Next steps after quitting an okay job!
September 7, 2012 6:59 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying not to freak out. I just quit an okay job. What to do?

I got a job about a month ago; a position that is not in my field, and was monotonous, and pays minimum wage ($10.50; I hear anything below $12 is MW) but was a regular paycheck. Good people, benefits were about to kick in, but I was dissatisfied and sort of felt that I could do better. I am also a full time student and felt that the job was eating into my school time as well as my spiritual life - I have not prayed properly in ages or even kept my house immaculate because there's just no time. I also would like a job that is more connected to my field. There were no opportunities for growth, and the company does not recognize the good work of its employees ( for instance, the lady who was training me had trained 3 other people who then went on to supervise her).

Anyway, I quit yesterday, and there's no turning back. I don't feel particularly terrified, but everyone around me is freaking out and I'm wondering if I'm too much at peace. Just hearing people's opinions in the past 24 hours has caused me to wonder if I am not a failure (I actually felt like more of a failure in that job). Also, I've quit prior jobs because of dissatisfaction and it has never turned out to be particularly horrible... stuff always seems to work out.

1) What would you recommend as my next steps?
2) How can I go about sticking it out at a job I dislike; is this even the right thing to do?
3) Is it THAT crazy to quit a job out of dissatisfaction? Yes, I know the economy is crazy right now but does it make more sense to hang in there and be miserable for a check?
4) A good friend credits this "trend" to PMS... (LOL!) Could this be a possibility, and what would I be able to do about it?


PS: Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you cannot phrase your responses kindly, please keep them to yourself. I'd rather have no answers than 2000 people adding 24 more hours of crappy commentary to the 24 hours I'm already dealing with. 'preciate it :)
posted by lilacp to Work & Money (57 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Your next step is to start looking for another job, I'd think.

If you can't handle the idea of working long-term for a job you don't like, I'd recommend temping. The advantage of temping, to me, is that you're not "stuck" in a job you may dislike. When I temped, I found that the idea that the gig was finite...that I wasn't going to be there forever, was a real help in sticking it out.
posted by xingcat at 7:04 AM on September 7, 2012 [5 favorites]

You're now I'm the same position you were a month ago
Before you took the job, right? Was it so bad then? I don't think you need to worry about anything.

Also, minimum wage is an actual thing - the lowest amount that is legal to pay you. It's not just any low-ish salary.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 7:04 AM on September 7, 2012 [6 favorites]

Also, minimum wage is an actual thing ... It's not just any low-ish salary.

Hilarious, what a lesson!

My advice: List out what you'd like to buy with the money you make from a job you hate, and let that be your motivational guide.

If you don't really need money, then stop worrying about a job and go get some spiritual re-awakening going on.
posted by Kruger5 at 7:15 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

That's just sort of what happens when you work full- time. It's harder to find time for other things. You're not going to find "more time" elsewhere with another full-time job. I would suggest you either work part-time, or you invest your now unemployed time learning some time management skills. A life with a full time job IS possible!
posted by camylanded at 7:16 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

You say you are trying not to freak out, but then you say you wonder whether you are too much at peace. Which is it? How do you really feel about quitting this job? It's totally okay if you are of two minds about it (or more) but it might be worth getting some clarity around your own feelings.

Your post suggests to me a certain amount of inexperience around working and possibly around the issue of money. This is not a criticism, merely an observation. Was this your first job? Your first regular paycheck? It might be worth thinking about these things and even actually having some conversations with people you know about work: why they do it, what it is, when they know that the dissatisfaction outweighs the paycheck. When is it worth sticking it out? How do you plan to leave a job when it becomes too much?

You don't say whether you financial situation requires you to have an income or not. If you can live on your savings or on the help of others who don't expect you to work, it might be okay for you not to work this job.

If on the other hand the lack of income is going to send you into debt or cut into your lifestyle in ways that are meaningful to you*, that is where the trade-off between putting up with dissatisfaction of work and putting up with the discomfort of having no resources probably tips the other way. Very, very few people love their work all the time. But work, even dissatisfying work, is what enables most people to live in the way they want to live: that's the trade-off. If you've cottoned to a way to live that, for now, is stable and satisfying and doesn't require money coming in, then don't worry about it. Otherwise, you may need to re-examine your feelings around work and dissatisfaction. Only you can decide whether the trade-off is worthwhile for you.
posted by gauche at 7:20 AM on September 7, 2012 [7 favorites]

Minimum wage in the United States is currently $7.25/hour. So you were being paid a decent bit above the minimum.

You say "I've quit prior jobs because of dissatisfaction" which seems to imply that this is not the fir or second time you've done this. I think an important next step would be to figure out exactly what it is that you want out of a job before you take one.

You think about questions like:
- How much do you want to be paid, and is that reasonable?
- What kind of work are you willing to do?
- How long are you willing to work in a job that isn't exactly precisely what you want to do as a temporary step towards what you really want to be doing?

I wouldn't say you're a failure, but the people around you might be thinking that you're a bit flaky for what seems to be (what you describe as) a recurring pattern of leaving (what you describe as) jobs that pay a decent bit above minimum wage.

Figure out what you want to do before you do it, or else you will likely find yourself in the same situation again.

If you do the same as you've always done, you'll get the same as you've always got.

Good luck to you! :)
posted by DWRoelands at 7:25 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

The minumum wage established by the U.S. Department of Labor is $7.25 per hour, and has been since 2009. Not to belabor (ha) the point, but you didn't have a minimum wage job.

