An Anonymous Post from Someone We Can All Relate To
Taking a Step Backward to Go Forward in Your Career
Here at TNM, we seek to inspire the community and help others create positive changes in their lives. Recently, to go along with this, our founder Kevin O’Connell taught a monthly course at General Assembly titled Career Shifts: Find the Work You Love focused on helping a variety of professionals realize a career transition is possible and where to start. The truth is, there are so many people in the same boat who don’t realize others share these struggles and doubts, particularly in their professional career. The second truth is that there is a way to overcome it. This is why TNM continues to share these stories. The following is an anonymous letter, from a young professional in the D.C. area to Kevin who attended his class and is in the process of switching jobs and seeking change. It is both honest, transparent, and relatable, as well as reassuring in away. A “dream job” or perfect “work-life balance” may not be in your life right now, and that’s okay.
“I have been working at the same company for almost six years. I never expected to be six years at one company, under one boss for this long. It was definitely not my intention upon first accepting the role. But I got really lucky, and I have spent most of those years truly loving my job. I had weekends where I was excited for Monday. The days went quickly, and my coworkers were my closest friends. Of course, this couldn’t last forever, right?
Recently, as I have matured and grown as a profession, I have started getting bored and frustrated.
I have felt underappreciated.
I haven't enjoyed the projects I'm on.
The days started to feel really long.
My work was isolating, and after a few stressful and lonely weeks started to recognize that it may be time to move on.
So, I started applying for jobs.
I’m lucky to know what I want to do, so it was easy to find a position that seemed like a decent fit, and shoot off an application. Today’s technology makes it so easy to fire off five job applications in minutes.
And I did just that. A lot.
The first few days were exciting. I was getting at least one response a day and setting up multiple phone interviews daily. Within two weeks, I had an out of town in-person interview. This all sounds amazing and if I had been desperate for a new job, it could have been it. Instead, I was exhausted and stressed. I wasn’t paying close attention to the jobs or companies I was applying for. I wasn’t thinking about what city I wanted to move to. I hadn’t thought realistically about leaving my job after 6 years. To top it all off, my lease was up, and I had to decide if I was going to renew.
Somewhere, in this whole process, there was a logical part of me that signed up for a class at General Assembly about Career Shifts. I signed up before any of the interviews started, but it happened to fall right after I received a rejection after another a final in-person interview. I was bummed and stressed when I walked into the classroom. I didn’t know if I should just go ahead and re-sign my lease or whether I should just up and quit my job to run away somewhere new.
By the end of the class, I was a new person. I realized a lot of important things.
My job doesn’t suck.
My living situation is good.
One thing stuck in my head more than anything else: “How much worse would it be if I just accepted the first job that came to me and it was worse than what I have today?”
I left class and made a plan. I went home and re-signed my lease. I planned for a vacation that I had considered cancelling to make room for job interviews. I was able to breathe and feel confident for the first time in over a month. I realized that I was better off slowing down and finding the right job was better than just finding any job.
I’m still looking for that right fit today. I am trying to be more methodical – applying to companies that fit my needs and not considering a random relocation. Sometimes, I still find myself running too fast often when work is particularly bad. Luckily, I have been able to bring myself back to the realization that I’m looking for more than just change, I’m looking for improvement.”
While there are so many philosophies on jumping right in versus taking one step at a time, this young professional has found the latter to be a better fit to their personality. Legitimate, positive change can take time and there is nothing wrong with taking adequate time to make the right decision. Whether you align with this scenario or not here are a few key takeaways:
1. “But I got really lucky, and I have spent most of those years truly loving my job… Of course, this couldn’t last forever.”
Just because a job (or anything else for that matter) was once perfect for you, doesn’t mean it always will be. Just like saying goodbye to the frosted tips you may have rocked in the early 2000s, it is perfectly okay to respectfully move on when your situation is just not “you” anymore.
2. “Somewhere, in this whole process, there was a logical part of me that signed up for a class at General Assembly about Career Shifts.”
Even if you’re the type to follow your gut, try not to ignore the logical part of your brain. Push your comfort zone and sign up for a class, networking event, presentation, or any kind of professional event and just go. Worst case scenario you daydream about cute cats or the kind of pizza you’ll order for dinner. Best case scenario - and a more likely outcome - you learn something new that can help inspire or equip you to create a positive change and add someone new to your network.
3. “I went home and re-signed my lease. I planned for a vacation that I had considered cancelling… I was able to breathe and feel confident for the first time in over a month.”
Confidence and peace of mind are key. Knowing that you need to make a change eventually doesn’t mean that it needs to happen today, tomorrow, next week, or even next month. If the thought of starting a new job causes you more stress than it does excitement or relief, you can and should hit pause.
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