I’m just going to go ahead and use the metaphorical version of that term for the day since I didn’t weigh myself.

I’ve been back and forth, angsting over whether or not I made the right decision and wondering if I put myself back at square one in my career. It’s really hard to not know where the next paycheck is going to come from, but I put myself in this position.

And it was the right decision.

I achieved a lot here. I made huge leaps in my skills, pay, and personal development. Yet somehow, until this morning when I was sitting and thinking about the last few years, I didn’t see it. I’ve been so stuck in the mire of the day to day trudge here that I didn’t realize just how much I’ve accomplished.

In this case, there was no finish line or hurrah for my accomplishments; they were just the result of a long slow buildup that resulted in an almost unnoticed, yet drastic, change.

If you were to ask me what changed from day to day, I’d have no answer (with a very few exceptions), but looking back over the last year and nine months, here’s what happened:

I increased my pay by 30% – This is not including all the overtime I’ve worked. I’ve actually increased my pay by much more but my official wage is 30% higher than it was when I started. I achieved those increases in less than a year and a half in an economy where few were getting raises. I feel like that’s pretty good progress.

I went from receptionist to acting as the executive assistant to our CEO – I took on every extra project from every project manager I could. I became necessary to them and figured out what their needs were. In the process, I learned how to do dozens of tasks and I learned them well enough that I started training others and managing the workload distribution of the administrative team.

I gained a sense of what I’m worth as an employee – I didn’t have much confidence when I started my job. I was at a really rough place in life and didn’t think that I could actually handle very much. Through the process of just plain filling in where there were gaps, I learned what I was capable of. Knowing what I’m capable of; I also know what I’m worth.

With these three things under my belt, I felt confident in my decision to leave a company where I had served extremely well and where I had pursued all the professional growth I could. While many of my friends, family members, and acquaintances thought that my company was taking advantage of me, I was making sure that they were taking advantage of me.

With some recent changes in my company, though, I was sure that I had reached the end of the growth I could accomplish here. Since there is no career path for me at this company it wasn’t worth the extra stress to stay in this environment.

Between the abusive behavior of the owner of the company and the fact that I had reached the end of my potential growth here (unless I quickly gain a engineering or architectural degree), I had reached a breaking point. I decided that I’d rather cut ties and focus all of my attention on finding a better situation than to keep working with half hearted attempts to find another job.

And, it’s not that I want an easier job. I love the hustle and the challenge of my workplace. I do, however, want a workplace that values the work their employees do and that has opportunities for growth and promotion. It may still be a rough economy for job seekers but I still feel optimistic.

In fact, I have a job interview tomorrow.

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