You need to start looking for a job again. That's the next step after quitting a job.
posted by emelenjr at 7:26 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Strange, this happened to me as well. Just yesterday, I quit a job paying me $10.00 an hour, because of how monotonous the work is. As for my next steps...I plan to focus on school and keep looking for work.
posted by DeltaForce at 7:27 AM on September 7, 2012

1) What would you recommend as my next steps?

Start by updating your resume and apply for a job.

2) How can I go about sticking it out at a job I dislike; is this even the right thing to do?

Impending poverty and homelessness will help you make that decision. If that's never going to be an issue for you, I'm not sure what can keep you in a job you don't find ideal.

3) Is it THAT crazy to quit a job out of dissatisfaction? Yes, I know the economy is crazy right now but does it make more sense to hang in there and be miserable for a check?

It's generally not the best plan to jump without knowing if you're wearing a parachute or a backpack, especially with unemployment as high as it is now. There's a lot more competition for fewer jobs so it may be some time before you find another job. Good luck.
posted by inturnaround at 7:30 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks for all the answers. Still reading through them all, and I deeply appreciate them, but I just wanted to point out that I KNOW minimum wage is 7.50? 7.25? or some exact amount like that. Most people do, however, tend to say "Oh, minimum wage" and roll their eyes to anything under a certain amount. But yes, I know it's a specific amount that varies by state. LOL.
posted by lilacp at 7:31 AM on September 7, 2012

You could also do some volunteering to fill your time. Volunteering may expose you to new experiences and may help you find things that you might enjoying doing for a living.
posted by Ostara at 7:35 AM on September 7, 2012

On re-reading, I guess I missed this:

I've quit prior jobs because of dissatisfaction and it has never turned out to be particularly horrible... stuff always seems to work out.

What has this meant in the past? Has it meant that you have gotten by on the generosity of your friends, or has it meant that you have found that having the extra time has enabled you to support yourself better than the money would? Because if it has been the former, you should consider whether the generosity of your friends is a sustainable way to live. Friendships are rarely precisely financially equitable, but a friendship that is or feels consistently one-sided around money is a friendship that has a time horizon on it. It might be that your friends are upset with you because they would like to keep you as a friend.

I'm not saying that this is definitely what's happening. I don't know and there's not enough information in your question to make that assessment. But in my experience, many of the people who are really laissez-faire about their finances and their adult responsibilities (like work) are people who have found ways to shift the financial and psychic costs of their lives onto others. It might be worth considering whether your friends might feel like that is what is going on in this case.

Again, only you can know, and I don't mean to offend or to criticize so much as to raise the question for you to think about.
posted by gauche at 7:35 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

You're under no obligation to maintain any job that you have. It's just that most of us do for three primary reasons:
  • Having a job makes it possible to do things like not be homeless and eat regularly.
  • Continually (ie, more than once or twice) quitting jobs on short notice after a short time on the job makes it harder to find jobs in the future since you have demonstrated yourself to be unreliable.
  • There's generally no other place to make money.
Any of these may not apply to you - you may be wealthy from other people (parents, family, friend), you may not care about where you live/what you eat, or you may not have any problem finding jobs when you need them. However, you should acknowledge which of those three does/doesn't apply to you before moving forward.

You shouldn't be approaching this as being "dissatisfied" with your job. You should be approaching this by saying you are more satisfied without your job than with it. If that is the case, then you made the right decision. If you are now worse off, you made the wrong decision.
posted by saeculorum at 7:40 AM on September 7, 2012 [4 favorites]

Mkay, additional information:
1) This is the best-paying job I've had (Except for when I was self-employed, which I should probably consider again)
2) I do not live above my means, and always have something saved up for a rainy day; my family is glad to chip in when necessary. As a rule, I never ask my friends or my boyfriend for money (boyfriend has always made it clear that I can, but I won't). I've learnt that having no car payments, not needing to wear the latest trends, and substituting cable with Hulu and YT (LOL) have been wise decisions to make.
3) I live alone. Rent and utilities are pretty much my only expenses.
4) I came up with a new principle a few years ago: Never compromise your peace for anything or anyone. I suppose that makes me appear flaky.
5) "I am trying not to freak out" - because everyone else is, and panic is kinda contagious. " I too much at peace?" because everyone else is freaking out, and they are sensible people so there's a possibility they can't all be wrong.
posted by lilacp at 7:45 AM on September 7, 2012

It's hard to manage a full time job and a full time course load. If you don't need the money and the job doesn't lay the groundwork to get a career in your field, there's no reason to work there.

If you really need the money, find a part time job that doesn't require too much mental and emotional energy, which should be focused on school. Otherwise, look for something in your field that you could leverage into a full time job after graduation.
posted by deanc at 7:45 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think you're a natural fit for temping. You seem intelligent and considered, and probably don't have the patience for a long-term position with the attendant workplace politics. A temporary position means you're not a part of that, and if you hate it, you have a goal to work towards - the end of the contract - or you can negotiate with the agency to find another position. Also, these tend to be clerical or other entry-level white collar work, so it has the bonus of building your professional network, and builds practical career skills.

You're sensible with your saving so a stretch of downtime between gigs isn't a killer - not living from paycheck to paycheck is a huge advantage.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:52 AM on September 7, 2012

So, how are you going to pay rent if you can't find a new job quickly? That's the fear your friends have. And they're not wrong to have it. The job market out there suuuuuuuucks and you almost certainly don't quality for unemployment.

And just because everything has worked out well for you so far doesn't mean that everything will continue to work out for you in the future. Nor should you tempt fate by jumping without knowing something will catch you.

