I've made a change in my life that is quite controversial. I said goodbye to my employer of over 14 years.
Why would I do such a thing? There is an answer other than "I'm officially insane."
Here's the background:
I started working for a global commercial bank in Wilmington, Delaware, back in 1996. (At that time they were neither global nor commercial, but over the years mergers and acquisitions changed that.) My first position was of a data entry operator making just under $15,000 a year. Over the years, I progressed in to different, higher-paying roles.
In 2007, I decided I had enough of Wilmington because I found it was not the best place for a single man to make the most of his life and found work to have become stagnant. Through the generous support of my manager, I found an opportunity to transfer to Toronto. I packed my bags and headed due north.
Moving to Toronto was just the right decision, both personally and professionally. The city matches my desired lifestyle much better than Wilmington ever could. Additionally, the change of work environment promoted fresh thinking and energized me to do great work.
Things then began to turn sour. Like every company during a down economy, a lean organization started to get even leaner and people started disappearing. With these changes, the workload increased for the remaining staff. The increased workload wasn't specifically a problem. The problem was the types of work being distributed.
The skills that allow me to succeed are all related to process improvement and product execution. These are areas where I earn my money and enjoy the ride. Sadly, this change in workload took these opportunities and made them a secondary priority. Daily worklife shifted to minute task processing and lots of it. This lead to conflicts in goals and overall priorities. These conflicts lead to feelings of frustration and anger.
Instead of growing my career, I began building a reputation of being uncooperative and argumentative. This is never a good combination. When addressing concerns internally, I was met with a lack of desire from my immediate manager to help make the necessary changes to improve a bad situation and get me back to doing the work that I was being paid to do.
On April 28, two days before my 37th birthday, I told my manager I was leaving to pursue outside opportunities. On Friday, May 14, I finished packing my bags, turned in my badge, and walked out for the last time. I walked away from a six-figure salary in an attempt at a better life.
Today is the first business day in which I am unemployed. I've not been without a job since I was in high school. I don't know what it's like to not need to be somewhere. Since I'm on vacation back in the U.S., it doesn't feel real yet. When I return to Toronto on the evening of May 25, I will officially return to reality.
I've applied for a number of jobs in the past few weeks and hopefully the next opportunity will present itself soon. Wish me luck!