So, I quit my job. It is something I have never had to do. I have never had a job that put my mental and physical health at stake. I have never cried over work, and I have especially never cried over work once a week for a month straight. So, here I am, writing from the couch in my home, in my sweats (pajamas), with a laptop and a sleepy dog’s head in my lap, not knowing where my next paycheck is coming from. All because I had to learn an important lesson on self-worth.
To put it simply, the reason I quit my job is because I have a bad habit of absorbing other people’s problems. I never thought I would be one of those people who gets stuck in a job they hate, especially for my first post-graduate job. My endeavors outside of work were, essentially, in a coma-like state. I had not written anything I am extremely proud of or love, I had not prepared like I should have to for grad school, and worst of all, my mental and physical health were deteriorating.
However, I wanted to prove that I was capable of getting a job. The pressure to graduate college with a full-time, well-paying job hindered my level-headedness in my job search. Consequently, I took the first job I was offered. Even more so, what used to be a bill-paying job while I worked on my creative endeavors and preparation for graduate school turned into something I felt trapped in. I buried myself in too deep and it became suffocating.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just up and quit my job without trying to make it work. I offered up skills that would be valuable to the company that I hadn’t already. However, it always felt like the rhythm of my job was always one step forward, two steps back. I didn’t feel like I had anywhere to go in the company. I was doing “managerial” tasks without the “manager” title or pay. I tried to compromise as much as I could, but soon I realized that if I am fighting so hard to make this work, then this job probably isn’t where I’m supposed to be. So, I quit.
Quitting felt like failure. It felt like I was disappointing my ex-boss, my coworkers, my family, but most importantly, myself. When I sat down with my boss to quit my job, I finally had the floor to voice my concerns matter-of-factly. Truthfully speaking, I always had to floor to do so. I simply never took the opportunity until it was too late.
Overall, I believe that every experience, even the painful ones, are learning experiences. So at this job, I learned two main things: (1) it’s okay to say ‘no’ and (2) speaking up for what you want doesn’t make you a bother. In fact, it’s just the opposite. My downfall was not putting myself first and not listening to what my needs are. In a society that teaches women to be accommodating, it’s difficult to unlearn to not put yourself first. However, knowing your worth and accepting it will only grow your opportunities.
– by Yasmeen Yahya