Walk On


It’s okay to quit the Peace Corps.

I’ve gotten a couple of email lately that made me really nervous. I responded to them personally, but it made me want to say something here, on this blog. I know a lot of Peace Corps volunteers read this, so:

It’s okay to quit Peace Corps. It’s okay to ET – leave your stint early. It’s okay to leave after two weeks if you can tell the situation is wrong. It’s okay to leave after 18 months if something is making you nervous. It’s your life, and it matters, and it’s okay to get out early.

Leaving Peace Corps won’t ruin your life. 33% of all PCVs do it. It won’t ruin your career, either. I promise. Not even if you want to work in development. It will not ruin your dream of having meaningful work and an international life.

If you want to leave Peace Corps and you think you can’t because it’ll ruin your career, email me. Alanna.shaikhATgmail.com. I’ll help you figure out what to do. Not some paid careers list thing, just me, pro bono, helping another person because I like to help.

Don’t do anything drastic. It’s okay. Your life isn’t ruined and it isn’t over and you are not a failure. Sometimes things are just a bad fit and that’s all right. No one will hold it against you.

We all make mistakes. I left a job I loved because it was the wrong job for me at that point in my life. I got fired from my very first job out of college. I flaked out on an internship with a woman I respected and I think she still dislikes me as a result. I cancelled an internship with CARE Egypt because I needed to go home already and not be in Cairo any more. And I still got to go have a whole career full of stuff I love to do with brilliant colleagues surrounding me.

You thought Peace Corps was the right fit for you and it’s not. Just fix your error, get out, and find the next step in your life. I really will help you if you like. My email’s right up there.

Don’t do anything drastic. Your life is not over. Neither is your career. Don’t make any dangerous decisions because you feel bad right now. Just get home, wherever that is to you, and find your next step once you get there.

Don’t stay if you fear for your safety, and don’t stay if you’re afraid you’ll harm yourself. Nothing is worth that.

(photo credit: marysuephotoeth)