Life is full of difficult decisions to be made. The question is, how do we ever know if we’ve made the right one? How do we know if our choices will propel us further to where we want to be or completely set us back right at the start? Truth be told, there’s no answer to the question.
Before I had finished university, I had been given an offer for a full-time job with a corporate company. I was honestly bewildered that I, out of all the smart and talented people in the world had somehow landed myself a mid-level job without having to do much. I felt as though I didn’t deserve it. I felt as though I hadn’t struggled enough or proven myself to be good enough for a job like this. My initial intention after university was to continue looking for paid internships or junior positions that would get me nothing more than 40k a year. And *poof*, I got a job that I felt was way too good to be true and way beyond my capabilities.
Despite my apprehensive attitude towards my abilities, I took the offer anyway. Who would ever pass off an opportunity like that? Who would say no when there are so many graduates in the world who are struggling to find decent jobs in their field?
I took the job. Excited, nervous, unsure.
In the first month, I learned more than I had in my five years of university. I made plenty of mistakes and was called naïve at one point, but I learned how to handle problems quickly and efficiently. I went from amateur to decent in so many skills because there was no other way to succeed then to keep learning. When you get thrown into the deep end, you either learn to swim or you just give up and drown.
Despite the achievements that I had been able to tick off within the first few months (successful campaigns, designing and executing my first print promotional collateral, heck, even cold-calling people – a task that gave me such strong anxiety I almost wanted to kill myself), there was a persistent and ominous cloud looming over my head. That cloud was my lack of confidence. No matter what I did, I always felt like I wasn’t good enough. I convinced myself that there way no way that I would ever be good enough. I became timid, anxious and worried. I wasn’t who I wanted to be, and I hated myself for it.
Over the months, this cloud grew bigger and bigger. My mood began to change. I was snappy and unhappy. I was sleepless, restless and exhausted. I didn’t know what to do and I desperately wished I was a different person.
I began job hunting on the down low, trying to figure out what I was looking for in terms of my career. I had an interview with a prospective employer but realised quickly that it was never going to work. He wasn’t looking for talent to nurture. No, he was looking for someone passionate, someone who was the best-of-the-best. I was neither. I desperately wanted to be a part of something special – to be part of a team that would nurture my talent in a way that allowed me to grow my confidence.
And you know what? I wasn’t going to find it by looking to other people.
So, I quit my job.
It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made in my life because I felt like I was making the wrong one. There were so many people telling me not to quit unless I had another job lined up – but how on Earth was I ever going to get another job when I hated myself so much?
I didn’t quit because I hated my job. I quit because I hated myself. I quit because I wanted to find my own confidence without looking to other people. Instant gratification is a poisonous thing. I think I’ve become so accustomed to looking at others for approval that I’ve lost the ability to be proud of my own achievements.
Despite the fact that I don’t have a full-time job right now, I’m happy. Before, I was afraid. Afraid of judgement, mostly. I feel like there’s this perception out there that if you’re not employed full-time, then you’re a talentless and worthless person that’s amounting to nothing.
No matter what decision you make, you have to make the most of it. There’s no use lingering on regrets because they’ll never push you forward – they’ll only drag you back. Just because you’ve closed one door, it doesn’t mean that it’ll be closed forever. I’m very grateful that despite the fact that I quit my full-time job, I’ve been given new opportunities that wouldn’t have presented themselves otherwise. Now I get to focus on what makes me happy and what brings me satisfaction.
I’ve learned the hard way that quitting your job without a solid backup plan isn’t the end of the world. So long as you keep your eyes out for new opportunities, there’s always something to be done… and sometimes, you just have to take some time to focus on your happiness than worry about what society thinks.
What’s that cliché phrase? Something about you having to love yourself before anyone else can love you. Yeah, that.
Until next time,