I will start out by saying this was the hardest, and scariest, blog post to write. I didn’t really want just anyone to know my biggest downfall, but I thought it was an important experience to write about.
When I was a little girl I planned and planned my life out. I knew I wanted to be three things: a mom, a wife, and a nurse. The first two have yet to be accomplished, but the third became a reality pretty quickly.
When I graduated, I knew my heart was in working with babies and kids. So when I got my first nursing job in pediatrics (even though it was not in a specialty I never saw myself in) I was thrilled.
I hit the ground running, I wanted to love it so much. I wanted that hospital to be my home, my niche, a place I could grow into the kind of nurse I saw my co-workers being every day. However, a couple weeks in, I started getting the feeling that my first job wasn’t the right fit for me. I was devastated.
I just wasn’t clicking with the specialty and for a variety of other workplace related reasons I was extremely unhappy at work. Instead of talking about it, I kept it to myself, put on a brave face, and tried to push through for over a month. I thought if I ignored the feeling it would just go away. If you’ve ever been in a situation where you’re really not happy in your work place, you know it doesn’t just go away.
One day it all just spilled over and I finally told my mom it wasn’t just the adjustment into adulthood, I genuinely just wasn’t happy with my job. I didn’t want to admit that because I felt like a failure. I was always the nursing student that excelled in clinicals. All of my instructors constantly told me it was my life’s purpose to be a nurse, because you could teach the skills but you couldn’t teach the personality, and I had the personality of a nurse. I was so upset. I was finally at the point I was a real nurse and I was continuously questioning my purpose. I also began questioning God, something that was really difficult for me. I felt like this was the path I was being led down, but it felt so wrong. I just felt burnout and tired.
My mom assured me I didn’t have to force myself to stay, but I tried to anyway. Finally I got to the point where I knew I had to be honest and talked to my preceptor about my struggles. Soon I was facing a decision, push through or quit. Quit, a word I had never expected myself to consider only a few months into my first job. I would never label myself as a quitter, but I realized that pushing through would never benefit myself or my patients. I had already begun applying for other jobs, and although I had nothing squared away yet, I quit my first job just 4 months in.
Initially I was terrified to tell anyone. I was ashamed and didn’t want anyone to think any less of me. However, when I finally began being honest with my friends and family, I was shocked that they weren’t disappointed at all, they were proud of me. The most common response I got was “thank goodness you finally put yourself first”. My friends and family have been with me for years and know that I always try to put others before myself. Yet in this instance, I chose me, I chose my happiness, and my loved ones were thrilled.
Then, something amazing happened. Just days after I quit my job and decided to put myself first, interview offers for jobs in my dream specialty starting pouring in. I couldn’t believe it. People will always say “timing is everything” or “God works in mysterious ways” and in this instance, I believed that more than ever. Within two weeks of quitting my job I had three other job offers to choose from, all within my dream specialty. I chose a job I knew was a great fit and found my nursing passion again.
The overall moral of this story is just to say, to anyone who is a lot like me and is afraid to make the move to put themselves first. To the people who are afraid to start making big life changes to promote their own happiness, it somehow all works out in the end. Timing is everything, and God (or the universe or fate or whatever you believe in) has a plan. We aren’t on earth to live mediocre lives, we are on earth to live extraordinary lives. You deserve a shot at extraordinary.
May you always have courage and be kind.
-that 20 something girl.