It’s been a couple of months since I quit my job.
I was working as an apprentice at an independent travel agents, and I had been there for 18 months before finally deciding to put my mental health first, and leave.
Leaving this job and starting my new job has really opened my eyes to how important it is to always choose you. Your mental health and well-being should always be your priority, which is why I wanted to write about my experience to remind you of that if you find yourself in a similar position to what I was in.
So, why was my job impacting my mental health, and how?
For the first few months of my job, I was really enjoying it and it was brilliant for helping me overcome some of my anxieties and push me out of my comfort zone. I definitely grew as a person in those first few months, and despite the bad months that came, I am glad I had this job.
With that said, the job had way, way more downs than it did ups, and I’m honestly quite surprised that I stuck it out for as long as I did.
In the September of last year, I started taking antidepressants after just under a year of working there – and although working there isn’t the only reason I was taking them, it definitely played a huge part in it.
One of my colleagues had a very strong personality, which I found incredibly difficult as my personality is much quieter and reserved. I’m definitely one to avoid conflict so I brushed it off as often as I could, but she was really putting me down and making things hard for me.
Eventually, myself and another colleague had got pretty fed up with the way we were being treated, and after going through an informal grievance process, she was moved to a different branch.
For whatever reason, my manager put a significant amount of the blame for this on me, told me that I had “made my bed and now have to lie in it”, that I was “unlikely to finish my apprenticeship”, and often shouted at me, called me a ‘bitch’, and made it incredibly difficult and uncomfortable to work there.
This went on for months, and it was leaving me so upset and stressed. I often felt sick, had awful migraines, started having panic attacks before work, and could not relax even when I was at home away from it all.
I spent a lot of time talking to the company’s HR Department and my apprenticeship assessor, and although they knew I was struggling, nothing could be done unless I was to file a formal grievance.
At this point, a family-friend who works for a different travel agency told me there was a vacancy in a local branch, and told me I could go for the job and complete my apprenticeship with them.
I didn’t want to spend another minute at work, and so I went for the interview and got the job!
I ended up having to sign myself off work until I could start at my new job, as working with my manager left me in tears every day and sent my anxiety through the roof.
Leaving that job was the best thing I’ve ever done for my mental health.
Obviously, leaving hasn’t solved all my problems relating to my mental health, and if I’m being completely honest, despite having left, that job still has an impact on how I’m feeling. It completely destroyed the confidence I had gained in the first few months of working there, and so I’m still “recovering” from the experience even two or three months later.
I have since filed a formal grievance regarding the treatment by my manager, and although I don’t expect much of it, I’m hoping it gives me some closure to everything that happened.
So, the point of this post is just to remind you that no matter how much you don’t want to ‘give up’ on your job, or how much you want to make other people proud of you for accomplishing something – if it’s really having that much of an impact on your mental health and even your physical health like my job started to have on me, it is not worth it.
I’m twenty-years-old, and I have so much of my life ahead of me. Why should I be forcing myself to deal with this much stress and upset over a job? Long story short, I shouldn’t and don’t have to do that, and you don’t either.
Putting yourself first in situations like this is the best thing you can do for yourself, and although I was worried about disappointing other people and myself, everyone is so much more proud of me for leaving than they ever would have been if I stayed, and I am too.