How to quit a toxic job

September 7, 2021
Mariam Zohouri

Where do progressives go when the bright glow of politics leaves them burned [out]? 

Farnaz Yaqubian, political comms expert, asked herself this question while reckoning with a sector that felt radically different to the one she studied for. 

With an eye to pivoting to the private sector, Farnaz knew she’d need to skill-up, grow her network, and create momentum for the career of her dreams.

That’s where Growclass came in.

There, Farnaz gained critical industry skills and connected with our community of champions, landing a new role while increasing her earning potential, quality of life, and potential for growth. 

We caught up with Farnaz to talk about breaking up with your toxic job, how to network during a pandemic, and why our hustle and grind can keep us from a good life.

Join a supportive community of experts fiercely committed to seeing you build the career you deserve. Enrollment for Growclass is now open. Take the leap.

Six months ago, I was miserable. 

Especially during the pandemic, right? You're locked up in your job, you only see friends virtually… My job took up so much of my life. I'd wake up every morning and be like, “I hate what I'm about to do.”

I was in a toxic relationship with my job. I was so unhappy, and I was like, "What do I do?" How do I get to where I want to go? 

I started applying to jobs but I wasn't excited by anything. Then I saw an ad for Growclass, and I was like, “Let's see what this has to offer.” 

When I graduated university, I started working in politics, and I thought that's what I wanted to do. But the world I got a degree in and the world we live in are so different. 

I still wanted to be in a progressive environment, but I wanted to join the private sector, because I had only ever worked in government. I like moving things forward, turning out projects, working on different things. I didn't necessarily get this in the nonprofit and government sectors. 

I didn’t have experience with Google Analytics, A/B testing, in tracking and conceptualizing what's working and what's not. Growclass covered all of it, which is why I joined. 

I have my job because of Growclass. 

I connected with somebody through their Slack community and asked for a coffee chat — that snowballed into my new career. 

My professional transition has been wonderful. The organization I now work for is great. The culture is phenomenal. I don't have to work evenings and weekends anymore. 

I log off at 4:30 pm every day! And I still get tons of work done. 

Growclass connected me to a lot of people who work in a sector I wanted to be a part of, but had no access to. 

I interviewed for a couple of jobs through Growclass connections. Mind you, I didn't get them, but the salary was night and day to what I was making at my last job. 

It made me realize just how much my earning potential could increase. That was a huge eye-opener for me.

I’m making $15,000 more with my new role — and not just with my salary, or bonuses. There’s other perks. My quality of life is better. I’m part of an organization that has room for movement. Before, I was essentially in a dead-end job. 

When I talk about quality of life, I mean a lot of things. My work is remote right now, but it’ll be a hybrid moving forward, which is awesome. When I'm done work, I can shut my laptop and the whole night is my oyster. 

I hate commuting. Driving from the GTA to Toronto is a nightmare. Here, I don’t have to do that.

At my last job I took maybe one week off for the two-and-a-half years I was there. I thought that if I didn't take vacation, I’d be seen as a better employee. Whereas yesterday, my new boss emailed me and was like, "please take all your vacation by the end of the year!"

That my employer is forcing me to rest and rejuvenate is a game changer. I can’t believe how far I’ve come. 

When I was in my fourth year of university, I was a don, and as part of our program there's a weekend called The Laurier Leadership Conference. Among the speakers was [Growclass’ Founder] Sarah Stockdale. 

She had her Master's in Communications, and I was thinking of doing one because a lot of my friends were applying to get one. So I raised my hand and asked, "Do you need a Master’s for today’s workforce?" 

And she said, "Go out there, figure out what your dream job is, and if it needs a Master's, get it. But don’t do it for the sake of it, because you will not like it." 

It was such real, honest advice. I took it to heart and did not get my Master's. I remember thinking, "I want to be this person." I followed her on Twitter, watched her TED talk, and kept up with her because I found her inspiring. 

When I was in this rut, I saw that she was running Growclass, and I was like, "Okay, I have some extra cash and I liked what this girl had to say four years ago.” That one piece of advice started my career. 

There was already a level of trust. You attract the energy you put out, right? And Growclass attracts a certain type of person. If you follow Sarah online, you understand who that person is. 

This is where Growclass stands out from the plethora of courses online. It attracts progressive people who want to better themselves. People who want to see others living their dreams. People who support small businesses. 

People who want to express who they are, through their work: whether you're a freelancer, a small business owner, or working for a big corporation like me. 

Depending on what you want to do, Growclass has this network of people that are gonna get you there. 

I liked that Growclass was more marketing focused. It would round out my communication skills and help me apply to jobs down the line. It seemed like a no-bullshit course, which it 100% was. It all worked out. 

It’s funny, I was telling my mom that I got a signing bonus for this job, and she was like, "There you go, that paid for Growclass." 

The signing bonus, this job, is because a gentleman named Scott posted something in the Growclass Slack that I found interesting. When I saw someone post something cool, I would message them and ask for a coffee chat, because that’s how you network in the pandemic. 

I creeped Scott on LinkedIn, and saw that he had a senior role at a big Canadian fintech company. He’s had an awesome career: working at Coca-Cola, Me to We, with non-profits and in the private sector. That's what I want my LinkedIn to look like one day. 

So I messaged him, and said, "As a young comms professional, can I pick your brain?” We sat down, virtually, and he told me about his career. He said creatives have to take care of each other. He started working when, if there was a recession, the first budget to be cut was marketing. 

Scott said if anything came up to let him know. He said I seem promising. It was nice to have that reassurance. A few months later, I saw a Communications Specialist role at Moneris on my LinkedIn. I was like “This is it!”

I emailed Scott, and the next day I got an interview. Or maybe not the next day — I think I applied on Friday, and on Monday, or Tuesday, I got the interview. In two weeks, I had the job.  

Before that I had applied to 56 jobs. I had five interviews. And that was the only one I got. And you know what? It really was the best one for me. Without Growclass I wouldn’t have made that connection. I wouldn't have access to this group of people.

Growclass creates the momentum you need to take that next step: whether it's to learn a new skill, network with a community that’ll help you on your journey, or just get better at your job. You’ll never know what you can get out of an opportunity unless you take the leap. 

There’s a cost to Growclass, and I think that’s part of the buy-in. If you sign-up for a $50 marketing course, you're not going to care. You have to want it, whatever your goal is, enough to put that amount of money behind it. It gives you an incentive to create momentum for yourself. 

And you are always worth investing in

There’s a snowball effect. The gains aren’t just in your professional life, but in your personal life too. If you're happier with your job, your happiness will make you better company. You can be a better friend, partner, family member. You can be a more empowered member of society. 

If you're on the fence, take Growclass’ free webinars, sign up for Sarah's newsletter, follow her on Twitter, follow her on Instagram — follow her on everything. Create an environment that inspires you. 

Life is finite. So why are we spending time doing things we don’t want to? I mean, in Toronto, you need a bit to live, but you won’t get joy from material things. You get happiness from your purpose. 

What are you doing on a daily basis? How are you contributing to society? The point of life is to be enjoyed. Sometimes we lose that. 

Society pushes hustle and drive, and says “You need more money, you need a bigger house.” But it’s all bullshit. 

Life is about being happy. If you’re not, change it. 

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