In my last post I wrote about how I quit my first job as a Product Designer. At the time of writing this, I had just started my new job at a way larger international agency. Not having a single clue that I wouldn’t finish my first contract there. Because I was bound to realise that my decision wasn’t actually the right one.
After months of contemplating about if I was ready to quit my last job, I finally cut the cord. I’d been doing a bunch of interviews a few months prior, but turned down every single one of their follow up conversations because I simply wasn’t ready. Now I was. However, I had no clue where to start looking. To get started, I wrote down what I thought I was looking for at the time. Things like; Solid organisational structure, clear growth paths, working with brand names that do cool stuff.
Before I even finished with philosophising, a friend referred me and I got an interview. The first chat was within a week or so and went great. The second followed immediately the week after. And before I knew it, I’d gotten an offer. I felt like this could be a good match, but I need a a clearer vision. Some chats followed with another design Lead, I even spoke with more designers from the team. I visited the office and was surprised by how well I could see myself walking around there. And, looking at the list that I wrote down for myself, this place might actually be it. So I took the offer.
During my first weeks I was very happy with my decision. I was introduced to a lot of new people and for as far as the projects I was working on, they seemed like a good match. Some weeks went by, and looking back I can say that I was struggling with the transition from a small-sized agency to a large one like this. I started to work from home a little more, not sure whether I really did fall in place. Even though, everyone around was nice to me and did their best to make me feel part of the team. This agency was 180 degrees twist from what I’ve known.
I thought to myself that I could disappear for weeks and no one would notice. Looking around me, there was a huge variety of projects to work on, but not all of them can be award-submission materials or have the greatest design-challenges. How could I forget. And growth paths are clearly defined, structures are in place to help you get there. But, what if you don’t feel seen or like you’ll be working on projects that drive you to get the best out of yourself?
I spent a lot of time talking to my friends about my I experiences. Thinking I might need some more time to settle in. But unconciously starting to pull away from going to the office. Working from home 4/5 days a week during my fourth and fifth month. Coming in to one of the offices every other week. Spending the other one at the clients’ office. My mental health started to decline and looking back, I got stuck in a negative spiral. Small things felt like big signs confirming my ‘wrong’ decision. And within my fifth month I completely lost every ambition to remain where I was. So I quit. Even though it felt wrong. I hadn’t finished my first contract and I was never going to. That was a though one to acknowledge.
Do I regret taking this step? No. I sincerely thought that this place was offering what I was looking for at the time. And, in some ways it did. However, sometimes you need to experience what you thought you were looking for to realise that it’s not. It might not actually be what you’re looking for. It might not actually be what you need right now. And that’s okay.
Orientating on my next next step felt tricky. How was I going to prevent having the same experience for the second time in a row? I felt distrust towards my capability of determining whether a new place would be right for me. In the end, I had felt like this before and still ended up in this position. But, the only thing I could do was try again. Taking the learnings from the past months, adding them to my refined list of what I’m looking for and chatting away. Finding my next right step, with these new insights in my pocket.
This experience helped sharpen my vision on what I need to continue my career path. No one could’ve told me how this would go. Nobody probably expected it to go like this, and neither did I or my employer at the time. But I do believe that if I wouldn’t have taken this step a few months ago, I might’ve taken it in the future anyway. I needed to experience this to realise that it wasn’t for me. And, I’ll be taking that insight along for the rest of my career path.