:: I quit my first job ever after 5 years – a story between fear and relief

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“No path is forever” is what Dana told me after I quit my job at WALD Berlin after 5 years of work on Friday.

How it all started

Five years ago, after I finished school, I was determined to get an internship at a fashion designer’s label in Berlin. I applied to every single one that I knew or could find on Google at that time. Every single one rejected me because I didn’t have any experience in the field. I was devastated but surely was not to give up on my dream of working in fashion. So I was sitting in my little room, going through a fashion magazine that I randomly picked up at a fair and found two editorials that caught my eye. I remember faintly a double page with a blonde girl wearing a red cropped Coca Cola t-shirt and either high waist panties or nude tights, a long grey coat and a huge black captain’s hat and an editorial with two asian girls.
Anyway out of one of those “oh whatever, let’s do it” moments I applied to the person credited as the stylist although I knew nothing about the job at all – Dana Roski. I believe to this day it was the best decision of my whole life.

We met up for a job interview. I was super anxious for that one and was almost 1 hour early and walked down Alte Schönhauser Straße 3 times to pass time. A few years later Dana told me that she simply wanted to know if I was nice. Check!

So from being and intern I moved up to being the online shop girl, we added and changed a lot of tasks here and there over the years, I assisted with the styling a lot and met incredible people, made amazing experiences and gained so much knowledge about the industry and about myself.
Both Dana und Joyce are the greatest, fairest, most inspiring, passionate and bad-ass people I know. I couldn’t have imagined a better first employment anywhere else in the whole wide world. In fact it exceeded the imagination that I started with by far multiple times already.

5 years later

Now the past week – subconsciously probably even longer – has been an on going discussion in my head. I worked at WALD for 5 years which is almost a quarter of my young life. I stayed longer at WALD than any other WALD girl ever.
Being away in Barcelona made me loose the connection to the brand quite a bit and made me long for new experiences even more than I naturally do. I continued working because the long relationship to the girls and their shared love for traveling made it easy and pleasant to work from distance and I got to keep my flexibility in time management which was always the greatest luxury for me.
Last year when I decided to move to Barcelona, was the first time that I was prepared to quit but their generous offer to keep me in the team working from Barcelona was way too irresistible.

photography by Adriana Castello featuring Emu Australia Slippers* (shop here)

The fear of quitting on your life income

Back then and even this time one of my strongest feelings was the fear of quitting on my life income. Here In Barcelona I live on the money that I make with my blog, some content creating, a lot of savings and WALD. I don’t take support money from my parents although they offer often enough, because I have been living on my own since I am nineteen and I always loved the independence.

So imagine you decide to cut away your most important cash flow. You pull away the floor under your feet – on purpose!

Honestly, there is no real plan B at the moment. I don’t know what is coming next which makes it even scarier. I mean surely I did not decide completely unreasonably. I do have enough money to get through my Barcelona stay, I know I won’t starve anytime soon and in any emergency my parents can and will help me out.

On the other side, leaving a work place that you have grown so attached to is also a huge emotional break up. Dana and Joyce are my mentors and like big sisters to me. Leaving the business that they are putting all their heart into is hard. WALD feels like a baby that I have seen growing up and helped raising and now I am abandoning it. I am scared of missing out on it blooming into adulthood and conquering the world. This must be fomo.

Relief. Why I quit anyway

So why the hell would I cut my own feet and put myself through that emotional misery?
I already mentioned that I lost my main determination for the brand and also that I am longing for something new. Moreover having WALD always gave me security and a cushion on which I could land if I failed with any other project. I am slowly realizing that exactly that advantage often held me back from giving my absolute everything.

I feel relieved now that I have no strings attached and no responsibility to any other than myself for a while. The opportunity and motivation to fight even more for myself is refreshing and powerful. I guess if there is no cushion to fall on anymore I just have to keep flying and fly higher.

5 years have been a long time and I am leaving WALD in tears but happy. I am sure Dana and Joyce will also get the chance for new opportunities and a new amazing employee with this goodbye. No path is forever, but good byes aren’t either.

A few random stories from my time at WALD

  • on the way to my first day of work I got scouted by a model agent but was too short to actually become a model
  • the first time I accompanied Dana to a photoshoot I was so determined to accomplish every task that I peeled and cut carrots with a simple eating knife
  • one of my first tasks as in intern was putting a Beth Richards bikini top back into the storage and I think I spent what felt like one hour in that little space searching for the right box
  • once the crotch of my pants ripped out of nowhere and I had to borrow a pant from the shop to make it home
  • I am good at keeping keys. And at forgetting to give them back. Sorry Dana, that you had to stand in front of your apartment key-less multiple times
  • I am the worst at making coffee
  • I bought bomber jackets out of the trunk of a shady guy in Pankow for a music video styling

Cheers to a marvelous time that I will cherish forever and new beginnings!

Thank you guys for reading, this is a very personal post for me and I hope it can maybe help you with your own situation in any way. I would love to hear your stories about quitting a job and what your next steps were. Comment below!

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