How do I feel OK about quitting my job when I never intended to stay in the first place?
June 3, 2010 8:52 AM Subscribe
Anxiety Filter: I took this job knowing that I would have to leave it after only a few months. Now I must give notice, and I feel overwhelmed with anxiety about it. Advice?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So, here's the story. (Sorry, it's long.) I'm an American in my mid-twenties, not yet settled in a career. I've also dealt with severe anxiety and depression since I was a kid, which is important to know for the purposes of this question. I've also been in therapy for many years and have already spoken to my psychologist about this situation. It would really help to hear from others as well, though.
This past winter I went through a pretty rough break-up with my partner of several years. I moved back to my home city in January to stay with family, regroup, save money, and try to find a new direction for my life. After a few weeks of job hunting, I found a good job working for a nonprofit organization here. Now, by "good job" I don't mean highly-paid or particularly enthralling—it's entry-level office assistant work, lots of filing and moving things around. This sort of position has a fairly high turnover within the organization as a result. However, the organization itself is great, and my co-workers and supervisor are nice, and there's room for advancement for an educated, hard-working person like me. For a $9.50/hr. job, it's not bad.
Here's the catch. I never intended or wanted to stay here, in my hometown, for longer than a few months. I had a pretty unhappy childhood, and have persistent negative emotional associations with the area and with some members of my family. In short, I didn't really want to come back home, but financially and otherwise, staying with family was my only sound short-term option after the break-up.
So even before I got this job, I was making plans to leave. I arranged to work this summer for some close friends who operate a seasonal business on the east coast (far from here). I'm really excited to go; it will be a much more positive environment for me emotionally and financially. And it's coming up! My flight is in three weeks, so I need to give notice to my supervisor sometime this week.
While my supervisor didn't ask me to commit to any definite length of time in my job when she hired me, and while she knows I am overqualified for the work I'm doing and its pay, I'm sure she didn't expect me to leave this soon. I feel guilty for taking the job when I knew I wasn't going to stay in it, but I needed the money. Now that I have to give notice, I'm feeling overwhelmingly anxious about leaving after only 3 months of work.
I understand that this is not really a big deal and people blow through low-paying jobs all the time, but for some reason it's really stressing me out. I'm worried that my supervisor and/or my co-workers will think I'm irresponsible or flaky, worried that they will have trouble keeping up with the busy summer season when I leave, and worried about how to give notice in the first place. What do I say? "Sorry, I was just using this job as a stop-over until I could move on to a place I really want to be"? Do I lie and say a job offer just came up recently, and I have to take it because of the money? I've left jobs before, but it hasn't felt underhanded the way it does now.
I would appreciate thoughts from people who have dealt with anxiety in similar situations, or suggestions about how to re-frame this situation in my head. I totally understand I'm making a mountain out of a molehill here, but for some reason it's like my sense of reason has shut down and I can't think about this without feeling dreadful.
Anonymous because I'd prefer not to have this question linked to me in real life, for reasons you might understand.
Thanks for any help you can offer, and for making it through the long post.