I fear that you may have compromised your peace in a way you hadn't even imagined before. Being evicted and hungry are pretty unpeaceful.
posted by inturnaround at 7:53 AM on September 7, 2012

1) What would you recommend as my next steps?
2) How can I go about sticking it out at a job I dislike; is this even the right thing to do?
3) Is it THAT crazy to quit a job out of dissatisfaction? Yes, I know the economy is crazy right now but does it make more sense to hang in there and be miserable for a check?
4) A good friend credits this "trend" to PMS... (LOL!) Could this be a possibility, and what would I be able to do about it?

1) Look for a new job,
2) Look for a new job while keeping your current job, so that you feel like you are making positive steps towards growth,
3) Yes, it is definitely that crazy. It is a lot harder to negotiate a good salary in your next job if you are currently unemployed, so from a strategic perspective it just makes no sense.
4) That sounds a little harsh. You made a few bad decisions: that's just part of life. I've made bad decisions too in the past (as has everybody else here). It sounds like you're pretty good at landing on your feet, which should insulate you from the consequences somewhat.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 7:55 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wait a minute, judging from her initial question AND her follow - up post, the OP us clearly a teen or early twentsyomething and likely living at home with her family supporting her. .. That would explain the job quitting habit, not knowing min wage, and no pressure to keep the money flowing.
posted by Kruger5 at 7:57 AM on September 7, 2012

1) What would you recommend as my next steps?
1) A. Pray properly, whatever that means for you.
B. Clean your house and establish a routine that will allow you to keep it reasonably nice even when you're spending huge amounts of time on school and work.
C. Start looking for a new job, or even ask for your old one back. You're going to school: it's not going to be permanent. Ditching a job while you're a full time student, if your grades weren't suffering big time as a result, would be a big red flag for me that your expectations just weren't realistic in the first place.

2) How can I go about sticking it out at a job I dislike; is this even the right thing to do?
2) You just keep showing up for work, and make the most of your time off. Whether or not it's the right thing to do is always going to depend on the circumstances, but it's also easy to use that as an excuse to quit when it's not the right circumstances, so if you don't have the ability to do it, you need to either make sure you acquire it in a timely fashion, or start busting your ass to make sure you can be self-employed.

3) Is it THAT crazy to quit a job out of dissatisfaction? Yes, I know the economy is crazy right now but does it make more sense to hang in there and be miserable for a check?
3) See above. The answer is always "it depends", but it's an important ability to have. It's even more important to realize it if you just don't have it or are completely unwilling to change enough in order to get it, so you can do the hard work (and it is incredibly hard work) of figuring out how you're going to make a living and support yourself outside of traditional employment.

4) A good friend credits this "trend" to PMS... (LOL!) Could this be a possibility, and what would I be able to do about it?
4) We don't know your cycle. Does your friend? If you want to find out, start charting your cycle and your mood.

Also, I've quit prior jobs because of dissatisfaction and it has never turned out to be particularly horrible... stuff always seems to work out.

If working out involves other people's money in any way (including a spouse who works to support you - basically, anyone but the government), you have to realize that you're not guaranteed it's always going to be there, and you don't have a moral right to it.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 7:58 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you were truly at peace with your decision, you would feel comfortable with your choices and you would be able to brush off what other people think. I think your feeling (of trying not to panic b/c other people are panicking) means you need to more closely examine what kinds of jobs you are accepting and your philosophy about quitting jobs.

You should only accept a job if you believe wholeheartedly you could work there for at least a year. (Obviously, you won't know what the work environment will be like in advanced, but you can try to feel it out as best you can.) Secondly, before quitting any job, you need to take steps to attempt to rectify what is dissatisfying to you. Third, you should only quit a job without another one lined up if (1) you can take the financial hit, (2) the job is causing significant psychical or mental health problems, and (3) if it won't affect your resume.

Slap*Happy suggested doing temp work, and I agree. While you may not find it satisfying, its a great way to get your foot in the door and see what the office environment is like.
posted by emilynoa at 7:58 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you have any long term goals or plans? Will having a paycheck, even if it's from a job you don't like, help,you reach those goals? Does the security from having health insurance (assume that's what you meant by benefits) bring you any peace of mind?

I ask these things because a job can often be a means to an end. I worked in a job I despised for about two years because it was the highest-paying job I could get at the time and I was saving money to return to school. I've now finished school, have a degree, and am working for higher pay in a field I love with numerous opportunities for growth and advancement. If I had quit that crappy job out of dissatisfaction, I'd probably be in the exact same place today, just in a different crappy job. It sounds like that might be your pattern.

You say you don't want to "compromise your peace", but it sounds like peace, as you define it, means temporary happiness and trying to avoid any unpleasantness, regardless of the trade offs. It's ok to make some sacrifices and work hard, occasionally at things you don't like, in pursuit of your goals. If you don't need a job or paycheck to reach your goals, that's one thing, but for most of us it's a rare thing indeed. Even if your goals have nothing to do with financial success, you'll likely need food, a place to live, clothes, and other necessities along the way.
posted by pecanpies at 8:01 AM on September 7, 2012 [5 favorites]

I came up with a new principle a few years ago: Never compromise your peace for anything or anyone. I suppose that makes me appear flaky.

Yes, it does, and this is a horrible rule, based on the way you are applying it. Living in this universe requires compromise and if you refuse to do so the world will just eat you up. You will have horribly failed relationships because you bail whenever "your peace is compromised" instead of trying to work things out. You will have a miserable career because you can't deal with stress "compromising your peace." You seriously need to rethink this policy since it will lead to a miserable life for you.

