If you have that little voice in your head—you know, the one that’s telling you something’s off and that you should be doing something different with your life—give yourself permission to listen to it. Explore your options, daydream, see what ideas come to you, and make a game plan to change your life if that’s what you decide is best for you.
I had that little voice in my head and it grew louder each day. I wanted to take action, but I was torn between the fear of looking like a job hopper, and the fear of staying in a position no longer enjoyed. I was waiting on potential opportunities. Opportunities that had no timeline or promise of arrival. After doing some soul searching, followed with many calls to mom, I decided to take action.
I wasn’t quite prepared for what followed. I didn’t know that the decision for a change would lead to the start of an emotional roller coaster. The transition was more overwhelming than I had ever imagined it would be. Surprising, because you would think that accepting a job offer with higher pay and better benefits would lead me to feeling excited and grateful, right?
I did. Until my first day..
I came home and cried. I felt totally out of my comfort zone, and the new work environment was so unfamiliar. I felt like a kid in school who just removed themself from the cool kids table at lunch in hopes of finding a better table, only to end up alone. What have I done? How did I allow myself to do that? I missed what I had. I wanted to go back. I wanted to rewind time, wake up at 7:30am instead of 5:30am, drive 4 miles instead of 24, pull up to my old office, and sit at my old desk near my friends like none of this had ever happened. I contemplated calling up my company and telling them I made a mistake.
But once the emotional shock settled, I began to realized a few things:
1. Deciding to leave your job can feel similar to going through a break up. Deep in your heart you know that it has to end. Of course, you don’t want it to—but you know it needs to. As soon as it happens, you forget all the reasons why you needed to leave and only think about the moments that made you want to stay. You begin to regret your choice, and suddenly you want it all back. But once you do, you’re instantly reminded of all the reasons why you left in the first place. I had to channel my inner Elsa and “let it go.”
2. Everything getting used to takes time. Change is always going to feel uncomfortable, but you need to give it a chance before making another drastic move. Even though it took me the first week to accept everything that happened, each day I became more and more optimistic of the new opportunity. I reminded myself that I was here for a reason, and I needed to give the universe some time to mold what it was creating. I had to trust the process.
3. What I was going through was normal. Truth is, a lot of working people and job-seekers worry about looking like “job hoppers.” They force themselves to stick it out at jobs they hate, because they’re afraid that employers might not give them a chance if they have too many short-term jobs on their resumes. I admit, I also considered the social impact of what my peers would think of me. Would they roll their eyes if they saw another job update on my linked in or Facebook? Would family members think I was a stereo-typical Millennial who couldn’t stick to a job because I was naive to always think there’s something better? The constant battle in my head lead me straight to my next point.
4. You’re in the driver’s seat of your life, my friend. No one else knows what’s best for you but you—not your parents, your grandparents, your spouse, or your best friend. You’re the one that has to get yourself through each day, and no one else can do it for you. If you know that your choice of leaving your job is the best choice for you, and trust that in the long run, others will see it too.
5. Remember what truly matters to you. Will work happy hours, driving cool cars, and kegs in the office kitchen help you save for retirement? Will that entry level paycheck that you just can’t get rid of help you put a down payment on a house? Growing up and becoming an adult isn’t fun, but it’s unavoidable. The transition from what’s fun and cool to what is needed is not easy but you will get through it.
6. What’s best for you, is not what is best for everyone else. Don’t boast to your old coworkers about your new gig, and don’t bash the company you’re leaving either. Remember the break up analogy. Your ex may not have been perfect for you, but I’m sure they will be perfect for someone else. Everyone’s career goals/timing/opportunities are all different. Just find the fit for you.
7. You are the author of your resume. Your job history does not define you, but your resume might. And lucky for you, you are the one in power to put whatever it is you want on there. Don’t want future employers to see a previous job that only lasted a few months? Don’t put it on there. Again, there is no shame in being a job hopper, if it got you to where you needed to be.
Once I accepted where I was, and the new life I was creating, things immensely became better. I am happy with where I came from, and excited with what is to come. A new job isn’t a marriage or death sentence, so relax, give it a chance, and be optimistic with what you will gain.
Disclaimer: All companies I have worked for in the past have been great in their own way, and I would recommend the right person to any of them. Things happen and sometimes life just wants you to take on a new challenge.