 year old making a 100 grand a year and complaining about it has to do with real estate. As POL CAN pointed out in his wise way.. this is a whiner who really can’t adapt so best she get out and maybe start making soap in her parents basement in Wingham . A few years of abject poverty might get her in gear … maybe not though. Best to let this one go flounder …
Real Estate come back… you mean the topic of real estate or the value. What are you smoking dude.
Real Estate is so overpriced even 55 year olds can’t afford unless they got a huge inheritance.
Wow you are scary.

#143 Mike (authentic) on 03.10.09 at 11:34 am

I’ll chime in and say at 25 years old, 100k is WAY too much money to be making at that age. Somethings out of wack here. Sounds like she is a forum Troll to me.

The average Candian family makes $56,000!

I remember when $20 a hour was good money 10 years ago!



#144 highway61 on 03.10.09 at 11:52 am

alicia, why don’t you come to calgary and invest your savings in real estate?

#145 No Fool... on 03.10.09 at 11:53 am

Girl, I just turned 30 and make nearly 100K/yr and am doing my MBA full-time (while working full-time).
Despite many MANY late nights doing homework, I love learning. However, I hate my job. I realize though that it’s a means to an end.

Figure out what your “end” is.
If you’re not sure, slaving behind a desk like I do is useless.

In essence, whoever suggested to set some goals is right. You set personal and/or professional goals and put in the elbow grease to get there. If you don’t have goals, then elbow grease is soul-crushing.
Being “wealthy” or “financially secure” is not a goal either, mostly because THERE IS NO SUCH THING.


#146 Yes We Can't on 03.10.09 at 12:12 pm

I thought MBA’s were supposed to make good money?

#147 rory on 03.10.09 at 12:16 pm

Man this is a tough crowd – NOT …jeez beat up on Garth for buying a property …give a 25 year old that has an adult income and adult job then we all go goo-goo on her … like someone said this is probably her first real job and its (boo-hoo) not working out like I thought …making $100K your supposed to be smart but the disconnect is in being smart and grown up – what the hell did you think was going to happen…except for a few Mikes, Pol-Can and our SA buddy Munch this is a pretty over the mellow bunch …I like you all better when the knives are out …let us go back to battle – survival of the fittest,

P.S. – I now don’t have to watch my afternoon TV soap as I got my fill here, thank you very much.

P.S. #2 – the number of posts is huge – what does that say about us??

#148 Jelly on 03.10.09 at 12:20 pm


How happily all us “feministic” Canadian woman praise God that we are not stuck with a chauvinistic ass like you. Let’s be honest, no Canadian woman would have you, that’s why you got a mail order bride. (something you previously have not denied so it is obviously true-poor woman, she had to choose poverty or you, tough!)

You said, “The feminists spend 40 odd years kicking men in the teeth at every given opportunity, labelling all men closet pedophiles, and generally destabilizing society. ” What a disgusting and ignorant comment!
You are very obviously a misogynist, imagine the gall of saying that all the women that sought equal rights and opportunity to WORK and not be dependant on a man and VOTE equates to kicking men in the teeth!
Have you no idea how much you are in the dark ages?
How many families and MEN rely on women’s wages nowadays? Destabilising society, are you kidding me?
Frankly, you are a buffoon that knows nothing except his own hatred. ignorance and racism.
Not only are you often racist towards white Canadian women, you have the audacity to slam the woman’s movement after all these years? To put it simply, you are a moron, a man who likes doormats for women, someone that feels inferior and angry towards women that are capable of making more money than you can.
I have no idea why you are proud that your wife is “foreign” and a mail order bride, you ignoramus.

Alicia feels her job is soul killing – must be because she is a Canadian woman, you see she does not appreciate anything and had the audacity to try and make her way in this world. She should suck it up as she is SOOO lucky to have an unhealthy job.

Alicia wants to quit a high paying job so she must be a selfish brat, she does not want to find a DIFFERENT job or anything like that.

Alicia is taking a job away from a MAN because we are totally separated in society, men against women aren’t we?

Glenn, Go back to checking up to be sure your “wife” is doing a good enough job with the housework and play some mind games with her self esteem, leave the real enlightened discussion minus the racism to us.

God, next time I will read the names that come before postings!

Alicia, I recommend what a lot of others are saying,
stick in there as long as you can to get rid of debt and go find something else you live, and oh yeah, don’t feel guilty about passing up loads of money because some prick like Glenn thinks you should stay at home barefoot and pregnant with no job prospects or stay in the job that will make you joyless and eventually kill you.

All the best, Alicia, another poster said it best,
You know what you should do already…

#149 wisdom is golden on 03.10.09 at 12:20 pm

Personally experiencing the aftermath of leaving comparable, and have no regrets…except that I didn’t leave MUCH sooner. It certainly is a process.
There are many reasons you’re feeling the way you do.

Seems that there is no right answer about paying off the debt first.
Mental health is at risk, here. And NOTHING is worth it, to have that snap.
Half people I used to work with were, or had been on antidepressants. A surprising number of others had had breast cancer.

If you develop problems with your health, can be hard to qualify for insurance in future, plus for some jobs, maybe unable to pass medical clearance requirements

If doing crappy at job; risk bad reference, risk totally screwing up, risk some sort of accident due to stress/preoccupation with leaving/hating what you’re doing.

As said by other, trust your instincts. You know what you want to do, but are afraid to do it…explore your fears and confront each one, learning what options you have – you may be just missing knowledge needed.

Careful who you talk to about everything…easy to drain family, co-workers, friends. If anyone has left your company, try to talk to them as they may have some answers @ things you’re fearing…

Wanting to save face? Wanting to have something to go to is what I used to believe, but may not be worth it, as it can add a lot more stress (and time there) trying to concentrate on looking…
May just need a clean break now…
have a reason to tell others, that sounds good to you, about why, what you’re going to do…what you can tell future employer…
Then maybe you can think

Interesting how no one who left job for similar reasons expressed any regret. Decision is how to go about it.

But be careful, timewise…amazing how fast that train can pass if you don’t hop on it, ie: for other opportunities

Can be enlightening how things can come to you, when you’re open to them, that you wouldn’t have thought

#150 Jelly on 03.10.09 at 12:36 pm

GLENN Re:#57



#151 Bob Bagina on 03.10.09 at 12:37 pm

Leave your job or plan to. Knowing that you’re going to quit makes things more bearable. Cut costs and try to bank another 10K. Should be easy on 100K year unless your living large.

Even though the MBA is the new BCommerce you should have no trouble finding work in smaller communities, as the trend is for people to leave small for big. Good for you. Work sucks and sucks more when you don’t like what you’re doing.

The old-timers preaching the protestant work ethic and enduring unnecessary suffering are antiquated dinosaurs living out the sins of their fathers and mothers.

#152 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.10.09 at 12:41 pm

Work SMART, and you will not have to work so HARD!

Unfortunately, too many managers abhor change to allow people to work SMART because they want them to stay STUPID to make the manager look ‘intelligent’ as a leader.

#153 betamax on 03.10.09 at 12:44 pm

Pay down the debt first, because it won’t be golden handcuffs, it’ll be a lead anchor if you take a job that pays substantially less.

Meanwhile, save like crazy and learn to live on less before you absolutely have to.

Also, there’s a lot of Survivor Bias here: you’re hearing a lot of people, including Garth, say: “just quit now; it worked for me!” — but you’re unlikely to hear from all the many others for whom it didn’t work out so nicely.

#154 Chris on 03.10.09 at 12:45 pm

Ally, by any means neccessary…Get Out and Get Out Now!
But, I kindly ask that you provide me the HR Departments email address of the place you work. And let them know as you hand in your resignation, that I’ll be only too happy to pick up where you left off. Let them know you have found a suiable replacement in me and that their hiring efforts will not be required.
Oh, and a signing bonus isn’t neccessary given the salary on offer!
Oh, and let them know that they need not worry…I am NOT a self-serving, impetuously-centered moaner. And I do know that real hardship in life is doing what you are doing with three kids at home, mortage payments that won’t cease, a family car that will not run in cold weather, a husband who is jobless, with a dying sister in the hospital and a salary that is 2/3rds less than what you earn, all done under the image presented to everyone else that stress is non-existent. Stress you have? Get from under your self-serving rock and take a deep breathe, and get on with it! You’ll be better off five years from now than most others will be 25 years on.

#155 Munch on 03.10.09 at 12:46 pm

LIKE I said – entitlement!

Spoilt brat!

If you are looking for something to do, bay-beee, come to Africa and get yourself an education

Come see what life is about – you won’t want to leave, I promise you, or your money back! :o)

What are you waiting for?


#156 MissedTheBoat on 03.10.09 at 12:47 pm

Girlfriend, nothing under the sun is more important than peace of mind. I repeat, NOTHING. Right now I am seeing so many stressed out, burnt out people who have got that way just by chasing filthy lucre. Some are just a step away from some stress related malady.

