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Oh, hello there! Welcome to my first post of 2021. I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU if you read an article of mine last year. I started writing for Mixed Up Money in May and have learned so much.
In 2020 I wrote over a dozen articles. This year, I’m looking forward to sharing more of my personal experiences and continuing to bring simplicity to the complex world of finance while also making it relatable for my female audience. This is something I love to do, and I’m grateful that you’re here.
From the title of this article, you can probably tell that 2021 has brought many changes to my life already. Although these changes were very spontaneous, I’m feeling good about them. Thankfully, no “buyer’s remorse” has crept in yet.
If you didn’t know, on Wednesday, January 6th, I quit my job and, on the 7th, I said goodbye for the last time. I’m writing this sentence a little over a week after that day, and it feels like an eternity.
Since then, I have gone back to school to start a financial planning grad diploma. I’ve learned that I’m someone who thrives off change, and with the static nature of this past year, making some moves felt incredibly exhilarating!
So, you’re probably not here to learn about the courses I’m taking this semester. You’re here because you want the tea! Why did I quit my job? How did it all go down? Did I plan for this? Am I now struggling with the repercussions? Well, we’ll get there.
I feel that it’s important to share my experiences with other women who could be going through similar situations, but I’m not going to be bad-mouthing my former employer, as juicy as that sounds. There was no major wrongdoing or a specific event; it was just not the right fit. I will be sharing how I was feeling beforehand, how it all went down, and how I’m feeling today. Let’s jump in.
I think it’s important to know that I don’t have a lot of work experience. Excluding various retail stints and working eight months at a co-op position through school, this job was my first foray into the “real world.” Could my expectations have been too high? Possibly. Could my dreams for what the future hold be too big? Definitely. But, as a naïve 24-year-old, I’m proud that I see the potential in myself.
As many recent grads will relate, fresh out of school, I took an entry-level position in the field I was hoping to pursue – financial planning. I’m here to tell you it’s not all glamorous for any college student about to enter the workforce. Very rarely will you feel passionate or stimulated in your first job, and that’s normal. My role was purely administrative – information gathering, form filling, data entering, the whole shebang. I knew that this was not the position of my dreams, I wanted to work directly helping people, but I figured it would provide me with the experience I needed with potential room for growth.
In total, I was at my job for a year-and-a-half. Over that time frame, I learned a lot about what worked for me and what didn’t. Fortunately, I will be bringing those things into my future job search. Firstly, this was a small company, six people, including myself, with two that worked at a different location. The team would always joke that we took up five different decades between the six of us. In other words, no one was my age.
Having worked in office environments with people older than me, I always struggled to develop closer bonds with my co-workers. You spend so much time with them, mostly working in an office environment, that those interactions can be a large part of your social life. In addition to the age difference, the six of us had vastly different levels of tenure – with one group joining the company within the last one-and-a-half to three years, and the other being with the company for over twenty. I felt these factors lead to a struggle to relate to one another and ultimately how the office functioned.
For a while, everything was going fine – the mundane work and varying team dynamic was compensated by flexible work hours, kind co-workers, and an office space that felt more like a coffee shop compared to a cubicle. Fast forward to about a year later, and I started noticing myself feeling pretty down come Sunday night.
On weekdays, I would come home from work feeling drained and far from the best version of myself to my boyfriend. I feel much different now – less drained, snappy, and emotional, even after an equivalent amount of desk work for school.
A combination of these things led me to start thinking about my next move. I knew that to do what I wanted, I needed more qualifications and would eventually have to hit the books. Just in case, I applied to college programs for September 2020 but later deferred to January 2021, praying that COVID-19 would no longer be with us. When it was ultimately time to decide, I felt it was too risky to leave a stable job during a pandemic, and the idea of online school didn’t thrill me. I hoped to apply again once things had settled down and told myself to be grateful for the job I still had.
Fast-forward to November 2020, and things started getting a little tense. I’m sure that the ongoing health crisis, subsequent second lockdown, and cold winter played a part. At this point, Ontario was in a full-blown second wave, and my work wasn’t handling it as well as I’d like. We were still going into the office without any real procedures in place. This was hard for me. How do I balance work expectations with what I feel is best for my family’s health?
In addition to the pandemic, my boss and I were increasingly not seeing “eye-to-eye.” With different expectations, working styles, and communication, I started questioning my place within the company. While these tensions loomed, my role began getting more stressful. If you’ve ever worked in admin before, you know that you’re juggling a million and one things. Ultimately, you’re on the hook if anything goes wrong, even if that thing is out of your control.
I started getting overwhelmed and crying every day. If I were at work, I would hide in the bathroom and call my boyfriend, feeling completely and utterly alone. Throughout the Christmas holidays, this one work task loomed over me, leaving a pit in my stomach where there should’ve otherwise been turkey and dressing. That’s when I started to think, “Is this worth it?”
My parents were so amazing and supportive, as they always are. They told me to do what felt right and that they would support me if I decided to go back to school for the semester while I tried to get myself back on my two feet.
After Christmas, with my parents’ blessing, I gave it one more shot. I spoke with my therapist, who recommended I speak with a trusted co-worker to discuss my work happiness. I ended up talking with two of my co-workers on various occasions. Although they were supportive of me and provided listening ears, I didn’t feel like much about my situation was fixable. It was merely the nature of the job and the personalities of the team.
Finally, after one dreadful morning of crying into my boyfriends’ shoulder, we both said enough was enough. I called my boss up and told him how I felt and that things were no longer working for me. What started as just another Wednesday ended up being the day I quit my job, and like I mentioned, the next day, I had given in my computer and packed up my things for good. It was a crazy turnaround that was terrifying, wild, and exciting all at once.
Luckily, I was still able to get into the university program that I wanted, and so far, I believe that things have worked out well. Since I didn’t have complete certainty in my plans after quitting, it was not as well-thought-out as I would’ve liked or what I would recommend to others. Although it was a bit rash and emotionally driven, I’m proud of myself for taking some initiative to find solutions. I know that my ability to be temporarily supported by family and put my health first is incredibly privileged and is not available to many.
If you are unhappy in your job, I would highly recommend taking similar initiatives, because they did make my work life better and maybe would’ve kept me going until I had found a new job, if that was the path I decided. Talk to a trusted co-worker who has some stake in your work happiness. Since most office jobs are remote right now, you’re in a great position to alter your environment for the better. I started meditating throughout the day and would do a minute of breathing on my apple watch before opening an email I knew would be stressful. My days also involved lots of hugs and cat snuggles.
Although it ended a bit dramatically, your first job isn’t meant to last forever. If you can come out the other side with new experiences and a greater understanding of your future goals, I call that a success.
Oh no, you missed the live webinar! But, good news: Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a resource for anyone planning for a future child or family.
Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone looking to cut back on non-essential spending. My most-requested product is these monthly calendars to share on your Instagram story, use as a phone background, or print off to track your spending habits.