I was lucky enough that after graduating from college in May 2010, it was only a matter of weeks before I found my first job. After sending out countless resumes and cover letters, landing a job when so many of my friends were still struggling was a godsend… until it wasn’t anymore.
There are some people who get very lucky with their first job. I wasn’t one of them. It didn’t pay much, which I could overlook if it was in my field. It wasn’t.
I worked too many hours, which I could overlook if there was any form of upward mobility. There wasn’t.
I had a micromanaging, bordering on abusive boss, who I thought I loved working for until it became very clear I did not.
The extremely low income, the lack of being able to advance in the company, the fact that it had absolutely nothing to do with my future career, and the overbearing, constantly berating boss all became too much for me to ignore.
I stayed as long as I could, which ended up being eleven months, but after a point, leaving my job became less about my career and more about preserving my mental health. I had started to get migraines on a weekly or twice-weekly basis; it left me coming home upset more than I’d have liked. After a while, leaving this soul-sucking job became a matter of self-respect and preservation.
I knew I had to get out of there, but leaving was so hard. Much harder than you’d expect it to be. It was scary not knowing when another job would come along, but I had to take the chance. The entire process involved MANY talks with both my parents and my friends and seeking the advice of the people I trusted and who knew me best. Ultimately, everyone was supportive of my decision — and in part, I think they were glad they wouldn’t have to listen to me complain about my job anymore! After weighing the pros of leaving (feeling healthier and happier, not working six days a week, getting back into my field to start a career) with the cons (having to job search again, the uncertainty of finding another job, losing my steady-but-not-stellar income), it was clear I needed a change.
It was the best decision I ever made. I felt so happy the first day I did not have to return to that job; it felt like a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. It was also the first day I started my new job, a job that’s in my field and doesn’t make me want to jump off a bridge.
It was terrifying to leave my first job, but I had to do it. If you’re stuck in a job you can’t stand or one you know you’re too good for, and you can afford to quit, DO IT. Luckily, I had saved up any extra money I didn’t spend on bills, which left me a nice financial cushion. It’s also important to try to line something else up first, so you don’t have to worry about money or unemployment. However, if you just can’t wait any longer, save yourself the unnecessary mental anguish and leave.
It could be the best decision you ever make.
Jordan is the personality behind the site Early-Twenties, where she blogs about her professional, and personal, journey after college graduation. She is also a contributing writer at Love Twenty and copy editor at The Twenty Life. Check out her site here to learn more!