So begins the largest self-experiment I have ever performed. It has been two of the most productive weeks of my life. Who knew quitting a job could be such a constructive thing?
Let’s back up a couple of months. I’m working a job that I’ve wanted to quit for some time, but have been hesitant to do so. It’s early enough in my career that I’m worried about damaging it by leaving a job too early. There are, of course, financial concerns with living downtown Toronto without a job. Considering that I live a frugal lifestyle, money has never been the issue with me as it is with others.
More and more I had been irritated with the fact that my learning at home dwarfed my learning in the workplace. It’s absurd to me to think that a motivated and knowledge-driven person should have to feel like they live their entire lives in the evening. More and more, I found myself too drained in the evening to accomplish anything. If I’m truly motivated, why should I have to put up with that? I ask for a few things out of a job:
1. A learning environment.
2. Good people.
3. Creative direction.
The first two are obvious. When I say ‘creative direction’, I mean that I need to know that I can make change if I have the right ideas. I need to know that the company is legitimately open and interested in new ideas. This one is the hardest attributes to measure before one accepts a job. Nevertheless, if I am unable to make any creative change at my place of work, it is only a matter of time - namely, once I’m confident in my relevant abilities - until I feel under-valued at my workplace. It’s not a job trait that is immediately relevant, but it is one that will make me leave a job within a year of applying.
Suffice to say, #2 alone is not enough to keep me in my position. After staying on at the job for about two extra weeks in order to finish an upgrade I had been working on, we celebrated my last day at work with what was probably the most frustrating and mind-numbing day yet. Nevertheless, I was sad to leave some of these people behind.
It took me all of 48 hours to get started on phase two of The Plan.
…To be continued…