In spring, I resigned from my corporate job after 15 years to start a role in a startup.
Over the next few posts, I am going to talk about this pivot and give updates on what I am learning from this new “world”.
First a little story about my career so far.
I started my first corporate job at Bank of Montreal (BMO) in 2007 as a Senior Business Analyst with a salary of $60,000.
Money had never been a big motivator for me and in 2007 I was married, living in an adorable apartment and a respectable job that paid well was more than enough to make me happy.
BMO was a blast for me.
We were several years past the dot com crash and at the height of the bubble that eventually led to the 2008 financial crisis.
It was a fantastic time to be at a financial institution. I was part of a cohort of New Grads in Capital Markets Tech. And we were treated like the “best of the best” and we were a group of fun-loving young people – smart, ambitious, energetic with a good future.
We were unencumbered, loved life, saw corporate success as a worthwhile ambition and loved being part of the Bay Street glamour.
I am friends with many of my former BMO colleagues 15 years later. I still adore every one of them and rejoice watching them blossom into their best selves (often on LinkedIn).
The early years went by quickly amidst a haze of good times.
There were poker nights, happy hours, and club nights.
There were tacos and margaritas and deep conversations about life, career, nature of humanity.
There were inside jokes and being squished in the backseat of a cab illegally with too many people.
There was Beatles Rock Band.
It all changed when I had a baby.
At 28, I was the youngest one of my peers to have a baby. The first maternity leave was an excruciating adjustment (but I survived and eventually thrived). But when I returned from my maternity leave, everything felt different.
Most of my friends had moved on to a different role or moved into senior positions, and I was now a mom who couldn’t go anywhere.
There was already a cohort of “new grads” who saw me as a boss type – a woman in her 30s with a child and a grown-up life.
So, I left it all behind and moved to TD and joined its insurance group. I spent the next 9 years of my life there in a variety of positions.
TD gave me some wonderful friendships that I still hold dear, but I never felt that sense of community I did at BMO. (I realize with some sadness that what I experienced at BMO was a product of my age and environment and I am unlikely to get there at work ever again.)
Still, there were lunches and pubs and at least one house party where there was dancing on a kitchen countertop.
The corporate environment, especially TD, gave me an enormous sense of stability.
It allowed me to make good money (salary grew at a steady pace) while having a manageable workload as I raised my children and dealt with my father’s cancer.
TD corporate culture was polite and organized. And I am so grateful for everything I had because of it.
Even as I write this, it is obvious that much more than the work, what made my corporate career satisfying were the friendships.
So in 2018, as I approached 40, I realized I could not picture myself climbing the corporate ladder for the next 20 years of my life. I needed something more.
Thus, I kicked off a major career pivot without even realizing it…