Recently one of our readers shared their experience of what it was like to start a new job, find themselves overwhelmed and stressed out to the point of quitting without having something lined up. We know many of you are going through similar situations so we asked this reader to share their story…we hope you find it comforting to know that you are not alone!
About 1 week ago I decided to search online for people who have quit their jobs without having a job lined up. While doing my search on google, I came across this interesting website named “Young and Successful”, which portrays many stories of people who had gone through this situation. Reading those stories actually made me feel better about the decision I took about 2 months ago.
I graduated with an Engineering degree last year. At the time I graduated, I felt I had everything: a secure job with one of the Fortune 500 Companies, the admiration of my peers and a GPA above 3.0. In summary I had the perfect life or at least that is what I thought.
I started working on June and had to move about 3 hours (driving) from where my family and closest friends lived. I rented an apartment for myself since I did not have the chance to contact someone to be my roommate. It was the first time I had to live by myself; all throughout college I had roommates and many friends. At the beginning everything seemed to be good, little did I know how things were going to end up.
My class was made up of about 20 new hires, all of us being recent Engineering graduates. After 4 weeks of training, all of us went to our respective roles. This is when I realized I did not have a cubicle or a desk. At the time, I did not care because I was decided to excel no matter the circumstances. However, it did felt pretty discouraging to sit on someone’s desk one day, then on someone else’s the next day, depending on who was off that day. When I finally had a desk, which by the way was this tiny spot between two people, I realized no one will talk around me; it seemed everyone will just keep it to themselves. I found it weird, but I kept going with my dream of being really successful at this company. Then, I was introduced to my coach who by the way was a very arrogant and rude person. Every time, I would ask him a question, it seemed as if I was bothering him or it just seemed he did not like me as a person. On the other hand, he was the nicest person with the interns and of course with the managers. When I brought up this situation to my manager, he said he did not know how his personality was and the most time he had spent with my coach was 1 hour. I explained to my manager that he would not talk to me or encourage me (I strongly believe that when you are new to a team, you at least need someone who can give you advice). I remember telling my manager I was going to try my best and that it should be fine, he then said how can you be fine if you are about to cry and right then I started crying so much. A group of us were going for training to a different state and my manager’s advices were to bond with him and try to become friends.
During training, things improved a bit, I did not talk to my coach much but when we played sports he seemed to like me because I am good at sports and he was really competitive. I did not talk much because I felt my training class was in another page, I only hung out with two of them. However, I tried my best by asking questions and what not. At this point things were ok.
Then when I returned to the site, all of us were assigned a project. I was very excited because the process seemed simple and easy. When I chose my project, I realized some other team was working on it already. Therefore, I was still looking for a project. Then, the facilitator for this project’s process approached me and asked me to work on a larger-scale project. This is the time when things got out of my hands. The facilitator was from the same race as mine and so he wanted to push me. He thought by assigning me this project, I would look good and therefore make him look good. He was really data driven and I spent most of my days just looking at data (horrible feeling). Every week, we had to give updates and I really did not have anything to share as my project was larger. I started to become really stressed because the deadline given by our plant manager was approaching. I decided to talk to the facilitator and asked if I could pick another project, he said it was up to me (I thought to myself, I am new hire I would have liked a more concise suggestion). During this frustration stage of trying to catch up with everyone, I chose a project with many variables and therefore most likely no solution. I was very frustrated and when I asked the facilitator if fixing the material being input to this machine could be a solution, he talked me down saying he did not know where my head was, I was the only one asking such dumb questions. I exactly remember it was a Tuesday and it was only 11am but I really felt like going home.
The holidays were quickly approaching and I took a week vacation. When I went back to work, the project just became a nightmare. I would only go to work on this project. I would work from 6am-6pm, I would go home just to open my laptop again and look at more data. During the weekends, I would still think about it and work on it. I stopped doing activities I enjoyed, I stopped wearing makeup, and I really did not care about my appearance. My back started to hurt due to all this stress. When I would go home with my parents I would cry and sleep a lot so I did not have to think about work, it was really a nightmare.
I was in denial thinking I could go on living like this and succeed. Then, my midyear review came and when I talked to my manager, he said that my team was very unhappy with my performance because it seemed I had no idea of what I was suppose to be doing and that just put me down once again.
I remember the next day I went into work and just the thought of being there was so repulsive, I felt as if I was going to vomit. I made up an excuse so I could get out of work and drove 3 hours to see my mom. I was so stressed, frustrated, depressed. I talked with my parents and decided I wanted to leave this place. Of course I took into account how much money I had on my savings account and also knowing I was going to move back home. My manager understood because he saw how my personality changed and how I seemed so miserable just being there. I gave a week notice and gave all the work to my coach who I honestly did not feel bad about because but my coach said in an ironic voice: “oh you are leaving?” with such an attitude. I did not feel bad leaving him with all that work.
As I said before, it has been about 2 months of being unemployed AND guess what? Till this day I do not feel bad I left. I know it is one of the best decisions I made because my health was being affected. One of my eyes is a bit dropped, and so I am still wondering if it was because of the chemicals I had to deal with or my stressed caused it to become swollen. I do of course wake up some days being afraid that I would not get a job soon, but I have had couple of interviews so I hope something comes up.
Sometimes I wonder if engineering is not for me or I just did not fit in the place. My dream is to become really successful so my story can appear in some magazines. I am still in doubt on what I would like to do, but deep inside I know I will find a better opportunity.
To think back to this experience and reflect on all those situations, helped me see life in a different way. It is true, this was very difficult and yes I am afraid of so many things, but I have learned to accept those things and also learned what I could have done different. I am working on some skills that I have to improve and it has also helped me to know and understand myself better. If someone would have told me the story I just narrated, I would have thought that person was crazy for quitting his/her job. Life is there to enjoy it, if not, what is the point? I hope this story helps others understand and know those things happen but also know things happen for a reason and never be afraid of taking risks in life. I am very glad I had the support of my family and that I am only 23, I have a whole life ahead of me. I hope if you are ever in this situation, you the support of your dear ones to help you make it through.