When I was 21, with just a few days left in college, I drove to Connecticut to interview with the Hartford/Windsor Marriott. Some recruiter found my resume and matched me with an open restaurant manager position. The recruiter did a good job coaching me on how to answer the interview questions and the Marriott hiring manager offered me the job immediately following our interview.
“How long do I have to think about it?” I asked.
“How’s five minutes?” he said.
I had other interviews lined up for the following week, but this was a good job, with a good salary and good benefits. It would be my first real big company position. But I would have to move to Connecticut alone, and try to establish myself. I could have asked for more time to think about it, or pressed my luck on my upcoming interviews, but I decided to accept the offer. I took the job, and ten days after college graduation I was working at the Marriott.
I didn’t find a place to live before moving, so the Marriott put me up in one of their hotel rooms for two weeks. As nice as this sounds, it was an awful experience. I don’t think I left the building for the first week. I would wake up, walk down stairs, work for twelve hours, walk up stairs, sleep for a bit, and then repeat. I needed to get out of that hotel, and find my own place.
I filled out some apartment applications, but began to have second thoughts about staying in Connecticut. I didn’t know anyone, and just couldn’t see myself enjoying the area. Just a few weeks prior, I was living with my closest friends, going out almost every night partying and having the time of my life. I was beginning to realize my college years were over.
I decided on a one bedroom apartment in Manchester, about 15 minutes from work. For a week or so I slept on the floor, until I had some time to buy a couch. After sleeping on the couch for a week, I went and bought a mattress. I was trying to force myself to settle in, but I couldn’t get comfortable. Loneliness turned into depression, and I was ready to quit.
I called my parents. “I should quit now. I’m sure I can get out of my lease, and I’ll explain to the Marriott that I made a mistake.” My parents were empathetic. My unhappiness was probably temporary, but they told me it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I left and came home. Stay or go, it was my decision to make.