How I quit my ill-fitting starter career
It was the fall of my senior year in college that I made the decision that would define my professional life for the next ten years. I was not ready for a full-time job and being financially independent, therefore I decided to go to graduate school.
At the time, I was being groomed to be a student affairs leader (i.e. college administration). On paper this was a “fun” career that promised me long-term employment, opportunity for professional growth and a place to make an impact on tomorrow’s leaders.
Match-Made in Codependent Heaven
Did I fail to mention that I was a classic nice girl/codependent? I was the responsible/care-taking kind who made sure to ignore my needs, wants and desires in order to make everyone else happy. I longed to be accepted, to belong, to be part of the group.
I thrived in chaos and constant crisis, as it allowed me to step in and be the heroine. I am the fixer! I can handle it all.
Needless to say, this career allowed me to act out once again familiar patterns, character defects and go on a crazy professional ride.
Graduate School + Beyond
I should have noticed the red-flags from the beginning. My eating disorder and self-destructive habits were having a field day in this career choice.
I consumed my time with taking internships, graduate assistantships, and teaching assignments as a way to pad my resume to ensure that I would get the right job upon graduation. I craved for so long to hide my imperfections, my secrets, my defects of character.
I didn’t want you to see that I was an imperfect human being consumed with shame and judgment.
My professional life consisted on being available to my work at all times of days and hours. I had little to no social life. I was stuck in a people pleasing sandwich as I navigated two conflicting expectations and demands. Let’s just say I was always in the wrong and I learned how to absorb other’s people anger, sadness and rage as a way to cope with life.
Over the course of a decade, I moved up the ladder. I became an expert and was “successful” in my job.
Yet in my gut I knew, I could no longer afford to give my life away to a career that giving me nothing in return.
My Escape Plan
By the fall of 2012, my body was quickly deteriorating. In a three month span, I was visiting multiple doctors trying to get a diagnosis. I got multiple sonograms, blood work and a colonoscopy only to discover that I had a series of stress-induced disorders.
I knew in my gut it was time to “walk away.” I would not get fired from this job so this meant I had to quit.
My reality was that I was ill-prepared to do it. I had little to no savings, growing credit card debt and a desire to start my own coaching practice.
Yet there was something within me that believed it was time for me to step out on my own.
I told myself that I would be resourceful and find a way to make things happen. I could use my years of care-taking experience and now apply it to just me. I would figure things out as they came along as long as I focused on my present moment.
On June 25, 2013, I said good-bye to my starter career.
As I said good-bye I made a conscious commitment to live a life without regrets. To always listen to my ever-so wise intuition and trust it as my inner GPS.
The road towards self-employment has been quite bumpy but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It has taught me how to stand on my own two feet, how to receive help and be seen by others, just as I am – an imperfect human being willing to make this a better space.
Laura Yamin is a career coach that specializes working with women who struggle with codependency in their careers. She guides them into creating + following through an exit plan from the ill-fitting job into their next I can’t wait to get out of bed for career. You can download her free “5-Steps Guide on How to make your I quit! dream a reality today,” and find more information on her website.
I’m so excited to debut the Life Starter’s Blog Series. I have had the greatest honor and fortune of hearing your powerful stories of personal transformation and I wanted to share them all. Because I know that together we can help support, inspire and lift one another. Every Tuesday, we will proudly feature your stories. If you’d like to submit a post, please go here for guidelines and more info. Happy reading!