In life, it’s important to go to bed with a feeling of well-being and wake up the same way. Of course there will be trials in life, but when a job starts to mess with your head you are in trouble because this will inevitably spill over into your physical, spiritual sphere as well.

I say, get out of there! There will always be another opportunity waiting around the corner.

Take care and Jah bless.

#157 AJ on 03.10.09 at 12:48 pm


My name is Alicia too. I live in T.O. I also have student debt. My advice- PAY EVERY CENT OFF YOUR DEBT- ASAP. Then you can jump on a plane and start life without the slavery of debt. That is freedom. At your salary that shouldn’t take you more than 6 months. You owe that freedom to yourself. You can do it!

#158 kitchener1 on 03.10.09 at 12:53 pm

Wow, since not many of you are saying it, I will

SUCK IT UP!! Its called life

Companies are not going to pay you that kind of money for just showing up, the more you get paid the more responsibilty you have.

At your age how long have you been employed in the corporate world? 1-2 years max? I have worked at a few fortune 500 companies in mid level management roles, there are all the same in work enviroment and stress level.

First off, I would pay off my student loan and have a cash reserve before quitting. At least that way you can take time of to “find yourself” and not be worried about making ends meet.

With the way the economy is going your wish may come true and you might be laid off in the next 1-2 years, that means you’ll probely get some sort of severance and qualify for UI.

At least ask for a leave of abscence before you quit, that will give you some time to think things over.

What you need to do is too find something you enjoy an committ to it in your spare time. If you do not have a boyfriend then find one and share some of your quality

#159 jess on 03.10.09 at 12:53 pm

I read in America some people never leave the academic world since you have to start paying your loans.

#160 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.10.09 at 1:03 pm

#128 Kris on 03.10.09 at 10:14 am

Or as I always like to say ‘Smile, it makes people wonder what you have been up to (or know)!’

I think your advice is better than ‘she needs a Man!’ Yeah, there is a cure all for any woman. ROFLMAO Just what she needs is someone who is a Neanderthal Power Pervert TELLING her what to do. Pickins are slim from what I have seen of the current male populance.

They are challenged by such difficult things like razors, combs, shoe tieing, clothing sizes, hygiene, and I won’t even bother going into interpersonal relationships.

#161 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.10.09 at 1:06 pm

#159 jess on 03.10.09 at 12:53 pm

That is TRUE! Watch ‘The Librarian’ starring Noah Wyle for a good example. LOL

#162 Barb the proofreader on 03.10.09 at 1:11 pm

Pat #16 is right. It may not be the job, but one way to find out, is to talk to your boss. That’s right, talk to them. They CAN make your job much easier in the interim and THAT will be the final test to see if it is your job, or other things.

My health concerned my boss. They didn’t want to lose me, so they suggested different hours for me. I used to get to work by 8:00 AM but the company suggested 10 AM. I was shocked that they wanted to help, but I realized that they would need a record of what they tried to do to help me, if they eventually had decided they had to fire me for being ill. We talked it over and we mutually agreed on a demotion, at no reduced pay, no loss of anything, in order to give me time to possibly recover.. or leave.

Once you are sure in your heart, take this last step of working with your employer to improve your job. It will be cathartic even if it doesn’t work. That will buy you the time and money to plan and make your move.. Then, build a real future that is 100% you.


Gee, reading some of these comments, I’m so glad I missed the last 18 years of the workforce, I’m so glad I didn’t make money that I was only going to lose anyway. Like some of the other people here I’ve lived frugally — hey, it’s not easy, occasionally envying those with all new stuff, but I think it’s more rewarding in the long run. Sure, I still look at other people’s granite countertops, vs my 1951 countertops, but my countertops have the knife cut marks of our home-cooked meals, as well as those of ‘Teddy’, the lady who loved this house for the 25 years before us. I met her recently at my next door neighbours funeral.
Friends envy us, for having stayed with our neighbourhood, for knowing our neighbours, for having made a little old house into a loved place.

#163 Happyplace on 03.10.09 at 1:29 pm

Glenn – On behalf of the women of Canada, we’re glad you married a foreign woman too!

#164 SSS on 03.10.09 at 1:30 pm

Thanks Garth for your analysis. I did took such decisions and risks in my life. You know what… the results of my decision always proved it was worthit taking the risk and changing my life. Life is never risk free in any situation. If I have die in a stinky office cubicle due to stree, then I would prefer to die .. trying to catch a shark with my bare hands.

#165 dd on 03.10.09 at 1:44 pm

#143 Mike (authentic)

“The average Candian family makes $56,000!”

Wow … I don’t know how people make it on $56k.

#166 BC Guy on 03.10.09 at 1:46 pm

Good afternoon,
After reviewing the rest of the comments I will keep mine short.
1. Corporate life is difficult…maybe not for you
2. Think about why you pursued graduate studies. If you were chasing the money, well thats the bad news. The good news was you were smart enough to get through the process, you are smart enough to figure this one out.
3. Do a Benjamin Franklin analysis – Whats good about your life whats bad. Can you work with what you’ve got or should you pull the pin.
4. Gut it out and pay off the student debt. Cut your expenses to the bone, set some money aside.
5. Never chase the money.

Best regards to all.

#167 Anxiously Waiting the Housing decline on 03.10.09 at 1:46 pm

# 57

Your an idiot!

#168 TheComingDepression on 03.10.09 at 1:46 pm

Hey Garth ( and posters) check this out:

#169 jess on 03.10.09 at 1:58 pm

put up a parking lot oh ya ya ya …
new courthouse gets it’s parking lot in kitchener aweda make kitchener’s books look good and help offset those 500k loses on the market square where the theory was “if ya build it they will come.”

#170 Cara on 03.10.09 at 2:08 pm

#148 Jelly, you took the words out of my mouth. Thankfully, “men” like Glenn are few and far between. We can all agree, he’s got some issues.

I don’t have a ton of advice, except to say that if it were me, I’d make a plan, with a deadline, and would definitely pay off my student loan first.

The other thing is, as my husband (a Manitoba farm boy) says, “The grass is always greener on the other side, till the cow gets over there and starts shitting.” I know, he’s very eloquent. But, he has a point. Make sure you’re not pining for some type of story-book ideal that may not exist in reality. If you don’t like city life, then start thinking about what it is you really want.

And, don’t – I repeat DO NOT – make the mistake of thinking that you’ll be happy if you can “just meet Mr.Right” or “once you have children.” Placing the expectation for your happiness on someone else is giving them an impossible task.

Best of luck!!

#171 David on 03.10.09 at 2:09 pm

There is a good chance that job Alicia is doing might not even exist on the organisation chart two years from now. Being on the stick or taking a working vacation for the next while will not in the end make much difference. Sad to say, but some bright young MBA in India or China might do the same work as Alicia for $15K a year and be happy to purchase a Tata automobile for the wife and kids.
Alicia might have to look at the prospect of finding personal fulfillment outside of the impermanent realm of corporate life. Go to the gym and muscle up, set up a part time small business, read the books that never got read, grow a big garden, all things that show some level of creative involvement that working for some Fortune 500 corporation can not provide.
A few years from now it might be months of beans on toast and disinfecting toilets at a nursing home waiting for a new job opportunity in the interim. Pay down the debt and take personal initiative where possible. And just remember the “smartest guys in the room” helped create this mess all of us are living through right now.

#172 MissedTheBoat on 03.10.09 at 2:32 pm

#71 . . . fried eggs and spam . . .

[“This above all: To thine own self be true.” — Billy Bob Shakespeare, in Hamlet or something similar

“Get out, Alicia. Get out.” — Garth Turner, in Omlette or something similar]

Garth, you are a tad eccentric and have, I fear, attracted a following that you can be proud of.

I really love this blog…I read it daily, if not for the economic wisdom at least for the giggles.

#173 Nibbly on 03.10.09 at 2:35 pm

Re: #20 Stoneleigh

I’d be curious to see just how accurate your ‘prediction’ was that you made back in 2006. Of course the archives at TAE only go back to 2008. Interesting!
It’s easy to say that you called the crash after the fact.
Granted, you certainly have made some good calls, but can you actually back up the claim that you called it back in 2006?

#174 PTDBD on 03.10.09 at 2:44 pm


– Garth is an amazing example of someone that knows how to bounce back. Yet another book, podcasts, two Blogs, survival product sales, talking tours, etc.

– I’ve felt very uneasy listening to newscasts lately. Even the good news has an ominous feeling about it. Then I clued in the low volume, drum heart-beat sound track that they play as the news is being read. This could easily be slowed or speeded to manipulate emotion of the listener. Is that the intent?

