I quit my job last week.
It was a good job, at a great company, with awesome people. I am extremely grateful that I managed to land such a solid job straight out of college.
But, it wasn’t the job for me.
To be completely honest, the reason why I went into consulting in the first place is because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. But, now I do.
The night before I submitted my two weeks notice, I was up until 3 AM finishing this blog post. There would have been no consequences if I didn’t finish it that night, but that’s the thing — I don’t even need to rely on consequences or any external pressures to motivate me to work on my blog (like I do with most other things).
Over the past two and a half years, I’ve poured hundreds and hundreds of hours into this blog, solely because I genuinely enjoy working on it. That doesn’t mean that it’s always easy to force myself to sit down and write, but I’m always happy that I did after.
Through my blog, I’ve been able to reach hundreds of thousands of people all across the world (and even had the chance to meet up with one of my readers in Germany this past summer!). It blows my mind and excites me and energizes me all at the same time. And that’s what I love so much about the Internet — its insane potential for reach.
And now, because of my blog, I’ve been given the opportunity to pursue my passion as a content marketing manager for an awesome start up called ProSky (if you’re looking for a job, check them out!). Needless to say, I accepted it.
Sometimes You Have To Take A Step Back To Move Forward
Before I quit my job, most of my family and friends were telling me to wait it out a little bit.
“It’s your first job out of college… It’s going to look bad if you leave so soon… You should stay for at least a year…”
I wasn’t planning on leaving so soon. My original plan was to stay for at least a couple years.
But, once I finally figured out that writing was my passion (only took me two and a half years…), I couldn’t wait any longer. And I knew that the longer I waited, the harder it’d be to leave.
I don’t know exactly what the next 5 years are going to look like for me, but I knew exactly what the next 5 years were going to look like if I stayed where I was at, and I knew for a fact that that was not what I wanted.
I don’t care if I didn’t meet some made-up standard for how long you have to stay at your first job out of college. Life is too short to waste time doing things that don’t contribute to your life vision.
As part of the year of focus, I’ve been trying to approach my life from the “Hell Yeah! or no” philosophy: if something doesn’t really excite me and make me say “Hell yeah! That would be awesome!” then I’m going to say no.
Imagine how much different the world would be if we only spent time doing things that actually mattered to us, with people who actually mattered to us. Too often we overcommit and say yes to too many things that we don’t actually care about. This helps no one and hurts everyone.
I know it’s impossible to spend 100% of your time doing only things that you enjoy, but I think the goal should be to eventually be spending at least the majority of your time doing things that you enjoy. Call me an idealist, but I think the world would be a much better place.
That being said, you can only take one step at a time. And sometimes, you have to take a step back (or, at least what might seem like a step back) in order to continue moving forward.
As excited as I am to start my new job, accepting this new job meant that I had to end my lease early and move back home with my parents (since the start up is in my hometown). I love my parents, but I loved the freedom of living on my own. And to most, moving back home would probably seem like a step backwards.
But, it’s a short-term sacrifice that I’m willing to make.
If accepting this job and moving back home is going to get me closer to where I want to be, why wouldn’t I be willing to make the move?
Plus, moving back home means I’ll be saving a ton of money on rent, which is actually a huge pro. But, ultimately, accepting this new job is just such a big “Hell yeah!” for me that I’m more than willing to accept the few cons that come with it.
A decision that helps you close the gap with where you want to be is worth almost any con, in my opinion.
But What If You Don’t Know Where You Want To Be?
I sent out a survey to all of my email subscribers last October, asking them what their biggest challenges were, as well as what their biggest concerns will be once they graduate (if they’re a student).
Based on the 70+ responses I received, the biggest concern for college students after graduating, by and large, is related to finding a job — more specifically, an enjoyable job (see responses below).
This is a worthy concern, as less than one-third (31.5%) of U.S. workers feel truly engaged in their work, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace 2014. This average is up nearly two percentage points from 2013 and sadly represents the highest reading since 2000, when Gallup first began tracking this statistic.
First of all, I know it’s easy to feel like everyone in the world except for you already has everything figured out. But trust me, they don’t.
I’m 22, and I just FINALLY figured out what I want to do with my life (at least for now… remember, don’t be a donkey. Long-term thinking allows you to fully focus on one direction at a time without feeling conflicted or distracted because you know you can get to the others in the future).
I feel very lucky to finally feel like I’m headed in the right direction, because I’m confident in saying that most people (both older and younger than me) still have no idea what to do with their lives.
Sure, there are the lucky few whose paths have been defined ever since they decided they wanted to be a doctor when they were five years old (like my older sister), but they are anomalies.
For most of us, there is no clear path. And that’s okay.
But what’s not okay, is to complain about not knowing what you want to do, and then to sit on your butt and not do anything about it. How’re you ever going to find what you’re passionate about, if you don’t ever try anything new?
I studied industrial and systems engineering when I was in college. After graduating, I went into tech consulting. And now, I’m making a huge career change and going into content marketing… all because I decided to start a little blog the summer after my sophomore year of college.
Don’t ever let yourself believe that you are limited to a set number of paths. There are always more options.
I don’t know what the best career for you is, but what I do know is that two years ago when I first created my blog, I never would have imagined that it would literally end up changing the course of my life.
So, if you’re trying to figure out what the hell you actually want to do with your life, my advice is this: find yourself a side-project. Just ONE (for now).
Keep doing whatever you have to do (going to school, work, etc.), but do something else on the side. I’m sure there’s something that you love to do, or that you’ve been dying to try, but for whatever reason, you’ve been putting it off.
Stop procrastinating on the things that are important to you.
Maybe it’s starting a blog, or maybe it’s learning how to code. Whatever it is, move towards it now.