To Move or Not to Move: What I Went Through When Deciding to Leave My First Job
When it comes to deciding to leave ones job, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly, but it’s also not something you should pressure yourself over. When I decided to leave my first job, I really carefully considered my options, and used both my rational mind and emotional mind to make the call. Here’s my story (from the beginning):
I will start out by saying that my situation was a bit unique and I was particularly lucky. I think that in a lot of cases cases, people who decide to leave their job have been wanting to do so for a while. Sending in resumes, sneaking off to interviews, polishing their LinkedIn presence in the hopes their current employer doesn’t notice.
While I did do all of these things in the end (including giving my LinkedIn profile an overhaul) there wasn’t any sneaking around (or not a lot anyway).
I had been working for a company based in Brisbane called Reload Business Group (I was working for their Reload Media arm) which was basically a digital marketing agency that looked after search engine optimisation, search engine marketing and in the end, social media marketing. To say it was the best first job anyone could ask for would be a massive understatement, but I can’t think how else to describe it.
They took a chance on hiring me at 21. I hadn’t yet finished Uni, I had no experience whatsoever (no internships, just me being a particularly savvy digital kid my whole life) and I really needed that job. At the time, I was in a bit of credit card debt (following some poor roommate choices among other things) and I needed to pay it back as quickly as possible. I went to the library and applied for job after job until I landed an interview.
I (unknowingly at the time) applied for a job as a Marketing Coordinator firstly at a construction company. I was far, far too inexperienced for that role, and the gentleman who interviewed me knew this from the get go, but he told me he “decided to interview me anyway since I was so ambitiously applying for a position such as this and he wanted to give me the experience of having an interview”. I am so grateful to that man. He definitely helped prepare me for my interview at Reload.
I was absolutely terrified in my Reload interview. Shaking from head to toe, but I made it out alive – and even better, I landed the job.
I started in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) otherwise known as Google Adwords marketing. We did Yahoo and later Bing too, but everyone knows it’s all about Google right? What a brilliant set of skills to start out my career with. Running Adwords campaigns taught me how to track campaigns and measure performance in Google Analytics (skills that very much come in handy now as a blogger). While I didn’t hate the AdWords side of things, I wasn’t super passionate about it either. I felt most alive when I was storytelling. Constructing messages that are built to resonate with a target market.That’s why I studied marketing. So with my boss, we slowly built a social media arm of the business – and a successful one too.
So I ended up with a job I was truly passionate about and with a company that really “got it”. The understood what it took to build an amazing company culture (and that it was). I genuinely loved coming in to work everyday. I also had some amazing opportunities at Reload, so it won’t come as a surprise that I was really happy there when I left. Which made leaving really, really hard.
I was headhunted for a role at one of Australia’s largest quick service restaurants (QSR’s). My recruiter found me on LinkedIn and gave me a call. Now it wasn’t the first time I had been approached by a recruiter and in the past I had completely ignored the opportunity to connect with them. I just assumed that since I was happy at my current job and they hadn’t listed who the job was for, it couldn’t be for anyone worth moving for. Well maybe it was and I was too silly to check, because the one time I return a phone call, it’s for “the” job for “the” Brisbane based company (there aren’t a whole lot of “big ticket” companies based in Brisbane, but this one was “the” Brisbane based company).
I met with my recruiter before work one morning and we had a good chat about my current skills, things I was looking for in an employer, where I was looking to go in the future, salary expectations and more. She took that information back to my potential new employer and called me back with an interview time for the coming Monday (it was a Friday afternoon). “Do you think you can pull together a resume over the weekend and send it to me by Sunday night?”. Well I didn’t really have a choice did I? I managed to put together an interactive presentation using Prezi. I wasn’t super happy with it as I knew I could do better, but it would have to do given the little time available.
Now for the “sneaking around” part. I wanted to take time off as annual leave, but I had a meeting organised for the morning and my employer wouldn’t have approved it (I know you guys, it’s bad). So the time came where I had to say to myself “This is worth it, you’re going to have to lie. You can apologise later”. So I called in sick and went to the interview. When the time came to resign I felt more uneasy about having to admit that I had lied about being sick than I did about resigning (I think that proves that I’m not a well versed liar).
I went to the interview. I had felt like I nailed it, and I was right. Less than 30 minutes later and I get the phone call offering me the job, with a caveat. I had to decide within the next hour since they had another interview lined up, which they would cancel if I accepted, but if I took too long to consider the opportunity, they would interview her. If she did well, they would offer her the job and if she said yes before I did, GAME OVER. Nothing like a little added pressure when you’re making a huge decision hey?
It’s always such a hard decision when you decide to leave something you once loved (or still love) behind off to seek a new adventure you feel that you’re destined for. For me, I ended up using mostly logic (mixed with a little bit of gut feel) to make the decision to move. Had I focused too much on my emotions, I may have never left. Reload was filled with friends, memories and comfort. The idea of moving was scary. What if I don’t fit in with people? What if people don’t respect me like they do here? What if the culture isn’t a good fit? What if I’m not good enough for the role? All these were questions that were running through my head at a million miles per minute.
In the end, it was really a no-brainer. I had to leave Reload at some point (well I guess I didn’t have to but it was very likely that I would have an opportunity to progress faster than the business was able to and for that reason I would need to start looking elsewhere eventually). I wanted the experience of working in a large corporation. Working with big budgets. With a brand who challenges and disrupts. Isn’t afraid to fail fast as long as you’re learning along the way. These were all things I couldn’t really do while working for smaller businesses who were parting with the last of their marketing budgets, needing to ensure they were implementing “safe best practice strategies” to get the best chance of a return on investment.
I distinctly remember saying to my partner: “I just don’t know if I should move. I’m a bit scared it won’t be what I think it will be”. He just looked at me and said, “Yeah you do. You do know what to do.” and he was right. I hung up the phone from him and called my recruiter straight away. I did know what to do. I took the job.
Ten months later, I’ve been on the ride of my life at this new company. Having the opportunity to implement strategies I could only dream about previously is quite literally – a dream come true! It was definitely a bit strange in the beginning. Trying to fit in and get to know a new brand is challenging but I needed a challenge. Everything worked out well in the end and now, I’m happier than ever and am 100% certain that it was the right decision. No regrets.
Making a decision to move companies can be hard when you’re happy. It can be hard when you’re not happy. Your work is so much more than just the documents you produce and the meetings you have. It’s the people you’ll be leaving behind, the comfort of knowing what tomorrow will be like, knowing your job so well that you could do it in your sleep. These are all reasons it can feel like staying is the right decision. It might be easier, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right. If you’re being challenged, you’re learning and if you’re living outside of your comfort zone then you’re becoming more resilient.
Do I miss Reload? Of course! I miss the people, the culture, my old clients, my old desk, the EPIC coffee machine, I miss pretty much everything about that place. Do I wish I never left? No. It was the right decision for me.
What it boils down to is: I had an opportunity to challenge myself more, push myself further, expand my network and set of skills. It has been harder. Every day at my new job is more challenging than the last, but that’s exactly why it was the right call and why I am loving this new adventure before me.
It’s like what Lisa Messenger says; “Fail fast, take risks, push the boundaries, start before you’re ready, just go.”