Two weeks ago, I left the company I called home for nearly five years. And I did so after a long-sought promotion and title change…for a new opportunity in an industry I knew absolutely nothing about.
The decision to leave wasn’t easy. I knew I’d be giving up a lot if I left.
I’d be giving up a new role and the associated career progression.
I’d be giving up coworkers I loved and work relationships I spent years building.
I’d be trading in my institutional knowledge and all the trust and respect that comes with that.
And I’d be saying goodbye to a place where I knew I was not only accepted but embraced for the romper wearing monster I am.
So, why did I leave when I had so many reasons to stay?
I needed change.
For a long time, I loved my job because it was comfortable and consistent. I was rarely stressed. I never felt unsupported or inferior. I was good at what I did, and I knew I could handle any challenge that came my way with relative ease.
My job allowed me to live my life exactly as I wanted to. It gave me access to the gym I loved, allowed me to work from home whenever I wanted, and didn’t care about how many times I’d go to Starbucks in a single day.
And because of that, I could funnel all my time and energy into my personal life. I could focus on my mental health issues, cultivate new hobbies, and strengthen the relationships in my life. By not having to focus on who I was at work, I could direct my energy toward finding out who I was outside of it.
But, at some point, I started to disengage and settle into mindless routines. I’d go to work then the gym, possibly grab dinner with a friend, and end my night journaling about how I didn’t really have much to journal about. Months passed like minutes, and I began to lose sight of what I was working toward, and what I was even passionate about. I wasn’t growing, I was staying the same—or worse, withering.
I let this go on for a while. Mostly because I’m a creature of comfort. I eat the same meals, see the same people, and go to the same places day in and day out. I avoid unnecessary change and dread any modifications to my routine. I try to control every aspect of my life because I know how terrifying it can be to feel like you have no support system in place.
More often than not, I’ve sacrificed opportunities to grow and learn in exchange for safety and stability. I’ve held onto things I knew I didn’t want because I was afraid to acknowledge I had no idea of what I did want. And I’ve focused all my energy on staying afloat instead of finding ways to make myself happy.
I took this new job opportunity because I don’t want to be that person anymore. I don’t want to shy away from new experiences for fear of failure. I don’t want to avoid new people because I’m afraid they’ll bring out the imposter syndrome in me that I’ve worked so hard to silence.
I want to take every opportunity to challenge myself and grow. I want to expand my horizons. I want to try my best to be happy, and be okay knowing that there will be mistakes and failures that come with that.
More importantly, I want to be a little less scared than I was the day before.
My first weeks will be challenging. I’ll forget names and acronyms. I’ll screw up processes and drop the ball more times than I can count. I’ll make jokes and references only old coworkers and friends will get.
There will be times when I question if this big change is worth all the feelings of stupidity, confusion, and loneliness that will come with it.
And I’ll know it’s worth it—regardless of how it plays out. Because I will have been a little bit braver than I had been the day before.