Towards the end of 2021, I decided it was time to quit my job. I wasn’t progressing in my career, wasn’t doing what I was most passionate about, and just felt ready to move on. I didn’t have a plan, I just knew I wanted to get out of there and move onto something that was more relevant to me.
I started a new position at an agency in December 2021, and while it seemed like the perfect match for me for the first few weeks, unfortunately it didn’t end up being the right fit. I really enjoyed the work I was doing and the clients I was working with, but there were a few cultural issues I experienced. I was becoming super anxious and dreaded waking up each morning to log into my computer. I felt like I failed since I was thinking of leaving so soon after starting, but after writing out the issues I was having and talking things through with my family, I realized it would be better for me to leave now than keep dragging it on. So a short 4 months after I started at this new company, I was already out.
Turns out, no company believes in you as much as you will. While individual humans may truly care for their coworkers (and I’ve been honored to work with many of these people!), companies overall don’t care about employees.
I hesitate to use the term “burnt out”, because it doesn’t seem to apply perfectly to my position and feelings. But while this term has become more common, and therefore slightly less meaningful, I think it means different things to everyone. I’m burnt out with working for companies that reap all the reward and pass none of it along to their employees. I’m tired of feeling like this is it, that we just work at a job we don’t enjoy until we retire or die. I won’t even begin to consider the reason that we’re all here, but it certainly can’t be to make money for a company that doesn’t care about us for 70 years, and then if we’re lucky get a few years off before we’re gone. I’m burnt out from hearing managers say they “truly care about their employees”, but their actions don’t support it.
Being part of two resignations made me realize how poorly departures are handled. During my first resignation, I gave more than a month’s notice so I could help the company plan their final events of the year and help transition my tasks to other people. Both my boss and HR director told me they were thankful for this, and appreciated my willingness to help transition my tasks. Unfortunately, they had recently hired a new manager who I didn’t get along with, and after they heard I had put in my notice, they pushed for me to be done immediately. I was disappointed in the leadership team because it felt like they were trusting this new person more than myself, but ultimately let it go so we could all go our separate ways.
After my second resignation, my boss completely cut off all communication with me. She canceled our 1:1s, removed me from the weekly team meetings, and didn’t send me a single email or message for the three weeks after I sent in my resignation. There were numerous projects that I was in the middle of, and while I tried my best to document exactly where I was at and what needed to be done, it was an immature move on her part to simply cut off all communication just because the job wasn’t the right fit for me. I tried to communicate what I could to others that I hoped would be able to fill in, but didn’t know who was taking over, what information to pass along, and the timeline for everything.
In both situations, I was more than willing to help teach another person how to do all my tasks and run through what was still in progress and needed to be followed up on, but nobody ever reached out. It felt like I was simply forgotten about; that after I decided to move on I wasn’t useful to the company anymore.
With so many people resigning and moving onto new jobs, this transition is hardly a new experience, but it seems like companies (or at least the ones I was at) don’t have a plan in place. If these companies care about their employees as much as they say they do, wouldn’t you be excited, or at least understanding, about an employee taking a chance on something new?? While deciding to leave a job or company that isn’t the right fit is a difficult decision, I don’t believe leaving should be the most difficult part. It may be a naive thought, but I think we should all work together to find the right people for the right company (and vice versa) and not punish each other if it doesn’t work out.
I don’t have an answer for the solution to all this, but I have found that sharing my feelings and experiences with others has benefitted me time and time again. I can’t be the only one feeling…whatever feeling this is. I think the pandemic really made people figure out their priorities, especially in their careers. We realized ping pong tables didn’t matter when we weren’t going into the office. What really mattered was taking care of our mental health. While we have to work to live, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t enjoy the time we spend there. We also need to feel supported, whether it’s through mental health days, the ability to work from wherever, or being able to adjust your workday to your needs. These are just some of the reasons that I decided to quit my job yet again and move on to freelance work. I’ll be able to work during times that are most productive for me, from a location that’s most comfortable, and be responsible for myself. Who knows if this will be the last thing I try, or if this will be the option that works best for me, but I always think it’s better to try something and have it not work out than always wonder “what if?”.