Do you have to drag yourself to the office each morning? Are you thinking ‘is this it’? Do you dream of doing something else? These are just some of the thoughts that were going through my head after a little over year into my first role in the company.
I started to dread going to the office in the morning. I didn’t feel excited or passionate about what I was doing, which was something I definitely expected to feel when I started working. I had landed this amazing job at a big corporate, with great benefits and I just couldn’t wait to start. But after a couple of months, doubt started to grow. I studied law, but I decided to go a different route and go into HR. But once I started working in the field, I wasn’t sure anymore. Was this really what I wanted to do? Did I see myself building a long-term career in this field?
I hadn’t experienced this kind of doubt before. I had always been so sure about what I wanted to do, and I had always been right (I don’t mean to sound arrogant, maybe it was just luck!). I wasn’t sure what to do at first and I told myself that it was probably something temporary that would get better with time, more experience, etcetera.
However, when this didn’t happen and things didn’t get better after a couple of months, it started to really affect me. My mood, my sleep, I really felt completely lost. In the meantime, I had been thinking about the whole situation a lot. Because if HR is not what I want, then what DO I want?! I went back to square one and looked at my passions, what makes me happy, what gives me energy. I kept coming back to one thing: writing. All I wanted to do was write! Play with words, sentences, tell stories. Once I had this figured out, I had to get my story straight as I didn’t want to quit, but I wanted to be transferred internally.
I have just summarised approximately eight months in just 350 words, but as you can imagine, I didn’t take the decision overnight. I first needed a couple of months to figure out if this feeling of uncertainty was temporary or if it was something deeper. I talked a lot about it with friends and some colleagues I trusted before I went into action mode. This made a huge difference for me, as when I dived into the office politics to try to get my internal transfer, I had an answer to every question. By showing that this wasn’t an impulsive decision I gained credibility and even a sponsor!
How I knew I needed a new job
I already quickly touched upon some of the signs that told me that I needed to get out and find a new job, but there were more signs that told me that it wasn’t a sustainable to stay in my job and just see what happens.
I wasn’t feeling like myself
I have worked since I was 15 and had never felt like this. Not even when I worked as a cashier or waitress for a couple of euros per hour. But now I experienced the “Sunday night blues” every day, and ten times worse.
It started to affect my wellbeing
When I was sleeping I was restless and I dreamt a lot about work. I would leave the office every day feeling completely drained, not having energy to do anything after work.
I was willing to take a pay cut
A decisive moment for me was when I knew that I was willing to resign and potentially take a pay cut. I just wanted to be happy and excited about my job and at that point I didn’t care about money anymore.
My tasks, responsibilities and skills were not exciting me
Although I was good at what I was doing, I felt indifferent about most of the content and the skills I was learning. It didn’t give me any energy and the training courses I had to go to were not exciting me, while I always loved studying and learning new stuff!
Deep down you think you’re made to do something bigger and better
I’ve had these thoughts so many times. That I was made to do something different, something that would give me more personal satisfaction and that would make me feel I’m making a difference, have impact.
How did it end?
I got a sponsor, which really helped. Approximately seven months after I started advocating for an internal transfer I started in my new role! I’m now in communications, and I absolutely love my job. I write every single day, I can be creative and I’m extremely passionate about what I do.
I still look back and reflect on what happened quite often, and I think about how I felt at the time and how I feel now. I’m grateful for the people that believed in me and helped me get my dream job, and I am proud of myself for taking the plunge. It was super scary at times and I felt really vulnerable, but it was all worth it.
Are you recognising any of these signs or have you been in a similar situation?