I’ve been accused of being a typical millennial on many occasions. For someone a few days out from entering her fourth decade, I always say thank you. But, then I always ask why.
Here’s one of the reasons, so I’ve been told many times: I quit. A lot.
I’ve only held two jobs for more than 2 years – the one I currently have running my own agency (3 years in!), and my job as a mama.
Even though several of my moves were in the same company, I was warned that my job hopping would turn off potential employers. Apparently, I’d look flighty, disloyal.
Then, I became a mama.
The demands of caring for two humans, the high costs of daycare and the idea of knowing that moving jobs would require big investments of time, at least at the start, made jumping ship feel like suicide.
With so many other things to consider other than me, my goals and my quality of life, I stayed in my last job far too long. Professionally, it wasn’t doing anything for me and personally it was incredibly stressful. Looking back, some of that stress was self-induced – I had told myself I couldn’t move jobs until things at home became more settled.
But guess what, the worse I felt at work, the more out of whack things got at home.
When I finally quit, I was but a shell of the person I once was (and am today). You’d think I’d learn to never put myself in that situation again. Or, at the very least, spot the signs earlier. Nope.
Earlier this year I took on a new, exciting project. But, I quickly realized it wasn’t using my skills and the time commitment was far greater than I anticipated.
For months, I was burning the candle at every end.
Even as things started to fall apart at home, I didn’t see the signs. Here’s an example: my hectic schedule had my girls begging for more time with me. So I changed my schedule to free up my Friday afternoons to hang out with them. We all loved it, but to make up the time, I had to work well into the evenings on Fridays, and many times, over the weekend in between errand runs.
I shared this with some friends a few weeks ago and one said, “It sounds like you’re trying to put a Band Aid on a hole in a sinking ship.”
Goosebumps sprung up and I had a true Oprah Ah-ha moment.
My ship was sinking and the weight holding it down was the project. After considering all the options, I deciding to quit the project last week.
Always wanting to share my learnings in the hopes it can save you heartache and sleepless nights, I’ve three tell-tale signs that it’s time to quit.
1. It doesn’t work.
“Make it work.” It’s one of the mantras of my life. That no matter where I go or what happens or what stage my child will go through next, I’ll figure out how to make it work for everyone involved.
It’s not just me – mamas everywhere are figuring it out and making it work as they go.
The problem, however, is that we moms think we have to make everything work. But, sometimes, no matter how hard you try or move things around or compromise our needs, it just doesn’t work. That’s a hard pill to swallow, I know. But, if you, your kids, your partner or any other part of your life is always on the losing end, it may be time to reconsider your options and move on.
2. It’s not worth it.
I know a job brings in a paycheck – money that we need to care for our children, ourselves and to have the things we need and want in our lives.
But, a job is more than a financial transaction – it’s a social contract that benefits both parties. You get professional satisfaction, the opportunity to learn, to contribute to a greater cause and more. In return, your employer gets to use your talents, you become their brand ambassador and your presence is a recruiting tool they use to bring more awesome women into their company.
If your company doesn’t support your dual role as a working mom or they aren’t offering you the opportunities to grow professionally or you’re forced to deal with an ineffective manager that is only adding unwarranted stress to your life, it may be time to weigh the gives and takes of your job. Is there a fair distribution of between what you are putting into the job and what you are getting from it. Too much weight on either side is never a good thing.
3. You’re losing yourself in the process.
Experiences change us. They help us evolve and become better versions of ourselves. Some experiences have us doing things that we never thought was possible. Like, did you ever think you’d be okay analyzing another human’s poo? I didn’t and I still do it (regularly).
However, there are experiences that change us too much. They push us to the edge of our boundaries and sometimes right over them. They silence our voices. They squash our spirits and leave us almost unrecognizable even to ourselves. If any of this is happening, quitting is the least damaging thing you can do.
I know I’m not the only one who’s quit a job or a moved on from a situation that wasn’t working for me. So, please share your war stories in the comments below – what signs got you to leave the situation?
Wishing you courage,
P.S. If you know anyone who is stuck in a situation or a job they need to leave, show them the love and share this post with them.