Career Firsts: What It's Really Like to Quit Your First Job

Of all the "firsts" you face in your career, marking the first time you quit a job is by far one of the most stressful milestones. 

Quitting can be painful and difficult or totally freeing, depending on your perspective. No matter where you fall with your emotions, quitting is not the easiest experience. We asked members of Team SN to share the stories of the first time they quit and moved on from their very first job–read on for their advice and words of wisdom. 

Tara: Be Open to New Opportunities

I had been at my first job for around two years. I knew I wanted a career on the business side of fashion, but fashion itself (the clothes, accessories, etc!) gave me pure joy. My first role as a Business Planning Analyst was mainly spent behind excel spreadsheets, so I wanted product exposure. I didn’t resign until I had another job secured that I felt better suited to my career goals than the opportunities I had at the time at Marc Jacobs.

It was an ironic time for me to leave because my close friend and mentor at the company had just become my manager (which I was thrilled about!). It was only about one week into her ‘managing’ me when I had to tell her I was resigning. We went for a walk to get coffee when I revealed that I was approached by another company and they had offered me a job, explaining the difference in roles to the one I currently had. Because we had a close relationship, she understood why I was seeking new opportunities, however, she did try encouraging me to stay.

My initial conversation went fairly predictably and amicably, and then my manager had to tell the VP of our department. I had an intimate conversation with our VP, who tried to counter my other offer to convince me to stay on her team. Although it was flattering, instinctively I knew the better decision for me was to leave. In fact, the reason I sought a job outside of Marc Jacobs was not to get a raise or be promoted within. I’ve never had those intentions when moving jobs and believe the best reason to explore new opportunities is to accomplish something you aren’t able to (as quickly) at your current company. Regardless, and out of respect, I asked to digest everything overnight and confirm my decision in the morning.

I was adamant about not burning any bridges (which I always recommend) and to make my resignation as professional and amicable as possible. I’ve worked at a few companies over the last decade and although some people see moving around too much as a weakness, ‘quitting’ and changing jobs has been the most effective way for me to advance my career in fashion. Being open, at the very least, to new opportunities and always re-assessing your personal career goals is a great thing.

Maggie: Embrace the Scary Side of Moving On

When I quit my first job, I had been in my position for 3 years. I was actively looking for new jobs for a few months prior, and once I received a strong offer elsewhere I put in my notice. At the time, I was at a company I truly thought I'd never leave and I was part of an amazing team, so this was a huge switch and moment for me!

I was so nervous to do the actual quitting. My boss at the time was the most supportive and caring person and we had become close during my three years on the team. I really wanted to maintain that relationship and not burn any bridges. I rehearsed the conversation so many times and built it up in my head, and when the actual conversation rolled around, it did NOT go as planned. I started crying about 5 seconds in! I’ve always prided myself on my professionalism, and crying at work was not something I ever wanted to do. But quitting felt so heavy and I couldn't help but get emotional. My boss was, in true form, extremely understanding and supportive, which made the conversation 1,000,000 easier.

Although I found the quitting and moving on process to be incredibly stressful, ultimately I know I made the right decision. I felt ready for my next chapter and was prepared to face new challenges! And, I ended up at Something Navy, which was my dream company for years beforehand!

If you feel like you're ready to look at new jobs or new companies, give yourself the freedom to see what's out there. It can feel like a major risk to leave your comfort zone and pursue another path, but I learned that sometimes you have to take a chance on yourself and go for the role you want even if it completely scares you! You never know where you'll end up, and the perfect professional fit for you could be just around the corner.

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