I quit my job last month.
It was a great job, too — decent pay, plenty of learning opportunities, amazing people to work with.
So why did I quit? Because I’m a public relations student.
How I got here.
I’m currently a senior studying public relations at The University of Alabama. I count my blessings every day for being able to get an education through UA’s PR program. PRWeek has named it one of the top five schools for Outstanding Education Program the last seven out of nine years. That’s a winning legacy.
This legacy is backed by countless opportunities to get involved and to succeed within the College of Communication and Information Sciences. For me, there are two key groups I decided to dive into head first: PRSSA and Capstone Agency.
Both of these organizations help with the professional development of its members. They’re also crazy fun. I’m on the executive board for UA PRSSA and I’m in the PR department for Capstone Agency.
However, these two organizations aren’t the only things I devote my time to. I’m a student first, so I have to keep up with classes (so many group projects); I’m in the process of creating a new student organization from scratch; I lead worship every Wednesday night at my church; I play intramural soccer each week; I guess I have to see my friends sometime; and at the beginning of the semester I was working 20 hours per week.
For my job at an event programming office, I worked events every week in addition to 12 office hours. Scheduling meetings and times to hang out with my closest friends became a nightmare. I was drained physically and emotionally every night, trying to stretch 24 hours a day into 48.
My friends and family were worried about me. Honestly, I was worried about me.
So I quit.
Some say that public relations is an easy major because of our course load; compared to engineering, business or education majors, our courses are relatively light.
However, most of what needs to be done to succeed in our field is done outside the classroom. We gain real-world experience and professional habits through the countless organizations available to us. We’re always told that what is learned in the classroom is only beneficial when applied and practiced.
So we commit. We commit to everything. We see an opportunity and we take hold of it with the hope of learning something new and gaining every kind of experience before graduation — including internships and jobs during the school year.
Our planners are drenched in ink; our veins are flowing with espresso.
I know I’m not the only one struggling with the balancing act our major can be.
If you are a public relations student with a job, and you find your priorities are elsewhere, and you’re not sure how to quit — it’s possible. I’ve done it. Life still goes on afterward; I promise.
How to quit (the right way).
Now I’m not saying that you should quit just because I said you can. I encourage you to think long and hard about why you want or need to quit your job.
Sometimes things look different from one week to another. Give it some time. Talk about your situation with your friends and family; if you have close co-workers, talk to them about it, too. They’ll be able to relate to you and can say if your basis for leaving is sound.
If you still feel the need to quit after this soul-searching, here’s what I suggest:
*Take company culture into account.
Every workplace is different. Your specific strategies will vary based on how your office operates.
*Prepare your reasoning for quitting.
Be ready to tell your bosses why you want to leave. You can’t always just stride into the office and yell, “I QUIT.” Even though that can be tempting, you have to be able to make a reasonable case.
*Make an appointment to talk to your bosses.
Whether you have many supervisors or one boss, schedule a time to meet with them. Respect their time while ensuring you have an opportunity to sit down with them.
*Make your case.
Breathe. You know your reasons, so be confident in them. Chances are your bosses will understand that you are a student first.
*Put in a two-week notice, if possible.
This is the standard courtesy. However, if you feel your termination should be effective immediately, make that known to your bosses in a graceful way.
*Tell your co-workers before your last day.
I did a terrible job with this one. To prevent awkward situations and confusion, make sure your co-workers know before you clock out for the last time.
*Keep in touch.
Relationships in the workforce are everything. Maintain them by dropping in when you’re nearby or keeping up with them via social media, group chats or coffee dates.
You can quit, but don’t give up.
Things have been nicer since I quit my job. I see my friends more often, I schedule productive meetings during the day and not at night, and I actually get sleep. Crazy, I know.
As PR majors, we have busy lives. It’s OK to take time for yourself. If that means quitting your job, I wish you the best.
I definitely have more room to breathe, but just because I can breathe better doesn’t mean I still don’t need to catch my breath every now and then.
I quit my job. But I will never quit the grind.
Hope Todd is a senior studying public relations at The University of Alabama. She is currently the vice president of publications for her school’s PRSSA Chapter. She is also a writer and editor for Platform Magazine, a student-run online publication commissioned by The Plank Center. Follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.