With lower wages, limited opportunities to climb the corporate ladder and the inability to be our authentic selves in corporate America has contributed to the low job satisfaction Black women have at work. Gone are the days where people have to suffer through being unhappy at work. With the support of family, the unlimited resources available online and the courage to take leaps of faith, more women are putting in their two weeks notice in order to find their happiness.
Meet seven women who bet on themselves and left their jobs to find out what really makes them happy:
Ashley J. Hobbs, 32, Washington, D.C.
Leaving my job was worth it because it forced me to take leaps of faith I would never have. It has shown me how strong I am and how God truly opens opportunities up as we begin walking in the right direction. I began a career in higher education as a grad student and remained on that path because it was a safe choice. While I enjoyed assisting students, after a while, it became more about numbers and less about helping students. When I found myself crying every day on my way to work, worrying about work on the weekends and terrified that I someone would try to use something against me later, I knew it was time to leave. I did not have a plan, the only thing I knew was that I had abandoned being a creative person and I needed to course-correct toward that path. I've been taking classes, participating in fellowships, and volunteering to get the experience I need to break into media. My advice is to never be loyal to a company or to people who would not be loyal to you. I don't care if you're only one month into a job if you find that it is not what you thought it to be and it is negatively affecting your spirit, you have every right to leave. Bozoma Saint John is a true model of following your spirit in this way.
Melissa J. Martin, 26, Atlanta, GA
After just a year and a half into my previous position as a marketing communication professional for local government, I truly began to think intentionally about what success and happiness looked like for me. This made it very difficult for me to continue to put on a happy face and put my best foot forward in the work I was doing because I felt I was doing a disservice to my dreams and myself. There was a nudge on my spirit to take this leap of faith. Like many people, it was ingrained in me that the stability of a 9-5 job was a necessity. I felt God nudging me to do something different and to trust in my abilities and myself more than I ever have before. Although I was nervous, I decided to just bet on myself. I had been saving up for other future endeavors but upon making this decision, I felt it was enough for me to leave my job comfortably and not get behind on my financial responsibilities. My ultimate plan was to finally convert my growing side hustle of three years in photography into an established, flourishing business with streamlined operations. This entailed learning and equipping myself with all that’s required to tackle full-time entrepreneurship. For the peace, I have now and the clarity I’m gaining of my purpose, quitting my job was absolutely worth it! No matter the outcome, this was an essential step in my journey.
Courtney Bradwell, 39, Columbus, Ohio
The source of my unhappiness resulted from being in the same role for three years and not being seen as an emerging leader. The lack of diversity in management and the company’s aversion to having direct talks about D&I, despite employees wanting to see employee resource groups was also an issue. My final straw was a combination of the weariness of being the only woman of color in many meetings, lack of role models and seeing competitors and other companies address it head-on. My plan was to take a three week holiday in the Netherlands to take a break and discover who I am and where I want to grow and develop into as a person. After my holiday, I moved back home with my parents to be the author of the new story I am writing. Happiness in my next career is working overseas in Amsterdam. I met an amazing group of black women who made similar journeys and I felt a connection. Many global brands I admired have locations in Amsterdam and I want the challenge of shaking everything up. I’m still working hard to achieve that happiness. For other women wanting to quit their jobs to find their happiness, understand quitting your job is easy, but making the leap into the unknown of discovering who you want to be is hard. Acknowledge fear is in the audience; however, it’s not the only attendee - so is growth, joy, abundance and courage.
Vivian Page, 31, Charlotte, NC
I worked with Bank of America as a Client Specialist and I was unhappy with the position because I sat in a cubicle where I performed tasks of limited face to face contact and I was required to be at my desk for the majority of my day. Not only was I unhappy with the lack of socialization, there was a high demand to place priority on the organization’s values rather than your own. I was working diligently to perform at my best and better than most, but rarely received the recognition desired. The last straw for me was after training a new employee in my position, that person was promoted the following week to a higher position than what I trained them for. I felt it was a major slap in the face. I did not have a plan for quitting, all I knew was that I was suffering internally. My creativity was dwindling and my vibrancy was drained from the constant push to work overtime, take work home on weekends and rarely have time to focus on the things I loved, which was writing and creating community-centered events. So I didn’t have much savings or a job lined up, I just knew I wanted to get back to who I was and what I loved. Happiness in my career looks like me being able to use every element of my creativity in the career I have. Being able to use my gifts to help others. I have found it through writing on my own time, content creation and marketing for my current business.
Courtney Garrett, 29, Brooklyn, NY
I've worked in marketing/advertising my entire career. I was unhappy at my previous job because I didn't feel valued and a work-life balance barely existed. I didn't put in my two weeks notice – this time. I was laid off and decided it was time to follow my dreams full time. I had planned on leaving once I had a nest egg I was comfortable with, but they beat me to the punch. In the beginning, I searched for another job but wasn't comfortable with the idea of jumping back into a life I'd become unhappy with. There was no better time like the present to take the leap! My advice would be to save as much as you can so that you're not stressed out over your responsibilities. Be open with your support system and let them know how they can best serve you in your transition, trust the process, and most importantly believe in yourself. My job quitting me was definitely worth it. Some days it may be frustrating or I may doubt myself, but I wouldn't change a thing.
Chaia Raibon, 30, Los Angeles, CA
After failing to secure a job in the DMV area, I moved back home to Houston where it was extremely hard to find a journalism gig. After responding to an ad through my church's email blast, I secured an interview with a litigation law firm. It was my first job, I was the youngest employee, and one of the few brown faces in the office. Furthermore, I was not working in my field and I hated my work environment because It did not allow me to be myself. The last straw for me was when I was expected to do two completely different jobs for the same salary. I knew I deserved better and it was time to go. I always had a fantasy of living in Los Angeles, but I didn't want to leave my family again, especially my sick maternal grandmother. Once she passed, I immediately felt her spirit giving me permission to leave, permission to find happiness. My plan was extremely loose. I prayed daily and envisioned the life I wanted. I was manifesting my future without knowing it. Next thing you know, I was packing up and moving to Los Angeles. The first job I secured was dubious and my savings was extremely minimal; I was scared but never doubtful. I relied on God, family, and friends to help navigate throughout this new chapter in my life. Quitting my job was the best decision I could have ever made. My mental health improved, my faith was strengthened, and my confidence was renewed. I was able to relocate with a fresh start and ultimately, start my career in the beauty industry - the industry of my dreams.
Alexis Cubit, 25, Texas
I was a sports writer and I loved what I did as far as covering high school sports, but it was everything else that caused me to feel miserable. I was in a small town and couldn’t get plugged in to the area. The people were nice, but I never developed that friend group nor felt like I belonged. Having a home church means a lot to me, and that’s something that I couldn’t find there, either. Missing that spiritual component is what took the greatest toll on me. On top of that, the pay wasn’t that great and there was always an uncertainty of how long the paper would be able to stay open. I had been applying for jobs for a while and finally got a bite. The new job sounded promising and allowed me to be closer to family and friends, so I took it. Before the new job, however, I made a promise to myself that if I didn’t have another job by June, I would quit, go back home to my parents’ house and regroup. I prayed about the decision and trusted that God’s plan would work out in my favor. By the end of April, I was starting my new job as a sports editor. Happiness in my career meant working for a company that is financially stable and provided me with the opportunity to be competitive within the journalism industry. That meant expanding my writing abilities and covering more than just high school sports, but also some college sports. I have most definitely found it here. My new company encourages the use of technology and made it a point to let me know that I have creative freedom within the sports department. They’re supportive of me reaching my goals as a writer, which is all I could ever ask for.