Worthwhile Alumni, Daisy, shares her experience breaking all of the career rules.

In January, I broke two of the golden rules of career choices. Number one, stay in your job for at least a year before you move on. Number two, always have a new job lined up before you hand in your notice.

I had spent six months in a job which was having a severe impact on my mental and physical health, and by Christmas, I had reached breaking point. I came to the gut-wrenching conclusion, supported by my concerned loved ones, to hand in my notice the first day I got back in the new year. The overwhelming relief that came from the decision far outweighed the excruciating awkwardness, let alone the panic about what I was going to do next, which I suffered whilst serving my notice period.

Thankfully I’m now in a new job which I love and I wake up every morning excited and happy for the day ahead, rather than with the sinking dread I used to have.

I feel lucky that my story has a happy ending, or indeed a happy new beginning. However, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, and at times I’ve felt very lost and alone. Here are the things I would tell my former self (and anyone else going through a similar experience).

1. Rules are rubbish and there to be broken

Try to obliterate from your mind any past or present career advice you have received which begins with the words ‘You must’ or ‘You should’. Put your health and happiness first, and ignore anyone who tells you otherwise. Follow your instinct: I’ve found it never fails me.

‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail’ Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. You deserve the best

The generation of Millennials are often accused of foolishly and selfishly wanting it all, including fulfilment from their jobs. Older generations might say ‘You’re not supposed to be happy at work; a job is a job’ — whatever that means. Well, I’m sorry for being demanding, but if I’m going to be spending so much of my waking adult life working, I’m going to damn well find somewhere and something that makes me happy.

3. Bravery is respected

Rather than receiving the judgement and disapproval that I feared during my notice period and unemployment, I would actually earn people’s respect for my rather bold leap of faith. I think one of the reasons I secured my current job is because my employer was impressed by my honest account of my situation, and my rejection of my past employer who did not fulfil my values and aspirations. And remember, anyone who does express judgement and disapproval at your situation probably isn’t worth your time.

4. Learn from experience and don’t repeat your mistakes

Its very easy when you’ve just quit to apply for a stream of other jobs out of panic, even if you know you probably won’t be happy there either. Don’t fall into the same bad situation you were in before. Instead, reflect on what you did and didn’t like about your previous job, and make a list of must-have’s and must-not’s, and don’t compromise.

5. Don’t give up

Don’t let one bad experience lead you to assume that you’ll never find happiness in your career. I was so ready to give up on my chosen profession, and run off travelling somewhere. The thought of getting trapped in a job again was terrifying, but I’m so glad I didn’t give up, as I have found a renewed passion for my career in my new job. So as difficult as it is, try to battle through the fear and give it another go.


This blog was adapted from one originally published at worthwhile.org.uk