From my junior year of high school until my freshman year of college, I had one job. I worked every weekend and summer, made great friends, and learned a lot during my time there. I learned to stick with something until I’m good at it, how to work with a team and have fun, how to deal with pressure, and how to solve problems efficiently. It was a great three years. I had a great relationship with my coworkers and I was looking at being promoted to management. But I quit. I left after three years of dedication, changes in management, and a global pandemic. And it was the best decision I ever made.
Three years is a long time, especially between high school and college. A lot happens between 17 and 20; a lot of growing and learning and making mistakes. And while I was happy there, I wasn’t actually as happy as I thought I was. This summer, I realized that I only liked my job because of my coworkers. I met my best friend there and we made great memories together. But when she told me she was moving away, I realized that, without her or my other work friends, work wasn’t enjoyable. I was constantly stressed, I wasn’t being treated right (I wasn’t mistreated, but it could definitely have been better), and there was a lot of favoritism that worked against me.
All in all, it stopped being a good environment for me. So, after careful consideration and long conversations with my family and my boyfriend, I decided to quit. I wrote my letter of resignation, I spoke with my manager, and I worked my last shift. It was sad, I doubted myself a bit, but it was ultimately the best decision I could have made for myself.
Quitting a job entails a lot more than saying “I quit” and giving two weeks’ notice (or even just not showing up anymore). It means weighing out the pros and cons of staying and leaving, it means finding the cost-benefit of finding a new job and risking a lower wage, and it means taking action and following through. Quitting a job means saying to yourself, “I deserve better,” whether it be a better wage, a better environment, or a better anything. It means change, and change is super scary. A lot of people settle because it’s easier than diving into the unknown.
Leaving my job was the best decision I’ve made because I learned how to put myself and my mental health first. It taught me that there is a better option for me. It taught me what I value and what I want in a job: low stress, a positive work environment, the possibility of growth, and the freedom to still enjoy my life both in and out of the workplace.
Jobs take up a huge portion of our time, and it’s important to enjoy them. We don’t have to love them; some people work solely to have the resources to do other things. Others work because it’s their passion. Whichever the case, there has to be a balance between work and life.