I quit my job today. It’s a little ironic considering the fact that my one year college graduation anniversary has just recently passed.
I remember that day so vividly: sitting in a huge cathedral in my cap & gown, my daughter on my lap with a bubblegum pink bow on her head. My attempts at muffling her coos & giggles from echoing throughout the church were failing miserably. She, however, succeeded in making eye contact with every single student within close proximity of us. I still feel a tad bit guilty given that I can’t tell you who the valedictorian was, or even what the person sitting across from me looked like, bearing in mind that I was so preoccupied with a 10-month-old ball of energy.
I also remember the weeks leading up to that day: graduation rehearsals, end of the year paperwork, & gatherings with other soon-to-be alumni. I went to pick up my cap & gown one day, while I had my daughter strapped onto my back. I walked into the room & saw many new faces give each other that “Oh! That’s the girl with the baby” look, but it didn’t bother me—I was used to it by then. I was surrounded by conversations filled with excitement, anticipation, & of course, the sharing of big plans with one another.
I saw a familiar face in the room, so naturally, I gravitated towards her.
Our conversation was much the same— lots of talk about big plans, but not-so-much talk on how we were going to execute them.
“I want to work in the Entertainment industry, not sure exactly what I want to do there, but I know that’s my end goal!” I said proudly.
“That’s amazing! Do you have anything lined up yet?” she asked.
Eagerly I responded with, “Not yet, but I’ve been applying to places non-stop, so I’m bound to land something soon!”
Around that particular point in my life, conversations like the one I had that day were the norm. However, I’m pretty sure that stands true for any senior in college who is counting down the days until they are able to launch that silly square hat up into the air.
If I only knew then what was in store for me just a few short months later. There’s no need to get back into the chilling details of the cold reality of life after college. If you’d like to take a look back into those dark days, you can refer back to this old post where I express how traumatic the awkward phase post-graduation can be.
Let’s just say that desperate times call for desperate measures.
When you have exhausted all options by applying to every single job listing online, connecting with every contact you know in that specific field, and attending every job fair within your realm of interest, the only other option left is to settle.
And that’s exactly what I did.
I ultimately ended up throwing my big entertainment goals down the drain, all because I was in desperate need of a job. Let’s not forget that there was not one, not two, but three mouths under the roof of our apartment that needed to be fed.
I got a job offer, & I jumped on it.
I accepted a job that was so far off of the path that I envisioned myself walking on. The very path that I carefully paved with what felt like my own bare hands, so that I could not only have a successful career, but so that I would be happy.
When I was younger, I always admired my mom for being such a hard worker. She had me at seventeen years old, started working for her company three years later, & just recently celebrated her twenty-year anniversary with that same company. It’s strange, but I still remember the exact sound of the clicking of my moms five-inch-heels walking up the steps to my daycare to pick me up after work every day. Just as clear as the memory of that sound is, I also recall constantly overhearing how uninterested she was in her career, & that she just “had to do what she had to do.”
I’ve never been one of those people who have known what they wanted to do with their lives from the age of 5. You know, those people who you went to kindergarten with who said they wanted to be a fireman or a police officer & you now see them patrolling the streets of your very town.
Whenever I envisioned my future, I would picture myself walking into a huge office building with a smirk on my face relaying the “Take a seat & watch me shine” message. You see, I didn’t really care what it was that I did. All I wanted was a job where every email I sent out, every telephone call I answered, every extra 30 minutes I stayed late to finish working on a project, brought me one step closer to rising towards the top. My ideal job was a job where I could be genuinely happy & where I could lay in bed at night feeling satisfied, knowing that all of the hard work I put in had paid off.
After 9 months of working for the small accounting firm with three employees, I realized that I was digging myself into a hole that would end up taking much longer to climb out than it did to dig in the first place. I had to think about the long run. Although there was nothing necessarily wrong with my current job, the longer I stayed in the accounting field, the longer I was subjecting myself to an accounting future, which I knew for a fact was not what I wanted for myself. Do I know now what it is that I want for myself? Nope.
But given my uncertainty, I did know two important things:
1. I needed a job where I am able to dip my toes into multiple fields, to test the waters & narrow down my interests. That way I can better my chances of finding my “calling”, if you may.
2. I needed a name on my resume that will give me leverage in the future.
Of course I would love to find a company where I could start out in the mail room & end up as a Vice President twenty years later, just like my boss-mama did. But even if that doesn’t end up happening, nothing causes you to stand out more among a pool of applicants like a reputable name on your resume does.
One random day after work, I went home & realized how unfulfilled I felt. I had a flash back to the day when I walked across the stage, carrying my baby with one hand & my diploma with the other. The same day that we held a big celebration dinner with an entourage of the people I love the most, where I (yet again) shared my (not-so-solid) big plans for the near future.
That unsettling feeling that I felt that evening reminded me how even though it had been less than a year since that memorable day, I knew deep down in my gut that I was slowing falling under the “you gotta do what you gotta do” category. Which, if it isn’t clear by now, is exactly the category that I was trying to avoid.
From that point forward I took my time to be strategic & patient.
Over the next few months, I slowly began applying to not just any job listing, but the ones that I genuinely wanted. The ones where I spent the time to do research on the company, their values & culture, and of course to see if the description matched my “must haves” that I listed above. When I found those positions, I didn’t just copy & paste an email or cover letter to the hiring manager. I basically summed up everything that I am writing today (in a much less “poor me” way, of course) and I explained why I wanted the job, even though it was unlike anything I had ever done before. Because of the big name companies that I was applying to & the little experience that I had, the responses back to me were scarce.
I didn’t let that discourage me.
I quit my job today.
However, tomorrow I will be walking through the doors of a company whose values align with mine. A company with with 7 global locations, over 140 diverse positions at each one, where the opportunities to grow are endless, so long as the effort is put forth.
Tomorrow night I will lay in bed remembering that feeling that I felt a year ago, when I talked about my goals for the future with hope & determination in my eyes. I will remind myself to never settle for less than I deserve, and to stay focused on that hand beaten path, despite all of the valleys & troughs that I encounter at times.
Tomorrow night I will feel fulfilled.
I will feel fulfilled because I didn’t walk into a job that day where I “had to do what I had to do,” but because from that point on, I would be walking into a job where I was doing what I wanted to do.