Let me explain what all happened causing me to want to quit my job. First things first, I want you to know that I never, not once imagined myself as someone with the courage to quit her job cold turkey. That was never even remotely a possibility in my book. Three weeks back, I actually PRAYED for the courage to quit my job without having another lined up, and my mind was stumped at what that courage would even look like. That courage was truly alien to me. (For the record, I’ve historically been mediocre at best when it comes to praying.)
You see, it felt ingrained in my blood to always have a job – to keep going forward in my secure career, to never take risks too big that could get in the way of a steady, cushy income… or an income at all, really.
And then, working from home, in between meetings, I cried for probably the 10th week in a row. My heart felt stomped on and my stomach felt like it would never be hungry again (because personally, when I’m upset, I lose my appetite). And that 10th time was the last rising action leading straight into the tipping point.
The Yelling-Crying Event
Several weeks back, my manager at work flipped the script on me and literally yelled at me. He accused me of being a liar and when I tried to explain to him my viewpoint on the situation, he straight up told me I didn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. He told me that I had ulterior motives behind everything I was doing/working on and basically that anything I said couldn’t be trusted. I tried so hard to tell him he had me misunderstood, but he was stuck to the belief he had of me in his mind like a stool screwed into the floor at a restaurant. From the bottom of my heart, I was 100% honest with him but nothing I could say caused any semblance of melting in his soul to understand me. I was so upset about this.
After this occurred, as I was driving to an in-person meeting with another manager for a learning opportunity, I called one of my more established, higher-up colleagues to talk through what happened. Needless to say, I immediately started bawling. Most of the words I shared probably didn’t even make sense between all the breathless tears. I was so hurt by how wronged I was.
Truth Nugget: If you know me, you know all of his accusations were not in character for who I am. You know that I’m honest almost to a fault. I’m the one of the last people to lie. I feel icky if I ever have to or if someone has to on my behalf. I’m a rule follower! And I’m the last person to not hold myself responsible and/or accountable. I work hard and do my best all the time and hope that others think it’s enough.
The next day, I reached out to partners within the firm to escalate what had just happened.
Lacking Connection at Work
Leading up to the yelling-crying event was me spending many, many months (with the exception of one month) working on different projects by myself with my client team. Everyone I had a strong relationship before earlier in the year had created kind of a clique within their new team and were actually no longer very inviting. I enjoyed my work, but for someone like me who loves connecting with people, this wasn’t easy for me. Luckily, my client team was awesome and I ended up creating a bond with them that was lacking in the rest of my work life. We even had a book club together! However, even so, it was tough for me to not have a bond with really any of my immediate coworkers.
No Life Guard in the Deep End
For months and months before the yelling-crying event, every project I was working on (again, by myself, mind you) made me feel like I was swimming in the deep end, which normally wouldn’t be so bad, but there was no life guard for me in the slightest; no one was looking out for me in case I drowned. Come to think of it, the yelling-crying event was the first time my manager had spoken directly to me for more than 5 minutes in more than a month. For those weeks, I tried really hard to give him the benefit of the doubt; I assumed that my work was going fine or he’d reach out; I told myself that he probably, definitely cares about my well-being, but he must have really big things on his plate. Well, obviously, the yelling-crying event proved all of those “benefits of the doubt” I was giving him wrong.
Really, no one who could instill change in my day-to-day at work genuinely asked me any of these questions:
- How are you doing?
- How are things going?
- Where are you having trouble?
- How can I help?
I was constantly swimming by myself, in the deep-end no less, looking and pulling for sticks to help keep me afloat. No one was offering any.
I was responsible for getting a new tool up and running for our client but it required insane amounts of technical knowledge that I didn’t have. Initially, I was so hard on myself for not knowing how to do these technical things (hardware and software requirements gathering; launching a virtual machine), and I struggled SO much through them. However, when I finally realized that it wasn’t me so much as a lack of teaching/coaching, I was able to give myself a little break.
I reached out to someone I met in a work training that I led months earlier for help and by golly, he was a GOD. SEND. He helped me trouble shoot all of these super technical command line issues that I kept running into. +1 stick for me.
An old manager and I connected and she was helping me through building a requirements document for the client as it related to this new alien tool. Our weekly meetings were so helpful for me. She was the BEST. +1 stick for me.
That old manager connected me with another manager at the company who had first-hand background in this field I was so painfully new to. When he and I connected, it was another +1 stick for me, but this stick turned into the life guard that I had been wanting – no – needing for months. Here was someone invested in my success and excited about what I was doing as if my victory meant his victory too. After months of having to figure out everything by myself and reach out to find help over and over in the most seemingly random of places, I finally had someone who checked in often, offered his assistance, and was more than willing (and could) teach and help me work through the confusion in my head about this new type of work with real-world examples.
However, that life guard was presented to me probably a week or two before the yelling-crying event and I had to cease working with the life-guard because apparently that was not allowed. (The only reason it wasn’t allowed was because the yelling-crying event manager could not see that I had been doing my best to not drown. He didn’t believe me.)
After I escalated the yelling-crying event to leadership within the company, I was so hopeful they would do right by me. But they never did. After a week of good juju, they never followed up with me. They never asked me if my manager’s behavior changed towards me. They never gave me the mediation that I asked for to help strengthen the trust between us again for the rest of my time on this project. They never asked me any of those four questions above for the rest of my time at the company. Seriously. Nothing. Happened.
I was miserable. No one who could affect change in my situation cared. And quite frankly, that’s why I wanted to quit. So finally, after weeks of shooting the shit and fiddling around with prayers, I updated my resume eager to find another job that would result in fewer tears.
P.S. Next week you can expect hearing about how I found the courage to quit without another job lined up.