Monday, July 21, 2014

On Quitting Your Job

So if you are wondering why there has been this awkwardly long hiatus in posts, it's not because we forgot about you. It's because we have all been going through major life changes (perfect for new posts!), that made it difficult to catch a moment to just sit down and write. "What kind of life changes?" you may ask. Well, for starters, I quit my job.

I'm not going to lie, I fantasized about quitting my job countless times. About throwing down my papers and saying "YOU finish it!" when my bosses gave me an assignment they wanted finished by yesterday. About not coming back to work with clients who just spent the day cussing each other out. About telling clients what I really thought when they told me that if I ever considered a career change I could always be a really great secretary. In my mind my quitting was nothing short of spectacular; filled with drama and high emotions like a telenovela breakup scene. But in reality, it was something quite different.

I was in the midst of working as technical lead on multiple projects, all of which were reaching a critical point  in their development. I knew that the timing was terrible, but I'd received a much better offer and I needed to switch. But part of me felt laden with guilt at the fact that that I'd be dooming these projects to which I'd devoted months or years of my life, and I still cared deeply about the projects and the clients.

As I was on my way back to the office after turning over one of my projects, I got a phone call from my new employer-to-be telling me that they had picked my start date and that I needed to put in my two weeks. As soon as I got back to my desk I opened the resignation letter that I had saved on my desktop. Should I just email my boss, or should I hand it to somebody? I figured I should woman up and hand it over in person. Otherwise they have to figure out how to come over and approach me, and this will already be weird enough without making my boss approach me in my cube. Should I hand it to my direct supervisor, or my manager or somebody else? How do I even bring this up? What happens if somebody sees this on the printer before I get there?

I glanced around the corner and noticed the printer was momentarily unhampered by its normal onslaught of drawings and regulatory documentation, so I quickly printed two copies and sped-walked like an old woman on an early morning mall workout to grab them while they were still hot.

I stared at the words "I hereby resign my position" and thought Oh fuck, I'm actually doing this. I took a deep breath, wiggled the nerves out of my shoulders, and screwed up the courage to see my manager. On my way to his office the lights flickered and went out with the unmistakable moan of a hundred computers slowing down, and I stopped in my tracks. Of course there was an electrical storm today.

My manager saw my silhouette lurking outside of his door, "Vanessa?"

I can't do this in the dark, that's too weird. "Darn power out again," I chuckled nervously and turned on my heels. Okay, that was weird too. BE LESS WEIRD, Vanessa! People quit all the time, get over it.

I laid the resignation letters face down on my desk and nervously phantom typed on my keyboard as I stared at the dark screen and listened to my coworkers' cries of anguish about the unsaved work they had lost. The lights flickered back on and I swiped the letters off of my desk and walked to my manager's office again.

"Can we talk for a minute?" I asked, tentatively.

"Sure," he replied. I closed the door and sat down across the desk from him.

"So, I don't know how to say this. I was offered a job with significantly better compensation, and I'm going to take it." I placed the resignation letter on the desk, and he sat in a stunned silence for a moment.

"Wow," he finally said. "This is a huge loss for the company, Vanessa. Have you made up your mind or is there anything I can do to keep you?"

He offered me an increased salary, other jobs, and I told him I was sure I was taking the new job. He kept repeating that this was a huge loss, and that he knew I'd be a hard one to keep. Honestly I felt kind of terrible, like I was abandoning my old company. I kept having to remind myself that I was seriously unhappy there, and that my leaving was about me finding a better job.

In the end, I left with two weeks on the clock and an open offer to come back if I ever changed my mind. And while there weren't fireworks and I didn't tell anyone off, I think that that's perhaps the best way to quit a job. What do you think?




  1. Sounds like everything went more smoothly than you imagined. Good luck with your new job. I can tell from your ex-employer's reaction that you'll be an asset wherever your work.

    1. Thanks! Only time will tell, but I'm excited for the next step in the adventure.

  2. Vanessa congrats on your new job plus plus your womanish guts too :)


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