– Harper is giving a “good news” speaking tour and how about that great day in the Markets, eh. Coming just after Denninger’s ‘end of the world and pensions and GE’ messages, this brings welcome relief. The sun is shining again and it’s a grand, joyous Muskoka future. (Helleluiah Chorus plays in background) The Booooyaa Buckaroos are mounting their Momo steeds.
(restricted image)

As for that GE…what a truly amazing 20 % upthrust into the collective shorts of market pessimists. Once “mark to market” accounting gets further fudged into fantasy fiat “mark to model” their true worth will explode. Yes, yes, I know they only use “mark to market” for 2% of their holdings, but please don’t spoil the illusion. Personally, I want my broker to use that kind of accounting on my portfolio. Why do they insist on saying that my stocks are only worth what others are willing to pay for it?

Citigroup chief says that they are having a good year. Yea, after 3 bailouts! But the year is only 2 months old.
A good year, after one time write-offs. I’d have a good year too if I could just write off that car/mortgage and New Year’s gambling loss.

#175 kitchener1 on 03.10.09 at 2:44 pm

RE: Glen’s comment

Glenn is a little bit overboard but you have to look past his comments to truly understand his point of view. I have worked for a few Fortune 500 companies and have seen what he is saying first hand. Women in today’s society are taught at a young age that they are equal and have the same opportunities (rightly so). I have worked with many women managers in their late 20’s to early 30’s. Most of these women were exceptionally good managers and all were on there way to much larger promotions in their companies.

Most of them would tell me privately that they just wanted to get married and start a family so that they wouldn’t have to work at the same job and just settle down and do something less stressful, ie. Home business or a less stressful position. Many of these women who I know personally were the most aggressive people in the office in terms of getting promoted, however after they returned from Mat leave, most them didn’t really care about the promotion and in some cases actually transferred to a lesser position or become stay at home moms.

The only problem I have with feminism is that down the road if the marriage does not work out, the women will be looked at as the “victim” in the eyes of the court. It will be assumed that she sacrificed her good paying job to be a good mother when in reality she was looking for a way out and the marriage and kids offered her that. It is deemed to be okay for a women to be a stay at home mom, but not so if the man stays at home. In a divorce its 80% of the time the man that is penalized. The man stays at his job, works long hours and many years later gets promoted and then the feminists cry that’s its not fair that almost all CEO’s or VP are men. You gotta play the game if you want to win.

#176 Mark on 03.10.09 at 2:55 pm

It took me reaching 50 to realize I was doing something for more than 25 years that was slowly killing me. Having a family made it difficult but the support made it manageable and I am now in a college program I love. You are never too old to change, but it is easier when you are younger. So make a plan, pick an end date for employment, reduce your spending and pay down the debt as much as possible before the end date, talk to someone or find some support and stick to the plan

#177 Go Green on 03.10.09 at 3:08 pm

ms of what brings her joy, peace and contentment. She’s obviously intelligent and has perserverance.

I’ve known many people who realized they were very unhappy with careers they had chosen and quit their jobs, even as a sole breadwinner with children to support. They have ended up as successful entepreneurs and love what they do.

A close family member had been on stress leave for quite some time, on meds, & spent days in bed, unable to function. She was earning about $70K as a pharma salesperson. She’s a chemist. When her leave ended, her co. offerred her a job that would have been even more stressfull. She said no thanks. She’s working UTT (under the table) as a cook/server for a large ‘upscale’ catering business. She loves to cook and can arrange her hours. In her early 40’s she considering another career..

In the late 60’s, early 70’s I left a few companies due to office politics – some due to the way women were treated vs male counterparts. Back then it was easy to find another job within 2 weeks. I’ve moved a few times and taken chances. My last 5 years of working were dreadful. I hated going into work. But, I didn’t want to give up an indexed pension after the many years I had put in. I weighed the the costs of ‘working’ – both financial & emotional – and retired at 54. Have never regretted getting out as soon as I could.

There are lots of similar stories. Just glad that Alicia, at her tender age of 25, has come to the realization that working for a Fortune 500 company was not what it was cracked up to be & is looking for fulfillment in her business and personal life.

Good luck Alicia. May you find peace and happiness.

#178 Glenn on 03.10.09 at 3:18 pm

Only in a society well and truly on the verge of complete and utter collapse could anyone whine about a cushy $100,000 a year job while thousands and possibly millions face the very real possibility of being homeless.

Equally, only feminists can look at the fact Western Civ now has the lowest marriage rates in recorded history, AND the highest out-of-wedlock birth rates AND one in three kids being born NOT from the putative father and proclaim they are the pinnacle of female evolution. Raising on a busted flush, indeed!

“A man sticks his hand in the fire and curses himself; a woman sticks her hand in the fire and curses the fire.” — Author Unknown

The silence of the men on this forum speaks volumes on their respect for the females as well. I suggest more shrill shaming language, “ladies”. As usual, the only ones impressed with western females are…western females? Note: this is an invitation to the females to post as men now, gotta be consistent!

P.S. When my “mail order bride” comes factory standard with a masters degree in education, speaks three languages, blond hair + blue eyes @ 105lbs, and can cook and clean to boot, whats that say for the competition? Or lack thereof.

#179 Katheran on 03.10.09 at 3:32 pm


Try this book by Brent Kessel (save money and get it from your local library): “It’s Not About the Money – unlock your money type to achieve spiritual and financial abundance.”

Our fear, indecision, sickness, confusion and anxiety about money is more about our learned “relationships” with money than the actual money itself. Direct your energies towards finding peace while you’re still young.

Good luck.

#180 Got A Watch on 03.10.09 at 3:33 pm

#173 Nibbly – I would not question Stoneleigh and Ilargi’s track record, myself. They say what they mean, and mean what they say. Past predictions have been very accurate.

You can believe whatever you want to believe. Why they would have to’prove’ anything to you is beyond me. If you don’t find them credible, don’t read it.

‘The Automatic Earth’ is one of the best Blogs on the internet. And no, I do not know them, I have just read the Blog. And they aren’t paying me to say this.

One of the few (probably less than 10) Blogs who have made a lot of calls and been very accurate.

Two others you can read, where the track record of past predictions is almost perfect:

Mish’s Global economic Trend Analysis

Mish is an Austrian economist who is strongly deflationist. Accuracy of predictions is uncanny. Not for the optimists out there, he sees little hope of recovery for the economy anytime soon.

btw, he predicted the Van (and T.O.) real estate markets would collapse a long, long time ago, well before almost all others

Market Ticker Blog

Another gloomy deflationist, no sunshine there. Accuracy of predictions also very high. Not for optimists, he sees no grounds for such. The Forums there are a superb free resource for traders, and those interested in economics and monetary theories etc.

These guys, like AE, are realists. They call it as it is, not as it is wished to be. That happens to be negative now, because we are in a downwards economic spiral. But that also means they will tell you when the bottom has been reached – the real bottom, not the false sightings like we are seeing today.

I would rather have my bad news straight up, not sugar-coated and adjusted so as not to offend readers.

#181 Got A Watch on 03.10.09 at 3:49 pm

Ally – if you are still reading this far down the thread

I have had several 6 figure careers, and quit all of them when I got fed up. Your happiness and good health is far more important than any salary. Go with your heart.

The last place I walked out of, mid-2001, I was on a contract rate equivalent to $160K. I told them I was leaving, buh-bye (sick of working with @#%holes), they offered me 33% more (!) to stay, I turned them down flat – should have seen the stunned looks they had. They thought money could fix all problems. Nope.

Now I do my own thing, or not, as I see fit. My income is much lower, I live off my market trading, but it is out of interest, not necessity – I love the mental challenge of trading. My schedule and time is my own, I can spend long hours but they seem to fly by. I live in a quiet rural area and love it, which is odd for a former city dweller born to the neon sky.

If you really want to leave that job, your company is probably looking to down-size now some anyway. See if they will offer you a package to go away, and do it.

Good luck, and let us know how you made out.

#182 Barb the proofreader on 03.10.09 at 3:51 pm

Several good friends died from job stress. A very close friend, a vice president dropped dead at 46 right after he finally left the bigger stress job. Ditto for the 30 year IBM VP right after he retired early. Several others died young of cancer. The list goes on. Many others have left their careers for quality of life.

One important note, I can tell you first hand that each day I get exercise and eat right, is a day that I can handle stress MUCH better. I mean by a long shot. Without exercise – stress has been proven to just gnaw away at healthy bodies. Whatever you do, make sure your body is moving — and eating — in a healthy direction — every day.

BTW, good advice from #32, 33, 34:
-Dysfunctional management + bad staff plague the biz world wherever you go, so be watchful to avoid that in the next job, or start your own co.
-Use the company’s free counseling — I did. And anything else they offer. They want to keep you — so work with them — a new attitude will get you through until you pay off your debt and move to a better life.
“To change, you have to be willing to be a nobody.” Our friends humorously asked how they could live like peasants too. Others have passed us by — we don’t miss those ones.
“What matters is that we have friends to walk to, than nobody to drive to in a Hummer” .. SO true — good friendships and family need your time — and the best of you.

