It’s been all quiet on the brendaisarebel.com front lately. Life has taken a real turn and I needed to take some time to reflect. Eventually I knew I had to come back and write about all this. After all, starting a blog requires you to open up parts of your life in order to help others. I really hope my story (my plot-twist-quitting-my- full-time-job story) will show how taking a step back in your career doesn’t have to be all bad.
So, as some of you know, I’m in the United Kingdom on a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa. The journey to getting something that would let me stay in the country was long and fairly all-consuming. In fact, I made a lot of decisions in my career that was solely focused on that goal.
When I left the University of Warwick in 2014 I already had a graduate job in digital marketing lined up. It was a great opportunity, and most importantly, it would buy me time in a country I had come to love. At the time, I held a Tier 5 Temporary Work visa, valid for a maximum of two years.
There was a catch. The Tier 5 visa tied me to the company I was with for the duration of my stay. That would have been fine.., if things at that role worked out. I stayed there for two years. I was already thinking of leaving after one.
Luckily, I was offered a job at a brilliant place called Debut. It was to be their Social Media and Community Manager, and they would support me through my application to a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa. The most important difference between the Tier 1 and Tier 5 visa? The fact that the Tier 1 visa wouldn’t tie me to a company, and I would be free to move in the United Kingdom.
My time at Debut was amazing. They taught me so much, and after a less-than-ideal start to my career, I was finally happy. Then, a company called Jobbio came a-knockin’.
I was approached by Jobbio to be their social media team lead. It was an incredible opportunity, at a very exciting company. What did I have to lose? Perhaps it was my hubris. Or perhaps it was the excitement of having a visa that allowed me to make these choices. It was probably both.
So, I left Debut (they threw me a wicked leaving do) and hopped on a flight to Jobbio’s Dublin HQ for my first day. Honestly? The first few weeks were great. Working in the City, collaborating with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met – it was a dream. But something wasn’t right.
Before I did anything rash, I wanted to look at the situation objectively. Look, I can’t speak for everyone. But if you do experience any of the below, it might be high time to start considering your options.
- Part of my job at Debut was to research and read careers content. I would come across articles like ‘6 signs you should quit your job’ or ‘4 things that prove you need to leave your role’ daily. Reading those articles, I was alarmed to realise I was ticking all of their points.
- You know how people talk about there being a ‘bad fit’? Before, I thought that was just a euphemism for someone being crap at their job. But it’s true. Even if everything about the job seemed perfect on paper, it may not necessarily be perfect for you. Culture is so important, and I just wasn’t gelling. It felt alienating, and sometimes lonely.
- Speaking of lonely, working remotely from my team and my direct manager was crazy challenging. Occasionally, communication would go awry, leading to misunderstandings.
Having said that, I recognise I didn’t spend a lot of time at Jobbio. You might be thinking, “Brenda! Why didn’t you give the job a chance?” I get it. It seems extreme. However, I was asking myself every day: will the feeling that I’m feeling go away? As days passed I came to realise it wouldn’t. So if the situation didn’t change, I had to.
Making my decision
It took me a few weeks to come to a decision. There were so many things to consider. Being a planner, it felt wrong not having something in the pipeline before I left my position at Jobbio. I’d be losing a steady income. I’d be leaving a great bunch of people in the UK office. And… I hate to admit it, but I was worried about what other people would think.
The fear of being judged as a job-hopping millennial is one thing. The fear of being stuck in an unhappy work situation is another. In the beginning, my options were so limited I was just happy to be offered something, anything to stay in the country. Then, the Jobbio role came. It made sense. More money, more responsibility and international work opportunities. Who wouldn’t say no?
Although I have no regrets about taking the opportunity, I also have no regrets about leaving. There are moments in life where your gut tells you to take a leap. When those moments come, listen. Up until I handed in my notice, I nearly backed out fifty times. Then I did it. The relief I felt proved it was the right choice to make.
There are a few things brewing that I can’t tell you about just yet (all very exciting!) In the meantime, I’ll be buying expensive coffees in cafes with WiFi working on being a freelancer for the first time.
Wish me luck.
Feature image credit: Unsplash
Writer’s note: When my website was hacked in 2018, I had to take everything down (literally everything! My heart hurts re-living the experience.) Here’s the post in most of its entirety, with a few minor copy edits and a swapped out Instagram post. 👍
Originally published: October 13, 2017