By Ariana Levy, co-founder of Twinseperable.com
Accepting I no longer loved my “dream job” was the hardest breakup I’ve ever been through.
I was in a rut.
I found myself feeling stifled, anxious and unhappy daily — and ultimately guilty for feeling so.
In a job climate where all generations are struggling to find (good) work, why was I complaining? What did I have to be unhappy about? It was only a 15 minute walk to work at a job for a phenomenal company, with a great starting salary (relative to the design industry), and really good benefits. My team was incredibly kind and I gained a wealth of experience. Not only did I pick up and move to New York City right after college, but I secured a job in a field I had dreamt about since I was 12. However, somewhere between starting college, graduating and entering the workforce, I learned a very valuable lesson. You can LOVE something, and it can make you happy, and not necessarily be right for your 9-5. Cue the heartbreak. What on Earth is a girl supposed to do next?
Some people will say that a job is what you do to pay the bills and it doesn’t need to be particularly interesting. I was never satisfied with that answer and vowed never to settle for something just because it came along with a salary. Waking up and forcing yourself to do something daily that makes you unhappy is as bad as living with a terrible roommate just because they lower your rent. Any sane person would advise you to find a new roommate instead of compromising your quality of life.
When I began interning and then working as an assistant designer, It became just that: work. I noticed how much better I felt when I designed and created something as a hobby, rather than resulting from a specific business need. As someone who tries to keep perspective, and regularly refocuses my thoughts in an attempt to do so, I had to keep reminding myself that while yes, I was fortunate to be in the situation I was in, if I wasn’t happy, it was time to move on.
It’s okay if you don’t know exactly what you want to do. Instead, focus on the different skills you hope to master and on the experiences you think will help you figure that out, and collect them.
Unsure of my next step, I decided to brainstorm my END step. What goal was I working toward? I’ve known for a long time that I want work towards creative direction of a fashion-focused company, and with an education in it and a few years of designing under my belt, I zoomed in on the different areas in which I needed to gain experience.
And then I applied to them.
All of them.
Fortunately, applying to jobs doesn’t ring up the hefty price tag that applying to college does — or my debt would be astronomical! I even swallowed my pride and enlisted the help of a recruiter, which ended up being the best decision I ever made. Some places responded that I wasn’t a good fit, some didn’t respond at all, some met with me but decided to go another route (all tough to deal with, but part of life). And then I got THE ONE. It is still in fashion, but not on the design end, and after having completed my first month, I am over-the-moon happy.
I keep thinking back to one phrase that was drilled into my head while I was participating in and subsequently organizing my sorority’s recruitment, “trust the process.” Those three words were drilled into our brains so much that by the end, I ended up mocking them. But removed from college, and in the real world, it might be the greatest advice I can give. It’s all part of the process. Even not liking a job is part of the process, because it teaches you what you don’t want, an incredibly valuable lesson.
Looking for fulfillment through a different opportunity (even when you have a “good one” — especially when you have a good one) doesn’t make you ungrateful. It makes you human. Remember that.
Life is full of compromises and your happiness shouldn’t be one of them.
Ariana Levy is a Production Assistant for Reunited Clothing. She is also the co-founder and 1/2 of the creative team behind the fashion and lifestyle blog: Twinseperable. She enjoys painting, reading, staying up to date on the latest fashion trends, and playing with her dog, Archibald. Follow her on Instagram at @style_etics for more fashion inspiration.