What I recommend as a better policy is to always take the approach that leads to the most long-term peace. That means sometimes you'll be a little stressed out in the short term. You may work late from time to time, but it'll be worth it because you'll get that promotion. You may occasionally have to apologize when you feel like you're not wrong simply to maintain peace with your S/O, but you'll have a more loving and stable relationship. These are the rewards of compromise, and they are well worth it.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:04 AM on September 7, 2012 [29 favorites]

Just hearing people's opinions in the past 24 hours has caused me to wonder if I am not a failure.

Here is the thing I have learned about those types of opinions.

They are not really an observation of you, your personality, your abilities, your life circumstances.

They are entirely reflective of the opinators fears and insecurities regarding the subject, whatever it may be (babies, work, moving, taking risks), should they find themselves in your position.

Listen, if you are at peace and ready to move on, you are at peace. There is no such thing as too much at peace.

People will often couch this type of nasty ego play as the voice of experience, but whatever. The people who really care for you in this life, the ones whose observations you should consider, aren't going to have you leaving a conversation about such a big decision feeling worse and doubting yourself. They will say stuff like "Wow, that was a big step, lilacp, but you've quit prior jobs because of dissatisfaction and it has never turned out to be particularly horrible... stuff always seems to work out," and help you unpack where your priorities are, be they money, or the quality of time spent, or finishing school with flying colors over having a latte budget. Best.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 8:04 AM on September 7, 2012 [5 favorites]

Want to revise my above statement: it sounds like you're at risk of this becoming your pattern.

You don't sound very old and you're a full time student, so at this point in life, school is your full-time "job."
posted by pecanpies at 8:04 AM on September 7, 2012

Lol, @Kruger5, so wrong on so many counts. You wait a minute.

The OP is actually in her late 20s, living alone far away from family (most of her family is actually in a different country thousands of miles away), and going to school, with a 4.0 GPA, FYI. Job-quitting is not a habit, the first time was due to health reasons and also the same reason she is trying to finish her degree so late. She knows what min wage is, and she is just trying to keep the money flowing without compromising her peace and principles or getting sucked into a system where she one day gets to look back, find it's been 10, 20 years, and she has not enjoyed life and is sucked into a system that she cannot crawl out of, angry, debt-laden, and full of regrets. Seven years of living in the US and hearing that story over and over has made her determined not to make it her story. No pressure to keep the money flowing, per se. Lots of self-inflicted pressure to make it in life and make a difference.
posted by lilacp at 8:06 AM on September 7, 2012

4) I came up with a new principle a few years ago: Never compromise your peace for anything or anyone. I suppose that makes me appear flaky.

That's not a rule. That's an excuse.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 8:07 AM on September 7, 2012 [12 favorites]

I don't think it is ever possible to be "too much at peace". Worry just wastes energy.

Monotonous jobs are not automatically bad. I drove a forklift during summer in high school (after a summer of working in the warehouse and getting certified). It wasn't, you know, mentally stimulating, but still enjoyable. Pick it up, drive it there, put it down. You could get into a rhythm and then it would be quitting time.

The one thing I would not settle for is something that causes repetitive stress. Unless it was that or really, positively starve, I would not do one of those "strain your back all day long" jobs. Those can mess you up for life.
posted by BeeDo at 8:08 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

lilacp: You're ignoring an important question that several people have asked you. How are you paying your rent? It is definitely possible to live cheaply - and it's a great thing - but I know that without a job, you are earning $0/year, and I've never rented a place for $0/year. In other words, you must be receiving money from somewhere. If you tell us how you are paying for your rent, you have implicitly answered whether or not it is a good idea to quit your job or not.
posted by saeculorum at 8:23 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Searching for peace in a job is often an exercise in futility. Peace comes from within, despite temporary circumstance.
posted by kamikazegopher at 8:27 AM on September 7, 2012 [4 favorites]

She knows what min wage is, and she is just trying to keep the money flowing without compromising her peace and principles or getting sucked into a system where she one day gets to look back, find it's been 10, 20 years, and she has not enjoyed life and is sucked into a system that she cannot crawl out of, angry, debt-laden, and full of regrets. Seven years of living in the US and hearing that story over and over has made her determined not to make it her story.

The way to avoid being debt-ridden is... to not be unemployed. All the other stuff comes from constantly pursuing whatever opportunity comes your way, from not being complacent, from being frugal and constantly reaffirming the things that really matter to you. If you do all of those things, you will not be angry and full of regrets.

You may, however, regret going into more debt than necessary because you didn't work during school.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:29 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

She knows what min wage is, and she is just trying to keep the money flowing without compromising her peace and principles or getting sucked into a system where she one day gets to look back, find it's been 10, 20 years, and she has not enjoyed life and is sucked into a system that she cannot crawl out of, angry, debt-laden, and full of regrets.

Honestly, there are plenty of jobs that you can do just for the money to pay your rent and then put aside. And if you don't do this when you need money, you will just end up debt-laden with no work experience.

There are plenty of jobs people work at part time through school with no problem. If you go to one job that forces you to compromise your peace, and you leave it until you find another job, which you quit because it compromises your peace and principles, in favor of another job that doesn't work out because you've realized it compromises your peace and principles, then the problem is you.

People "do what they have to do" to get by in school. Are you doing that? Do you have career plans? People might be freaking out because they see you heading down a bad path. I mean, honestly, my friends don't freak out regarding my personal job decisions, so if people around you are freaking out, it might be because you're either doing something that is really not a good idea, or because your friends are especially histrionic.
posted by deanc at 8:33 AM on September 7, 2012

No pressure to keep the money flowing, per se.

