It was December 2013, and I was tired.
I had decided firmly that come January 2014, I was going to resign from a job I had worked for only 7 months. I was angry, tired and frustrated; I felt overworked, underutilized, unappreciated and unfulfilled.
But despite these feelings, I had a deep conviction inside that it wasn’t yet time for me to leave. It felt like God was saying, “I brought you to this company, have I told you to leave?”
I sought advice from an uncle who was also in my industry and he said, “why not wait till you start your masters?”. My masters was to start in just 4 months, so I decided to wait till then.
I ended up staying with the company for close to 2 more years.
In the additional time I stayed, things changed drastically. My boss changed my roles, gave me tasks that fit more with my natural ability, and increased my responsibilities. Within that time my ability on the job grew geometrically, I made new connections, honed skills outside my core duties, and perhaps most importantly, got my first lessons on running a business.
By the time I left I knew I was ready to leave. And then I realized something, If I had left when I initially wanted to, I would have lost a golden opportunity for growth.
There are 5 lessons I learned from the episode:
1. Act from within: Don’t leave your job only because of external pressure (tough boss, annoying colleagues, work stress, pay cuts etc), rather, and more importantly, leave because of an internal compass that tells you the next direction you need to go in your career and an internal clock that tells you your time in your current position is up.
This internal compass can be a sense of direction from God, your intuition, or say a well thought-out plan for your career growth that guides your decision making. Whatever it is, it should give you a conviction that you’re making the right decision; you don’t want to keep questioning if you made the right decision when you quit.
2. Get external perspective: Quitting a job is a big decision, and like other big decisions, it makes sense to seek the input of a few persons you think can give you perspectives you may not consider, preferably people who have an idea of your industry.
3. Consider changing roles: Sometimes you don’t need to quit your job, you only need to change roles within your company, and pitch for positions more suited to your natural abilities and inclination.
4. See the possibility for growth: There are two kinds of skills to hone in a company: technical skills- like accounting, engineering, graphics etc and managerial (or leadership) skills- like empathy, strategy and foresight, or say people skills like social intelligence and emotional intelligence.
Sometimes we think we have reached the limit of ability we can achieve for a given technical skill required for a job, and so we want to quit our jobs because we can no longer see a possibility of growth. But at those times, it might be there’s opportunity for us to hone our managerial or leadership skills. Another thing to note is this: generally, the higher we go in an organization, the more managerial skill is needed and less technical skill.
5. Resign gracefully: A man once said, “if you must close the door to a relationship, shut it gently, because you never know when you might need to walk through that door again.”
As much as possible try not to part ways with your employer on a note of friction or discord. If possible buy him or her a thank you card and appreciate them for whatever good you’ve got from them or the company during your stay there. It’s a small world, you never know when your paths will meet again or how your employer may turn out to be of value to you.
Have you ever been in a similar situation where you wanted to leave your job? How did you handle it? What lessons did you learn? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments.
The 5 things I’ve shared in this article are limited to my experience. To get a more comprehensive idea of things to consider before quitting your job, read this article:
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Till next time. Don’t let fear stop you from taking that leap of faith into all God has in store for you.