Life as a young professional isn't the easiest in Montreal, and this isn't a comment on the economy or job opportunities. Rather, the Montreal lifestyle of constant chilling, going out, and enjoying the bohemian lifestyle just doesn't mesh that well with a regular 9-5 occupation.
Rather than just break down and get a job as a bartender, though, young professionals in Montreal just vow to make some definite changes, ones that will allow them to grow without needing to leave the city. And, of course, that time generally comes on New Years, when everyone is making resolutions.
But while New Years resolutions (NYRs) may change year to year for most people, a young professional in Montreal is all but doomed to repeat the same ones every single year. Why? Well, because, as already said, the young professional lifestyle doesn't mesh well with Montreal, so goals made in January are almost forced to come to an end by February.
If you're a young professional in Montreal, you'll know what I mean, and no doubt recognize some of your own annual objectives in our list of New Years resolutions young professionals in the city make every year.
"This year, I'll buy my own condo."
Owning a condo has become a such a status symbol among young professionals, with the act of buying one basically saying "look at me, I'm young and successful." Obviously everyone would like to send that message out, but wanting to buy a condo is very different from being able to afford one.
Condos don't come cheap, even in Montreal where property prices are comparatively low in relation to other major Canadian cities. So even though you have a nice wad of cash saved, it's nowhere near enough, making this yet another NYR you'll make in 2016 which you'll realize is impossible to attain once you work out the financing logistics.
"I will eat out less."
And then you go out for brunch on New Year's Day. And then it's Saturday and you need to go to a new restaurant because you're trendy like that. And then it's lunch on Tuesday and you can't be bothered to bring food to work. And then it's Thursday and you want to treat yourself to a nice meal because the week is almost over. And then it's Saturday again, and repeat.
Even though you know you'll save a legit amount of money by cooking at home, your job gives you enough to dine out without going broke, and your taste buds are too strong for your financial reasoning to overpower.
Sure, you'll think about staying in and saving money, but then you'll realize just how delicious a meal at a great Montreal restaurant (and there are a lot ) will be, and you're doomed to spend.
"I will never be hungover at work.
If only it were that easy.
Maybe if 5a7's didn't exist, or if the work week didn't burn you out by Wednesday, or if your friends had "adult" jobs and had to wake up at 7am like you, then there's the slight possibility you'd actually succeed in accomplishing this NYR.
Unfortunately, that's not the case. 5a7's are too fun, you secretly hate your job even though the pay is decent, and 70% of your friends work at restaurants, thus allowing them to party 'til 3am and wake up at noon. Reality is a b*tch like that.
"It's time to actually get my sh*t together."
Vague but forceful, this is one of those generic NYR most of us young professionals make, which could apply to any aspect of our personal or professional lives.
Don't deny it, there's some secret (or very apparent) part of your life that showcases how much of a mess you are. In Montreal, most people don't care, or don't notice, but you know that any where else you'd be considered some sort of miscreant or failure, so you want to change.
The catch is, you are in Montreal, where even the most f*cked up habits/schedules are met with open arms. It's not like you're going to go ahead and get your sh*t together when no one else has either.
"I will plan next year's winter vacation, now."
Once January or February hit, all you can think about is escaping to the warmth of Cuba or the like. But tickets are crazy expensive during the "escape winter" time of year, and your funds are still recovering from the holidays, thus leaving you in the cold.
A young professional capable of any foresight would then just plan ahead, and book a trip to a tropical climate for the upcoming year, and break this harsh cycle.
Unfortunately, that sure isn't you, and you're pretty much doomed to forget all about the awfulness that is winter once summer comes in Montreal, and by next December it'll be too late.
"I will stop constantly checking my emails."
Emails are like Tindr messages for young professionals. You pretty much know you don't have any new ones, but you're still compelled to check, no matter what. I mean, what if your boss hated your last project, or loved it so much she wants to promote you? Obviously you need to know.
The result of such an obsessive habit is constant jeers from your friends and family, a majority about how you're a workaholic, a slave to the system, or that you "only care about your job." All of that may be true, though it's not like you enjoy hearing it.
But old habits die hard, and unless you plan on getting rid of a smartphone, which provides access to your mailbox with a single tap, you probably won't kick the email-addiction.
"I am going to make new, more professionally-minded friends."
Having a restaurant or bar job is kind of the norm in Montreal. And in all honesty, it's pretty sweet. You get to stay up late, make a solid amount of money, and work in a pretty fun environment.
Young professionals don't have it so easy. Largely outnumbered by the many twenty-nothings who work the rest/nightlife scene, most young professionals are envious of those who have such jobs, even though they won't admit it.
The solution is to just make friends who are bit more professionally-minded, like they say every year. Two problems arise, however. One, there's a lack of young professionals running around, and two, most of them simply aren't as fun as your existing friends. With that, you're stuck with your party-loving pals who have a very flexible schedule, because it's better than chilling with lamewads.
"I'm gonna learn how to network, not just get drunk and chatty."
There is a key difference between the two. Networking involves tons of schmoozing, proper professional introductions, and the handing out of cards. The other is all about capitalizing on the free alcohol offered at events, getting mildly belligerent, and making friends who you probably won't remember the next day.
Yes, the latter is more fun, but you don't really get much out of it, so every year you promise yourself you'll stick to the former, like a proper young professional. Oh, but if only free alcohol wasn't such a double-edged sword. Unless your liver learns some self control, chances are this isn't going to happen in 2016.
"I'm going to learn to say 'no.'"
Applicable moments include when friends ask "you free to chill in the park right now?", "want to get obliterated at my ski cabin this weekend?", "can we put it on your credit card?", "you down to do some [insert drug of choice here]?"
You could say no, but then FOMO would kick in, and you'd instantly regret your decision, even though your better judgement is saying "no, you should probably just get some work done."
I will (successfully) stick to a budget."
Not bloody likely. You might make a small effort in January, but when you realize just how much you spend on cigarettes, trips to the SAQ, eating out, drinks at the bar, cover and coat check, and new clothes, you'll just stop counting. No one needs a reminder just how much they're spending on frivolous items, no matter how fun they are.
"I hate to say it, but this year I'll finally move out of Montreal."
The part of your brain capable of planning for the future understands that Montreal really isn't the best city to quickly grow one's career. Young professionals hit a plateau of growth early on in the city, at least for the most part, and then there's the fact that salaries and business opportunities are abound in other metropolises.
So you say to yourself it's time to move out of Montreal.
But then your emotions take over. You think about all the friends and family you'll miss, the cheap rent, and the vibrant nature of the city. While your higher functions may be saying "it's time to leave, for your career" there's a stronger part of you deep down that says "no, Montreal is amazing and I will never leave."
You can't fight your gut, so while you may say you want to leave at the start of the year, it isn't going to happen.