A few weeks ago, a couple days after my 24th birthday, I resigned from my job. It's been a long year. Working at a tech startup is not easy. I started off last August completely unaware of how much I would learn, how much I would see, and how much I would grow. I thought this would be a "normal" job and in some ways it was and in many ways it was not.
As I looked around the room on my last day, I realized that only two people in the room had been there longer than me. As one of the youngest in the room, that's a weird feeling. My role seemingly grew every week. New and challenging responsibilities fell onto my plate and I was more often than not overwhelmed. But it forced me to grow at a speed that I absolutely would not have found in most other jobs.
In full transparency, I tried to quit earlier in the summer. I oddly get "poached" for jobs a few times a month, but it's rare that I will even consider an offer. In June, I was feeling burnt out and frustrated and this really wonderful opportunity presented itself. Leaving was not easy then and I ultimately had a pretty serious mental breakdown. (Sleeping no more than five hours in five days will do that to you!) This summer was stressful and uncomfortable for me. College Prepster experienced a quick burst of growth late-June, which is strange as past summers typically had slower growth. It was unexpected, but it also meant that I went from burning the candle on both ends to... well, I don't know, lighting the entire candle on fire.
Back in January, I had set the goal for myself that I wanted to take three months off to focus on a couple of projects. I wasn't really sure if that would be possible or if that would even be something that I wanted to do come the third quarter of the year. But sure enough, all signs kept pointing to the fact that this was the right decision.
The idea of leaving my "day job" has clearly been on my mind for sometime. It's scary though. There's something reassuring about getting a clear-cut, X dollar paycheck every two weeks that provides comfort. But that comfort was being erased by the fact that I was spending seventy plus hours a week driving myself into the hole for it. I met with my mentor in August and she asked me a question: When you meet with people and you tell them your job and role at your day job, does it "help" you? (As in, does it add credibility or impress people or whatever.) And my answer shocked even myself... I don't really talk about it. I talk mostly about whatever I'm working on for my blog. What exciting writing opportunity I just completed or what projects I have in the pipeline. Most people I meet don't even know what I did during the day.
I toyed with the idea and one day I went to grab lunch at Wholefoods. Somewhere between picking out a Vitaminwater and paying for my salad, I realized that I needed to leave. After literally not knowing what to do for months, I had this super peaceful acknowledgement that I was ready. It seemingly came out of the blue... but I knew I it was time.
Over the past year, I have met more amazing people than I can count. I have learned more about my own capabilities than I ever could have imagined. I know more about what I want to do personally and professionally when it comes to "business" in general.
Last month I wrote about some of the things I've learned after working for a year... but if I had to sum everything up into one concept it would be the importance of integrity. Have integrity with absolutely everything you do. From showing up to meetings on time, sticking to deadlines, delivering your best possible work, looking out for coworkers, owning up to mistakes, etc. INTEGRITY is valuable and it's sadly something that gets overlooked or forgotten about. Even though it seems like an oxymoron, it's always remembered. Be someone of integrity in everything that you do.
Friday was my last day. It was bittersweet as I said goodbye to my first job and hello to new opportunities.