Five months ago, I left my first job. I was there for nearly three years, right after college. It wasn’t a particularly bad job; it was stable, secure, had a lot of benefits, and fostered an environment where the employees were closely knit. I was also doing what I loved, which was to write for an online publication, and I was able to hone my skills and experience the simple luxuries of attending events and traveling the world.
It was, by all accounts, a good job.
And yet, I left.
There is a pang of unexplainable, unavoidable guilt that comes with deciding to tell your boss about your resignation. A lot of thoughts ran through my head: I’m letting them down. I’m betraying their trust. They might think I’m an entitled millennial who isn’t grateful for what they’ve done for the company. My teammates will hate me for turning over my work to them. I have no right to complain about the burnout I’m feeling. So on, and so forth.
It wasn’t like I was leaving without a safety net; a new job was waiting for me after I’d have rendered my final month. It was something entirely different—a work-from-home set-up with less pay and considerably fewer benefits—but which promised growth, prominence, and greater fulfillment.
But it still terrified me to break up with a company that gave and taught me so much.
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After a while, I realized that the fear and guilt I felt was because I was letting go of a stable and secure job while many others didn’t have much of a choice.
It was a classic case of impostor syndrome; I thought I didn’t deserve to quit because I was doing rather well and a second promotion was already within my grasp. But if there’s a valuable life lesson I learned growing up, it’s that we should never settle for “good enough.”
Flash forward to five months later, I’m definitely much happier, much more content, and far less stressed in my new job than I had been throughout my first one. My skills have improved, my expertise has broadened, and my confidence had its much-needed boost.
Now, I don’t regret a single thing.
My advice to anyone who is about to quit their stable jobs and is feeling remorseful about it: DON’T BE. Loyalty to a company should never be had at the expense of personal and career growth. Every job—even the good ones—has its expiration date. Often, a change of scenery and a step away from your comfort zone are necessary to push you forward on your journey to success and fulfillment.
So whatever your motivations must be for leaving—better work; a pursuit of passion; or a mental health break—be filled with gratitude for your job well done and move on with your head held high.
Have you ever felt guilty about leaving a good job? Tell us your experiences in the comments!