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A Tale of Two Cities: A Personal Update

March 27th, 2012 · 14 Comments · Career, Personal

(…with clichéd road sign graphics.)

Au revoir Montréal, Hello Toronto

It became apparent very early this year that I would be moving to Toronto. Looking for my next job was a numbers game: The amount of available jobs for someone at my career level was three-times more in Toronto than in Montreal.

For me, the pool of opportunities in Montreal shrinks even more when factoring in my French-as-a-second-language proficiency. Any gig I take in Montreal would have to be focused on English-language markets, and those are in short supply.

From the moment my last blog post went live, I was in the exceedingly fortunate position of fielding calls from people interested in exploring opportunities. They were all in Toronto and they were diverse, challenging and incredibly interesting.

Over the past 10 weeks, one company emerged as the best fit for me; A fabulous digital agency with an international presence, high-profile clients, and an incredibly talented team at the helm. I was particularly eager to work alongside the amiable and down-to-earth executive leading up the strategy and social side.

On Monday morning of last week, we discussed the offer and everything was agreeable. I had my start date and was waiting to sign off on the formal offer which would be in hand by the end of the week. Preparations to move were under way. I made calls to the Toronto school board, sent emails about rental properties, and started cleaning out cupboards.

My husband was completely on board about moving and was really excited about starting a new chapter in our lives. We were just waiting on the signed offer before telling our 7 year-old daughter the news that would change her life.

Putting on the Brakes

Then, on Monday night, out of the blue, my husband was offered a new job based in Montreal. Not just any job, but one that would turbo-boost his career. He’d be taking on some cutting edge technology in a rare environment. It would be a learning and growth opportunity that he would not find again. In the long-term, this job would elevate him to another level entirely.

For 48-hours we hashed out our options, asking the what-ifs, the whys, and the what-abouts. In both cases, one of us would have to find work while the other would bear the responsibility of success. We looked at best-case scenarios and worst-case catastrophes. On most things, the two offerings were about equal.

Neither of us wanted the other to miss out and we were each pushing the other not to turn down their option. We were not approaching our decision selfishly. After 20-years together, we know that supporting the other person is key to our success as a couple.

Bonjour encore, Montréal

In the end, we decided to stay in Montreal. It was the fact that I have more diverse career options that are not entirely dependent on my physical location that swung the decision.

Last Thursday, I declined the very generous agency offer in Toronto. I am an independent and career-driven woman, so turning this down was an extremely difficult thing for me to do – made even more so when they were so understanding and supportive of our predicament. I hope that one day I’ll have the opportunity to work with them and thank them for choosing me for such an incredible role. I wish them well in all their plans.

My husband has already started his new job and it is exceeding his expectations. It’s wonderful to see his future unfolding in such great ways.


Now that I know I’m staying in Montreal, it’s time to take stock of my assets and reboot my direction. Some things that I know I love:

  • marketing, strategy, social media, technology
  • speaking, writing, educating
  • startups
  • digital legacy

Interestingly, over the past week during this U-turn period, I’ve had three media interview requests for digital legacy, have mentored startups in the current FounderFuel cohort, received two inquiries from companies wanting to explore opportunities to work together, and two speaking inquiries.

The adage about one door closing and another opening appears to be true for me right now, and I’m grateful and humbled by my good fortune.

In the coming weeks I’ll be defining my direction and coming up with a plan. If you have an opportunity you think might be of interest, I’d love to hear from you.
Twitter: @AdeleMcAlear

Thanks to all of my family, friends and colleagues who have been so supportive of me now, and in the past. Stay tuned.

Obvious sign

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14 Comments so far ↓

  • Eden Spodek

    The context behind our interesting Twitter conversation last week emerges. Sounds like you and your SO had a tough decision and ultimately made the one that was best for both of you. No doubt opportunity knocks when you least expect it and the new journey is only beginning.

  • Adele McAlear

    Thanks Eden! Indeed, there are new things coming and I’m excited to see what is coming my way. (Yes, this was an apt way of putting my situation last week:!/AdeleMcAlear/status/182105797348687872 )

  • Alphonse Hà

    “A fabulous digital agency with an international presence, high-profile clients, and an incredibly talented team at the helm. ”

    That does exist in Montreal ;)

    I can’t help but smile when reading through your blog post.


    I wish you the best!!!

  • Adele McAlear

    Yes, Alphonse, it *does* exist in Montreal :) But, timing is everything!

  • Mack Collier

    Adele congrats on the good news for your family! Sounds like 2 steps back then 3 steps forward! And being in a position where you could work virtually if necessary is a godsend, there is no way I could live where I do otherwise.

    Congrats, and continued good luck!

  • Adele McAlear

    Aw, Mack, thank you :) I’m looking forward to the future. Maybe you’ll get the chance to venture North for a change, and I can show you my great city.

  • Andre Blackman

    Well I’m proud of you for a number of things Adele. These changes are a testament to the great relationship you have with your husband and also what you have already accomplished in your career. I have no doubt that success will continue to find you, as well as happiness (which is equally important).

  • Adele McAlear

    Thank you André! I believe that everything happens for a reason, so I’m staying positive and I’m optimistic about what the future will bring. I wish you the best of luck in your changing world too.

  • Max Block

    In a very selfish way I’m so glad that you guys stayed in Montreal and I’m so happy for your husband since he now have a great opportunity.
    I’m sure something really great is also waiting for you Adele just around the corner.

  • Adele McAlear

    Thanks Max, I’m happy to be able to be here when your new addition arrives :)

  • Dave Delaney

    They don’t have Schwartz’s in Toronto. Just saying.
    Now I have an excuse to come to Montreal too. :)

    I’m glad things have worked out for you. I know things always will Adele, cause you rock!

  • Adele McAlear

    Dave, you are always welcome here in Montreal! :)

  • PokerGod

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about agency.

  • Arlean

    Aimless writing without any purpose ends up in screeching halt. Start with ones generating steady traffic and comments and offer to guest post for them.

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