On October 17, 2012, I resigned from my marketing position at a state agency. Although there were several circumstances with my employer that made it difficult for me to work at the agency, the main reason why I resigned from my position was an internal, personal one. The main motivating factor was that I knew in my heart that the work I was doing was not satisfying to me because I was not able to use more of my talents. I worked at the agency for four years. During that time, I used some of my skills and talents, but the majority of the time I was relegated to performing tasks contrary to my skill set. I felt frustrated that the work I was doing was not a reflection of my strongest talents. But my biggest source of frustration came from knowing that I did not have the skill set to do the work that would be most satisfying and rewarding to me.
When I spoke to customers who visited the agency seeking assistance, some reoccurring themes were present in all of their conversations. All of the customers expressed regret that they became too comfortable and complacent in their jobs that they had now lost. Another theme was that they knew they needed a stronger skill set but were too afraid to do what was necessary to get that skill set. Each time I finished an “interview” with a customer who had earned a bachelor’s degree, was highly motivated, and possessed an impressive skill set, I was struck with the thoughts, “Why isn't this person able to find a job?” and “This person reminds me so much of myself.” Those conversations that I had with those customers were very sobering. It was difficult to sit across from a person trying to offer them advice on a career path, when I knew that I was floundering in my own. I felt like a hypocrite. I also felt sad.
One night, during another “woe is me” conversation with my sister where I was complaining about my situation, she kindly but firmly informed me that my whining was annoying and that she was tired of hearing my excuses about why I felt trapped in my present work situation. She basically told me that I needed to stop talking about what I wanted to change, and be about it. She said that I could not use the excuses of money to pay for school, financial stability, and health insurance coverage anymore! She said that I was going to regret my decision to stay at my job in the long run. Everything she said to me was right. I knew it. I had known it for years.
After our conversation, I took some career assessments and saw that the results were the same ones I had received in middle and high school, and in college—that I should be in a creative field. Although I received a degree in marketing and had jobs where I was able to create and design, I knew that my design skills were limited and unfortunately, dated. I needed to return to school. I applied for a program at a local college and fortunately received an acceptance letter a few weeks later.
My decision to leave my job and focus on obtaining an additional degree is a terrifying one. During my time at the state agency, I had witnessed the desperation and destruction a loss of a job can bring. I am not blind to the risks. However, I know that I must take this risk.
Jessica Fay (Kat) is a marketing professional who loves to craft, design, write, and decorate. She is currently working towards obtaining a graduate degree. Her goal is to start her own online business with her husband.
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