Updated: May 7
I quit my job just over two weeks ago. In the middle of a pandemic. With no job lined up. Crazy or courageous? I've heard people tell me both.
Well the truth is, I've been planning for this for a while. I never knew exactly when I was going to quit, but I knew I'd be ready when it happened. I have 2 side hustles, Planned Plate and real estate. While neither is bringing in much money right now, there's no better time to try to grow them.
Businesses are closed and I'm home all day. I finally have the time to treat my side hustles as full time jobs and grow them so that they can start to provide income.
Over the past few years I've saved and invested a lot of money. I've always been quite frugal in my spending because I don't want to work for "The Man" until I'm 65. I have other plans. Because of this I had enough FU money to quit. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's when you have enough money saved up where you can confidently walk away from a job you don't like and you will be fine financially.
So I had businesses I wanted to work on and money saved up. But why did I choose to quit right now?
I'm going to get to that answer, but first I want to let you know that I'm not sharing this to bash the company that I worked for. But to hopefully inspire those of you who are in similar situations to get out. Because I wish someone would have told me this!
You are not trapped. There is a place out there that is a better fit for you. You deserve to live a life you enjoy and spend 40+ hours a week with a company that values you! You will be much happier when you don't have to dread going to your job everyday.
I chose to quit because the company's values didn't align with mine. I value a good work-life balance, flexibility, trust, and autonomy. I had been unhappy at the company for a long time as were many others. Our office had less than 100 people and in just over 2 years, more than 80 people had quit or been fired. That's a 40% yearly turnover rate. People came to work everyday wondering if it might be their last. Not exactly great for morale.
This turnover rate resulted in me having 8 bosses over the course of my 4 years at the company. Changing bosses so many times made it difficult to grow in my career. I spent so much time having to get each new boss up to speed on projects, re-explain that we've already tried this or that, learn different ways I was expected to report my hours and project updates. Each new person I reported to didn't know how good of a worker I was or what my accomplishments at the company were so they couldn't advocate for me to get a raise or a promotion.
The culture of the company didn't value the people, only the results. It was frowned upon to leave the office before 5 even if you came in early. When I first started my job, I would sit at my desk between 5 and 5:30 with nothing to do because I was told that people expected me to stay that late. It wasn't uncommon for people to yell and swear in meetings when something didn't go their way. Customers were overpromised on deadlines causing stress, headaches, and long hours to complete projects on a crazy timeline.
I love to always be learning. My first few years on the job I learned a lot. However, in the past year it's felt stagnant. My job was to do product development on powdered beverages and it feels like I've learned all that I can in the category. Because of this, there were not projects that excited me anymore. I mostly just dreaded the projects I was given. I'm not passionate about powdered beverages because I don't even consume them.
All of these things have had me wanting to leave my job for a while. But the handling of this pandemic ended up being my tipping point. The recently hired president talked a lot about trust. We have to trust him that he knows what he's doing and making the right decisions for the company. He repeated this often.
But trust should be mutual. If I am expected to trust someone, then I need their trust in return. This pandemic proved the trust was not reciprocated. The organization was reluctant to allow work from home. When it was finally allowed, the schedules frequently changed to force people to be in the office more. We began to be micromanaged to prove we were working. There were some specific things I was told I needed to do by the President that I'm not going to detail here, but I just didn't agree with. The complete lack of trust and respect was my last straw so I put in my notice.
The job really affected my mental health. Quitting felt like a complete weight off of my shoulders. I am so much happier. Around 6:30 every night I still get overcome with dread that I'm running out of time before I have to go to bed and get up for work the next day. I have to remind myself every night that I never have to go back there again.
I do want to say, it wasn't all bad. Here are some amazing things that happened during my time at my job:
I met one of my best friends who is going to be a bridesmaid in my wedding
I had one of my favorite bosses of all time who retired but I still keep in touch with
I had lots of great coworkers who I look forward to seeing after the pandemic
I built a great network of food industry professionals
I got to travel to NYC, Las Vegas, Anaheim, and Toronto (in a private jet)
I learned how to do product development
I learned what to look for in the next company I work for
My good leaders taught me how to lead
My bad leaders taught me how not to lead
I won a prize at the Christmas party every year
Always try to look for the silver lining.
If you're working for a company that you feel isn't a good fit for you, come up with a plan to leave. Life is short. Don't spend 40+ hours a week doing something you don't want to do. There is always something better out there for you.
You don't have to have FU money saved up. Your backup plan can just be to search for a new job. During job interviews, make sure that you ask the right questions to see if the company aligns with your values. A job interview is just as much about you interviewing the company as it is about them interviewing you. Ask about the culture, the flexibility, work-life balance, or whichever other aspect of the job is super important to you.
You got this!