Lauren Kerwell, who just joined the Studiobanks team, writes about reasons to leave a job she loved and her move to Charlotte to work at Studiobanks.
As I brush off the remnants of chili lime seasoning left on my fingers by those delicious almonds sold at Trader Joe’s, I start to ponder upon that ever-prominent question in our lives — “Why am I here?”
Luckily for me, I’m more of a live-in-the-moment kind of girl, so I don’t dwell on it for long. There is a story, as to how I got here. I mean, I loved my job in Washington, DC — why would I ever leave something I loved? Well, that’s a simple answer. Stagnancy is a disease, breeding mediocracy and comfortable okay-ness. Just because you love something, doesn’t mean you can’t love something else even more. Are you seeing where I’m going with this?
5 Reasons to Leave a Job you Love
Ah, were you expecting something different to steal the top of the chart? Let’s face it, guys — no matter how much we’d rather not admit it, our lives are driven by money. Whether you’re paying for gas or public transportation, a child or a dog, liquor or cigarettes — or hey, maybe even all of those (ouch) — you need that paycheck. Let me tell you something about DC. It’s expensive as hell (trust me, I’ve got inside intelligence). Are you surprised? I really never got it — I can grasp why NYC is expensive, but with matching price tags and glaringly less to offer than the Big Apple, how can the cost of living in DC be so high? Regardless, as a budding designer right out of college, DC was digging me into a gigantic hole of debt and I was losing sight of the light at the top. I needed out of there. Pronto. As far as the job goes — I just wasn’t being accurately compensated. I worked at a company where we produced websites, real-world objects hooked up to social media in obscure and amazing ways, infographics, branding and identity, and whatever else our clients could throw at us. There had been a few raises sprinkled in my three-year stint, but starting at a company right out of college really puts you at a disadvantage. I asked for a raise, and when I was promised a number lower than I was happy with — I walked. Simple as that. You’ve got to prove your worth in this world, but once you’ve got your sense of self, never settle for less than you know you’re worth. Even if you love the job, you’ve still got to survive.
The White House and cherry blossoms — what’s better than that?! I can name a few things: mountains, lakes, oceans, trees, backyards, bigger-than-one-room apartments, warm weather 8 months out of the year. Shall I continue? DC just never really did it for me. Sure, the quirky and eccentric restaurants and the whiskey bars with charming bartenders were enough to keep me there as long as they did, but even after awhile, I was worn down. I had aspirations that required a little more space in my life — owning a car (without fearing for it’s wellbeing), owning a dog (without guiltily locking him in a small apartment all day), and having a workout room. Is that really too much to ask!? If you find yourself hating where you live — the monotony of gray, the lack of humanistic apathy, the jenkily constructed living quarters — get the hell out of there. Even if you love the job, you’ve still got your life to love.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you spend 8 hours of your life at work, and 8 hours sleeping, that leaves 8 hours of doing-whatever-the-hell-you-want. Even an extra hour past the one-third mark is just asking too much. At least, that’s how it works in my mind. The point is, if you’re working late on a daily basis and find yourself wishing you had more time to work on your hobbies and watch reality television, it’s time to go. Making money is great, but if you spend all your time earning it, when will you ever splendor in your riches? Even if you love the job, you still need time to have a life.
Room for Growth:
Everyone likes upgrades. Theme parks incentivize with them, video games drag you along with them, and when it comes to your career, they’re essential for that whole money thing we talked about a few minutes ago. Now, the saying goes: practice makes perfect. While we all can admit that we will probably never be perfect, (let’s be a little humble) but the more you do your practice, the more knowledge and wisdom you have. Thus, your position on the totem pole should intrinsically go up. The rate of this obviously depends on a multitude of factors — your ambitions, your skill-set, and your overall ability do you damned work. But I’m preaching to the choir here. At my old company, we were so over-booked with client work, we never had a second to breathe and expand upon our skill-set — to take a chance and learn something new. To screw up, and then get it right. Hell, we hardly had time to come up with more than one concept for a website, let alone spend hours learning a new skill. Even if you love the job, you still need to grow in your career.
My creative director understood this immediately, and assured me after I had broken the news that I was leaving to him — “Sometimes you’ve got to hop around to get where you want to be.”
I was offered a position that increased or improved upon all of the previous points we’ve touched on so far, and I seized that opportunity. So many of us feel like we’re “stuck” in a certain location (state, city) or even in a mindset (“That position is better, but I’m okay here, and I don’t want to move”). The thing is, I’m not okay with settling. Never settle. Take advantage of most opportunities presented to you. Live a little! Make the best of what you’ve got — make more money, work with bigger and better clients (or smaller ones, if that’s your thing), learn and do the things you actually LIKE doing. Get those benefits, that 401K, that extensive time off. Experience a different state, a different country! Life is only temporary, and it only takes you to change something. Even if you love the job, take advantage of better opportunities.
There it is — my reasons for leaving a job I loved and moving down to Charlotte, North Carolina, and taking up a design position at Studiobanks. I now love all aspects of my life. Interested in getting the hell out of wherever you are? Have some great talent? — Get at us! We’re always looking for talented people!