Launched myself into uncertainty, now what?
August 18, 2012 10:00 AM Subscribe
I quit my "Dream Job" after 5 months, currently face-to-face with the unknown. Advice?
posted by twentyfoursummers to Work & Money (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm 24. 5 months ago I landed my Dream Job at a Dream Firm - a job that developed relevant and valuable skills, challenged me, and where everything I learned will conveniently put me on the fast track to the career I envisioned having in 5-10 years. I couldn't believe my luck.
Three weeks into the job, I asked myself "What level of hell am I in?". For being so reputable in its field, I was shocked to discover that management in this small firm is deeply, deeply dysfunctional and the overall workplace environment is highly toxic. Extremely high turnover rate (3 people were quitting the week I started). Superiors are volatile - will yell and humiliate you for the smallest things just because they're in a bad mood one day, be extremely sweet and gracious once in a blue moon. I desperately wanted to stay at least a year because I wanted to learn everything and didn't want to waste such opportunity, especially considering the brutal job market. I felt so guilty for feeling miserable because I thought that one some level these feelings were caused by a sense of entitlement and just being "too sensitive." A few months in, things didn't change for the better. I was disgusted with how unprofessionalism is tolerated and sometimes fostered. The combination of everything at this place literally made working 9 hours a day suffocating. I was single-handedly working on a project that is supposed to be handled by a Project Manager (I was hired as entry-level), but I accepted and took it on as a challenge and growth opportunity. I was giving it my 100% but whenever I would have meetings with my boss for guidance, she would be vague, and evasive, and say "I don't know" when I asked her questions. That dynamic caused me a lot of stress and frustration. When I submitted drafts for her to review, she would discuss my drafts with a colleague (who has never worked on the project) and have the colleague micromanage me which I consider disrespectful because first of all, why can't she just communicate her issues with my draft directly to me?
Needless to say I made a decision to leave after 5 months, because I am not willing to commit myself to such place whose ethics and procedures I don't agree with. And I know my bosses will never change. I believe I'm humble and I work hard and I do my best to not take anything for granted. And I know no workplace is perfect, or even highly ideal. It was really tough for me to arrive at that course of action, and I painstakingly made sure that I made my decision from a place of strength, not fear or impulsiveness. At this point, I just really want to work where I feel respected and can feel at ease.
I quit with no job lined up, but two weeks later got recruited by a former colleague to do part-time software consulting work. I'm not technologically savvy at all, but I was trained, now getting my feet wet in the field, and genuinely feel blessed to have this opportunity to diversify my skill set. I've been applying and interviewing for part-time jobs to supplement my income, but overall I'm at peace. I turn 25 in 3 months, and it's interesting because 6 months ago I used to think I was the ambitious type who had my life figured out down to the last detail. "This by 27, this by 35, etc." But life happens. Now I'm reflecting on and re-evaluating my long-term career goals based on what I have learned about myself during the last 5 months.
I would appreciate any comments about my situation. Please feel free to give life advice and share your experiences to someone who is approaching 25 soon and on some sense, "starting over" and facing the unknown. Do you think my quitting was ill-advised, or for the best? Whenever I pass by the building where I used to work, I feel 99% relieved that I never have to deal with those kinds of people ever again, but there's that 1% where I feel I practically committed career suicide.