About six months ago, I moved to New York for what I thought was my dream job. And when I say "I moved for the job," that's putting it lightly. This job was it — the next big thing in my life, and I made sure everyone knew about it. I informed my company that I was leaving, I made the Facebook post, I packed up my car and drove 2,000 miles across the country. The job was my plan, and I was thrilled to have found a next step that made sense for my career.
I'd finally landed my dream job, and I was diving in headfirst.
Turns out, my dream job was a total bust. After a few weeks on the job, I realized that the role itself wasn't a great fit. The workload was too heavy, the pay wasn't great, the hours were insane and it hardly utilized any of skillset I'd spent so many years building. I lasted two months before pulling the plug and walking away from it all into the wild, wonderful world of freelancing in New York.
Part of me blamed myself: Hadn't I noticed all the red flags early on, and seen the writing on the wall? And on that note, who moves to New York City only to quit their job two months later? There had to be something wrong with me — only an idiot would set themselves up for this kind of failure.
But the bigger part of me — the part of me that still had dreams, plans, ideas and goals that felt worthy of pursuit — rationalized leaving that job as a bold move, and a totally necessary step toward finding the right fit (however nebulous it might have seemed at the time). Still, it's tough to bounce back after finding out that your dream job isn't quite what you thought it was — and learning that your big step forward was actually a couple steps backward.
If you find yourself in a position where the image you built up in your mind doesn't match the day-to-day you're slogging through, take heart in this: You are not the first person in the world to misjudge a professional fit. It's normal to spend some time pinging around before you find the thing that really makes your gears tick. And although a change of plans can feel totally scary and overwhelming in the moment, sometimes it's exactly what you need to weed out the things that don't work for you.