When Becoming Comfortable in Your Career is a Sign You're Ready for a Change

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At the tail end of February 2018, I started a new job following a long period of dormancy that was the result of a traumatic entry into the 9-to-5 world. After years of being too afraid to commit to anything more than one short-term project every several months, I had finally mustered enough courage to try something more stable.

That decision led me to an environment where I eventually flourished in a senior position and saw my true potential. But, after four years of incredible growth, things have come full circle — I have just handed in my resignation to welcome another new beginning.

Knowing When It’s Time To Go

It had been the longest professional commitment I had ever made. I would work late into the night those first few months, fighting my heightened anxiety about learning the ropes and my actual skills, which I felt had become rusty. While I knew I wasn’t terrible at my job, self-doubt often seeped through.

I learned a lot from the people I worked with, but I didn’t have anyone around to give me much detailed feedback on my work. Most of what I learned about my role I had figured out by myself, so I was forced to trust my instincts and make numerous judgment calls despite any apprehension I had.

Eventually I was promoted. All of a sudden, I was the one calling all the shots. It amazed me to realize how far I had come from being scared and unsure of myself to confident and in my element the second I sat at my desk. Before I knew it, I had fully grown into the role. I got so used to the ins and outs of the job that I eventually started accepting other professional projects on the side.

One day, after a challenging morning working on one of those side projects, I noticed the relief I felt reporting to my day job. I was starting to feel the stress of juggling many commitments at once, and I realized how my day job had become a place of comfort for me, where I knew without a doubt that I was good at what I did, where everything was safe and familiar.

And that’s when I realized that it was time for me to go.

Starting Over

My new full-time job is in an entirely different industry. I do many of the same tasks I used to do in my previous role, but the learning curve is still steep. It sometimes takes me back to those long workdays four years ago when I would feel frustrated, perceiving myself to be slowed down by my lack of knowledge. Once again, I was having to navigate uncharted waters, except this time I had gotten used to smooth sailing.

In many ways, it felt like I was starting over. Not only did I have to understand the workings of a new industry, get up to speed with new work processes, and try my hand at many new tasks, but I also had to become acquainted with a new team and a new company culture. These are all normal things anyone would experience at a new job, but I found myself musing that I hadn’t felt so deeply awkward in a long time.

Still trying to unlearn the habit of being hard on myself, I would often replay moments in my head that I thought I could have handled better and chastise myself for not knowing enough or trying too hard to fit in. Never mind that it excited me to learn those new things and that every single one of my new coworkers has been incredibly pleasant and inclusive. It was only when someone told me to let my inner child enjoy the process of learning about this new industry and my new role instead of letting my inner parent scold me for not meeting my own impossible standards that I managed to relax a bit and take these growing pains in stride.

These first few months have been humbling, terrifying, and yet so enriching all at the same time. It’s been a ride, and it’s a ride I am choosing to enjoy.

Leap Out of Your Comfort Zone

Closing that one door to open another wasn’t an easy decision. I could have chosen to stay comfortable for four more years. That would have certainly been easier. But it also would have meant so much lost potential.

If you make room for it, there is no end to growth. My previous role gave me plenty of room to flourish — until I found myself running out of space to spread my branches and roots. It was warm and cozy, but sometimes we need new challenges to become better versions of ourselves.

I have absolutely no idea where this new journey is taking me, and that is a scary thing. But I’ve always believed that there is nothing worth doing that doesn’t strike some fear. I hear the winds of change calling my name, asking me to embrace this new season of growth. I march forward to the pounding of my own heart and take a leap.

Tags: Career, Personal Growth, Self Care

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Written By

Dana Delgado

Dana Delgado writes and edits content for the web. She is also an advocate of zine culture and all forms of independent art. See Full Bio

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