**Disclaimer: The original post was 4 freaking pages long. I’ve edited it way down and am mainly speaking to anyone who feels unworthy, defeated, stuck, maybe even scared to take the next step. I get it. You can skip to the bullet points if you don't want to read my ramblings. Either way, thanks for being here.**
On July 31st, I finally put in my three weeks.
Now that the monkey's out of the bottle, I won't get in trouble for telling you that since February, I had been applying for jobs, from Philly to Lancaster to Baltimore. February, you guys. I don't think people fully understand how time-consuming, frustrating, and defeating it is, especially when you're working full-time. And the secretive interviews I did land on all came up flat. You work so hard just to get an in, and then you get rejected (which always stings so damn much) or sometimes even nothing at all. I decided to just man up and quit and move to Lancaster with or without a job. You can imagine how at ease I was...and oh yeah, I didn't have an apartment yet either.
Simultaneously job and apartment hunting while being miserable and working full-time is no simple feat. Looking for apartments was "the fun part"...I guess, but looking for the right one was just another time-consuming task to add to my list while my energy levels were diminishing by the minute. So no, it was not all that fun. And knowing I was looking at apartments, yet not knowing how I'd be able to logistically pay for them in the long-term wasn’t the most comforting thought.
On August 6th, my four-legged best friend since I was 15 suddenly passed away while we were having another one of my highly anticipated sleepovers at my apartment. Just the mere thought of that night breaks me. It was easily one of the worst nights of my life, and I had reached a new low.
I was done. I was so done. I was tired of coming home from work to cry. I was tired of going to bed every night already fantasizing about getting in bed the following night. I was tired of waking up every morning 10 minutes before I absolutely had to leave without being late. I was tired of venting about work. I was tired of being walked all over and feeling invisible. And then my best friend died in my living room. Like I said, I was done.
The day after Roxy died, I slunk into work with bed head and swollen eyelids. I was sitting at my desk that was surrounded by flowers and cards when I got a text from Jake. A guy we know reached out to him to let him know one of his properties would be available for rent at the end of the month. I had dibs. Weeks before, Jake reached out to him asking if he had anything available. Time went by and we both forgot we even asked him, so consider it perfect timing that on the day when I needed just a tiny glimmer of hope that things will be okay, an apartment fell into my lap.
I was excited for this prospective home on the inside, relieved almost, but didn't want to give my hopes up. Fast-forward a bit to Jake seeing the place later that day and him telling me it's perfect for me. The location is ideal. There's a bathtub (my only requirement) and it's footed to boot. There's hardwood flooring and even a balcony. The rent is, schmehhh a little pricey, but still in my budget and under my max. I wouldn't find better. I sent the security deposit that night.
Check. I had a roof, next I needed a job.
On August 26th, I moved into my adorable apartment in Lancaster. I was so focused on the move, I didn't have time to look at any job sites. My mom always tells me "one day at a time." You can only do so much at once. She knew I'd be fine, that I'd find work. And I did too, but I also take after my dad and my inner realist was straight up shaken up. This was risky. Real risky. Yet there I was, doing it anyway.
The following week in my new city, I'd wake up and make myself a nice, big breakfast. Then, it was time to once again get back in the job hunting saddle. I'd scour the internet, looking on countless job sites, some of which I had temporary memberships so my resume would be “viewed first.” Like that really helped. I sent cold emails to companies and business owners. I'd ask for success stories on Facebook pages for inspiration. I'd make some connections and get some promising leads, but alas, nothing came to fruition. Just like before. Oh, defeat, my old friend, hiiiiii hello.
On day 4 of being in Lancaster, I remembered a company that used to be a vendor of my previous employer. The company, I was told a few weeks before I quit, is based in Lancaster. I went on their website to their career page and all they had available was some accounting position. Bleh. I emailed them anyway. I kept it short, introduced myself, gave a brief background, and said if they have any openings in the future that are more suitable for me, I'd love to know. I attached my resume and the link to my website (which is way more impactful than a resume) and hoped for the best. Just another sent email, onto the next.
Twenty minutes later, the HR rep emailed me back explaining she was currently in the process of writing a job description for a brand new position; they needed a Content Writer. It isn't even up on their website or job engines yet, but she'll send it to me when she's done writing it.
K. Yes. Please. Definitely...do that.
On day 5, I got the job description. On day 6, I went in to interview. A few hours after I left the interview, they sent me an offer. It was my parents' wedding anniversary that day, so at first I joked saying that my gift to them was an interview. I'd later call my dad saying just kidding, I actually got him a job. I can't tell you how good that moment felt.
On September 11th, I started as a Content Writer for a gift and home decor company. On that first day, they told me they didn’t even bother interviewing anyone else. I was the first and last candidate, done deal. They even mentioned the words "meant to be." Talk about not feeling invisible anymore; I finally felt respected.
It's been one month today, hence why I wrote this insanely long post because if you know me at all, you'd understand I’m sentimental like that.
Phew, so that's my hopeful story that the unknown, scary as it is, actually isn't so bad after all. IN A NUTSHELL, here are the takeaways for anyone who might be in the position I was in:
Never settle. If a situation becomes toxic and impedes your growth and happiness, for Pete's sake leave. Just get up and walk away, plan or no plan. Nothing is worth the cost of your overall well-being, personally and/or professionally. You'll be way better off removed from it. I kept thinking to myself through my misery, “Anything would be better than staying here.” It’s true.
Risks are almost always worth it. Unless you've invested a ton of money in something and could lose it all or seriously put a detriment on your life, take them. I consider myself a pretty practical person because I always think a few steps ahead. This life transition terrified me because I was thinking and looking ahead, which was one giant question mark. I was worried I'd make the jump, move to a new place, wouldn't find a job, and then run out of money and be screwed. Without health and dental insurance. What if my wisdom teeth decided to come in? But I did it anyway and it was one of the best decisions I've made. You just have to do it. Make a move. People called me brave, but I just saw it all as necessary.
Be like Daenerys - break the damn wheel. Forget everything you thought you knew about applying to jobs. Job engines actually suck, so don’t waste your time and energy. Instead, research good companies to work for and reach out to them directly. You never know what positions they might have available that aren't online. Send a brief but witty email to get and hold their attention; introduce yourself and express interest. Put a * thingy at the beginning of the subject line so your email stands out in their inbox. Write something like “*Future Job Interest” or "”Any Freelance Gigs At Fig?" Just kidding. Don't write that. I did, though. They did get back to me, then I replied, then nothing...but the good news is almost every company I emailed at least got back to me. I can't say that about the jobs I applied to the "traditional" way. Be more proactive than just scrolling through job sites that will lead you nowhere.
Have some good ole fashioned faith. I'm a realist, but also a believer. It takes hard work, but it also takes some faith. It will work out. It always does, however it's meant to, and be grateful when it does.
The biggest takeaway; appreciate your support system. Don't take anyone you have close to you in your life for granted. You'll need them when times get hard and they'll be there for you, just as you should be there for them. They’ll believe in you when you don’t. Trust me when I say, you'll need them.
Okay, jeez. I’m done now. Go and be free. FLY FLY!