Left my job after five months. Here’s why that’s totally okay.
Yup — after just a few months, I called it quits. This was despite the fact that they just opened a 401k plan. Despite receiving a generous year-end bonus. Despite finally finding an office where I actually liked the people. Despite the potential and room for growth. Despite all of it — I left.
It was not an easy decision. I toyed with the thought of leaving for weeks. It felt crazy and reckless. I was telling myself I should stay for at least a year — because that’s what is engrained in us. I was telling myself that a few months is not enough time to fully know if the job is a good fit. Telling myself that they invested in me — they liked me — so how could you betray them? It’s not a toxic environment. Yet I could not get the thought of leaving out of my head. I was drowning in endless self-help articles and videos.
At the end of the day, I had to accept that my reasons for leaving were 100% valid and I couldn’t ignore these important signs any longer:
Physical health. Nausea and headaches were becoming frequent. I was more achy than I used to be. (It definitely doesn’t help that I already have back, neck and wrist pain.) The job isn’t necessarily to blame, but I was growing tired of feeling physically uncomfortable.
Mental health. This was the hardest to accept because I can’t blame the job for this. Sure, stress and nervousness tends to come with working at an agency. But the anxiety stuck around well past the point of “new job jitters.” Every Sunday I dreaded going in that Monday. Every Friday felt like a relief. Why? Well, it’s likely due to the fact that I came into this role with plenty of emotional baggage. Baggage I was neglecting. Taking on an intense job was, well, probably not a good idea. I was struggling and it felt like my anxiety was through the roof. Feeling overwhelmed and anxious in this new job made it more difficult to address my personal problems — my mind felt like it was at full capacity.
Burnout. I’ve always bitten off more than I could chew. It started in high school, where I somehow balanced yearbook with the newspaper with club volleyball and school volleyball and school clubs and classes and more. Fast forward to college where I did the same thing — but worse. I got a job right out of college and steadily worked to the point where I found myself depleted. I took a job that wasn’t easy at a time in my life where I probably shouldn’t have. It was becoming too much and I needed a break. I was struggling to keep up.
Job fit. I initially didn’t want to write off the company that had technically checked off all of the boxes of what I told myself I had wanted. But a few months passed and it hit me like a ton of bricks — I didn’t enjoy what I was doing. I didn’t get excited when I was handed a new project. I was dreading projects and meetings that were coming down the pipeline. The days felt like weeks and the weeks felt like months. Who wants to be at a job where they don’t want to do their actual job? The answer was simple: the job wasn’t right for me. And this should have been the only warning sign that I needed.
But something that was even harder to accept? The fact that I couldn’t stop thinking about all of these damn signs. I felt stuck.
Coming to terms with all of this was difficult. My mind was spinning. I was afraid of what my everyone would think of me. I felt guilty I’d be screwing anyone over. I was afraid they’d just see me as a quitter. I was afraid all of these reasons wouldn’t be deemed good enough. I was afraid I’d screw up my chances of getting another job. I was afraid I would fail in the world of freelancing, which is what I wanted to do.
But it came down to one thing: I wasn’t happy. It’s OKAY to trust your gut. Sometimes people want you more than you want them. You can be good at something, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it. You don’t need to fit yourself into a box just because it’s what you’re told to do. You don’t need to listen to anyone but yourself. You’re happiness comes first, always. And that is why I left and why you can too.