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From Full-Time to Part-Time

I am 24 years old and have been working full-time in the IT field since I graduated college at 20. I remember being extremely anxious to get into the workforce and use everything I had learned about programming in school, internships and on my own time in a work environment.

Fast-forward 4 years later and the same things I wanted so anxiously 4 years ago make me so anxious that I have opted to see a therapist to manage my anxiety. I have also changed my status from a full-time employee to a part-time employee.

Two years ago, I was employed somewhere else where on my worst days I’d be consumed with guilt about not doing the best I could be at my job because I figured out that I didn’t enjoy it — at all. Waking up in the morning became a grueling task as I didn’t look forward to my work days of troubleshooting/rebooting/rewriting/modifying or planning/mocking up applications. It also didn’t help that I knew that I’d be going through my days with 90% of my communication in emails and instant messages. The other 10% went to the few people I did greet in the mornings. A vital part of my world while I was in college had been completely removed from my life: contact with (interesting) people.

For a while, I thought that this was simply something that I had to put up with. My friends who had entered the workforce before me also confirmed that these things were pretty much the norm — so I dealt with it until I convinced myself that what I needed was a change in the scope of my work in the IT field.

A year ago, I changed the direction of my work to a role that was more client facing (40% talk 60% tech). Unfortunately, after the first 6 months I found myself with another laundry list of things that I felt were slowly taking a toll on me. I saw myself picking up bad habits to cope with the frustration work caused me. I’d stay up late at night thinking about all the open tasks for the next day and got through the day on caffeine + caffeine + caffeine. By the end of the work week, I would be so exhausted that I dedicated very little time to my hobbies. Suddenly, it was Monday again and the cycle started all over.

Now I’ve made this decision: work part-time and dedicate my days off to finding what it is that I truly have a passion for. I also made a decision to share my story because I have realized that this is not an option for everyone. Whether it is for financial reasons, feelings of self-worth, etc., I find that most people will simply put up with their current work situations even if it isn’t ideal for them.

TLDR; do what ultimately makes you feel fulfilled — not simply what you think is expected of you.