My (now) ex boss asked me earlier: “So how does it feel, leaving your first job?”
I corrected her, “My first company, you mean? This is my third job in this company.”
To put it simply, it’s like a breakup. If it’s a good breakup, you recall and you miss. If it’s a bad breakup, you forget or you diss. On my end, I know it was good.
Like a good breakup, they’ll fight for you. Don’t be annoyed when they try to stop you. If they stop you, it means they value you. Don’t be offended if they don’t, either. It can also mean that they know your value and want you to leave to get find your real value elsewhere. Your company will take care of you until it can. But sometimes, it can only go so far. That’s when they will see that it’s time for you leave and grow elsewhere.
Like a good breakup, you can still be friends. The key here is never to burn bridges with the company and the people. You spent a good chunk of your life with them; for sure you will meet them again. Next time, they may be your colleagues again, or you may be hiring them. If there’s one thing I learned from my mom and my Religion Studies professor (and Tim Sanders’ awesome book, Love Is The Killer App) that I took to heart, it is to nurture relationships.
Like a good breakup, people will tell you, “You’re a free man now”. It’s bittersweet. It was tough clearing out and leaving the office. Especially when you’re practically the only one there when you leave at 1 am.
Like a good breakup, it’s not easy to decide. I carefully considered and prayed about this for 6 months. I also consulted so many friends, relatives, seniors and my parents (though for a breakup you probably won’t consult family). Just remember that whatever they advise you, ultimately it’s your career move. I went against the advice of so many experienced friends.
So what’s next? Like a good breakup, it’s a decision. A choice. You have to live with it and move on. And the memories will always be there. I don’t have many photos of myself while still working at my company, but my stories about them and their stories about me will make up for the lack of evidence. The best part is if your efforts help out and positively impact the company. Those will speak for themselves.
To those I’ve worked with who have left before me and to those who are still there, this entry is to honor all of you. The way I am now and the way I will succeed in my next endeavors is a result of all our projects and stresses together (whether caused by you, by me, or by our bosses). The difference is, we won’t be dealing with stresses together. Because I’m free. :p