I have left my job voluntarily twice so far. My last one was due to health issues, I got engaged to my now husband working in New York, and also accepted for a full scholarship for my MBA in the States. So deciding to quit my second employment was much easier to make than my first employment.
For this post, I’d like to share the circumstances and decisions that I took in leaving my first job. I am sure there are many of you thinking about leaving your job and either can’t decide or afraid of the possibilities and changes that it brings.
I sat down, asked myself several questions which I tried to answer as honestly as I could. Nobody needs to see your notes, so don’t be afraid to be honest to yourself!
How do I feel?
1. Am I miserable?
This was not easy for me to answer. I was in love and hate relationship with my job. It was easy to just focus on how miserable I was, but truth be told, there were many good things. I loved how it showed me that I was good at managing my team. In college, I was an if-you-want-to-do-it-right-do-it-yourself kind of girl, and hated working in teams. It was ironic that my first job was a project manager, where my whole job description was to manage a team.
After 3 years, I still loved managing my team, but I grew tired of dealing with the upper management and clients. By no means I hate them, I understand that they were only doing their jobs and there was nothing personal. Let’s just say I prefer a different method and approach to things, so the difference in views kind of grew and tiring me out over time. I started complaining about work all the time.
The job came with massive workload and long hours. I had to constantly maintain the moral of my team and my own. I was also bad at managing work-life balance, especially when the culture in the company expects you to work overtime and colleagues shun you when you go home on time. I was physically ill from the stress and long hours several times during my employment. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, and that bled into my personal life where relationships suffered and broken.
2. Am I in a comfort zone?
When I started my job, I was thrown on-site with almost no training. I learnt new things on daily basis, often the hard way. I researched, observed and badgered my seniors with questions in order to deliver my projects.
After 3 years, the learning curve fell flat. I knew how the project runs, my product knowledge was decent enough to cover for my newer Business Analysts, I knew when my programmers inflate their mandays estimates, I could recognize what type of clients I got from just one meeting, and I was the one who give trainings to my peers and colleagues.
How’s the Company?
1. Am I at a Dead End?
Back then, I think I was at a dead end. I was the senior project manager, my direct supervisor was a man old enough to be my father, who was already working before I was born. Above him was the managing director. So it was reasonable to assume that I was not going up anytime soon.
2. Do I have a Boss From Hell?
The personality of your boss plays a vital role in affecting how you love your job. More people quit a bad boss rather than the job itself.
I was lucky enough to not have an experience working under a mean boss. My direct supervisor taught me and covered me a lot, and while the director was harder to deal with, I think he was just trying to push us youngster really hard. Which I admit, I needed at some point.
3. Is the company stable?
This is an important point to consider in everyone’s cases. As an employee, it is reasonable for you to look for other employment when you think the company is not healthy. As harsh as it sounds, there is no reason for you to go under with the ship.
However, in my case, this was a less important factor. My compensation was acceptable, and the amount of knowledge and experience that I got was more motivating than other reasons anyway.
4. Is there a constant exodus?
This is a bit skewed by the demographics of the employees. Most of the employees were fresh graduates, so they were still trying to figure out things in their first job. However, there were that heavy workload and long hours that played a big part.
5. Are my ideas being heard?
I was free to implement new process in my teams, like design review. After it was proven effective in reducing delayed tasks, it was adopted into the official SOP.
Unfortunately, I kept seeing the same problems showing up in different projects over and over. We had a meeting or two for gathering inputs, but there was no real effort to fix the problems as far as I could see. The most I could do was putting on band-aids whenever something bleeds.
However, I’d like to make a point that I was a project manager. It was possible that my supervisor and director have other considerations that I am not aware of.
How does my current job fit my future plan?
During my interview with the company, I already told them that I plan to get a Master degree after 2-3 years of working. I am grateful that I got some work experience before pursuing a Master degree. I found that my interest became more specific, my future goal shifted and I learned which skills that I still lack.
Being the daughter of a Sultan, I have responsibilities towards the palace. I have a lot of work to be done there, and I have to attend many ceremonies that might interfere with a normal 9-5 job. I decided that I need skill sets that allow me to work for myself, or having my own company so I’ll have some flexibility in my schedule.
After deciding all that, I looked at what my job could offer me in pursuing that. Graduated from a more technical degree, my job taught me a lot in managing people, client and upper management alike. However, I still lacked the knowledge of running a company, which is crucial if I want to have my own business.
So going over the questions above, I was:
- Somewhat miserable
- In my comfort zone
- At a dead end
- not making significant changes in the company
- needing to learn new skill sets
Putting them together, it was quite easy to decide that it was the right time to pursue Master of Business Administration. I applied for scholarships, handed in my resignation, and thinking of moving back to my hometown to help out in the palace.
One thing that I did not foresee. 5 days before my last day, I started to think that quitting might be a bad idea. I was so deep in my comfort zone, that I was afraid of the changes quitting my job would bring. I would leave my best friends, my nice salary, doing things that I know I am good at and diving into God knows what random things in the palace that I need to do while waiting in the uncertainty of the scholarship applications.
Only the push of my husband of getting me out of my comfort zone that really made me went through with it.
Verdict: Quit my job
After quitting my job
Things kind of fell into place after I quit my job. I moved back into my hometown and got a job in an international game company based there. I gained new experiences of working with remote teams located all over the world. Then I got my MBA scholarship, got engaged, married and moved to New York and now pursuing my MBA there.
These things might not happen if I did not set things in motion by quitting my job in the first place.
As for others, they don’t realize they’re unhappy with their job until someone points it out to them, or they realize they spend too much time at, or outside of work being unhappy about their position, she adds. “It’s the topic that keeps them up at night thinking, what should I do? They consult with friends and family, seeking advice, to validate their reasoning. They know the answer, which always involves change, but the difficult part is making the change itself.”
So why did you quit your job? Or are you thinking of quitting?