So I did it. I quit my first job (my last day was on August 27) of my professional career in search of greener pastures. Life at the shelter (a homeless women’s mental health/substance abuse shelter) was not all it was cracked up to be. Although I loved working with our clients, several insecure co-workers created a toxic work environment that was not conducive for professional development and ironically my mental health.
One co-worker in particular convinced herself that I wanted her job because I have more education than her. Of course this was untrue. This same co-worker asked the new girl on her first day if she would try to take her job. Yeah, she was that insecure.
Additionally, the shelter is currently in a staffing crisis. This meant that I was doing extra work because we were short-staffed or just had incompetent people working. The place is such a wreck that the new girl (who just started three weeks ago) began applying for jobs during her second week which coincidentally was my last week.
What have I been doing since leaving? I am currently waiting for my clearance to make its way through HR before I start working at behavioral healthcare clinic. I am excited to continue connecting clients to resources and gaining new skills. I am hopeful that this will be the right fit because no one wants to change jobs every four months.
With that being said I have learned four important things that I will take to my next job:
- Be weary of work acquaintances. Although I may not be in a competition for jobs, raises, ect. some people are and they will do anything to ensure that you ‘lose’. It would be nice to have the work family but the chances of that happening are probably not that high.
- As important as it is to know how to respond to crisis, it is important to know how to prevent a crisis. I am going to be mindful of filling up my emotional/mental tank with self-care practices. While working at the shelter, I was sick more often than not. No, it is not because I suddenly became lax with hand-washing. High stress=little to no sleep=weaker immune system. At least that is the equation that has effectively ruled my life since I can remember.
- Know when to move on. At first I did not want to admit “defeat”. I told myself to stick it out even when dealing with the passive aggressive comments from my shady co-workers. I ultimately decided to leave when I evaluated how low I was paid for my level of education, experience, and skills.
- Learn from everyone’s mistakes, not just your own. In the future I hope to be my own boss which most likely means I will have employees. All of my experiences being an employee and observing supervisors’ behaviors is beneficial for my future career goals.
Although I am still bummed that I was unable to make it an entire year at the shelter, I am happy that I recognized the signs of work-hell and got out of there before I had a mental breakdown.
So if you are reading this, please send positive vibes my way because I need it! If you are going through your own work-hell, I wish you well and I am sending job-hunting fairy dust your way!