Leaving a perfectly good job might be compared to jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. Why do it? For me, it was about being comfortable with myself.
I didn’t find that anything I was doing at my job was unsatisfactory. What I did find was that I had no peers with similar interests or experience. There were no teammates to bounce ideas off of. No one to learn from. I was expected to accomplish too many things in areas other than the one I felt I could succeed.
Don’t get me wrong, I was more than happy to do the job I was asked, and paid, to do. The issue comes up when I’m evaluated. My co-workers apparently weren’t comfortable working on projects with me. Why? I bet I know why. We didn’t learn and do things the same way. I’m a perfectionist. I take security seriously. I want things to be done in a systematic and repeatable way. We should follow a common format and scheme that makes sense. Version control, central management. Make my job easier to do next time once I’ve figured it out the first time.
My day to day issues shouldn’t involve having to solve the same problem several times. Once it’s been solved, we should re-use that solution from then on. Here’s the problem: if you aren’t working alongside your teammates, how can you know if they might have something to contribute?
If you divide your team up, split them into subgroups where they can’t work together, then you’ve got a team that can’t work together. If you then penalize them for not working together, how can you be surprised when they tilt their head and look at you funny? I liked everyone I worked with, but the company was just spreading us too thin. For a company our size, our team should have been twice as large. So, might as well resign and go somewhere that has a group of peers I can learn from, work with, and grow.
What has this meant to my family? It’s not easy. Going from being a salaried full-time employee to a contractor is a rough transition. No longer can I auto-schedule my bills and bank transactions. We’re literally back to paycheck-to-paycheck mentality. There are no guarantees when it comes to job stability no matter who you work for, but being a contractor is MUCH less stable. Instead of throwing all my money at my bills and credit cards, I’ve paid off one credit card ‘just in case I need it’ and am socking away cash in my bank account. The other credit card will be paid on as needed, the car payment that was several months ahead is going to have to wait until its due date, and my wife’s business is going to have to depend on its own income in order to grow, until I get more comfortable with my new job and know that I’ll be there for a longer period of time than ’90 days’.
For anyone who is thinking of leaving their job for something better, I say, “Go for it!” Just keep in mind everything that goes along with changing jobs. Have some money socked away and realize that the grass isn’t always greener….