Why I Quit My Public Relations Job

Why I Quit My Public Relations JobEarlier this month I revealed in a long overdue personal update that I had resigned from my full time public relations job last spring. It took me a really long time to work up the courage to share my news publicly. I wasn’t sure how people would react to my decision and was truly surprised by the overwhelming positive feedback. It was incredibly comforting to know many of you had been through similar situations and that I wasn’t alone. It made writing today’s post a little less scary. THANK YOU!

For those not familiar with my career journey here’s some background… Shortly after graduating in August 2012 I moved to New York where I landed a public relations assistant job at a respected luxury fashion and beauty PR agency. At the time I remember feeling overwhelming anxiety about not being able to find a job so when I got the offer I honestly felt like I’d hit the jackpot.

Fast forward four years– I’d moved on from my first two jobs, been promoted and had taken on more senior responsibility at my latest role. On the surface it looked like everything was going as planned– and it was! I feel very blessed to have had positive experiences at all of my jobs. The public relations industry is cutthroat and if you aren’t proactive it’s very easy to get lost in the shuffle, never find a mentor or receive a deserved promotion. I’m lucky enough to have navigated the ladder and worked alongside some incredibly smart and talented publicists– many of whom I still keep in touch with and call close friends. Looking back I wouldn’t have made any different decisions.

So why did you quit your job?

For the first time since beginning my career I began dreading going to the office everyday. Even at my first job as an assistant I never had this feeling. No matter how mind-numbing or anxiety-inducing the work, I still found motivation knowing everything I did contributed to a greater goal. Those first few years I remember feeling elated when I’d complete a tough project in half the amount of time given or after getting glowing praise on a PR plan I had drafted. During those times I thought, wow I love my job. Looking back I wonder if I just loved the validation of knowing I was good at what I did, and not the actual work itself. Fast-forward to January 2016 and everything had shifted.

While I was making advances in my career, I didn’t feel fulfilled. Pitching and securing a major print story for a client in a top womens’ magazine (something I used to dream about accomplishing) didn’t even make me feel proud. I no longer enjoyed what I was doing and still felt empty even after getting positive feedback. I found myself stressing more and more about real life issues like the quality and cost of my health insurance, my biological clock, the long office hours and travel required of a publicist and my 401k. I saw my boyfriend and many of my friends making dramatic leaps and finding happiness in their careers, while also enjoying life outside the office. It was becoming increasingly clear that my chosen career didn’t necessarily align with my longterm personal goals.

I was crushed when it finally hit me that just being a great publicist wasn’t enough to keep me motivated. I would lay awake at night playing scenarios in my head and wondering if those crucial first few years of my career had been a complete waste. The entire situation made me feel ill– mentally and physically. I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t sleep. Everything I was dealing with at my job combined with the other crappy things that happened in early 2016, culminated in me feeling like a total failure.

Did you try looking for another job? 

Yep! In March I started networking and putting out feelers to all my friends at other agencies and recruiters I’d worked with in the past. I knew this time around I had to be very strategic because the last thing I wanted was to land in another situation where I was unhappy. I ended up interviewing for a handful of promising roles where I would’ve been working on global beauty brands.

Out of them all, I decided to pursue only one at a larger reputable PR agency. The job checked all my boxes, but after three rounds of in-person interviews I just couldn’t see myself going through with it. I had a gut feeling it was a huge mistake. My heart wasn’t in it.

Another blogger quitting their full time job to blog? How original. 

April is when I began to finally consider the most obvious solution– work for myself full time. To be honest, if it wasn’t for blogging I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through those first few months last year. It was the only thing that made me happy and could distract me from stressing about work. I had to wake up very early to keep up with my blog (I’m talking 5AM or earlier) because being productive after a 10 hour day at my PR job was basically impossible. I was always coming home in a negative head space (or tears– that happened more than a few times.) The hours of 5AM-9AM were the best part of my day.

But even though I LOVED working on my site and for months I had been earning more on Katie’s Bliss then I was at my “real job” — it was still very hard for me to consider resigning. There’s a stigma with bloggers that the moment one achieves a little success, they just up and quit their job leaving their planned career behind. Being labeled with that stereotype caused me a lot of stress and anxiety. I had gone to college, graduated with a bachelor’s degree and was working at a reputable company– I was really going to quit to work on my website?

