10 Things I Learned From Quitting My Job After 3 Months

Office decorations after 3 months at my job

My postgrad experience has been nothing short of an emotional and professional roller coaster (full thoughts on the depression I’ve experienced here), which I thought had reached its conclusion when I gladly accepted a position as an Outreach Specialist at the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii back in September. The job was extremely appealing to me as the organization provides free legal assistance to people who need it most and while I thought I would stay there as long as possible, I left LASH after only 3 months. You heard me right– I quit my first job after working there for just 3 months and I was terrified throughout the entire decision making process. Here’s some context: I met someone who previously worked at the Office of the Public Defender back in July and she spoke with her boss about me who at the time, said he wanted me to send him my resume for a possible job. You all know how badly I want to pursue a career in public defense, so this opportunity seemed like a dream come true. After I didn’t hear back from the office for a month or so, I accepted the LASH job and went about my time. At the beginning of December, however, OPD called me to ask if I’d come in for an interview and then offered me a position a week later. I accepted it as soon as they called me back, but I was terrified about resigning after just 3 months. I didn’t want to let my bosses/the Executive Director down, I was worried about what my coworkers would think of me, and I thought quitting would reflect badly on me in future job searches. Now that I’m a week or so into my new job, here’s what I learned from quitting my job after 3 months.

  1. You have to do what’s best for yourself. Of course you don’t want to let anyone down, but you’re the one who will be most affected by your decisions, so why not base them on what’s ultimately going to help you in the long run?
  2. Do not burn bridges. Especially if you’re staying in the same field (aka me in two different legal offices), people always know each other and will trade stories, so make sure your reputation isn’t built on bad experiences.
  3. Make an educated and informed decision. If you have another job offer, make sure you know everything about the position and company/organization before accepting it. If you would rather leave without a job at a new place, ensure that your finances are stable enough for you to quit early.
  4. On that note, try to keep your job until you find another one. This point is aimed specifically at people who are miserable in their current position. It’s easy to allow your stress or frustration to push you toward handing in a reckless resignation, but if at all possible, stay in your current job until you’re offered a new one.
  5. Don’t stay in a position because you’re afraid of professional opinions. People are going to talk about you no matter what, so don’t let their possible feelings about you leaving deter you from making the right choice.
  6. Be kind to yourself. Deciding whether to leave a job, whether it was the right one for you or not, is a difficult and painful process. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
  7. Your resume shouldn’t determine your job choices. One of the main reasons why it took me so long to consider quitting my job after 3 months was because I was worried about how such a short stint would look on my resume. After long conversations with other professionals in my field and my family/friends/therapist, I knew that I shouldn’t allow my anxiety over resume appearances keep me in a job in which I wasn’t 100% invested.
  8. You’re still young, it’s okay if you’re not entirely happy in your current position. I put so much pressure on myself to choose the right career path because I’m always looking forward to the future, so I easily forget that I’m only 23 and I’m bound to make numerous mistakes. Although I would never call my time at LASH a mistake (I met so many wonderful people there and learned so much!), I think it’s okay to admit that my current job is a better fit and that I’m much happier there.
  9. Stay in touch if you can. My two supervisors were so wonderful and kind and supportive to me, so I was devastated to leave them. I left on good terms with them, so I’m hoping to see them when I can and remain in touch.
  10. Life goes on. The day I gave my supervisors my resignation letter, I felt like the world was ending, I was so nervous. I thought I was letting them down and I would never get over it. Thankfully, everyone was kind to me and supportive of my choice, and now I know that jobs change and people come and go and life goes on no matter what, so you may as well take the plunge and see where you land!
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