Why I quit my job

I’m 29 years old and I recently quit my fulltime job in marketing. Do I have a new job? No. Am I looking for a new job? No. Was it my own decision to quit? Hell, yes. For most people a decision of a lifetime, a choice many never make. I am not trying to downsize others or making this step look insignificant for myself. Because it’s not. But the truth is I haven’t felt so good for a long time.

So why did I quit my job? I had a pretty decent marketing/PR position in a fast growing electronics company with a good career perspective. My colleagues were nice and apart from the hypercritical controlling CEO, it was kind of a sweet spot. On the paper at least. But life doesn’t unfold on the paper. Pretty much from the first day I felt I wasn’t in the right place, hard to explain why. And this feeling grew day by day. Now when I reflect back on it, I can name some legitimate reasons that had thus this negative emotional impact on me. The most important one was probably the lack of human focus within the company. In other words, people were seen as tools to execute tasks and thereby bring in profit. Everything evolved around profit and growth while how employees felt was not in question. I realise this is what often happens with young fast growing businesses. However, is this a valid excuse to neglect the most important asset — people?

Another problem which I found difficult to cope with was the lack of acknowledgement. I don’t mind working hard and doing my best to pull things together. Even working in the weekend wouldn’t be of an issue if it’s necessary once in a while. But the whole thing gets a whole different taste when it’s taken for granted. What I want to say is that I didn’t feel valued in this company and my contribution was not acknowledged. At least it didn’t show it was. I don’t need a cheerleader every day at my desk, but I do need clap on my shoulder once in a while, because I’m a human and it feels good.

Lastly, a quite important reason for people of my generation to leave a company is lack of flexibility. Let me explain you. Flexibility means to me that I have freedom to a certain extent to divide my time between different tasks, but also between my free time and work. It means I want to feel in charge of my time, even if it’s just an illusion as I still need to work for 8 hours ;). But I need this illusion and this includes I can decide whether to start working at 0830 or 0930. When there is no such freedom I can’t help feeling caught in a cage and this environment doesn’t suit me. And I truly believe this environment doesn’t suit anybody in my generation as millennials want to feel free and unlimited to get the best out of ourselves. Small things can become big, strange enough not all businesses still get it.

You might think after reading this, I must have gone through tough times there. Well, you’re right. But I can’t otherwise than be grateful for this experience as now I know much better which environment and company culture fits me. I know now my next job must be in a human-centred environment, where people are cherished and acknowledged, and it’s about the results not the hours you spend on staring at your computer screen. Kind of realistic expectations for a 21st century company I think :-).

If you take one thing with you from this piece, take the learning that every bad experience can actually be good. It not only grows your personality (struggles make you stronger!), but it also teaches you what fits you and what doesn’t. The whole point of life in my opinion is learning about yourself and hereby getting closer to your real you. Step by step, moving closer to your full potential. Mismatches, struggles and bad experiences are fantastic teachers that help you accelerate this journey. This is how I see it.