3 min read

How to Move On (From a Work Breakup)

How to Move On (From a Work Breakup)
Photo by Rooban N on Unsplash

I quit my job today, and I feel a little lost. I’ve worked at the same company for the past 8 months, and I’ve really enjoyed it, but I knew it was time to move on.

I know 8 months doesn’t sound like a long time, but it felt like it. I was an intern, so it was certainly longer than I anticipated. I got to know and care about the team I worked with; I flew to Germany to meet them. I felt close to them.

Work Breakups

Months ago, I wrote a piece on When to Quit. I think about it often. According to my own advice, it’s the right time to move on — I’m no longer at a point where I think continuing with my current job will set me up for a brighter future.

I’ve been in a position like this before. It feels like a breakup — one that you know is important for your growth but still hurts.

Compound that with the fact that I don’t have another job lined up. What I have lined up for me is applications and personal projects. I feel unstable.

At its most extreme, I feel like I was standing on solid ground only to pull the lever to a trap door. I’m falling and I don’t know where to grab on.

At its best, I’m falling, learning, and ready to experience a new journey. It’s liberating and exciting.

Feeling Pathless

It’s incredibly comfortable to feel like you’re on a path. There’s a map. You know where to go, how to get there, and what you can expect. But there comes a point at which you look around and realize that while it may feel good, it isn’t good. There’s something inside of you longing for more. Naval speaks on this idea in an interview with Joe Rogan: it’s like following a path up a mountain only to get halfway to the top and realizing the path doesn’t go the whole way to the top. It’s time to go back down and choose a new direction.

Creating a Path

One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to passion, meaning, and callings (whatever you want to call it) is that you’ll find it. Someday, somewhere, something will fall in your lap and be what you’re meant to do.

It never happens this way.

Sure, there will be jobs you like more than others. There’ll be tasks you excel at and others that you aren’t so great at. But a path? You have to create that. It isn’t created by sitting still. It’s found by trying a bunch of different paths and finding the one that feels best.

The Next Steps Forward

So, what am I doing in this next phase of my life? Here are some steps I’m taking that you can take too:

  1. Building my website (again)

Many people will choose to dye their hair when they have a big life change. I choose to redesign my website.

Your website is how majority of the world will understand you. It’s their glimpse into who are you, what you do, and how you do it. Becoming intentional with your craft is essential.

2. Creating

Not only does creating help me develop my understanding of the world and myself, it also increases what Valentin Perez calls one’s serendipity vehicle. The more you create and the more authentically you create, the more awesome people who will find you. This is how you find your tribe. This is how you build epic things.

3. Applying to…

I’m applying anywhere that will take me right now. This includes big and small companies. I want to develop my skills as a data scientist and communicator, and working somewhere will likely get me further in both those areas. But it’s important that I remain intentional. At the pathless moments of your life, it can be tempting to follow any path closest to you. That’s simply substituting present discomfort for future dissatisfaction. Take your time, slow down, and find the place for you.