Yes, I actually quit my job end of 2015 like I wanted to. I was quite displeased with my job for the last few months due to lack of assistance and communication from upper management when I needed help. I was also tired of the constant pressure to bring more money and deal with more administrative and business development work, in addition to my technical and supervisory work.
The difficulties I was dealing with are quite normal for a large company, from what I hear. There were there for years and for years I kept dealing with them without much complaining. I sought help when I needed it to manage the workload, or make important decisions, and I received it. It was just in the past year that I felt that I was getting less and less support while managing a much heavier workload and more people. At the same time I knew enough to not make critical decisions by myself that could lead to liability issues. But waiting for help slowed down projects and resulted in angry clients and missed deadlines…and there was nothing that I didn’t try to get the help and answers from upper management. I read multiple books and studies on management and tried various tricks, but nothing worked with people who were set in their ways. I even spoke with board members and a few people who were there when the company was started and were running it now. No recommendations worked and I was tired. I am not one to quit without trying everything within my power. But after a year of trying and getting more displeased, I quit…I quit a manager….not a company.
Diversified Income is King!
For months I was planning my escape and had decided that I would quit end of 2015 and focus on my side gigs in 2016 since my wife’s full time job and our side incomes were able to cover almost all of our expenses. With a few small cutbacks, the income streams would have covered everything. Because of our side gigs and our “modestly” lavish lifestyle I had the freedom to take time off and either work on my projects or seek more fulfilling work.
With my mind set, I wrote a resignation letter with December 31, 2015, as the end date and saved it on my desktop. I was not even a week away from printing it and handing it to my superior, when a coworker sent me a highly specialized job opening with the provincial government. With the exception of the political experience requirement, the technical portion was as if it was written for me.
I dismissed this opportunity at first because I was thirsty for some freedom, and also lacked any sort of political experience. But my coworker egged me on so I applied. It only took me a couple of days to realize that I had nothing to lose. I did my best to craft a new CV and submitted it that same evening.
Like some sort of miracle, I actually got a phone call just a week later for an interview. The interview consisted of a presentation that I had to give to a large panel of people on a deficient engineering/construction policy/regulation/standard with my amendment recommendations, followed by an hour long panel interview, followed by a written exam. The whole ordeal took 3 hours and I was sweating, you guys. Half of the questions were related to politics and sticky situations, while the other half to the nitty, gritty technical details and the ability to quickly recall relevant policies, standards, limits, etc.
I was upfront about my lack of political experience but managed to get through that part of the interview. I did very well on the technical portion, though. I was dealing with many of those things on a daily basis and I knew most of the requirements in my field quite well.
The interview was on a Friday. On Monday morning I got a call for my references, who were contacted later that day. On Tuesday I received a verbal offer. On Wednesday I received the formal offer in writing. I accepted on Thursday and resigned on Friday. All in all, it took less than 3 weeks to decide to quit, apply for a job, interview, get that job and quit. I couldn’t believe how quickly everything happened. I still cannot believe that this all happened in such a short amount of time.
At first I was a bit scared to leave behind a world that I know and I am comfortable with for something politically focused that I wasn’t sure if I was going to like. But then I realized, what is the worst that could happen? If I didn’t like it, I can always leave on a good note and join another engineering company, or go back to my side gigs. If I was comfortable leaving my job now, why wouldn’t be comfortable leaving this new job in the future with some extra cash in my investment account? After all, there aren’t many young engineers who have political experience. That would have given me a slight competitive advantage. And there is always some level of excitement associated with new experiences.
Never Fear and Take Risks!
I guess what I am trying to say is – take risks in life. Every new opportunity is that, an opportunity. It is up to you to fully utilize it. Yes, it will be scary at first, but don’t fear. New opportunities will just make you a better person. Also, make sure you live within your means and have a diversified income stream. That always takes the pressure off.
So here we are in 2016 with a new job in a semi-new field. Scary and exciting!
What risks did you take in 2015?