5 Things I Learned After I Quit My Job
Making such a life-changing decision quickly, I never stopped to think about what happens after it’s over. I will fully admit, I was unprepared for the tidal wave of emotions that hit in the weeks after leaving my full-time position. And the shock of processing it all left me paralyzed more times than I care to admit.
Luckily, I can confidently say the tides have receded, and the clouds have cleared. And now that I’m standing on the other side, here are five things I learned in the process.
Sit in your feelings.
There were moments in those first few weeks where I felt inexplicably sad. At the time, I couldn’t figure out why. After all, I had no one to report to, no weekly meetings to attend; my to-do list dissipated. Yet still, I was glum and testy and curt.
I’ve been working since I was 16. More often than not, I had two jobs. I was a side-hustle-queen before Instagram culture made it cool. It took a minute to realize that I had my identity so tightly wound to my job title and career that the minute it was gone, I fell apart. I felt like I was mourning the loss of a piece of myself.
So I did. And in the process, I promised myself never to rely so heavily on a title (especially one not entirely in my control) again. There’s much more to life than what you do for work.
Operate in your best interest.
It’s easy to get emotionally attached to your company, your boss, the people you work with, etc. Leaping this way came with many emotional surprises, but I’m thankful that not once did I have a “holy sh*t, what the f**k did I just do” moment. I always knew, and still know, it was the best decision for my family.
Companies will always act in their best interest; make sure you always act in the best interest of yourself. But if you’re lucky, those great relationships you’ve built will be the first ones to cheer you on and support you through such a wild transition.
I’ve been taking stock in how I’ve operated in my career, specifically over the past few years. I loved so many things, and I especially miss travel, but what these moments in limbo are providing me is a time to recognize what I DON’T want out of my next career move.
When I was still doing hair, one of the best ways to figure out what a client wanted when they sat in my chair was to ask them over and over, in different ways, what it is they don’t want. And 10/10, we’d come out with a look they loved.
While I may not have a clear path of what I do want, it’s taking a much more apparent shape as I’ve been looking back to realize precisely what it is I don’t want.
Take the time to reflect, even when it’s overwhelming.
It’s OK to be vulnerable.
If there’s ever been a time to let your guard down and voice your struggles, it’s now. We’re all feeling some type of way, and I’ve found great comfort in blatant honesty (never been a problem) and genuine, raw emotion (something I haven’t always been good at. Shout out to the hubs for handling this one with grace).
The biggest thing to remember at this very moment; NO ONE has it figured out. We’re all attempting to “pivot” or “adapt” or “change the game” right now. Trust your gut and do what’s best for you.
Unwind. (You don’t need to have it all figured out immediately.)
Do you know that emotional rollercoaster I talked about in point #1? Imagine me waking up and sitting at my computer every morning before my kids woke up, pressuring myself to create the next remarkable career move out of thin air.
After all, I couldn’t just stop and breathe. I had to keep going, had to keep creating, had to keep HUSTLING. I couldn’t let one minute of my new found freedom go to waste! What would all the hustle-culture-thought-leaders think if they knew I was prioritizing anything over THE GRIND?!
I could hear them collectively screaming at me through a viral Instagram post. Telling me, I’m worthless and lazy for enjoying a Netflix binge instead of proving my impending success through lack of sleep, poor diet, and a constant flex of the number of hours I poured into building something new.
I finally realized I didn’t have to have an answer to my professional future immediately. Gary Vee wasn’t going to magically appear at my bedside while I devoured The Haunting of Bly Manor and ate chips straight out of the bag at 3 PM to tell me I was a f**king bum. With that realization, I started to unwind and feel like myself again.
Give yourself grace and time. Detach and unwind.
There’s no right or wrong way to feel after you quit your job, especially in the middle of a pandemic. And I was obviously quite surprised at the range of emotions I’ve experienced in 2 short months. But with any season of change, I’m so excited to see how it all continues to unfold.
If you've found yourself in unfamiliar territory lately, how are you acclimating?