Sunday, January 07, 2007

On Quitting

"Are you sorry you left that place," my mom asked me during dinner out last weekend.

"Um, what place? The OfficeTeam job?"

"No. Acme."

I sighed. I realized that my mom would probably never totally understand why I left. After all, I had three-day weekends every single week. But I tried to explain it to her one more time. "No, Mom. I'm not sorry I left. Not at all."

My dad chimed in "Why would she have wanted to work for one boss who was intimidated by her, another who was anxiety-ridden, and that co-worker who was always crying? I'm glad she left."

My dad is not the only one who understands why I left. Apparently even a new study shows that a large percentage of people who quit aren't quitting their job...they are quitting their boss. In my case, I quit two bosses and a sniveling coworker.

It was a hard decision to make, and a long time coming. It was something I wanted to do for over a year. But, as with many employees who were surveyed recently, I was promised things. More opportunity. A chance to grow. To travel. And those promises didn't come through.

I was told that VP would slowly turn over some of her responsibilities to me. She didn't...instead, it turned out she expected me to come to her. When I didn't get more responsibility, she blamed me. "PJ, I am just too damn intimidated of you - scared even - to approach you."

What kind of hell boss is that? And what kind of Prez agrees? Instead of firmly putting VP in her place by saying "You know, VP, you have this position for a reason. You're not supposed to let the underlings intimidate you," meekly says "Yes, PJ, you are rather, um, quirky."

To make the work situation even more uncomfortable, there was Sniveling Co-worker crying about a blog entry I made, which didn't say anything other than she called in sick. Again. Giving herself yet another four-day weekend. With all those tears, you'd think I called her names. Or said bad things about her. Or otherwise humiliated her. But no, all I did was vent - which was my right - without mentioning the name of the company at all.

When I think about those last days, and then think further about the last year, I just shake my head. What in Apple's name took me so long to quit? What the hell was I afraid of?

My life has been SO good since I left. I have had not one, but two, great jobs. The first was working that long-term assignment through OfficeTeam. I worked with a fantastic boss and possible mentor. She was fair. Honest. Straightforward. It was an absolute joy to go to work each day. I loved working with her. She was ready to take me to Atlanta with her when she left the Reno office. She was that enamored with me, and I with her.

And now my new job with Vancome. My boss-boss is fabulous. She is loved by everyone in the building, and I can see why. She is also straightforward, fair and honest. Additionally, she exudes both confidence in herself and her team members. She meets with us as a team on a daily basis, for a quick down-and-dirty "what's on your plate, how can we help" kind of meeting. Then, she leads us in the team WOOOoooo, and we're on our way.

Because she's such a great boss, she has great people working for her. My team boss is also great; he's funny, and understanding, and patient. When he says he is going to do something, he does it.

My co-worker doesn't spend his time crying about blog entries. Instead, he pitches in to train, patiently showing me the ropes. He encourages and teaches. And the only sniffling I've seen him do is when he had a cold.

When I first took this job, I was excited about the benefits, that started with day one of employment. Medical, dental, and vision. 401K with a matching program. A yearly bonus program. A stock buying option. Tuition assistance. A nice PTO program. Etc. Etc. However, after the first week I quickly realized that the benefits were more than outlined in my offer letter. No, the benefits went far deeper as I realized these are bosses I wouldn't want to quit...these are bosses I can learn from. Grow from. Mature with. Plus, instead of having just a job, I have a real honest to goodness career. That's a benefit I can take to the bank.

The study didn't cover what happened to those people who quit their bosses. Did they move on to better ones? Did they pick better the second time around?

I can't speak for them, but I can say that for me, quitting my Acme bosses was one of the best things I've ever done. I just wish I had done it sooner!

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