Then this is a serious disconnect from how the rest of us are living, because for the vast majority of us, there is a huge, huge pressure to keep the money flowing so we aren't living in the street. This is what is informing your friends' horrified reactions. If you can afford to not have money coming in because of savings, rich family, whatever, awesome! Most of us would kill to be in a similar position.

If you are indeed this fortunate, you should look for another job you think you will enjoy and enjoy your peace or whatever in the interim.
posted by crankylex at 8:40 AM on September 7, 2012 [7 favorites]

Some of the things that leap out at me from your question that you may want to think about for your next job, because I don't think that you can find some of the things that you list at any job. does not recognize the good work of its employees opportunities for growth

Try to view it in a different manner. Identify the things that you want to learn and get out of the job in terms of skills (in essence, invest in yourself, which you can then use for your next job and job after that). So if you look at it this way, who cares if a company recognizes you or not. If you know that you have acquired and learned the skills, then you can pick the next set of skills that you want to learn or go look for a higher paying job. But do not depend on them to recognize you; do a great job, recognize it yourself, and move onwards.

There also may not be immediate opportunities for growth, but if you can (depending on the job), look around at other people or other departments to pick up more skills and learn what they do. So you create the opportunity for growth,although to be honest it is harder to find this sometimes at min wage jobs.

I would actually ask yourself why you require external recognition so much (i.e. it only bothers you about this job when your peers tell you it is a problem, why is that? It should come from you, not your peers, not the job).

...job that is more connected to my field....

If you REALLY do this, then it can be worth it. For example, if you are an undergrad, find out what the typical person does to get to the next step (grad school or job). Is it an internship? Volunteering? Part time job? Spend the time to find out what this is. If you are a bio major, for example, volunteering in a lab can help improve your chance for grad school that often covers both tuition and living expenses...again, if it is your goal.

But if you truly, truly plan to do this, then talk to your advisors now. Talk to people who are at the place you want to be to figure out how they got there. Unless you are doing the investigation and landing a position to do so, then this is a pipe dream. So if this is the real reason you quit, do the work and find related experience.

What would you recommend as my next steps?

I'm not really sure that I understand your question because something about your updates suggests that you don't need the money, which is why anyone holds and stays onto a min wage job. So I will assume that you need something else out of this? Perhaps an early job for other jobs later in life?

I would decide where you want to go...5 years from now. For example, are you a college student hoping to eventually get a job in field X when you graduate? Then talk to your advisors and people who do what you want to do now and ...find the jobs that they had or experiences that they had.

OR is your plan to break into field X (lets pretend an editor but there are only junior ed jobs out there). Spend lunch talking to the higher up editors to identify experiences and things that you should do. See if your job place will at least let you look at the books/program during your down time.

If you can identify clear things that you want to learn at your current and subsequent job, after you have learned skills at the current job,then jump.

But I can't see anything in your current question that identified what your actual goal is ...where you can go next...and I don't even see a real reason that you quit.
posted by Wolfster at 8:45 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Guys. I have been trying not to say this outright, because it might come off as bragging, but I come from a family that does alright, financially. How I pay my rent is my parents thought ahead, and they have real estate under my name, and I get rent from the tenants. It's not much in American dollars, but it's enough for me to get by. I save the daylights out of every penny I can. I owned a small firm for two years, and saved most of the income from that. I live in a part of NY where rents rarely go above $600, which, if you know about NYC, is peanuts. I go to a cheap school, and get some money out of my Pell Grant, for which I qualify. I save that too. I SAVE, and I live within my means. Is that so difficult to comprehend? I am just trying to think ahead, be productive, and work towards a career in my field, because I do need a cash flow, but I have issues with the notion that it has to come from a stressful venture. I know all about suffering to make it, and my illness was directly related to my level of peace, so that's not an excuse, it's my principle :)
posted by lilacp at 8:48 AM on September 7, 2012

[OP, please stop threadsitting, let people answer the question you asked and include the information people will need to answer the question next time.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:54 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Is that so difficult to comprehend?

It is when you ask a question about quitting a job and don't say from the beginning, "I already have income because I own property, and I already have a grant for school so I don't need this job to live."

So by all means, if you don't need the job and it mucks with your peace, then quit it.

Better yet, don't take a job not related to your future field that you don't need in the first place so 1) someone else who does need it can have it and 2) you don't look like a job-hopper on your future resume.
posted by kimberussell at 9:00 AM on September 7, 2012 [10 favorites]

"Freaking out" isn't a helpful response no matter what the circumstances are. But, if you're asking whether this is, on its face, a really poor decision, I think it just comes down to whether you need the job to meet your current financial obligations, and, if the answer is yes, whether there are other jobs available to you that will allow you to meet those obligations.

You're a full-time student. There's nothing wrong with quitting a boring, not-in-your-field job if you don't need the money. This will not be that damaging to your future employment prospects related to whatever it is you're studying. People will understand that you are making school your priority. So, no, you needn't freak out.

But, you need to pay for things like rent and food and school, right? If not having a job leaves you without the ability to pay for these things and you can't easily find another job, then I understand why people are concerned.

Your next steps really depend on how much you need a job--any job--right now. If you don't need one, then just concentrate on school and think long-term about how to end up in a career that won't have you quitting jobs that you don't find satisfying.