#183 MaggieMay on 03.10.09 at 3:55 pm

This is my first post ever…I have been reading for a long time…and usually value Garth’s opinions…and those of other posters…#179…Got A Watch…I agree with you 100% on your posting about the automatic earth…Ilargi & Stoneleigh have a great track record…and I value their opinions & postings…they tell it like it is…
…and to Ally…get a life…oh ‘scuse me…that’s what this whole thing is about…quit whining…there are millions of people world wide who would give a limb to have your “problem”…just sayin’

#184 PTDBD on 03.10.09 at 3:56 pm

Alleged Ponzi Madoff reported to plead guilty to 11 counts that would imprison him for 150 years.

Says one Twitter whizz….”I wonder how long that is in rich man’s years?”

#185 Den on 03.10.09 at 4:07 pm

Funny. I’m Ally, but with more facial hair and 5 years older. Believe me, there’s an insipid feeling that creeps over you when you realize that you resent your paycheck and that you would’ve been happy with a simpler life, before the rush to edumacate yourself and dig for gold. Don’t wait until you’re 30 to get out of the lifestyle… The longer you wait, the harder it will be.

#186 Jake on 03.10.09 at 4:10 pm

Hey all,
My wife is a health professional who is currently a stay at home mother. Her career was taking a lot out of her and these years at home have been the happiest of her life. That being said, I look at the amount of work she does with our children now and I am surprised she finds the energy. Is she selling herself short by not furthering her career at this time? She doesn’t think so. Unfortunately the title of “homemaker” comes with far less prestige than the title of “doctor” in our society. My wife has found her passion and hopefully, if and when she returns to the hospital she’ll find more joy in it as well. That’s my advice to you Ally. Invest in other areas of your life where you can find passion and see if that helps you find balance and enjoy your work more. If that doesn’t work, look elsewhere. Just remember, there are ups and downs to all jobs.

#187 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.10.09 at 4:25 pm

A little humour for the day!

The American Way

Skeletons Galore

#188 Glenn on 03.10.09 at 4:30 pm

A quote from the Market Ticker Blog; “Confidence is gone Mr. President; the assumption in the market is now that everyone is a liar, everyone is a thief, everyone is embezzling and everyone is bankrupt.”

Oh I think Im going to LIKE this webpage…*clicks add to favorites*

Only when people wake up and start calling a spade a spade can we begin walking the long road to recovery. And not a moment before.

#189 Jake on 03.10.09 at 4:36 pm

As far as the equality issue goes, I really don’t see much of a need for the feminist movement anymore. It seems to me they do more harm than good. It’s as if they cannot let the evil of inequality die because they would lose their reason for being. The med school I am studying at has tens of thousands of dollars in first year scholarships for women and next to nothing for men. If anyone is making the girls feel like they need a crutch, it is the same women’s organizations that claim to preach equality. I see men as the target of more discrimination today than women. Just listen to what Bill Muskoka had to say about men in 160,

“Just what she needs is someone who is a Neanderthal Power Pervert TELLING her what to do. Pickins are slim from what I have seen of the current male populance.

They are challenged by such difficult things like razors, combs, shoe tieing, clothing sizes, hygiene, and I won’t even bother going into interpersonal relationships.”

We’re constantly shown images of stupid men in the media who can’t even get their own cough syrup…or Homer Simpson etc. Who is being discriminated against here? Bill 99% of the men I know respect women and know how to wash themselves. Don’t take your observations from your last family reunion as an indication of the nature of the vast majority of men.

#190 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.10.09 at 4:37 pm

A few more!
A Boss is like a…

Three Categories of Boss

Freedom To Choose

#191 Kate on 03.10.09 at 4:37 pm

Alicia, I am in the same boat as you except I am 10 years older, do/hate computers, have a family to support and came to Canada 8 years ago.

People are right saying quit but it is easier to say than to do. And money is not the only issue here. It is easier when you know exactly WHAT you want to do. I still don’t.

Good luck.

#192 [email protected] on 03.10.09 at 4:38 pm

After all the card fall after these financial events, don’t be surprised if average salaries go down on the whole, but your stress remains. Remember you can have the same amount of stress in a high paying job as a low paying one. Companies are starting to implement the 4 workday week, initially sounds great but you will end up putting in 5 days of work for 4 day pay. Rogers has started this already.
Deflation forces at work to force prices of everything down, including your salaries.

#193 rory on 03.10.09 at 4:43 pm


I can’t comment one way or the other …I’ll get beat up.

#194 Slice on 03.10.09 at 4:45 pm

Other than my marriage, the happiest time of my life was when I left Toronto for a management job near Petawawa, Ontario. It’s in the middle of nowhere, but I lived in an old dump I bought on the water for $80,000. After work it would take me 15 minutes from my desk to be on my boat in the middle of the Ottawa River with a few pints and watch the sun go down. Later at night the neighbors and I would have a campfire and a few more pints at the communal beach. This was not on the weekends, but every night during the summer. The beach was only a 15-foot wide strip of sand, but the view was, as they say, priceless.

And so was the lifestyle.

The factory closed after ten years so I had to move back to Toronto. So now I have the same crapola again but I’ll always cherish those memories. Sometimes the best times are when you have less stuff.


#195 Go Green on 03.10.09 at 5:00 pm

#178 Glenn on 03.10.09 at 3:18 pm

P.S. When my “mail order bride” comes factory standard with a masters degree in education, speaks three languages, blond hair + blue eyes @ 105lbs, and can cook and clean to boot, whats that say for the competition? Or lack thereof.

Sounds like she was desperate to get to N. America. “Factory standard”. Does she have a warranty. Will you throw her in the garbage heap when she realizes you are a male chauvanistic pig. I’d say its more about your lack of ‘personality, low self-esteem, that you cannot attract a women who has a sense of her own self-worth. You sound like a total looser to me. But, maybe you’re only trying to incite dissent instead of offering suggestions. If so, you’re really the biggest looser.

#196 AlanY on 03.10.09 at 5:00 pm

I did a similar thing when I was 26 (leaving a well-paying job) and regretted it. The way I wish I would have done it would have been to negotiate a year of absence to regroup and think but keep open the ability to return to the company. And I would have returned. It’s too easy to see the grass as greener when you’re young and haven’t faced significant hardship. Also, it’s difficult to see the big picture when you’re in the thick of things. In retrospect I wish I would have stayed.

#197 Nibbly on 03.10.09 at 5:17 pm

#180- Got A Watch

Re-read my post. I said they have made some great calls and I certainly respect their blog and their opinions. I said I would like to see where they made that call in 2006. That’s all

#198 Sail1 on 03.10.09 at 5:19 pm

Alicia, I don’t see the big problem. Look for a new career path, when you find it, leave the job you currently have. It really is that simple. However be sure it is the job and nothing else that’s making you feel the way you do.

#199 Jonathan on 03.10.09 at 5:21 pm

Real Estate Update

Latest Sales figures:
January Sales: 60 homes (only down 19% YOY)


February 26, 2009
1565 Listings (

March 10, 2009
1651 Listings (

Increase of 5.5% or 86 units in less than two weeks. Spring market has almost arrived!

#200 Go Green on 03.10.09 at 5:25 pm

#177 Go Green on 03.10.09 at 3:08 pm

Not sure what happened to my beginning sentence/para. Prolly doesn’t matter anyway.

#201 Two-thirds on 03.10.09 at 5:38 pm

180 comments and counting…

I can’t recall many times when those many daily comments were posted here over the past year. My guess is, we’ll break the 220 mark today. A first?

This is one of those “human stories” that appeal to the largest demographic (i.e., anyone with an ounce of sympathy).

I’m curious to learn what the connection of this latest blog post is in relationship with its usual subjects.

No RE stories today, no controversy regarding depression vs. no depression, or the fact that Garth just bought a property.

Perhaps the connection is rather between the latter and today’s post?


BTW, I do feel bad for *Ally.*

#202 Comrade Okie on 03.10.09 at 6:01 pm

#148 Jelly on 03.10.09 at 12:20 pm

You are Glenn’s best possible argument.

#203 Another Albertan on 03.10.09 at 6:05 pm

A few observations:

1) Life is not a Hollywood movie. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. And sometimes for an extended period of time. It can be a test of mettle and I do believe everyone should have to run the gauntlet once or twice, just so “they know”… (Those of you who have done it will know exactly what I’m talking about). I’m not advocating being a martyr for the “system”, but sometimes a little pain needs to be felt before the towel gets thrown into the ring.

2) I know a lot of ex-management consultants who worked for the world’s largest consulting and accounting firms. At least 5 years ago, the average “ignition time” for a new-grad consultant in the consulting end of a Big 5 accounting firm was 18 months. 18 months from entry to complete burn-out. The partners knew that and didn’t care because they knew they had a line out the door of people who would gladly signup for their turn in front of the flamethrower. The guy I know are the war-wounded veterans… and wounded they are – knowing all the flight crews between certain cities on all airlines on a first-name basis, having the major hotel in a particular city keep your room for you over the weekend because you’re in the 7th month of “living” there. I was fortunate enough to have my consulting gigs in my home city. “Fortunate” is a relative term. The pound of flesh is extracted no matter where you’re located. We’re all still flushing the toxins out of the system years after the fact…

3) The lesson I did learn from seeing the inside of many an organization is that they all have significant faults and have issues that are completed ****ed-up. The genuinely great companies out there are few and far between.

