How I Left my First Graduate Job with Grace
Hi, I am ‘Kristina from DigitalGrads’. I have presented some of our training courses, spoken to many hundreds of grads about their careers and was DigitalGrads first permanent hire.
Fresh out of uni in 2017, I started off as a Community Manager (basically running social media accounts and growing our graduate network online)!
I am not much of a writer and I don’t have a head for numbers but I was always enthusiastic and ready to give things a go. Since 2017 I have been a recruiter, sales person, coach and friend to the graduates who passed through our doors. I think I have pretty much tried out every job there is to try in the business… for me this was a real plus of working in a small company. You can move around a lot, try new things and find out what you like.
In 2020 the pandemic hit and we all (obviously!!) had to start working from home. This was a scary time for everyone – we left our offices, not knowing when or if we’d ever go back. Initially, I loved working from home. It was great to be able to get up a little later and have time for Yoga in the morning. But the novelty of all of this started to wear off after a few months. I am a people person and an extrovert at heart and the isolation definitely started to get to me. I missed seeing people and I missed my old life.
I hadn’t really ever thought about life after DigitalGrads – I had envisioned myself staying forever, growing the business with Lucy and the team.
But, something had changed. 3 years on and all that time alone in my make-shift office, started to make me feel like something was wrong. I didn’t feel the same anymore. Without the excitement of a commute and office friends – was this job still right for me?
I started off by reading online about jobs that weren’t office based. Google gives you a good list to start with! Thinking of my previous experience, I remembered back to my school days where I used to volunteer at local play schemes and I absolutely loved it. The kids were primary school age and I think I volunteered for about 3 years or so. I decided maybe I should go back to my roots while still trying something new and exciting.
How to Know When to Leave Your Graduate Job
- Think about it… then think about it some more. Don’t leave your job after a hard day. Think about why you’re feeling the way you are. Is it defo your job or is there something else in your life that is making work harder than usual?
- Talk it out – don’t suffer in silence. If you feel like leaving, talk to a colleague about how you are feeling. They work alongside you and can probably already tell something’s off.
- Do your research – what else is out there? The grass isn’t always greener on the other side and you don’t want to leave your job for something worse. Research other industries, salaries and roles and see if you can imagine yourself in any of them.
- Prep your CV – remind yourself of your skills. This can actually make you feel better and help you remember your worth in your current role.
- Speak to your manager – is there anything you can change in your role that might make you enjoy it more? Can you take on a new project, maybe something you’re really passionate about? Or possibly you have too much work on and you need to let something go.
Long story short – I saw a job as a Teachers Assistant at a primary school just down the road from me that expired in 3 days time. I had to decide now or risk losing this opportunity that I so badly wanted to go for. I asked for a meeting with Lucy (my manager and founder of DigitalGrads), bit the bullet and told her what I had decided to do.
This was probably the least professional moment of my career so far (ha!), sobbing my eyes out, I told her I intended to leave and have found a role ‘I think’ I want to apply for. Lucy being my mentor, manager and someone who I genuinely admire so much, met me with kindness, support and encouraged me to follow my heart.
How to Leave Your Graduate Job with Grace
- If you can, tell your manager early – if you’ve been in your role a while, the chances are your manager has spent a lot of time with you. Telling them early gives them more time to prepare for your departure and allows them to give you the support you need.
- Leave with plenty of time – give your manager enough time to find your replacement and if you can, help train the newbie – you know your role better than anyone else so sharing your skills and experience will help the transition run smoothly.
- Don’t switch off at the end – leaving a role can be hard on a team, although it can feel challenging at the time, try not to mentally check out during your notice period. You don’t want to leave and give your team a big messy workload to clear up after you go.
Many young people job hop early in their careers. While I know this is fine for many graduates, I also believe wholeheartedly that there is real power in staying in your role and riding out the hard days. I have learnt so much about myself from my almost 4 years at DigitalGrads and I am so proud of what I have achieved.
In the end, nothing is forever, but you can leave your role with grace and with a legacy behind you that you can be really proud of.