Will I Regret Quitting My Job?

We’re down to the last month.

Because I’ll be gone soon, a lot of the stress associated with the huge crunch of work has been muted. If our work flops, I won’t be there to deal with the fallout. That doesn’t mean I’m not trying– I’m still working hard— but I’m not as worried about it as I would otherwise.

But because I’m not thinking about the work aspect of work, I’ve had time and energy to think about another aspect: the people.

This was my first job out of college and I’ve been here six years. Over that time, I’ve made a lot of really good friendships with people I like and respect.

Little by little I’ve been telling my colleagues that I will be gone soon. I started with my former roommate during a lunch out, then told some of my teammates during a late-night work crunch. Some of them (like former roommate) I know I’ll spend time with even after I quit. But there are others, though I enjoy their company very much, with whom I don’t have that kind of out-of-the-office relationship and therefore will probably fall away in my memory over time.

Yesterday, I told my mentor that I was leaving. He was super supportive about it, had suspected for months and has thought about leaving himself, and offered to send me a job lead he thought’d be a good fit. We were both kind of bummed about the situation. I wondered to myself whether I’d ever see him again. I like him as a person, and we have hung out outside of work during some now-defunct political meet-ups, but he also has kids and lives on the opposite side of town, so the likelihood that we’ll see each other again is kind of slim. That makes me sad; I’ll miss him.

As I’m leaving, I realize that I don’t really mind losing the projects I’m leaving behind– which, I’m kind of annoyed at the timing that now as I’m about to be gone I get some of the most interesting work of my career, but whatever. Nor am I fretting about my loss of income (though ask me again in a few months). Instead, I’m saddened that these people, my colleagues, my friends, that we’ll grow apart and those relationships will fall by the wayside. Which, if a friendship is so tenuous, is it really a friendship at all? But anyway, starting over in a new place… it’ll be hard.

If there’s one thing I’ll regret, it’ll be leaving these people, for whom I care deeply, behind.

Are you friends with the people at your job? Would you miss them if you left? Would you maintain those relationships? Why is adult friendship so hard?

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8 thoughts on “Will I Regret Quitting My Job?

  1. I know exactly what you mean. Leaving a job has always felt bittersweet to me, even if it was a job I didn’t like. I could have been at a bad job, but made friends anyway, and leaving people is the hardest part. I’ve also been lucky to have great bosses and mentors, which makes it even harder.

    While it feels like the worst to leave, I can tell you that that feeling fades pretty quickly 🙂

    And if you’re good friends with a coworker, then you’ll maintain that relationship after. It won’t be exactly the same, of course. One of my best friends from an old job from like 8 years ago, pops up to Gchat with me every now and then. And I know when he’s in NYC he’ll ask to meet up.

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    1. Thank you for the reassurance. I feel so connected to these people. And, you know, making friends, it’s hard! I’m sad-but-glad that I will end up moving on just given a little time.

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  2. I had a few friends at my old work, but overall I didn’t feel too attached to my co-workers. It was still sad when I left though. On the other hand, since my industry is pretty small, I’ve actually run into a few colleagues at different industry conferences and events. It’s a small world! Anyway, I’m sure you’ll be able to keep in touch with the people you liked the most, and there’s no reason you can’t keep in touch with your old mentor.

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    1. I’ve stressed to my closest work friends just how hard I’m going to be leaning into maintaining those relationships. Pot luck brunches galore! For the people I’ve *decided* on, as in I think of them part of my chosen family, I’m pretty good about keeping them in my life. For people who are in the next tier who I like a lot but am not as close to, those are the relationships I’ll be kind of sad to deprioritize and probably for some lose. But you’re right, there’s no reason we can’t keep in touch, even if it’s only once and a while.

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  3. OMG, yes. Leaving the people has always been the hardest part. But there are, amazingly, great people everywhere, and I’ve been blessed to always have great teams to work with. I’ve never stayed anywhere as long as 6 years and can imagine that would be a lot of strong relationships tough to leave behind. Our city is pretty sprawling and I must admit that living on opposite ends from people has meant I don’t really keep up with coworkers much aside from online…

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    1. I think a lot of the missing my co-workers stuff is getting mixed in with my general social anxiety. These are some of the strongest relationships I’ve had (friendship is hard) so I am sad to lose ’em.

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  4. I’ve lost touch with some former coworkers before, and it always left me bummed. But these days I work remotely and really only have steady contact with one woman. So I’d be much sadder about losing my job than losing touch with people.

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    1. Yeah, it’s hard to feel close to remote colleagues. There are a couple I will miss that I have worked with for years and live far away, but I’ve met them in person before too so that probably makes a difference too.

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