If you have high standards and are looking for someone else to create a utopia, you’ll be looking for a long time… the only way to have a remote chance is to work to create that end-state yourself. That has an entirely different set of challenges and stressors, but at least the stress is entirely “your own”, along with the rewards and the losses.

4) The single easiest thing for anyone to do when contemplating a big change is to go a pickup a pre-packaged numbered company and to get a business number from the CRA. It’ll cost a few hundred bucks and some time for paperwork…but at least you’ll have a legal vehicle to go after opportunity that may cross your path. There is more to working life than the traditional employer-employee relationship.

Everyone else’s mileage may vary.

#204 Glenn on 03.10.09 at 6:16 pm

#193 rory on 03.10.09 at 4:43 pm


I can’t comment one way or the other …I’ll get beat up.

If you are afraid to speak the truth, you are already a slave.

“If you want to know where the power lies, then ask whom you cannot criticize.” — Kevin Alfred Strom

#205 Rich Grover in Van on 03.10.09 at 6:54 pm

The answer is obvious.

Stay at work, but start to slack off. If they keep you, save up to travel/pay off debt. If they can you, then you are where you kinda want to be. Blame it on the recession to a future employer in a future interview. They’ll believe the story.

I am about the same age (26) and am probably working a similar job (just for much less money). May I recommend Guatemala, Honduras, Thailand etc…. All are great places for young people with very interesting sights, but if you go there make sure to watch the people that live there. They will ‘show’ you how lucky you are to eveb be in this situation…They showed me how lucky I am.

#206 Ultraman on 03.10.09 at 7:00 pm

As a Financial Planner there is one thing I observe over and over. It doesn’t matter if it’s a house, a mail order bride, a car, a pair of hundies, a job, whatever, if it cost you too much you start hating it.

#207 Curious on 03.10.09 at 7:36 pm

I was in exactly you position two years ago…However, I did find my job rewarding, it made my life outside of work unrewarding.’

Best advice I can give…keep you job for two years and work you BUTT off! why?

1. Student loans paid off in FULL withing 6 months. Only paid $112 in interest on $33 000.

2. Savings. Great start on security. Compounding for and extra 10 years means retirement on my terms. Money is worth more to you saved at 25 then at 35.

3. Flexibility. I can afford to start at the bottom, go to school, relocate, travel…whatever esle I can dream up.

4. Real life work experience. A desire for change may not qualify you for the change you want. I bet the getting the MBA wasn’t all roses, but you had to put in the time for later rewards. Same goes for change.

5. Connections. Build your network now. Just out of school is you best time to form your network. You may hate this job, but there was somthing about it that must have attracted you to this career path. There are different paths to the same destination, even if you have to make you own map. Who knows who can give you directions.

In summery: Stay until you make a plan. When you know you are working toward change and not at a job you hate you will feel feel relieved.

Debt and unsecurity will not ease stress. Entering the work force in a recession will not ease stress. Make the trade-off now. Stress comes in many forms, but is still stress.

#208 David Bakody on 03.10.09 at 7:38 pm

#201 Two-thirds on 03.10.09 at 5:38 pm

Well Sir/Madame, perhaps the point is the work place under to-days economic conditions is putting more and more strain on those who are working for a variety of reasons …. all bad!

Alicia, for what it is worth my youngest daughter quit a good job at CBC and went to Africa (DRC) working for the UN and has stated she found herself. My oldest lasted exactly one month in Ontario after University and returned to Nova Scotia and found a job in a grocery store and now has since completed a M. ed and has good job in a related profession ….. and beautiful daughter adopted from Vietnam …. all because she homesick.

PS: I just refitted my good ode wood stove & cleaned/repaired the stack all for under $ 175 …. so my emergency heat source is read set go.

#209 WillsDad on 03.10.09 at 7:40 pm

Here’s my story. I left Canada 5 years ago, fresh teaching degree in hand, but only sub jobs in the offering. I was a single dad who had the rug pulled out when the mom decided to relocate to another city, purely for cosmetic reasons. Went to Korea to save some money, but mostly to clear my mind and try to move on from the heartache.

Today, I’m married to a wonderful Korean woman, we have an 18-month old boy, I’ve paid of $40,000 in student loans/visa cards/Alberta Health Care (oxymoron) debt, and we have $120,000 saved. We will save $45,000 this year, and my university job gives me 5.5 months paid vacation a year! :)

BTW, 3 years of teaching here sucked! But I finally got into teaching in universities, and also teaching adult students, and it is incredibly rewarding, in all ways. My advice Ally, is stay where you are, but do it on your own terms. Find someone in the office who genuinely seems happy, and take them for a beer and try to find out their secret to being that way. Have a 1-year escape plan, and you won’t feel nearly the pressure you do today. Good Luck!

#210 Ally Ally Oxycontin Free on 03.10.09 at 7:54 pm

IMF Head says we’re in for a Great recession.

I’ve always had a ‘problem’ with that kinda enthusiasm.

Some stats:

#211 mike on 03.10.09 at 8:07 pm

I was in your position as well. Was making decent money, working for one of the top 50 companies in Canada, and had an extreemely promising career. After 4 years of the grind ( 4 years of sleeping pills, worry, and stress just to get through another day), I left. Now I mow lawns. Ironically enough, I make twice as much with half the stress.

I agree. Get out.

#212 Stoneleigh on 03.10.09 at 8:24 pm


For our earlier work see The Oil Drum:Canada, where we worked from 18 months prior to starting TAE. My earliest predictions of deflation go back to October 2005, long before I was an editor on the site. We used to cover finance as part of our general news features (called The Round-Up). Later we ran separate news coverage as The Finance Round-Up. As the credit crunch intensified, we headlined finance more and more often. We ended up leaving the site because they didn’t want us to focus on finance, but we felt we had no choice since it was the crisis with the shortest timeframe. If memory serves, February 2007 had a lot of financial coverage that you could still find in the archives.

#213 Bonnie N BC on 03.10.09 at 8:27 pm

Dear Ally,

It appears most posters are sympathetic to your plight even though they may not understand how you could make that kind of money in your mid twenties. Those people are jealous and not worthy of your thoughts.

I would expect you went straight to university from HS and put your head down. These were lofty goals that you attained.

I don’t know if you talk to thirty somethings but a lot of people enter university with a job plan and then discover that’s all it is – a bad environment for one’s temperament. Finding great employers is like searching for the Holy Grail – Monty Python style with killer rabbits.

Oh and the TO thing doesn’t sound like it has changed much – when I came from the West Coast in 1995 with a hefty salary. I left after 6 months – I think it was easier for me as I was in my forty something period and more centred on life going forward.

It’s not a failure to admit this isn’t your cup of tea and look beyond your current career.

You can do great things – you can start with being good to you. Some posters have suggested you take a vacation – I am not in agreement. as an escape is not a solution. (Been there done that) Truthfully, I hated my job and what kept me going was travelling to places all exotic never facing the truth.

I think the better plan is not to runaway but plan away you current situation and live your life with the intelligence you show.

Let us know – we care about you and your investment in your future.

#214 Danno on 03.10.09 at 8:32 pm

We say go Office Space on them and wait for a layoff!!
If you can be just the right amount of incompetent, perhaps you’ll have some fun goofing off while paying off your student loan and then take the severance package ;)

#215 Do it. on 03.10.09 at 8:48 pm

Garth, thank you for sharing Alicia’s letter along with your own salient advice. And I couldn’t agree with you more.

I had some medical issues and was off on disability for an extended period of time from my position with a highly dysfunctional federal bureaucracy. They were the best three years of my life. I couldn’t return to such a toxic environment so I took early retirement because I decided that I don’t need to earn a lot of money. I’d rather be happy and cut grass at a golf course.

Quit your job Alicia. Don’t let them take the best years of your life.

#216 Argentum Aurum on 03.10.09 at 8:48 pm

[Former Gold Bug]

The meaning of life is to be happy.
It’s even better if you can make others happy.
If you are miserable, misery loves company, you’ll
make others miserable. Avoid people that drag you down or other miserable robots.

Money is means to an end, not the end (unto) itself. If you are worried about your financial situation, get a good financial planner and state your plans.

Remember also, when mind, body and soul are pulling in different directions, something will break down. And then, money no longer matters…

“Be bold, everywhere be bold…” Churchill

All the best – you’ll be OK.

#217 Toronto is Cold on 03.10.09 at 9:15 pm

$100K in Toronto is not a lot of money. It is jut enough to get by. Some people talk about that figure as if it were a great salary but it’s not. You only bring home $4000 a month (after tax) in a city where you have to pay at least $1500 in rent (and for you $500 in student loans).