You stick out jobs you don't like by lowering your expectations about what the job is (a means to and end, not some end in itself that is meant to fulfill or define you), committing to keeping a positive attitude about it even when it might be easy to gripe, focusing on the good things about it, using it in any way possible to develop any useful skill (even that is something like vague like "reliability"), and being constantly on the lookout for something better.

It is not crazy to quit jobs because you don't like them. But it is foolish to do this repeatedly without any plan of how to get into jobs that you might like. This may work out for you for a while, but at some point it won't and when it won't, the consequences are going to be something you really do not like.

Also, if you've adopted the attitude that you will never compromise on peace/happiness, you might find yourself in the unexpected position of finding peace/happiness harder to find. So you might want to think about changing your mantra to something like "Make decisions based on things you really value" or "Making smart decisions that will more likely lead me to peace and happiness."
posted by MoonOrb at 9:00 AM on September 7, 2012

No, it's not hard to comprehend - it's just that it's an important detail that you were leaving out previously. As I mentioned, most people stay in jobs they don't like so that they can continue to pay their bills and eat food. That, apparently, doesn't apply to you.

It sounds like at this point, what matters is furthering your career, not making money since that's already taken care of. Whenever you consider a job, you should be asking what it does for you for your long term career goals, not your short term financial need which is apparently very low. Did the job that you just quit help you out with your long term career goals? If not, then you were probably right to quit it - it wasn't doing anything for you (that said, I still don't think it's a good idea to commit to a job and quit it soon after taking the job). If the job didn't help you with your long term career goals, you should probably consider that long term career goals are just that - long term. The short term might suck, but many careers have short term costs ("paying your dues") at the start of your career that you just have to get over. In the long term, continually quitting jobs on short notice after working for a short time is exceedingly bad for your image. Even for jobs at $10/hr, employers put significant effort, time, and money into hiring employees - quitting early means all that is effectively wasted, and you discourage future employers from ever bothering.

As an slight aside, I don't understand how you can qualify for a Pell Grant while having substantive savings, owning property, and getting rental income. To qualify for a Pell Grant, your expected family contribution (of which your income is included) must be less than about $5k. In other words, either your family is paying way more than they should be to pay for your education (in which case you should consider helping them) or you are fraudulently claiming government benefits.
posted by saeculorum at 9:02 AM on September 7, 2012

For a start, a bit of work on the old people skills might not go amiss?
posted by ominous_paws at 9:02 AM on September 7, 2012 [33 favorites]

Quitting a job just because you don't like it, with nothing else lined up, sounds like an impulsive and immature decision. I'm not saying you are impulsive or immature, just that your choice in this instance gives that impression.

A better choice would be to take advantage of your relative financial security and pursue something directly related to your field, such as an internship or volunteer position. If you truly don't need a regular paycheck, then it makes sense to build your work experience through one of these options. You may find that an internship fails to live up to its promises (i.e., you're getting coffee more often than you're doing whatever it is professionals in your field do), but you'll be able to see the advantages of toughing it out--perhaps it's good for your resume, it could springboard you into a different position within the same company/organization, or maybe it's just an opportunity to seek out mentoring from professionals in your field when you stop to chat when bringing them that coffee.

And, by the way, I'd recommend talking to people in your faith community about how they balance work/other responsibilities and spirituality. And I'd recommend talking to fellow students and your school's study center about how they balance work and school. These questions of balance won't go away, and it's important to develop the skills to address them without having to, for instance, quit your job.
posted by Meg_Murry at 9:12 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is that so difficult to comprehend?

Not at all. Look, I didn't have to work in college, either (Thanks, Dad!). But every summer I made sure to get a job that was in my field, building skills. I got part time jobs with professors working on projects I was interested in. For additional spending money, I worked at jobs on campus that weren't too stressful (working dorm desk or doing basic departmental computer maintenance).

Quite possibly your friends and family are freaking out because they are starting to see a pattern with you that indicates you are failing to develop a strong work ethic and are not working towards a career at the end of college.
posted by deanc at 9:16 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Are you going to want a job after you get out of school? Looking at this from an employers perspective:

You're almost 30.
You have little to no work history.
You claim to have been self employed for a time. That might be true, but it's constantly used to explain huge employment gaps.
Whatever work history you have is in short term jobs that make you look flighty.

I've interviewed a fair number of people and I've never hired anyone fresh out of school with no work history, and that's in their 20s. These days I kind of expect the work ethic that goes along with working while you're in school. I know that person has had to keep a schedule, knows that real life doesn't give you 3 months a year off, and knows what it's like to show up someplace for a fixed amount of time and get stuff done.

Whatever inner peace you need can be found working at normal jobs. Find satisfaction in a well made latte or a night of no screwed up orders. I really think your parents did you a disservice by setting you up with passive income. You don't feel the need to move beyond that so you probably never will. Ask yourself if you're happy living like you are forever. If you are, then fine. If you're not then you owe it to yourself to find a real job and work like a normal person. Nobody gets their dream job their first try, everyone has to do shit work for a while, start getting yours out of the way before you get a wakeup call at 40 when all your friends have moved away and you're still living in that $600/mo apartment.

Plenty of people have jobs without stress related illnesses, it might be time to get to the root cause of that instead of trying to avoid it, because it's going to crop up again at some point, probably at a less opportune time than now.
posted by mikesch at 9:24 AM on September 7, 2012 [4 favorites]

Based on what you've posted in your update, you don't need to freak out - your food, shelter, and transportation costs appear to be covered, at least for the foreseeable future. However, I think you should take some of the advice above regarding looking for jobs that are actually related to your field, both so that you can get experience in that field, and so you can see if you actually like working in that field. Also, remember that many entry-level jobs are monotonous or may seem like they are boring or beneath your skill or intelligence level - but almost everyone has to pay their dues in a job like that before they get into a job in their field that they truly enjoy. And even jobs that are awesome have shitty, monotonous parts. I love my job but hate filling out status reports, for example, but I still do them every week.

