#MyFirst: What I Learned From Quitting a Job for the First Time

Nicole Singh

I could tell you about the actual first time I quit my job, but I was 15, and working at a clothing boutique for a little more $7 an hour, so the story isn’t very interesting. However, the first time I quit a job in my media career, it was riddled with lessons worth sharing.   

I was fresh out of university and had walked straight out the door of my final radio class and into an interview at Nickelodeon Australia. The role was for a junior digital producer, and while I never had pay-TV growing up, I knew the Nickelodeon basics required to pass the interview: Green slime, Spongebob Squarepants, and bright orange messaging.

When I landed the job I couldn’t help but feel like I had proved all my lecturers wrong—I remember my first day of uni was accompanied by a weary lecturer warning us of our unemployability and naivety for choosing the media industry as our chosen field. 

But here I was, barely a week out of uni, and walking into an international media company. There was just one thing, I didn’t have a great understanding of what the job entailed, and I wasn't a master coder (a portion of the job). But I decided to stick it out. After all, I had just started out in my career. And to be fair, I learnt a lot in those first six months.

I soaked everything in, and by making the choice to always remain open, enthusiastic, and willing to learn (lesson number one), I was able to learn about broadcasting’s attempt to delve into the digital sphere, and what it takes to license an international brand. But when a job opportunity came up to finally write (my dream job) I couldn’t refuse.

When I accepted the job as an editorial coordinator / junior writer for a much smaller company, I knew I was taking a risk but I really couldn’t see myself kicking the career goals I was searching for in my current role, so I decided to resign. What surprised me most was the flood of emotion and anxiety that came with quitting my first job.

Keep scrolling for the five lessons I learnt when resigning for the first time.

#1 IT'S COMMON

This sounds like a given, but when you’re quitting a job for the first time, it feels like you’re letting an entire team down. But the truth is (especially if you are a junior) your co-workers have likely resigned from a job at some stage, and it was most likely because they too were presented with a new and exciting challenge. Don’t beat yourself up. Once you’ve made the decision to move companies, resign fast, so the business can being its recruitment process.

#2 GO WITH YOUR GUT

Like I said, my new job was a risk—working for any start-up is. But it payed off, and taught me new lessons. I learnt how to take risks, fail fast, and gamble on new opportunity. Something we should never stop doing.

#3 ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL

My employer took a chance on me, and because of that, I had an opportunity to learn and grow in my career. Communicate that with your boss when you resign. Show appreciation for what you've learnt, the experiences you've had, and end on a positive note.

#4 DON'T APOLOGISE

I suggest leaving ‘sorry’ out of your resignation letter. Lena Dunham wrote a great essay about her addiction to apologies, and how at the end of the day, it made her feel worse, and almost brought a sense of shame around her choices. Remember to be respectful, but also excited for your next opportunity.

#5 Don't leave anything unfinished

Finish as strong as you started. Complete tasks and projects, and have a proper handover with your team. There's nothing worse than leaving a job with unfinished business for your colleagues to pick up the pieces.

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Explore: AU, Career Advice, MyFirst

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