Do your maths b/c you may have a better lifestyle in a smaller city even if you are making much less money. You may not have to commit to a trade-off at all, it could all be gains.

Good luck!

#218 eddy on 03.10.09 at 9:19 pm

alicia, you are obviously a complainer, no one likes a complainer, especially eddy. stay with present job, clear loans, save cash. changing jobs in this economy may be risky, especially for a whiner like you.

#219 Stoneleigh on 03.10.09 at 9:31 pm


I would also point you to a major article on credit bubbles and deflation that I wrote in August 2007 – The Resurgence of Risk – A Primer on the Developing Credit Crunch. I also wrote several pieces on deflation and on the larger scheme of things (ie the rise and fall of empires) on Thomas Homer-Dixon’s website in late 2006, one of which I expanded into Entropy and Empire in March 2007.

#220 nonplused on 03.10.09 at 9:40 pm

Years ago I sat through a keynote address given by none other than the great Ron Southern himself to a group of engineers that worked for his companies.

After explaining that yes, the ATCO group did want to attract and retain talented employees, he went on to say that he was not so interested in top talent that he would over pay for them. Competitive pay was what he was all about. Then he got to the meat of it. I still remember it almost word for word (I think). Slowing down, and purposefully, he continued….

“But, if you aren’t happy here, then leave. Go get a job somewhere else. If you aren’t happy with the ATCO group of companies, you’ll be doing me a big favor if you leave. But you know what? You’ll be doing yourself a huge favor too.”

The room was so quite you could have heard a pin drop. People were in shock. I wasn’t unhappy at ATCO, but some years later I left too and I never regretted it. Although I would work there again if the opportunity arose, I had an opportunity that was too good to pass up. So I left and never looked back.

You only live once as they say. Work is a big part of it for most people. So work happy.

Alicia, you could try shopping for other work now and keep the job if nothing turns up, or just quit, or whatever you think is right. It won’t be the end of the world either way. I always used to wonder when I was at the pub “How does that bearded biker guy afford to hang out in pubs every night? How do ski bums manage the lifestyle without a trust fund? How come I am working my arse off here but yet my lifestyle doesn’t seem appreciably better than any one else’s?” But we all manage to get by somehow. Leaving highly leveraged people out of it I suppose, because they have a whole different set of self imposed problems.

#221 nonplused on 03.10.09 at 9:45 pm

I could add that it is also the same for sports teams, whether youth or adult. Usually, once the less dedicated or unhappy players, you know, the ones that don’t come to practice and wouldn’t be there at all if their “mom” hadn’t signed them up, stop coming altogether, the team’s performance usually improves. Even if it’s one of the better players that quit. Not saying that Alicia may be a grumpy player, just that both teams and companies work better when everyone wants to be there. You don’t want to live in a Dilbert cartoon.

#222 David on 03.10.09 at 9:48 pm

Hey !!

You have a great education and a degree behind you. Why not get adventrous and join the armd forces. There you will never be bored with lots of challenges and some fun while your at it.

Good luck !!

#223 EW on 03.10.09 at 10:01 pm


I see you inspired many comments such as, “… because some prick like Glenn thinks you should stay at home barefoot and pregnant with no job prospects or stay in the job that will make you joyless and eventually kill you …”

lol, I always love the good ole RACIST barefoot and pregnant comment! My wife, an asian, is always barefooted when we’re at our ranch in asia … why not?, the cool marble floors feel great! I walk barefooted too. As for pregnant, well, asians I guess love children & large families as do I.

Let me guess, soon after are the usual “mail order bride”, “uneducated”, “fleeing oppression” and the usual RACIST comments. Seriously, someone ought to write them some new material, it’s sooo dated.

As for my wife (15+ years now!), like many Asians she is university educated, loves large families, holds dual citizenship, and is was fleeing oppression when she met me – she was heading for an RN job in Hawaii when she met me in Ontario (lol) – and if you know the winters in Ontario that IS fleeing oppression.

btw, our house tax in asia is about $5/year, a beer costs me about 35 cents, a 1 litre bottle of Gin (or what-not) costs me about $ 1.20. Summer has highs of 32 C, and “winter”, highs of 28 C and I’m part of a HUGE family network which is great fun (amazing parties). When in Ontario life is BORING – work, shop, eat, sleep & so many laws and rules (at my ranch in asia if I want to build [say] a room at the house I do not require any permits, inspections – that’s freedom). Ever notice at malls in Canada that no one hardly ever smiles, hugs, kisses or anything? … everyone has this perma-frown, I see so few children & time is so precious!

It’s good to see men dating and marrying women from around the world. The world is full of many wonderful & beautiful women and with fantastic places in which too live – part time or full time. No wonder it’s a growing trend.


#224 Taxpayer like you on 03.10.09 at 10:03 pm

Wow. Must be a record number of posts for this one. Seems to be 2 common themes. One says quit whining. Other says get out. Middle of the roaders say pay debt, get out. Glenn wins for most controversial post. Bill NAM wins for best desciption of Glenn. Glenn has pretty wife. Russian maybe?

Anyways Alicia, you seem to have 200+ advisors. I am not one of them. I will just state the facts, and draw one conclusion.

Fact – you are 25. I think this qualifies you as an adult.

Conclusion – Figure it out for yourself, do it, live with it.

#225 canuck on 03.10.09 at 10:06 pm

Great advice you gave that young lady.

None in my family became addicted to wealth. I left lucrative, college teaching to help my hubby with his yacht building company. No, I wasn’t happy teaching…wanted more freedom and being away from regimentation. Ditto my hubby who left a thriving automobile dealership to build his dream job–designing and building yachts. Absolutely no customers when he built it and no formal training in boat building.

My daughter refused to work in a TD Bank in Toronto and elected instead to be a manager of a small branch in a rural community. Yes, she did chop herself off at the knees in terms of getting promotions. But her family were more important that earning big bucks. So somewhere along the line we must have done something right when we were bringing her up in order for her to have those values? Oops..revise that last sentence…we’re not so gullible as to believe it was what we did that mattered before she became an adult. She’s her ‘own’ person and made the decision herself to limit her career.

No, I don’t see any possibility of my grand children electing to work for wealth instead of things that enrich their lives like copious time spent with those they love.

Run DO NOT WALK from that job that’s making you hate it!

Let the chips fall where they may–you’ll survive and become a better person for turning down monetary rewards in favour of your own development.

So heartening to see someone at the tender of age of 24 coming to such realizations.

Alicia, I wish you well and trust you’ll prosper with happiness. Good to see that you’re wise beyond your years.

#226 Swing on 03.10.09 at 10:13 pm

I thought I’d chime in with mention of “The Peter Principle”.

If you’ve haven’t heard of it, Google it. The general idea is that in a hierarchy, people tend to rise to their level of incompetence.

It’s an interesting idea and it occurs to me that someone who makes six figures in a position by their mid twenties… may want to consider.

It’s pretty easy for a go-getter and jump at promotions as they are offered. But in the rush to ‘strive for the top’, it is likely that someone will be put in a place where they CAN’T excel.

The problem is, its difficult to step down one rung. Organizations don’t really have a way to do it, and somehow it feels like ‘failure’ to all involved or something.

Well Alicia, if you are able to swallow your pride (and $20K/yr), consider staying where you are but stepping down a rung, saving money, and enjoying what you spent so long in school for.

Settling for a lower position in an organization shouldn’t make you feel bad. It should make you feel good for recognizing what makes you happy.

But then maybe you’re an MBA like a few other MBA’s I know who have no idea when enough is enough until it’s too late.

#227 Paul Milton - Be smart on 03.10.09 at 10:16 pm

Do not quit under any circumstances
Confront the barbarians, inhumane beings.
Force them to change, act like a needle on their back.
They wil get a character lesson, and you a big fat package out.

#228 ThumbsUp on 03.10.09 at 10:17 pm

Bail her out, please.

#229 Taxpayer like you on 03.10.09 at 10:39 pm

221 Non-plused said:

“I could add that it is also the same for sports teams,
whether youth or adult. Usually, once the less dedicated or unhappy players, you know, the ones that don’t come to practice and wouldn’t be there at all if their “mom” hadn’t signed them up, stop coming altogether, the team’s performance usually improves.”

Future Sens coach??

#230 Jeannie on 03.10.09 at 11:26 pm

Alicia, it’s been fun reading all the advice you’re getting here, everything from joining the military to just keep plodding along at your hated job until you make enough money to buy two condo’s!
As for the posters who think your MBA is worthless, they’d soon find out just how worthless it was if they were to compete with you in the job market.
Your MBA opens up a world of opportunity that a degree does not, take advantage of it.
I’m in agreement with the posters who advise you to leave that situation. With your education you’ll never be short of a well-paying job. I’d consider meeting with a Headhunter to explore more exciting opportunities. If you’re willing to travel,and are adventurous the world is your oyster.
You could give yourself a ‘sabbatical’ Buy a backpack and go see the world, you’ll come back with a fresh perspective on things. I’m not telling you to do anything I haven’t done when I was your age!

