Sunday, March 16, 2008

Leaving my Job

The decision to leave a job has never been easy for me. I think this can be attributed to the fact that I have never really had a job where I hated the work or the people around me. So far the all of my jobs have been positive experiences. Now this obviously begs the question "If the jobs are so great, then why did you quit them?" This is a legitimate question but one I find difficult to answer. I guess at some point in the jobs I have had I find myself wanting more. Now what does "more" mean. Again difficult to define. Money is certainly a factor because I couldn't see myself leaving a good situation to go someplace else for less money. However, I have tried to make it a point to not let money be the only deciding factor in my decisions. When I quit "The Bay" a few years ago it actually cost me some money. I was working their part time in addition to my full time job. While the extra money was good to have, working 2 jobs for total of almost 60 hours per week was completely killing my social life. Also, I wanted to have spare time to take some courses that I felt would be of help to me in the future.

When I left my job at flagship the goal was to make somewhat of a shift in careers. I was working pretty much entirely as a programmer and I wanted to do more database work. Wunderman allowed me to do that. However, after about a year and a half i feel that I want a change again. I think i want to manage larger projects. I want more responsibilities. That is not to say that I am ready to completely divorce myself from technical stuff. I just feel that I want more control. I want to be involved in decision making, and have greater influence on the final outcome, success or failure of whatever I am working on. Now this is where it gets sticky. I told this to my manager at Wunderman a few months ago. And he actually explained to me that that there was a project coming up and that I would be able to really take the lead on and be the face of the project. However, there was no set time for when this project would start. All I knew is that it was scheduled to start in the new year. Well, in January after a few weeks passed and the project hadn't started I got restless. I thought maybe I could just test the job waters so to speak and see what's out there. I applied for about 8 jobs that looked interesting to me. I didn't make my resume searchable and I didn't send out scores of job apps. Just a few specific cases where I thought I would be a good fit. I was surprised by how quickly I got a response. I had a phone interview and then over the course of the next 3 weeks I had 3 in person interviews. By the end of the second in person interview I knew I had the job if I wanted it. This was around late February. At this point there was still no major movement on the project I was suppose to take over at Wunderman. Then BMO made me a really good offer which was a substantial pay increase over my salary plus the potential for bonuses and other perks that come with working for a bank. I accepted the offer on my lunch break, went and signed the papers and went back to work as normal. The offer was conditional pending a reference check and a security and credit check. This was an awkward situation. Once you sign an offer acceptance you can't help but to mentally check out a little bit. However, I could not officially give notice until after I passed the checks. It was very awkward, I would be in meetings at Wunderman talking about upcoming projects and what my role would be when I knew that I had already signed else where and would be quitting soon. Then things got worse. The day after I signed the offer my manager called me and a few other people into an office and said that the major project that had been mentioned before had finally received client sign off. The plan was for me to be project manager for this project. I felt about 2 inches tall. I was very quiet in the meeting. I had signed an acceptance else where but could not really say anything yet. If that's not bad enough it got worse. A few days later I was in a one on one meeting with my direct manager to go over goal setting for the next year. Goal setting is where your manager talks to you about what your goals for the next year are and what he/she can do to help you reach them. I was just fumbling my way through the conversation. When the meeting was over I went back to my desk and checked my personal email. And there was the note from my new job finally saying that I had passed the security checks so I could officially give notice now.

I got up and took a walk for a few minutes to clear my head. Then I went to manager that I just had the meeting with and told him that I was leaving Wunderman. So basically, all that goal setting stuff we were talking about earlier was bullshit because I am quitting. Needless to say he was shocked. But to his credit he took it well and said he understands my reasons.

So that's why I left Wunderman. I do not regret my decision to leave, I only wish the timing could have been better. When I left my previous job I was working on a project and I made sure to finish that project before I even looked for a new job. This time I am kind of leaving in the beginning. It could be worse of course, I could be leaving in the middle of the project. But then again I don't think I would do that. BMO is a very large company and there is plenty of room for advancement. My hope is to be able to stay there for at least a few years because I don't want to be seen as a job hopper who can't stay still.

That's it for this week...
Next Week ... My last days at Wunderman and a little wedding stuff.


Mike said...

Don't feel too bad about moving on. The fact of the matter is you were upfront with your manager when it was okay for you to provide new information and you didn't burn any bridges.

Anonymous said...

You're such a good employee - so young and innocent. But you have to realise that companies do not in general care about people, only about their bottom lines. It's a cut throat world out there and you just live in it. Why is it that they lay off people at the drop of a hat? Companies' main focus is profit. Employees are simply a means to an end. So don't feel too bad for them; Always think about yourself before the company because believe me, the company isn't thinking about you before itself. Just ask the employees of Bear Sterns and Enron ;)