Saturday, June 20, 2015

Two Weeks Notice

The head of marketing at Lunar Technologies is a former competitive swimmer named Francine Teves, a youthful mother of two in her thirties, who bears a striking resemblance to singer Leah Salonga. One afternoon not long ago, I walked into her office and submitted my letter of resignation. She seemed in total shock and disbelief. Fran tried eagerly to talk me out of it, but eventually gave up and gave me a warm big hug, and said, "I'm gonna miss you, and your brownies. Now, who's gonna keep me sane around here?"

   People leave jobs for different reasons: They find better opportunities, they're offered higher compensation and benefits, they have personal conflict that interferes with the job, they want to start their own business or they simply screw up. According to a recent study conducted by outsourcing company Accenture, the most common reasons why employees quit their jobs are: Lack of recognition, internal politics, they don't like their boss, and they feel a lack of empowerment.

   As a digital content supervisor, I got to work on exciting projects, collaborate with brilliant young minds, and I was making good money. But I was burned out, I had become a modern day slave, and I felt like I needed a change of pace and direction in my career. I often thought about what I'd miss most about the company, and I knew it would be my colleagues. The people I saw day in day out, the people who really cared, people who gave me merienda and asked about my wife and our weekend getaway.

   I missed Sandra, the brand officer who looked like a hipster from Seoul. She was articulate, rebellious and impulsive. During one of those dreadful corporate events (I wasn't sure if she was high or not) Sandra pulled down her pants in front of me and peed next to our CEO's white Porsche. She was crazy, but she always brightened up my day with her wit and humor. I also missed Clarice, the copywriter. She was funny, smart, and she genuinely cared about her profession. She was like a sister to me and she seemed to understand me more than anyone in the office. But above all, I missed my mentor, Fran. Everyone on her team mattered, and she took responsibility when things went wrong.

   I've always admired people who have the balls to quit their jobs and start a new business. People like Howard Schultz, who left his job selling coffee machines to start the company that eventually became Starbucks. But we can't all be Howard Schultz. There are lots of reasons why you might be frustrated with your current situation. But, before you leave, ask yourself if the reasons for your displeasure will actually disappear if you resigned. How do you know it's time to call it quits? Here are five signs:

  • You're so stressed out at work that you are turning into zombie.
  • You are horribly underpaid.
  • Your colleagues have been acting differently around you. 
  • Your boss is an asshole.
  • You're not learning.
   I quit my job without another one lined up. It was horrible, and I urge you not to do it unless you have enough money to last you for at least three to six months. Not only can this be financially damaging, but it also might hinder your job hunt as employers prefer the currently employed.

   What if I had negotiated with my boss? What if my wife and I had stayed in Manila, where it was easier to find a well-paying job? After that fateful chat with Fran, I started calling friends for possible job opportunities. Close friends. Old friends. Several acquaintances. However, it took me four months to get hired and I was at that time in no position to be choosy. Had I stayed with my previous company, I would not have had to spend several months doing all from the start again.
   Do I regret quitting my job? Yes and no. Sure I wasted a lot of time finding a new one, and when I finally got hired, it only took me a month to resign. I thought the job I was offered at a large cable company would be a great career move. Although the people were cool enough, the job itself was just not for me. I hated the long working hours, the scheduling conflicts and the office politics. But, without quitting, I would not have been able to accomplish so many things in life: Having a small business of my own, having more quality time with my family, and having more hours to blog.

   Have you quit your job recently? How did you deal with it? Let's chat. Leave your comments below.

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