This is the reason I’ve been so quiet on blogland. This is why I’ve just written two posts a week the last two weeks. This is why I haven’t been responding to comments or commenting on your blog or tweeting on Twitter. The decision to quit my job has been all-consuming.
It started at the beginning of January when my mom and I had a conversation. Or, maybe it started even before that. As I’ve told you before, doing social media marketing has been a dream come true. I find the work to be interesting and company to be amazing and my coworkers to be awesome. But my projects for the last year have been slow. There hasn’t been enough work to go around, and I haven’t been on a project that I’ve totally loved in ages. Maybe that’s too much to ask, but I’ve been bored. It’s not the fault of my managers or my company, who have visibly tried to help me have a better experience. It’s just the workflow. I managed it very, very well for the first six months and didn’t let it get to me. Suddenly, in January, I hit a slump, and I just felt started feeling less than engaged every day.
Back to that conversation with my mom – she casually mentioned during lunch that at some point I could consider working with her. It was something that we had talked about before, but not in a while and never more than vaguely. My mom does PR for a really specific industry, food processing and packaging. She absolutely loves her work – she has wonderful clients, she gets to write often but not too often, she is challenged but not too challenged, and the work is surprisingly interesting. Plus the benefits of being self-employeed are obviously appealing, like being on your own schedule and having general flexibility about time off, where you live, etc.
Sure, B2B PR not as sexy as social media. But social media isn’t exactly unicorns and rainbows. The clients, especially in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, often have high expectations and low budgets. The industry requires a lot of client education, so it’s not unusual to spend hours just explaining the reasoning behind a post looking a certain way. It is always changing, so as soon as you think you understand something, it’s different again. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. But I’m not sure social media and I are meant to be together forever and ever anymore.
So for the last few months, I’ve sat on her offer and turned it over and over in my mind. I could write for a living, really WRITE. I was concerned that if I stayed in social media marketing positions, I’d advance into more project management and wouldn’t have the opportunity to put pen to paper after a while.
I liked the idea of being on my own schedule – if I didn’t have anything to do for the rest of the day, I could take my dog to the beach instead of keeping myself entertained with busywork. I liked the idea of being able to work from home or a coffee shop. I liked the idea of being able to go up to Canada for a few weeks to visit my dad and stepmom, just working from their place without worrying about dipping into my precious 18 days of PTO.
I liked the idea of trying something new, of dipping my foot into a new industry, of being challenged. I’ve done social media for four years, and to a certain degree, it’s become second nature. The idea of starting fresh is of course intimidating, but after a year of feeling underwhelmed, also incredibly exciting.
The scariest part of it all is losing the absolutely wonderful community I have built in my office. My coworkers are some of my closest friends. They are my cheerleaders, the ones who make me laugh constantly, and my dearest confidants. Working from home sounds appealing, but I also know that it can be very isolating and lonely. And although I absolutely love my mom and am confident that we’ll have a great working relationship, it can’t possibly fill that void.
That’s why I was so happy when I went to give my two weeks notice, our wonderful HR person suggested that I stick around and continue part time for a while. It’s going to take a while to drum up enough business for me to be working full time, so it’ll be a great way to fill my hours and make sure I’m making a living wage. Plus, it comes with the awesome benefit of allowing me to stay connected to my wonderful coworkers. Not to mention, I’m going to be able to take a couple of weeks unpaid vacation time so Reg and I can go traveling, and I can shake off some of the “burnt out” feeling I’ve been facing.
It’s really a dream come true and completely terrifying all at the same time. I keep needing to remind myself that I don’t make decisions hastily, and I’ve really thought it through. I’m not a big fan of change overall – I’ve had the same job and apartment for nearly four years and the same boyfriend for over six. I thought I was going to work in social media for the rest of my life.
On the one hand, it’s really easy to keep doing the same thing indefinitely if it’s “good enough,” but I want my life to be GREAT. That is why I try to ask myself critically on a regular basis if I’m happy with where my life is and if not, what can I do differently. Sometimes you need to leap in order to fly… and like when I made the other biggest decision of my life, to adopt my dog Ru, it worked out better than I possibly could have imagined. Big change does not need to mean bad change.
Have you ever made a really big decision like this in your professional or personal life? Do you struggle with big change?