You are coming across as defensive here, which I partly understand, because you are getting some answers that may disagree with your worldview. For future reference, though, you may want to avoid being snarky and derisive towards people from whom you are requesting advice.
posted by bedhead at 9:29 AM on September 7, 2012 [11 favorites]

the company does not recognize the good work of its employees ( for instance, the lady who was training me had trained 3 other people who then went on to supervise her).

As a side point I just wanted to say this is spurious. In the past I held some non skilled job or entry level roles in some skilled ones where I was trained by people who could just about do their job on a daily basis. They were reliable and diligent but were completely out of their depth as soon as a non standard matter came up. They could not have progressed beyond the level they were at and initially this was not always apparent to me when I first came into a place. Having said that I was normally able to outperform them after a very short time and now that I train people myself on a daily basis I can normally tell quickly if they'll do well or not...

This lady doesn't get promoted for a reason and it is not that that company does not reward its employees. Assuming she does not choose to stay in her role (and some people do choose that) she either cannot do a more supervisory role or she's got on the wrong side of decision makers and fails to realise she needs to change jobs to get ahead. That in itself would be telling....
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:34 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

I think I would suggest that you sit down with a piece of paper and a pen, in a quiet place free from distractions, and try to write down your goals.

You mentioned two goals already: you want to be more spiritual and you want to have a cleaner house. It's not clear how your work was interfering with those goals - plenty of people who work full time make time to be spiritual and do housecleaning too - so you should clearly write down what about your work was interfering with those things.

Do you want to be working now? Do you need the money, or do you need to advance your career by getting certain types of work experience on your resumé?

Or do you need a job that reinforces your identity, makes you feel good, or makes you feel like you're a better person for having it? I would caution you that those things are not really what work is for; people who look to their job for those things are often disappointed. If having one of these 'glamour jobs' is still one of your goals after you think about for a while, it'll take time and effort; there are no entry-level jobs that fit those needs.

After you know what your goals are, the path to achieving them will be a lot more clear. Guaranteed.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Sockpuppetry at 9:46 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Since you don't need a full-time job to live on and you're busy with a full-time course load, I see no need to "freak out" or anything. You didn't like the job, it wasn't vital to building your career, and you didn't need it. You quit. Done, stop dwelling. People quit jobs all the time, for all kinds of reasons, and it doesn't need to be justified to your friends (or Metafilter) to be a valid choice.

If you miss the things your job used to afford you, see if you can get a part-time job where they'll let you do your homework on the clock. Work hard to get a summer internship in your field. Work those job fairs at your school, make connections, show some initiative. Make a good-faith effort toward your career.
posted by asciident at 9:46 AM on September 7, 2012

I do think there is indeed something to be said about holding down a job (any job!) even if it's not in your field of choice and even if you don't need the cash RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Lots of things - like being able to manage basic office or job tasks (timesheets!), to having the ability to navigate office politics (people skills!), are transferable to pretty much any job.

There's also the issue of building a history of sticking around when you are given a job opportunity, which shows employers that you're worth the investment of training. Not to mention building up some stellar references for when you are applying for jobs in your field.

Being in school full time and working sucks -- that's true! But I would look seriously for either a part-time job that doesn't harsh your mellow too much or some sort of internship that is in your field. You'll probably need to hustle to land either of those, but you can do it! You just have to start and then stick with it! No need to freak out.
posted by itsamermaid at 9:48 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

OP, you're giving the impression here of being an extremely privileged person, in all senses of the word. I think that might perhaps explain the disconnect between your reactions and those of the people around you. You don't seem to have understood that your principle of 'never compromising your peace' is one that most people literally cannot afford to have. You keep on using phrases like 'LOL' despite the fact that ensuring a livelihood is very, very far from being a laughing matter for most people. You talk about 'minimum wage jobs' in this sort of airy-fairy way like it's a light-hearted way to describe a job that doesn't pay as much as you would like. It isn't. It's a matter of life and death for some people. And it's not 'bragging' to admit that your parents are supporting you generously. It's at best something a classy person is slightly embarrassed about. It's also something that is extremely relevant to your decision to quit your job suddenly, and to act as if it isn't or shouldn't be is a prototypic example of privileged thinking. You're being like the fish that doesn't comprehend that it's surrounded by water, except in this case the water is money.

I say this as someone who comes from a fairly privileged background myself.

Now, it's your choice to decide that you're going to take your privilege and use it to make sure you have as easy and happy a life as you can. That may even be the best choice you can make right now, depending on your circumstances - you've hinted at some health problems, and you're studying full time, so it's probably a good idea to concentrate on keeping well and getting the most out of your education. But if you don't make this choice knowingly, in the full understanding that you are incredibly lucky to be able to make these choices, you are going to alienate a lot of people. Some of these people may be your employers, and others will be your friends and relatives. Also, it will help you to appreciate your life more if you understand this. And be more spiritual. I'll stop now.
posted by Acheman at 9:52 AM on September 7, 2012 [47 favorites]

There were no opportunities for growth, and the company does not recognize the good work of its employees ( for instance, the lady who was training me had trained 3 other people who then went on to supervise her).
This sort of thing happens at almost every company. Sometimes the lady doing the training is the best employee they have for that position, so they don't promote her so that they don't have to search for an adequate replacement. Sometimes the training lady is great at training, but doesn't have the look-personality-fill-in-the-blank for the next level. Neither one of these scenarios is fair, but it happens all the time in business.

