I quit my job for a new and drastically different career opportunity. It was hard. Like, breakup hard.
I was in an especially vulnerable spot in my life when I first started the job. I had just moved back from New York City after working at a non-profit organization, which explains why I returned to Minneapolis just as broke as when I left it. My broke-ness explains why I took the very first corporate job offered to me out of necessity. I kicked off the new position with a winning recipe – a lack of experience and a heavy dose of imposter syndrome. My solution was to spend 99% of my life obsessing over my career, desperate to exceed expectations of my boss and hoping it would mask the fact that I didn’t know what the f*ck I was doing.
To my amazement, It worked. Within a year, I was promoted. Within another year, I was promoted again. Once, after working with the Chief Marketing Officer on a particularly stressful project, she took my hand in hers, looked me straight in the eye and said in a deadpan tone, “you can never leave here, Allie. Promise me?” *queue uncontrollable blushing and general awkwardness* Of course, she was kidding. But there, underneath the sarcasm, was a sentiment I hadn’t experienced in my professional career. I had stumbled upon a job that valued me. Validated me. Loved me, even.
Having a boss tell you that you’re needed and valued is intoxicating, even for the most confident individual. For an imposter syndrome sufferer like myself, it was like a drug. The problem was that I didn’t love my job back. Not unlike a first boyfriend, I was so charmed by how the job felt about me and how that made me feel in return that I ignored how much I dreaded the actual work. I had let my insecurities, paired with an addiction to validation, push my career in a direction that I hadn’t planned nor wanted it to go. Just as rational people stay in obviously unhappy relationships for far too long, I realized I was in danger of staying in an unhappy career.
Breakups, even when they’re right, are miserable things. (I would know – I could write a Tolkien-length novel on tough romantic breakups.) No matter the circumstances, there are always lingering feelings of guilt, regret and pure, unfiltered sadness. When faced with quitting my job, I couldn’t help but feel like I was breaking it off with a long-term boyfriend. Insecurities started to cloud my judgment. “Am I giving up something good for the wrong reasons?” “Will I ever see my coworkers again?” and the worst one, “what if I suck at my new job and everyone can tell?” (hello again, imposter syndrome!)
I felt so overwhelmed by doubts, I almost retreated into the safe option that bored me to the core. Instead, I trusted my gut. It was a huge personal win for me. By walking through the below exercises, I found a way to silence my self-doubts and let that risky gut intuition lead the way. If you, too, are sitting at a romantic or professional crossroad where your decision is clouded by fear or insecurity, I’d recommend trying them out. It helped me pull the trigger. And although I have to wait to see if it’ll pay off, I haven’t looked in the rearview mirror, since.
Allie is a Minneapolis-based digital marketer, lucky enough to make a living by hanging out with really smart people and coming up with disruptive, technology driven ideas at Space150. Her passions include traveling, coffee, books, feminism, obsessing over the dog she just saw on the street corner and trying not to blush at inconvenient moments.
Photo by Anastasia Galka Photograhy
BY Allie Arends - March 8, 2017
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.