Eight Important Lessons I Learned From Quitting a Job I Loved
Just over a year ago I quit my job. It was a long time coming. I was torn between loving the interaction I had with the majority of the clients and hating the interaction I had with the executive team. Finally, I had enough and I gave notice.
Initially, I was obsessed with all the reasons why I left a job I enjoyed. It took several months to work through the bad juju. I must have walked hundreds of miles in a Chicago winter to clear my head. (My poor dog!) As I cleared my head, I moved forward to establish my consulting business. Now as I look back I see how much I have learned from this experience.
1) You are always networking.
When you have a client-facing job like I did, the best way to network is to do your job well. I unwittingly created a huge network of people who respect me and the work I do. This was obvious as soon as I began telling people I gave notice.
I didn’t know what I would do next, but people reached out with a variety of consulting projects, and my path created itself. The best part was that I didn’t have to use my awkward elevator pitch to find work.
2) Keep learning and growing.
Doing the same thing repeatedly can be demotivating and worst of all, it prevents personal growth. There is a certain amount of repetition in all jobs, but you will be fulfilled and happier if you are allowed the opportunity to take on projects that interest you.
Allowing people to be curious and pursue special projects is a small thing to do to keep an employee happy.
3) Choose whose criticism to accept.
Everyone’s a critic, right? That doesn’t mean we have to listen. Sincere feedback from a respected person (emphasis on sincerity and respect) can be significant for growth.
It’s important to understand how to make improvements based on the feedback. Use criticism and feedback from respected sources as a way to learn and make changes.
4) Don’t settle for the job you have.
You probably already know this, but often it’s not a top priority because, well, money!
Follow your gut instinct and your personal values. Find a job where you and your talents are appreciated.
5) Get it in writing.
And put it in writing. Busy people can be forgetful. Some people are bad with follow-through. Any time a conversation is about money, promotions, job descriptions, or anything important to you, be sure to ask for it in writing and save the paper trail.
Take the initiative to summarize important conversation points in an email that starts with:
My understanding of our recent conversation is…
6) Ask for what you want.
Your time and talent are valuable. Think about what you provide that is unique.
You don’t have to take what someone offers. You can negotiate about money, flexible work schedules, time off, benefits, and other perks. You won’t get it unless you ask.
7) Drama kills productivity.
Some people love to create drama. They can create it based on how you say hello. They might be insecure or they might have ulterior motives.
Either way, once someone creates drama, the entire team may be negatively affected in a way that is hard to repair.
8) If you don’t feel heard, talking louder won’t help you.
If you’re asking for things that keep getting overlooked or your manager makes promises they don’t intend to keep, it’s on them. Not you.
A manager who is unwilling to listen and understand what you need is not a leader. Listening is a skill that takes practice as well as a desire to do it well. If your manager isn’t listening to you, it might be because they don’t want to listen for any number of reasons. And you need to understand that isn't going to change.
My career change wasn’t impulsive, but I didn’t have a new job lined up before I resigned. I had begun exploring my options and formulating a plan. I continue to be open to new possibilities because I have no idea what I’ll learn next!
After seventeen years in FinTech sales and time off to raise three children, Lisa Foydel re-entered the job market closer to home and at a much slower pace. Having seen the power and success that comes with community and collaboration for women, she co-founded The Women’s Table to bring together talented female entrepreneurs to improve the chances of success for all. She also enjoys writing and marketing for several small women-owned businesses.
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Small Business Consultant
After 17 years in FinTech sales and time off to raise 3 children, Lisa re-entered the job market closer to home and at a much slower pace. Having seen the power and success that comes with community and collaboration for women, Lisa co-founded The Women’s Table to bring together talented female entrepreneurs to improve the chances of success for all. Lisa also enjoys writing and marketing for several small women-owned businesses. Continue Reading
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