Why I Quit My Job — Although I Had Everything I Needed

After six years ago my telefone-hardsell-skills enabled me to wriggle around the @t3n secretary and secure me a job interview. It did not take more than a short chat to realize that I would stay in this company for the next years. And I was right.

The hardest decision of my life.

During these 6 years as the lead social-media & social-ads-manager for one of the most exciting German publisher (core topic: digital business), I was able to gain a lot of experience, get to know great people and their projects and last but not least have the opportunity and freedom to try stuff out. I enjoyed it so much that I almost forgot about the time.

Beginning of this year I suddenly realized I’ll be turning 30 in May. So I felt the urge to consider what I was going to do in 5 to 10 years:

  • What do I want to have achieved in 5 or 10 years?
  • Who do I want to be?
  • What do I want to do?
  • Above all: How do I want to achieve all of this and what do I have to do for it?

No matter how I looked at my situation I always came to the same conclusion regarding what was holding me back from finding my self-fulfilment; the lack of time for myself. For 99.9 percent of the people working as social media and community manager my job would probably be the best job in the world. And it certainly was for me too until something happened. I suddenly could not neglect the entrepreneur in me, the front man Alex striving for success. The urge to try and go my own way, alone and independently, has more and more increased over the years and has reached a point where I can not and will not overlook it anymore.

Therefore I started evaluating my situation and potentially new vacancies. Also if a new employer could fully meet my needs just in case my fading satisfaction was only based on the duration of me working in one and the same setting… But what should another company be able to offer me if t3n already was my perfect work environment.

Contacts are only bad for those who haven’t got any. #mindset

I’ve met a lot of competent and talented people over the years at t3n. For those that know me a little, it is no secret that there is nothing more important than the own network from a business context point of view. I’m happy to be able to say that a lot of business contacts have developed into proper friendships and I’m always happy to help out a friend. But things got a bit too much. There were days where I had the impression Subreddit /r/marketing had been redirected to my Inbox. It in some way forced me to ignore the network as entity and differentiate in terms of focusing on those individuals who support others and bring know-how to the table in contrast to individuals who mainly consider a network as a source of endless personal benefit. The Mastermind-Groups of mine formed a platform where I had the opportunity to pass on knowledge to those that deserve it and emphasize on strengthening my contacts. These small sub networks are what I would like to develop and expand in the next months.

No other employer has ever given me the liberties and freedom to let me grow. I never had to justify myself for anything, had the luxury of flexible self guided working hours and a juicy budget for my weird ideas. Unlimited access to the ever-full fridge, Club-Mate, outstanding coffee, juices and last but not least the Xbox with Fifa… (This list could go on eternity) rounded everything off. And what did this invaluable unconditional trust of my employees result in? You guessed it, innovation! And that is what we delivered.

In leaving @t3n I’m not just leaving my professional home but also several friends. „I’m leaving the best team in the world“ would just sound like an empty phrase to what the team really deserves. One should imagine that an environment of so many highly skilled people working at a tremendous pace would lead to friction between the individuals. #nonsense! We laugh together, party together and all share one aim without loosing the certain start-up spirit t3n started off with 10 years ago. But isn’t it illogical and lightheaded to just quit? No, it is not careless. It is insane!

Beside hundreds of other questions / major doubts these two stopped me from sleeping properly during the last couple of months:

  • Can I take care of myself without a secured income? No.

What is the ultimate worst case scenario? Loss of routines, decrease of reputation, a life on the breadline, chronic dissatisfaction.

Against the endless list of doubts and questions only one argument could remain existent:

  • How will it feel when you turn 70 and can not say to yourself that you at least you tried it?

All fears of the world combined are not as big as the imagination of me looking into the mirror and being ashamed of myself. Don’t get me wrong: Nothing is wrong regarding my work relationship — quite the contrary. Where else could I have built up such a network? Where else could I have gained such a reputation? Solely t3n provided me with the opportunity to exchange expertise, learn and network with the smartest marketers and chaps on the digital scene. I will always be deeply grateful for this.


The belief to be blessed with an entrepreneurial mindset, in combination with my ever-flowing idea output and my not satiable thirst of knowledge, a good portion of self confidence and a network of doers has convinced me that this is the right decision: I’m going to leave t3n. I’m going to: #TakeTheRisk! Without fuss or quibble!

This text is not a sad attempt of acquisition. If you’re waiting for a pitch on my future projects I’ll have to disappoint you. I just wanted pay homage to the probably best employer on this small world. Nothing else. Of course I’m happy if we can stay in contact. Fling over some digital high fives via Twitter, Instagram (@akatona) or Facebook or subscribe my newsletter akatona.de. This way we can stay in contact.

Now to the emotional part. I connect a very personal story with everyone of the t3n team. This surely goes beyond the scope of this text and your interest. Nevertheless, there are a few words that have to be said:

@AndyLenz (t3n Co-Founder/Mentor): Thank you very very much for everything. For the knowledge and mindset that you provided me with. For the contacts you introduced me to. Your trust in me and for everything that will come in the future. You’ve always got a place at the back of my head and if there’s anything that I can support you with: Hit me up!

@LarsBudde: You know yourself, innit …? :*

@t3n-Team: Boys and girls — You rock! I know It wasn’t always easy with me. My loud laugh and puff and blow will hopefully echo through the t3n HQ for a few more weeks. I hope you’ll miss me as much as I’ll miss you guys. Please feel free to get in touch at anytime. I hope I’ll get a special invitation for the wine Thursdays and expect information about any other social events you guys have in mind.

@All-t3n-Readers/Subscribers/Fan-Boys/Girls & Trolls: We had a damn good and educating time together. Although we did not always share the same opinion I reckon it was always constructive as far as I can tell. Keep it easy and don’t be too harsh on my follower (At least try to…!)

With this in mind:

High Five from the t3n-HQ!

Alex (a.k.a „aka“)

P.S.: I’ll grab a controller and kick @larsbudde’s ass one more time at Fifa! 😀 #cheers

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