#231 Soylent Green is People on 03.11.09 at 12:12 am

105 lbs.? You don’t like boobs?

#232 GTA001 on 03.11.09 at 2:02 am


First and foremost please review carefully the excellent advise provide by Mr Garth Turner and the thoughtful people who have take the time to respond to your problem. I find it somewhat difficult to add to their recommendations. Therefore I will attempt to put in as one can say “my two cents” into this discussion.

1) It is CRITICAL that you immediately determine what aspect of your job that you hate. What is it about your job that is a bad fit with your personality. Do you feel stressed out over the amount of responsibility given or perceive that achievement of a goal/task/project is impossible due to red tape bureaucracy?

1a) Since I do not know the major area of concentration in your MBA degree (accounting, finance, IT, strategic planning, HR etc) what part of your education did you enjoy and is there a position in the company where it can be effectively utilized?

2) It is CRITICAL that you PROTECT your MENTAL and PHYSICAL HEALTH. Corporate Canada is reacting to the credit crisis and current recession by downsizing staff and piling work on the survivors. This is made even worse when managers want projects done in less time and under budget. The result is workers experiencing stress, burnout and resentment as top management get bonuses and raises for whipping the ponies and maintaining the bottom line. Research the internet, talk to friends, your family and doctor in setting up an exercise program starting at 3days/week for 1 hour. I was about to recommend buying a bowflex home gym, but at $3000 appears to be an expensive way to get healthy.Start eating right to strengthen your body and mind. Talk to vendors at health food stores. Learn meditation and relaxation techniques. Do not take your work problems home when you leave the office.

Books to Read:

Personality styles at Work

Brainstyles, Marlane Miller,1997, ISBN 0-684-80757-2
Type Talk at Work(Myers Briggs Personality Test)

Neuro Linguistic Programming(NLP)

Awaken the Giant Within You, Tony Robbins, 1991
ISBN: 0-671-72734-6

Learning and Meditation

Superlearning, Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder,
1979, ISBN 0-440-38424-9


Eat, Move and Be Healthy, Paul Chek,2004, ISBN

3) You mentioned that you are good with people. Depending on which neighborhood you live in Toronto try to drop by community centers/Adult education facilities run by the Toronto Board of Education(TBE) to take courses of interest, help people learn business skills. Alternately, you can join non profit organizations to champion causes that you believe in such as the environment for example.

4)The largest city in Canada, Toronto can be a very lonely place especially if you have a demanding corporate job. For a time I felt exactly as you did, that the city is big, impersonal, uncaring and mean spirited. However, this is a safe place to live, with a vibrant multiethnic community, great restaurants and good choices of evening entertainment. Toronto has a lot of big city problems,but a lot of communities are fighting to keep it a livable place. You may already know this, but check out the Now and Eye magazine and especially Toronto Life for entertainment/shopping/lifestyle information.

4a) Try to contact the alumni association of your MBA school in Toronto as an option for a support group. It is a good way to meet people and network.

5) If you are really tired of the big city life in Toronto, reconnect with friends and family in the small town that you were raised. Leave Toronto when you have vacation time to relax and recharge your batteries. Travel around the world to a destination you wish to visit and yes it can be done on an affordable budget.

6) The world economic situation between 2008-2015 and 2015-2023 is very precarious. No one knows for sure whether we will either experience hyperinflation followed by a deflationary crash or vice versa. Buy the book “The Great Depression Ahead-How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest boom in History by Harry S. Dent Jr, 2009, ISBN 978-141658-898-6 at a cost of $32 cdn at Indigo book store. Mr Dent believes that the economy could experience another crash due to the deflation of the real estate/ derivative bubble between mid 2009 to mid 2010 which could send the Dow jones as low as 4500. Jim Cramer of MSNBC “Mad Money” forecast the Dow Jones could bottom out at 5100 this year or next year. How does this affect your economic situation?

a) The majority of the bloggers are right, If you decide that you must leave your job-create a 6-8month exit PLAN.

b) In that plan PAY OFF your student debt, start saving money IMMEDIATELY.

c) You are an intelligent woman, create a spreadsheet budget using MS Excel 2007 and use your financial training to cut your expenses and if necessary (assuming that you are renting) downsize to an apartment with an affordable rent.

d) E-mail Garth Turner to find a good financial advisor to manage your RRSP (if you have any). Look into buying physical gold and silver currency(NOT ETF stocks!) to hedge against inflation.

e) Shop , eat and live as cheaply as you can.

F) Think about relocating to xurbia, either where your family lives or a place that you like to live. (Maybe 60miles north of Toronto). Find an affordable place to rent.

G) Once you know the kind of enterprise you want to run
use your business training to create a plan and a website so your customers can reach you.

H)Network with people in the town you want to live in xurbia. Work with individuals and groups that want to make their community environmentally sustainable. Help them build community gardens, shared child care services, build green infrastructure and create green businesses. Promote green energy and use conservation initiatives.

Finally as a member of GenX (1961-1981) who is passing some wisdom to you Ally from GenY , don’t pursue a career for “The Money” . Look back in the past to the hobbies, extracurricular activities or areas of interest that exited you when you were young. Please do not discount your education. You obtained it for a reason. At some time in the recent past you were interested in commerce, maybe organizing and running a business or helping people run it more efficiently. One career path option is being a small business consultant either on the finance, strategic planning, org/project management or marketing side. You can help a lot of people who have been laid off in this recession create a business(Person to Person/Cons to Consumer services) to employ themselves. Do what you love and the money will come Later after the crash.

As Spock (From Star trek TOS) always says “live Long And Prosper”

#233 Glenn on 03.11.09 at 2:59 am

To #223 EW, well spoken.

Your post had me lost in the way-back-machine for a moment. Ukraine, circa 2004, the streets filled with lovely young ladies. All of them holding hands, chatting and giggling, smiles everywhere.

The polar opposite of what you so aptly describe here in the West. Miserable, surly, bloated, perma-scowl American or Canadian females. They drastically lower the quality of life of all around them. But then again, misery loves company?

Lets not even bother with the comical folly of Western feminist racism and xenophobic misconceptions. Like the joke goes, never teach a pig to dance. It leaves you covered in mud and it makes the pig angry.

They are just about out of time anyway. Judging from their vitriol, I suspect they are just as aware of that fact as we are.

I think Ill start planning a vacation in Ukraine.

#234 Chris in England on 03.11.09 at 6:06 am

We earn 6 figures (in £s) here in London but are very happy to give it up. When we come to Canada our guaranteed income will be around $25,000 p.a. although other bits and pieces we can do will raise that, but to nowhere near the levels we currently “enjoy”. There is nothing worse than being trapped in the life you don’t want, particularly if you have worked out just what the life you do want truly is.

Last week I posted that we had rejected the latest offer on our house as it was too low. Two or three people urged us to reconsider and grab the money before it was too late. I am happy to report the prospective buyers made a higher offer 2 days later, and thankfully this will pay all the fees involved. We now hope that nothing goes wrong and that at the end of this month we can both give notice at work.

I see from the G&M that some Vancouver city council is allowing inhabitants to keep chickens in their back yards.

Maybe North Vancover Citizen can train them up to be the new financial wizards.

#235 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.11.09 at 10:04 am

#189 Jake on 03.10.09 at 4:36 pm

My observations come from what I see constantly on the streets, in the stores, and those are REAL observations. Sounds like I punched your Hurt Me button?

I think men have let down men by not setting an example of what manhood is really about, and it is not acting like some Macho Moron.

To me manhood is about being the wise and caring Rock that others can depend on, but with a touch of Tough Love when needed. Yet, not afraid to show my well balanced emotions and be a genuine human being.

There is way too much machismo in society, and it is promoted by assholes like Don Cherry and NHL Hockey!

Want to see gentlemen play sports? Try Curling. Hard and strategic competition without one gram of violence.

Society lacks Real Mentors nowadays because of many factors. We need to all be Mentors because we also passed through life to get where we are today, and that needs to be shared.

#236 Jelly on 03.11.09 at 10:12 am

(seeing some truth in Glenn of all people?)
A man who can only feel good about himself if he describes his wife as if she is a prize steer?
“Factory standard” and 105 pounds WITH blond
hair sum it up, it made me laugh, he really is a loser.
(most certainly an old creep)
The fact that you and your wife like to be barefoot is really no interest to me, it’s an expression, not literal,
get it?
Saying that RACISM AND SEXISM is SOOOO dated is a stupid comment, just because you are bored with it does not mean that it does not have truths and still exists today, you only have to read Glenn to see a very ugly side of a man that still is present.
So, no, it is not convenient to scream racism and sexism, sometimes they just apply, sorry they seem,
“so 80’s” or something.
I see the merits in lots of things and realise that there are negatives to a lot of issues but I do not just make blanket observations like you and Glenn.
As far as the miserable North Americans, you may be onto something, but it is not a feministic issue, males do the exact same thing, and a lot of people are miserable chasing the almight dollar on our continent.
I think you would be right in saying a lot of PEOPLE around the world that live simply and have family values first before money are happier and therefore smile more.
Don’t you think it is a cultural thing rather than a woman thing? I think you were short sighted in this observation and made connections that are not accurate.

