Picture this: You’re given a new job opportunity that you feel is much better than your current one. So you send in your 2 weeks notice to your employer. While you’re in your final days, you suddenly feel a roller coaster of emotions, with sadness at the top.
At this time, you might be thinking, “I am sad about leaving my job. Is it normal to feel sad when I quit my job? How do I overcome the sadness? What other emotions should I expect?” I’m here to answer all these questions. I’ll give tips to help you navigate your emotions and how to prepare for the next chapter of your life. So let’s go!
Is It Normal to Feel Sad When I Leave a Job?
If your job was not miserable (and sometimes even if it was) it’s completely normal to feel sad when you leave your job. Some Reddit users gave their say about the matter.
“It’s totally normal to feel sad about leaving behind a good situation even if it’s to start an even better opportunity. Don’t feel bad about being attached to good people.”
Another person added:
“Of course it’s normal. It gets a bit easier when you’ve transitioned more jobs but what human wouldn’t be sad leaving people they’ve grown to like and a situation they know.”
Here’s another take from another Reddit user:
“I nearly cried when I left my first dev job. I was there for almost 7 years so I’d grown pretty close to a lot of those people. We used to go to the gym at lunch together and hang out outside of work. But I couldn’t get a raise or a promotion there so I had to move on for better opportunities.”
Don’t try to hide when you feel sad to leave. This is normal behavior for someone who treasures the company, the employer, the managers, the coworkers, and the time spent in the old job. It’s never easy when leaving a job you love.
What Are the Mixed Feelings When I Quit a Job?
Trust me, you’ll feel a mix of emotions when you quit your job, even if you made the right decision to transfer. I’ll go over some of the most common mixed emotions:
- Fear. Changing jobs can be scary. You’re leaving behind the familiarity of your old job for a new position. As you go into the unknown, it’s perfectly ok to experience a bit of fear of what lies ahead for you. But don’t let that stop you from owning your new role.
- Exhilaration. If you felt tied down by your job, or if you were no longer growing, the decision to leave for another job will spring excitement, happiness, and elation. The thought of a better future will certainly make it easier to hand your resignation.
- Guilt. When you leave for new work, there will be times when you feel guilty about leaving (even if you never liked your job in the first place). You are leaving your employer behind to scramble for a replacement. You are leaving your coworkers behind to take up your position while waiting for a new recruitment. Don’t let your guilt stop you from making the switch, especially if you know it’s the right move for you.
- Relief. When your 2 weeks notice is sent in and everyone knows about your leaving, you can let out a big sign of relief. The news is finally out.
- Sadness. When it’s time to say goodbye, you’re either going to feel some sadness or need to take time to mourn. Both are ok. As we already established, it’s normal to feel sad when leaving for the next job. But don’t let your sadness get in the way of this new opportunity. I’ll show you how to handle this complex emotion.
How Do I Overcome Sadness After Leaving My Job?
Here are 6 strategies to overcome feeling sad after leaving a job:
- Reflect on achievements
- Embrace the transition
- Connect with colleagues
- Set new goals
- Let it die down
- Seek support
1. Reflect on achievements
When you focus your attention on the positive aspects, you won’t be too sad about leaving your job. This is because positivity can counteract the sadness associated with leaving and create a more optimistic outlook.
Spend time thinking about all you did for the company. Acknowledge and appreciate your accomplishments. Go back to all the positive experiences during your time there. If you do this, you’ll know that you gave your very best. In return, you can think of the gratitude and positivity given by your employer and colleagues.
2. Embrace the transition
According to unmudl.com, the average person switches jobs at least 3 to 7 times in their lifetime. In 2022, about 16% of workers move on to a new company. The bottom line is that people change jobs all the time. It’s not a new thing.
If you embrace the transition, you won’t feel sadness for too long. Recognize that this is a normal part of life. You should also understand that a new work environment can lead to personal and professional growth.
3. Connect with colleagues
For many, the saddest part about quitting their jobs is not seeing their colleagues (now turned friends) every single day. They start feeling depressed when it’s time to say goodbye.
However, just because you won’t see them every day anymore doesn’t mean you have to give them up completely. If you’re going to miss them the most, find time to connect with them when you’re both free. A Reddit user says, “It’s tough, but just stay in touch with the colleagues you miss.”
If that’s the case, you can consider these people more as real friends than just coworkers or colleagues. That thought can alleviate the sadness you feel.
4. Set new goals
“I’m sad to leave my job.” You can counter that sadness about leaving if you focus on the future. Set new goals, whether career or personal wise. This will help you focus on the future instead of lingering on the past.
Also, if you have a clear objective for your future, it will fill the void left by the previous role and motivate you for the next chapter. You’ll have a new purpose and direction. How exciting!
5. Let it die down
Remind yourself, “How I feel when I leave work won’t last.” Don’t let your emotions control your actions. If you want to quit your job for a new one, you can overcome feeling a little bit sad for the time being. As you start your new career, that sense of belonging from your old job will soon go away.
On the flip side, don’t try to suppress your sadness. Remember, it’s OK to feel sad when leaving a job. But over time, that feeling will soon die down.
6. Seek support
For some, leaving a job can bring emotionally challenging phases. What if you’re struggling to let go? You’re still sad even though it’s been quite sometime now. If that’s your case, you should talk to friends, family, or a career coach. The more you share your feelings and look for support, you won’t have to navigate the emotional challenges alone. You’ll also be able to have a smoother transition.
It’s completely okay to feel sad about leaving a job. You might also feel a mixture of fear, exhilaration, guilt, and relief.
Overall, it’s good to accept these emotions. However, if you’re overcome by sadness, then follow the 6 strategies that I listed here to help when moving on to something new.