For those of you who don’t already know, yours truly is leaving her first big girl job. Sure, I’ve left JOBS before… but this is a CAREER job and the feeling is totally different.No matter how confident you are in your decision to create your own ladder and move to another company, moving on from your first job is anything but easy.
For one, this is where you grew up. In the same way that you grew up while living with your parents, you grew a little more in college and grew even more in your first job. The person I was two years ago when I left college and the person I am today are two totally different people and it’s not because I magically matured and made great strides in life, it’s because the people I work with invested in me and took time to build me as a person. I think back to walking into work on my first day, just a week after graduating college. I was so nervous. I remember I got there early and stayed there late, not knowing I didn’t have to be told I could go for the day. I remember parking on the wrong side of the building and not being able to find my way out when it was time to go. I laugh thinking about my lime green lunch box with the pink bow and the many days I first sat and ate by myself at my desk.
These are your people. Here I am two years later, with a family of my best friends, having mentored two interns, in the
position I was promoted to after a year, sending funny emails to my co-workers to make lunch plans and with silly memes. There aren’t many people in this world that I currently feel closer to and more comfortable with than these guys. They’ve gotten used to me talking obnoxiously loud to them over my cube, they laugh when I get in a squirrely mood, we collaborate on amazing projects and we make a point to go out for Thirsty Thursday or chill after our events. We spend more time together than I do with some of my best friends and it shows. They know how to tell when I’m getting hangry, they know when to expect me to say “I’m tired”, they know what projects I’m working on and what my aspirations in life are. These people right here are the number one reason that leaving is so hard.
Not to mention, you’re comfortable. I know where to find the promo items hardly anyone else can get to, the office knows exactly which super sticky neon post-it notes I like and no one judges me for the excessive amount that I go to the bathroom throughout the day. This place feels like home and no matter how good the new job, any new office is going to feel weird at first.
Confrontation sucks. The feeling you get walking into your boss’ office… the guy who has invested so much time and energy into making you, the guy who is always there when you have a question and the guy who took a chance on you fresh out of college, and telling him you’re leaving, is quite possibly the worst feeling in the world. The mix of wanting to vomit, trying not to waiver in your decision and fighting back tears is intense. You want to assure him that he did everything he could to take care of you and that you enjoyed every second of working for him, but at the same time, you know it stings and it probably will for a while. On top of that, having to sit down and tell each person you work with why you made your decision and attempting to convince them not to take it personally is hard. The amount of tears you see is taxing and overall, the confrontation is emotionally exhausting.
Change is hard. Of course we all have to go through changes in life, but I have always been someone who has a hard time with it. Whether it’s going to college, coming back from college, moving away from friends, etc. it’s always a difficult process. It’s going to be a little awkward at first learning the office, the new job at hand and my new family I’m entering. Deep down I know it’s going to be such an awesome experience, which is why I’ve pushed myself to make the change in the first place, but it will feel weird for a while.
All in all though, my sister showed me a quote the other day that was exactly what I needed.
“When we make a change, it’s so easy to interpret our unsettledness as unhappiness, and our unhappiness as the result of having made the wrong decision. Our mental and emotional states fluctuate madly when we make big changes in our lives, and some days we could tight-rope across Manhattan, and other days we are too weary to clean our teeth. This is normal. This is natural. This is change”. – Jeanette Winterson
So that’s that. This is change. It’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be so worth it in the end. These difficult steps are going to lead to a career I can be proud of and a life that feels accomplished. Plus, I’m not going to be one of those people who forgets her roots. This first job, this group of people, will always be important to me and I will always keep in touch. Any other 20-somethings moving onto a new job?… are you having as hard of a time as I am?
C’est la vie,