#237 Barb the proofreader on 03.11.09 at 1:09 pm

#178 Glenn on 03.10.09 at 3:18 pm

I won’t repost your whole bitter, abusive denunciation of women, but I will comment on it. You are some kinda piece of holier than thou with your delusional rant about blaming women. I suppose you blame women for all your problems. Well aren’t you just a typical insecure chauvinist.

Since money is your gawd I guess it wouldn’t help to point out to you that Alicia lives in a crappy atmosphere that was, I dare say, predominantly built over the decades at the hand of men like you.
And you point out so well that you are a chauvinist who thinks we need more marriages, ergo more people. Hey Glenn, there’s nearly 7 billion people — just when is it that we’ve propagated enough to deplete the earth of it’s resources? Your argument is narrow I’m surprised you didn’t run into yourself.
And your quote?: “A man sticks his hand in the fire and curses himself; a woman sticks her hand in the fire and curses the fire.” just plain silly backwards. When things happen to the people I know, it’s the other way around. Only a fearful man like you could reverse the truth so wholly and in such a hate-festered spirit.

#238 canuck on 03.11.09 at 1:38 pm

Chris in England

Great news. When you come, do try resisting the urge to compare your previous life with the one in Canada. The two countries are very different from each other. Each has advantages/disadvantages.

My hubby came from a village south of Sheffield and adapted extremely well to living in southwestern Ontario. We’ve visited every province with the exception of Newfoundland and the three territories. You’ll find if you travel once you’ve found a place a live that each province has its own charm and beauty. Don’t be in a hurry to buy…rent instead.

#239 Glenn on 03.11.09 at 2:13 pm

The spin being spewed forth by the peanut gallery has reached monumental proportions. Replete with attempts at projection, reverse psychology, and of course, the primary thing that got Western females in the quandry they currently find themselves in…*drum roll*…SHAMING LANGUAGE!(tm)

I think its time to bring in some feminist cryptonite. Otherwise known as “facts”, or “truth”.

If, as jelly purports, “miserable North Americans, you may be onto something, but it is not a feministic issue” allow me to ask a question.

If, all things being equal, this is a gender neutral concern, why are there countless thousands of webpages devoted to Western men seeking foreign wives…yet little (none?!) webpages devoted to foreign men seeking Western females?

Now, aside from the simple one word reply of “jelly!”, could someone clarify this? If the question is ignored, or results in even MORE shaming language and blather, we will know exactly what donkeys we can pin the tails on.

P.S. I wonder why more Canadian men are not springing to the aid of their masters, er I mean women. I suspect there will be ALOT more of this as the economy gets progressively worse. Finally, the feminists will have the “independence” they demand. Free at last…free at last!

#240 Koochigoo on 03.11.09 at 2:31 pm

Yah get out Ally, perhaps you can find another job that give you twice amount of stress and half of your current salary.

#241 Increasing that 1% on 03.11.09 at 4:20 pm

#234. Chris in England
“I am happy to report the prospective buyers made a higher offer 2 days later, and thankfully this will pay all the fees involved.”

Congratulations, hope all works out.
Welcome, soon, to Canada!
Lots of changes for you still ahead..
Maybe coming to look for you for that homemade wine one day.

#242 Increasing that 1% on 03.11.09 at 4:24 pm


Put a lid on it. Obviously you hate women. There’s enough violence and hatred that women have to endure all over the world, nobody needs it on this blog.

#243 [email protected] on 03.11.09 at 5:24 pm

Toronto is Cold on 03.10.09 at 9:15 pm

$100K in Toronto is not a lot of money. It is jut enough to get by. Some people talk about that figure as if it were a great salary but it’s not. You only bring home $4000 a month (after tax) …

How much do you think people make in Toronto? Lots of people in Toronto do not make 100k

#244 Glenn on 03.11.09 at 5:57 pm

#242 Increasing that 1% – Glenn, Put a lid on it. Obviously you hate women.

Speaking of hate;

“I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honorable and viable political act. Sexism is NOT the fault of women — kill your fathers, not your mothers.” — Robin Morgan, Editor of MS magazine

We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage. – From Sisterhood Is Powerful, Robin Morgan (ed), 1970, p. 537

“And if the professional rapist is to be separated from the average dominant heterosexual [male], it may be mainly a quantitative difference.” — Susan Griffin; Rape: The All-American Crime

“Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometime gain from the experience.” — Catherine Comins, Vassar College Assistant Dean of Student Life in Time

Tomorrows term of the day, SELECTIVE INDIGNATION!

P.S. I do not hate women, in fact I love them. What I do hate is neurotic petty tyrants of all stripes. [see above quotes if you need clarification, if not see tomorrows term of the day]

#245 Chris in England on 03.11.09 at 8:56 pm

Increasing that 1% #241: “Congratulations, hope all works out. Welcome, soon, to Canada!
Lots of changes for you still ahead..
Maybe coming to look for you for that homemade wine one day.”

The homemade wine is on me (and probably will be after a few bottles!). If you can find me I will probably be grateful!

canuck #238: “Great news. When you come, do try resisting the urge to compare your previous life with the one in Canada. The two countries are very different from each other. Each has advantages/disadvantages.”

Ah canuck, but I do compare – and Canada wins hands down. England no longer exists except in my memory. The country I live in bears very little resemblance to it. And now, as it is 01:20 a.m. I think I will finally leave work and go home!

#246 Tracy on 03.11.09 at 9:42 pm

Yes, it can be done. I wish we’d been able to do it at your age, but we waited until our late thirties, and while we didn’t “check out” completely, we found ourselves a slice of heaven in an area of south western Manitoba that feeds our souls We stepped back from the consumer lifestyle in order to accomplish what we wanted and, as a result, we have more time to spend with our children, a better quality of life than we ever had in any of the Canadian cities we have lived in (including Toronto and Calgary), and we manage just fine. Better than fine, actually.

It can be done, Alicia, but it’s better to do it with a plan, as I’m sure others will agree. Make a plan, set some goals, and follow those dreams. Don’t be frightened. Life is too short to spend it being miserable.

#247 Thomas Stirr on 03.12.09 at 7:37 am

Alicia, nothing is worth your health and your soul. I agree with Garth….get out and find your passion. Most people face similar situations in their lives at one point or another…many stay in jobs they hate and eventually become empty, bitter shells of the people that they once were. We are all the products of the choices we make.

I’ve taken many chances in my career over the years….heck I even took a 27% pay cut once to change industries and to do a job I really wanted. In retrospect the pay cut was a very small price to pay for the experiences that I’ve had over the years. All of these changes have allowed me to grow, learn new things, and develop my talents. The biggest risk you take in life is in not pursuing your dreams.

And, since dreams are free…why not have big, bold audacious ones? Those are the ones that make life full and rich.

If you need some help getting in touch with your passions contact me directly – outside of this blog.

Thomas Stirr

#248 Tired of it All on 03.12.09 at 10:48 am

Ally, most have already said it. I’m in my late ’30s. Lots of times in my 20s I said “nah, it’s too late.” It wasn’t, and never is.

I think Kanata Squirrel made the point – take a vacation. Pay off your debt. Plan to be gone in 6 months. That decision alone will make you feel a thousand pounds lighter.

The ultimate point in all this, and the subtext to Garth’s bang-on advice, is, take control of your life.

Yes, money matters. But go back to your small town. Find a quiet job for a while. Plant a garden. Learn how to can tomatoes better than anyone else, then turn it into an “artisan” company. Ally from Innisfill’s Awesome Preserves ™…

All the best.


#249 Increasing that 1% on 03.12.09 at 11:19 am

#244. Glenn,

Glad to hear you ‘love women’
You are not showing it, by your words of previous posts, ie: #233

My understanding of the main gist of Feminism is that women and men should be able to ‘choose’, not have things forced or imposed on them, ie: by others ideologies/traditions/stereotypes, etc.

And, yeah, maybe some people make choices that are wrong for them, like Alicia. Or the choices are just wrong for that time in their life, and they’re miserable, as it could be so difficult to correct that choice…and so it goes in vicious circle of consequences…

It’s all a painful process, and who knows how we’ll all end up, hopefully better.

And, most people, (including women), I believe, also do not agree with “neurotic petty tyrants of all stripes”.

#250 Midget Porker on 03.12.09 at 5:01 pm

Alan Watts has the answer for you.

#251 chris on 03.14.09 at 1:15 pm

If I were you I would make plans for escape while you’re still holding that position. That way your loans are being payed off and you have a set direction to make your life better. Jumping straight out might work out but with unemployment @ 7.7% or so as of feb/09 it’s not the most risk-free of moves.