How can I go about sticking it out at a job I dislike; is this even the right thing to do?
One day when you have no safety net - no one to fall back on when you need rent money, you're no longer on your parents' health insurance and you develop a chronic illness that requires constant (expensive) prescription treatment - you'll quickly learn how to stick it out at the most repulsive job. And while you're sticking it out, you'll have that much more incentive to find a better job before you quit the sucky one. Sometimes that's the only thing that will get you out of bed in the morning to go to the sucky job - the knowledge that *today* is the day you're going to get a response to one of the resumes you sent out.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:53 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

[repost without the sneering. You know the drill. email us if you are having problems understanding us.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:57 AM on September 7, 2012

I didn't work full-time in college, even though I was broke-ass, because school was my full-time job. I had work-study jobs for four years, and they were generally 10-20 hours per week. I worked during school breaks. So if you don't need to work full-time, don't. You also don't "need" to adopt everyone else's freakout about not having a job. Whether that means you get new friends or therapy or both, do that.

This, though: but I have issues with the notion that it has to come from a stressful venture

I guess it depends on your definition of stress, but if it includes or is solely determined by something that is merely dissatisfying, your best course is to get over it. Your dream job will have aspects to it that are dissatisfying. Getting to your dream job will have aspects that are dissatisfying. Life is full of stuff that is boring and annoying; I can promise you that even Steve Jobs stuff in his life and work that he didn't like doing. Being an adult means doing them anyway.

If your health is so reactive to *anything* stressful, then that deserves further exploration, because the treatment of "no stress, ever" is unlikely to be successful.
posted by rtha at 10:05 AM on September 7, 2012 [5 favorites]

If this applies at all to your field -- internship, internship, internship. In many fields there are very-low-wage or unpaid internships that would be awesome learning and networking opportunities for most people if it weren't for that whole annoying how-to-pay-for-food thing. You have a wonderful gift in that you can take advantage of those internships without having to sweat the money angle. See what you can find.
posted by the jam at 10:07 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Quitting a lackluster-but-not-crushing job without a backup plan is not an uncommon rookie mistake. I did it with my first job and landed on my feet, but: I had a few thousand saved up when I quit, landed a temp job within a month, had no major expenses other than my rent and no emergencies, and still ended up living hand to mouth for a while and eventually going into debt. I was lucky, and this was when the economy was better.

It's worth adding that I ostensibly left that job to pursue opportunities "in my field," but just ended up working a series of okay unexciting jobs for years and years. I am doing work in my field now, but I had to prove myself, and it involved luck and paying my dues at a job that made me pretty unhappy at times. If you make a habit of taking and then leaving jobs you don't love, without developing a long-term strategy for getting jobs you will love, you'll never get there.

From your subsequent updates, it sounds like you're in a very fortunate position, and you haven't really had to worry about long-term planning or budgeting, and you can prioritize vaguer things like "peace." I agree with deanc that friends and family might be more concerned that you could develop a pattern of drifting and not looking out for the long haul. It's a hard pattern to get out of once you're in it. Maybe you're not heading for the abyss, but you also might not be heading anywhere at all.

You can probably afford to do this sort of thing right now. Most of us really can't, and you aren't guaranteed this luxury forever. Eventually you'll need to prove to others that you can be taken seriously, and your employment record is a huge part of that.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:47 AM on September 7, 2012 [4 favorites]

Unpaid internships in your dream field were made for people as lucky as you.
posted by WeekendJen at 11:07 AM on September 7, 2012 [9 favorites]

I was fortunate enough to go through school without needing to work or take loans. I partially took advantage of this privilege by volunteering and taking a full course-load.

I knew I was working half as hard as everyone else, but I was wiped out. My family saw the stress and fatigue, and they patted me on the back for trying so hard.

It took years of floundering after school to land on my feet. I would have periods of ignoring everything in my life except work to manage a relatively normal 40 hour a week job. Eventually something else would fall apart and I would let that slide to deal with medical issues or personal issues.

I was talking to my doctor about my impending layoff one day, and she finally asked me "Do you worry more than usual?" And I realized that I had no idea what normal was. I was eventually diagnosed with anxiety, depression and ADHD.

Looking back, I can tell that I was drowning in my mental health issues just trying to tread water. If I was less privileged, I don't know if I would have ended up homeless or sought out treatment much earlier. But I know that at the time, I might have defended my actions as "refusing to compromise my peace". Peace was appeasing my anxious demons just enough my life would appear normal to a casual observer. Even when my coping mechanisms were actively destructive.

You need to get yourself grounded enough that life's curveballs won't knock you over. You shouldn't stay in a bad job to prove you can. But you should be able to find inner peace and happiness even when present circumstances are less than ideal.
posted by politikitty at 11:48 AM on September 7, 2012 [14 favorites]

I never did post an update on this. Everything worked out. I got another job within 3 weeks, and am sitting at my desk at that job right now. I love it here. I'm glad I quit. Not sure I'd recommend it for anyone else, because of the potential ways it could go wrong, but I don't regret doing it and the situation never even got as dire as it appeared it would become. It pays better, I got a promotion and raise in February, and I cannot emphasize how glad I am that I decided to go with my gut. Thanks for all the answers.
posted by lilacp at 12:31 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

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