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The learning in leaving

Today was my last day at my current job and I’m moving on to a new place. Again. I say it like that because sometimes that is how it feels. “You are changing jobs AGAIN?!” “Didn’t you just get a new job?”

I did. I have only been at my current job for 14 months and I am leaving. The job before that was 18 months, the two jobs before that, about two years each, give or take a few months. My first full-time gig out of college was a full three years — my longest professional tenure cut short by way of a budget cut lay-off (best thing to ever happen to me).

While I am a millennial and this is “what the kids are doing these days”, I do not take these changes lightly. While every move I have made has been strategic and for very specific reasons, it is hard to start over. It is hard to roll over 401ks, enter two W-2s in my tax return, go without insurance for three months and leave behind coworkers and clients and a reputation and start over. I have to learn new tasks, new skills, new people, new personalities and catch up on procedures and clients and members and the learning curve can be steep. I’ve had to learn what I didn’t know (see: I don’t know everything, I can’t control everything).

I don’t enjoy the perception that I cannot hold a job. The fact is, I can. The job didn’t hold me. I could’ve stayed and I probably would’ve been ok, but things would be different. I wouldn’t have the relationships I have now, the skills I have now, the opportunities I have now. While I have pulled up personal roots by leaving these jobs, my career roots are deeper, more pronounced in the exceedingly small garden that is “media and communications” in Sacramento.

I have been molded by these jobs. By leaving these jobs for a new opportunity, it has made me the person I am. I am a person who always wants to do more, to do better. I cannot stay complacent in my career, I have too much of my identity wrapped up in being and doing the best that I can. That doesn’t mean that I will jump ship for just anything. I have chosen my moves carefully, wisely. I do not make these decisions based on emotions. While these changes are to promote happiness and job satisfaction, they are also based on very real and tangible needs. More money, a closer commute, a job that utilizes my skills and education. While a short tenure may suggest a haphazard attitude towards my career, it’s actually been quite the opposite.

I leave and move on because I care too much about my career to stay. Every situation has been different. A different set of circumstances, a different direction, a different reason – but they all lead to the fact that I want more. Too many people stay in their job – unhappy, unused and uninspired – because leaving is hard. It’s scary.

I have invested too much time in my career to sit and be unhappy, unused and uninspired. I am worth more than that. I owe it to myself and my family to reach higher. I do not regret a single change I have made. Every job has taught me new skills and methods of doing the job I love to do and I am grateful. I have learned how to manage (and how to not manage), how to be a team member, how to survive through difficult circumstances, how to fail, how to succeed and how to support my team. I have walked away with relationships that continue to grow, people I consider friends, allies and a valuable part of my life. I have seen employees that were under me go on to thrive and succeed in ways I never could’ve predicted and I am so proud. Proud to have played a small part in their career, their success.

I have seen some other things too. I have seen nasty people succeed. I’ve seen nasty people crash and burn. But I have learned that being nasty doesn’t pay off, successful or not. I have seen the same outcome with people who are lazy, liars, schemers. People who use other people and then toss them aside. Some win, some lose, but that is not who I am. I want to be remembered by my coworkers as someone who championed for them, who worked alongside them and listened to them and was for them. Maybe I could’ve been farther along in my career if I had stepped on everyone else to get there, but I don’t want that kind of success.

I have realized through this all that I am strong, I am capable and I am worth reaching higher until I grasp the limb I am supposed to be on. I have much to learn and I have much to give.

Some people are leavers, some are pursuers and some are stayers. My husband is a stayer. He is faithful, loyal and passionate about his job and his firm. Through the good and bad he is committed to his job, his team and I am so proud of him. I would not characterize myself as a leaver. I am a pursuer of dreams. But I know this – it doesn’t matter if you are a stayer, a leaver or a pursuer. What matters is that you live life passionately, love passionately and achieve passionately. Go or stay wherever you can do that. Do not settle because it is easier. It isn’t easier to do nothing. Finding your place may be difficult, but it is worth it.

Be passionate, but be responsible. Don’t burn bridges. You will need to walk over it again, I promise. Remember that part of your charge as a human and as an adult is making this world a better place. You have to be whole before you can give of yourself to others. Whole doesn’t mean you have the most money or the best job or the best anything. Whole means that you are taking care of yourself mentally, emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually. Sometimes staying whole means waiting to make changes until the time is right. Hesitate and you may miss your shot, rush ahead and you may miss your shot.  Wait, watch and seek counsel from those you trust. Be open and be cautious.

I refuse to be paralyzed by fear of the unknown. The unknown is a scary place, but it is also exciting. I am anxious in anticipation for this next step. I’m itching to grow, to expand my knowledge and my life. I am ready to live passionately.

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2 comments on “The learning in leaving

  1. I’ve experienced a little change myself. Never helpful to live in regret. Being the best you can be often requires change. Your husband is able to help improve the firm he’s a part of. If a person’s place of employment won’t allow you to help it become the best, it’s time to find a place that will.

  2. I like your reflections and words of wisdom
    Go Girl!
    Jeannie

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