Other People’s Opinions About Leaving My Job

When I told people I was leaving my job, I framed it as “figuring out what I want to do with my life” and less “oh my gawd get me outta here asap.” And because of that I got a ton of questions, mostly some variation on what will I do next?

But more than just questions, I got life advice. A lot of it. Mostly unsolicited. It was kind of overwhelming.

You see, everyone loves being the hero of their own story. And, apparently, leaving a job without having something lined up strikes a lot of folks– or at least the ones that I work with– as a turning point in a narrative that reminds them so much of their own life.

So, so much.

One colleague of mine was reminded of the two-month road trip with her husband after she’d finished chemo decades ago. Another colleague recalled how he got to spend time with his dying father after quitting a toxic job. And then another woman who, bless her heart, told me, lamenting a longer-than-she’d’ve liked period of unemployment in her past: A good mind is a terrible thing to waste. 

It was interesting to see these people, many of whom I barely spoke to day-to-day, just randomly open up to me to say, basically, See me for what I have gone through!

I don’t think there’s a point to this post. Or if there is, it’s this: As much as I feel lost, alone, scared, and humbled, I am grateful that so many people in so many ways are trying their damnedest to tell me that I, like they, will get through this.

Have you ever had colleagues randomly open up to you?

8 thoughts on “Other People’s Opinions About Leaving My Job

    1. My role was essentially the “glue person”, so I surface level knew a lot of people, which I guess is why they felt they wanted to impart their wisdom unto me. Now I feel like I have to brace myself; I’m going to be really awkward when folks started telling me their pregnancy stories.

      Re “feeling these days”: Still in burnout recovery mode, I think. Waffling a lot between feeling completely unmotivated and, as my husband likes to put it, “a perpetual low grade existential crisis.” But it’s been less than a week since I left, and I’ve been pretty occupied shuffling between errands and medical appointments before I get kicked off my employer’s insurance, so I’m letting myself not think too much about the future for a minute. Thank you for asking / I appreciate the check-in. 🙂

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  1. I imagine getting unsolicited advice was the last thing you needed – especially since it really wasn’t about them. I’d be annoyed. It’s okay to feel scared and lost. It’s probably healthy to face uncertainty and have the occasional existential crisis too. It shows that you’re reflecting and growing!

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  2. I think this sort of ‘unsolicited advice’ is about sharing that keeping going when things are not easy leads to better places…even when the journey is long, arduous, scary. That if you carry on things will change and eventually there can be improvements, even if you can not visualize them from where you are.

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  3. I probably tend to be the kind of person who is, er, more likely to share unsolicited shared experience stories like this than to be on the receiving end. (That tends to be my instinct when people tell me about something that seems to be troubling them a bit, to talk about my experience with what I think are comparable events… I gather that this isn’t something everyone finds helpful though…)

    At work I tend not to have a lot of closer work-friends that would be likely to open up to me that way. Hope all is well!

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    1. Yeah, I feel like I’m being kind of ungrateful about it. I think one or two of the stories I heard (particularly around maybe-I’ll-never-find-another-job-again) rubbed me the wrong way. But I do appreciate it all came from a place of kindness.

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