But you still did it? 

Yes, I did and I unapologetically haven’t looked back. The last nine months of my life have honestly been some of (if not) the best of my life. The second I gave my notice I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. I had been fighting my feelings for so long– not letting myself give in to that fact that the career path I’d set for myself as a college student wasn’t what I wanted anymore.

I’ve come to realize all of the judgement I imagined was really just self-imposed. Guys, I was the only one holding myself back. With the encouragement of everyone in my life, (and I mean literally everyone– Nick, my entire family, coworkers and friends) I finally made a decision that was in the best interest of my happiness and health– the one that had been staring at me in the face for months. I’m thrilled that I can now say I finally feel like I’m living my truth.

Considering taking a leap of faith?

While I would never encourage anyone to quit a job impulsively (obviously we all have bills and responsibilities ) — I wanted to share some positive motivation for any of you who may be feeling stuck in a rut or disillusioned by your career path. Life begins when you leave your comfort zone and sometimes all you need is a little push to give you the confidence to take a leap of faith. Remember: you are capable of so much more than you think.


18 Comments | in Advice, Life

18 Responses to Why I Quit My Public Relations Job

  1. Amanda Howard says:

    Great post Katie! Thanks for being so open and honest, so glad you did what was best for you! Love this blog and especially posts like this!

  2. Emily says:

    ahhh Katie I think that’s so awesome! I had no idea, I thought you were still in PR until now. I’m actually a senior in college so I am in that weird in between and trying to figure everything out! I would love to do blogging fully time some day, but ironically enough, I haven’t been able to as much as I would like because of school! Keep up the good work and have fun! <33

    • Katie says:

      Thanks Emily! I’m so glad to be full-time blogging now, however I don’t think I could’ve gotten to where I am now without working my full-time job first. I learned a lot from working in PR and looking back wouldn’t change a thing. Good luck! xo

  3. Mollie says:

    Katie, I’m so happy for you. Your decision took guts but you are much better off for it. I’m proud of you for following your dreams!

  4. Lynne says:

    Great video and post! I worked in IT for several Fortune 500 companies for the first 20 years of my career. I believe it’s a beneficial way to start a post-college future.

    After that, jump ship, take what you’ve experienced (in 2 years or 20 years!!) and create YOU! Sometimes, as in my case, the next job is fulltime MOM! That involved multi-tasking, patience and faith. At the same time, since PCs were so easy to use at home, I was able to freelance.

    Keep inspiring!

  5. Lisa says:

    My daughter is a recent graduate with a degree in PR. She moved to Nashville and is looking for a job. Do you have any advise for landing that first job?

  6. Miranda says:

    Katie,
    What a wonderful post and video (very well done!). I obviously don’t personally know you – though I have been reading for years so feel like I do! This post was so powerful and so relatable to me. Thank you so much for sharing, would love to see many posts like this in the future.

    Can’t wait to see what is in store for you this year!

    xx
    Miranda

    • Katie says:

      Hi Miranda,

      So happy to hear you found the post relatable! I definitely plan on doing more personal and advice-type posts in the future 🙂 Thank you so much for the support and following along! xo

  7. Brittany says:

    You have to follow your heart! I know how challenging it had to be to let go of something you worked so hard for. However, you should be incredibly proud of what you built while working full time! I know many people don’t think of blogging as full time career, however I just don’t understand that! Aren’t we all just looking for something to be fulfilling while bringing home a paycheck we can live off of?

    • Katie says:

      Thanks Britany! It’s so true and I couldn’t agree more with your comment. I plan on writing about what my new routine working for myself– 0t’s a lot more work than people think! xo

  8. KP says:

    Great post Katie! I’m going through a similar situation and it feels great to see someone else who is thinking the same way — why am I doing something that I am not passionate about?! I wish you all of the best

  9. Maddy says:

    I absolutely love this post! I’m so glad you did what’s best for you. I’m currently in college and running a fashion blog on the side. My blog is my greatest passion and I’d love to make a career of it! Not saying I’m going to quit college or anything, it’s just great to see that it’s possible for a passion to become a career!

    • Katie says:

      Thanks Maddy! Definitely use all the free time you have now in school to work on building your blog– that’s what I did and it was the best decision!

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