I quit my first full time job after 2 weeks—here’s why

everything seemed perfect — so why didn’t I feel fulfilled?

“I want to work at a startup!” — almost every millennial known to man.

I was one of those millennials.

I’ve worked for startups of different sizes, a digital marketing agency, an LLC, and a recently divested company that called itself “an old startup” prior to graduating, and I knew that I thrived in the constantly changing, fast-paced, light-hearted culture of startups, especially tech startups. I loved B2B tech; I found it challenging and more impactful than B2C.

So when I got an offer to work for the fastest-growing cloud startup in the restaurant tech space, I jumped on it. It was perfect — almost too good to be true.

Fast forward two months after graduation to my actual start day. I had spent the past two months working on personal projects, social media influencer work, and teaching boxing classes — I made my own schedule, and I did work that mattered to me. I worked from coffee shops and from the gym, and I thrived.

From my first day, I could tell I loved the company, the culture, and the people. It was a great fit for me, there were great perks, my schedule was flexible…on paper, it seemed like everything was fantastic.

So why didn’t I feel fulfilled?

My life was what every parent hopes for their child: graduating Magna Cum Laude from a high-ranked private university with zero student debt and a job in place doing something related to my degree.

Maybe that was part of the problem.

I felt like I was just performing the actions dictated by society, by my parents, by everyone. We’re supposed to follow this path in life: graduate, get a stable job, advance in your chosen career path, etc. It’s a straight path — no wiggle room.

But life isn’t straight paths and perfect planning. Life is roundabout turns, detours, paths through dark jungles and up impossible mountains. It’s messy and strange and twisted and imperfect, but that’s what makes it exhilarating.

I didn’t want to just check all the boxes of what I was supposed to do anymore. I wanted to find my own path, not follow a path many before had carved out for me.

I wanted to be the trailblazer of my own destiny.

As college graduates or soon-to-be college graduates, we’re pressured to know what we want to do right away. To have a plan set in place. And God forbid if our plan didn’t have anything to do with our major — I can already hear my parents saying, “Why did you even go to college then?”

But we’re so young. There’s so many paths ahead of us, so many roads we can take, so many choices. The future is ours to make; it’s malleable and shifting and intangible.

So from me to you: it’s ok to be uncertain.

It’s ok to graduate without a plan. It’s ok to take a year to travel the world, to take two years and join the Peace Corps, to take time and join Teach for America, to become a freelancer or fitness instructor or au pair or live with your parents. There’s nothing wrong with whatever you do, as long as it’s what you need when you need it.

If you’re figuring things out, well, we all are. Take the time you need.

Realize that nothing is permanent, that you always have a choice. That sometimes the easy choice isn’t always the right one and sometimes you know right away what you want and don’t want, but you won’t know until you try.

I know people who are absolutely jazzed about working for a startup, or at a big accounting firm, or some company outside the US, or whatever their post grad job is. I’m genuinely happy for you.

Because we need to realize that what makes me happy or what makes you happy or what makes everyone else happy may all be different things. That’s just how life is. Don’t judge another for their choices — their life is theirs to live, just like your life is yours.

So what am I doing, if not bound by the shackles of society or the constraints of a 9-to-5 office job? (Dramatic wording, I know, but Rousseau’s words keep coming back to me: Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.)

I’ve always wanted to make an impact, to see the impact I’ve made, to help as many people as I can. To be as close to that impact as possible. I want to be in control, to be challenged, to enact change, to fix problems.

I fell in love with the fitness and health community, not only because of my experiences with it as a food and health Instagrammer/blogger, or as a fitness instructor, or even working for the fitness startup Fit University, but also because I can see how much impact fitness and health have on people.

You can make someone’s bad day better by giving them a killer workout. You can make someone’s life better by giving them motivation to exercise. You can make someone’s life healthier by showing them that healthy food doesn’t have to taste bad. You can change people’s perception of themselves by showing them that you can exercise to feel strong, not necessarily to lose weight.

I’m now working as the Director of Marketing and Training at TITLE Boxing Club North Station — come hit the bags with me, sweat with me, chat with me, hang out with me… I’d love to see you and hear your thoughts.

Follow me on Medium for weekly posts every Friday on body image, life, productivity, and more. You can follow my journey via my personal Insta @nancylinchen or food/health Insta @approachingpaleo.