I resigned last month. I don't have another job lined up, and I don't have a specific plan for what will happen after my last day of work. This is the kind of thing your mom always advises against, and the kind of news that makes your friends say, "Really? Wow..." with a stone-cold look of "I'm not sure what to say because that sounds kind of stupid" on their faces.
Luckily I've had some practice at this, this is actually the second time I've left a great job without knowing exactly what my next steps would be. That doesn't make the decision less scary, but I am getting more practiced at identifying what I want and need. This was not a decision based on logic, it was based on being true to myself. And the more I do that, the easier it gets.
I've spent a long time feeling like the job wasn't the right fit. I tried a lot of different things to make it work, I've had plenty of conversations with my manager, I enrolled in hours of training on all kinds of different topics, I even tried changing my team. I spent long hours in conversations with my mentors. But what it all came down to is that the fundamental nature of the role wasn't right for me. The job involves managing a team of people confident in their work, while my passion is helping and supporting young professionals as they navigate tough early-career decisions and self-development. A former coworker knew this instantly when I told her my first doubts about my job: "It takes you away from helping students? I can't imagine that, Janet. That's who you are." I know.
It's Time To Go
One of the hardest things about leaving a job can be knowing when the right time is. Because there's never a perfect time, really. "At least wait until you have something else!", people told me. But, then I find myself in those awkward conversations about the future, and dodging the questions from my manager about what my plans are and how my role is going. And having committed to leaving just makes things better at work, to be honest. To own the truth of my role and my personality and my calling makes me happier, more confident, and excited about the future. Even if you don't know what you are called to, it's often at least easier to tell what you are NOT meant to be doing, and that gets you closer to the next step.
Leap and the Net Will Appear
Doing this, leaving a job without another job lined up, is a massive leap of faith. But what I've found is that the adage of "leap and the net will appear", rings true. There are some requirements to making this true, you have to have a positive attitude, and project excitement and enthusiasm and joy into the world when you talk about what you want to do next. If you talk with fear or doubt or negativity you'll shut out the golden opportunities fast. But some surprising things have happened since I committed to leaving. People have said "That's inspiring", and "I wish I could do that", and "I'll be on the lookout for you, what do you want to do next?" and even, "Come work with me!". I am watching the net building underneath me as I hang in the void.
So if you're facing a tough decision, the lesson is this: be true to yourself, wherever that takes you.
Now. Where will I go next? That question is pretty exciting, actually.
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