A few years ago, when I was just getting started in marketing, I took a job that to be perfect. The position was at this great little, start-up marketing agency right outside of Chicago. This agency promised the world to me -- real hands-on experience with some of the best marketing tools, strategies and leadership available. A few days before I started the job, however, the marketing director who had hired me quit. It was at this point that I should have sensed something wrong.
I spent almost a year at this small agency and in some ways, I did learn a lot. However, a lot of what I learned was the type of employee and person I didn't want to be. Only a few weeks in, my job turned into more of a personal assistant role for the owner of the company than a marketing position. My creativity was squashed, I rarely used the skills that I had come to the company with and eventually stopped learning new, important skills that would help my future career. After not feeling fulfilled for a long time in my role, I made the decision to quit.
When I decided to quit, I had another job lined up that I was SURE I was going to get. It was all but promised to me. Unfortunately, about a week after I quit the first job, the company I had planned on going to called me to say they had decided to restructure their marketing and sales teams and would no longer be hiring anybody to fill the position. I was bummed and unemployed.
It took almost two months, but finally a great opportunity presented itself on LinkedIn. I was quickly hired at a small marketing agency in Chicago where I was able to really hone in on what I was hired to do while developing as a well-rounded and skilled marketing professional. This company understood how unfulfilled I was at my previous job and continuously encouraged me to develop new skills that would accelerate my marketing career to new heights. Thanks to their support and guidance, I am now happy to report that for the past few months, I have been working as the full-time marketing manager for a fantastic company outside of the city of Chicago. Not only has this been a huge opportunity for my career and a tremendously better experience than my first job as a marketing professional, but it is proof that sometimes the bumpiest of roads can lead you to the best opportunities.
I learned a couple of lessons from this experience, including:
- You must embrace all of the bumps and bruises that come on your journey in life. Although I was unhappy with that first job, I grasped every opportunity I had to learn... even if it wasn't about marketing. The time management and organizational skills I learned during that time as well as a new sense of confidence I gained in speaking to people one-on-one are essential to my career today and have helped me get to where I am.
- Quitters sometimes DO win. You may not always like your job and you may HATE your boss but that doesn't mean you should quit every job you ever have. I have learned though that there are certain aspects of the job that you have to weigh when deciding whether or not to quit. Because I am young, one of the most critical aspects of a job I both need and want are opportunities to grow both in my career and as a person. That first company could not do that for me and that's when I had to say "goodbye." I was very grateful to find after I left that there were plenty of other companies willing to give me the fulfillment I needed and deserved.
Lastly, although I would NEVER recommend quitting one job without another lined up, taking some time off is pretty amazing. I went straight from working in college to working in the real world. The almost two months I was unemployed after quitting that disappointing job allowed me to travel, learn how to cook (kind of) and focus on what really made me happy. These are experiences I may not have had if I never said, "I quit."