What I learned during my last days at work

Yesterday was my last day at my first job for a big company. I worked for them for 1 year and 8 months and last January, decided to quit and move on to a different company. After quitting, I went through several different phases: relief, “did I make a horrible mistake?”, “I am gonna miss this people so much”, eagerness for it to be over, fear of the unknown… and a long etcetera.

In those months of notice period, when I was still working for the company, but had the knowledge that soon I wouldn’t be anymore, I also learned some things, which I will share with you now:

1. Seasonal Depression IS REAL

I am convinced to this day that I wouldn’t have quit so suddenly had the same situation occurred during the sunnier months. Don’t get me wrong, I would have left the company eventually, but I would have thought longer about my decision. The fact that I wasn’t in a good place mentally, however, accelerated the whole process. In the future, I will always book a sunny holiday in January / February, for the sake of my mental health.

2. It’s not about being great

Full disclosure here: I don’t think I am great at my job. I enjoy it, and I would say I am pretty good at it, but I am not one of this Silicon Valley people who breathes and bleeds UX design. After announcing I was leaving, I was a bit surprised to see so many messages from colleagues saying they were going to miss me, and praising the work I had done with the company. I learnt is not about being a super star, is about being organized, kind and communicative. Being able to leave your ego aside and be a good team player is much more valuable than being genius. 5 brains think harder than one, no matter how bright that brain is.

3. You cannot demand your job to be your source of happiness

Just like in a relationship you cannot put the responsibility of your happiness on your partner’s shoulders, you shouldn’t do it with your job either. I have seen this so often in the media. We are pushed to believe that if you don’t ADORE your job, you are doing something wrong. But here’s the thing: your job is not supposed to be your hobby.

It’s great to enjoy what you do, but as any job, there will be parts of it that suck, and you have to put up with them to make a living. If you are holding your office job to these unrealistic expectations, hoping it will make you happy and give your life a meaning, you will become frustrated very quickly. Instead, look for happiness in other places too: take up painting, or dancing, or blogging. This is a mental shift I have been working on, and so far it’s working pretty well for me.

4. Like everything else in life, it is all about people

For several reasons, I felt like I had outgrown this particular position, so it makes total sense to move on. What I have not outgrown, is the beautiful people I have met in my office. I do not think loving your colleagues is reason enough to stay in a position where you don’t think you are growing anymore, but man, is it hard to say goodbye. I have learned to nurture those relationships, be it with detailed handovers after I am gone, with LinkedIn connections, or with coffees in the city center. I could give you a whole speech about how having strong connections will help you in your future career, but let’s be real, I don’t do it as an investment. I do it because it makes me happy.

Leaving my colleagues behind, as well as my second home during this past year and 8 months is harder than I expected it, but I am excited about my new job, and about the next month of holiday between jobs. On to the next adventure, right?