Almost exactly a year ago I turned in my letter of resignation at work. To say that this turned out to be a really bad move would be a major understatement, but I’ve learned a lot from the experience. Here is the story…
The Provider Instinct
We gave birth to our little boy last year in April. We planned it all out so that my wife could be a stay-at-home mom until our little boy started school. We started putting all of my wife’s pay into our “baby fund” to cover all the upfront costs of having a baby, from medical bills to nursery furniture to necessary supplies. The baby fund worked great and served its purpose wonderfully. We were able to cover all our initial baby-related expenses with ease and had enough left to cover some of the recurring expenses over the next six months as well. Despite this, I knew that things were going to be tight with the addition of a baby to the family in combination with my wife staying at home. Basically, I got to feeling that my current job and pay weren’t going to cut it, and that any foreseeable promotions were a few years away (once other people started to retire from their positions). I can’t say exactly why I thought this. Maybe it was just the “provider” instinct kicking in or something. But I started looking at other job opportunities shortly after our little one was born.
The Job Search
I had a friend that worked at the local office of a nation-wide CPA firm, and he had mentioned they had some open positions. Now, I’ve mentioned before that I work in accounting in the banking industry. It just so happened that the job openings at this CPA firm were for doing audit work for banks, so it seemed like a great fit. I knew there were advantages and disadvantages to this line of work.
Advantages: Higher base salary, Higher annual pay increases, Clearly defined career path
Disadvantages: Significant travel, Significantly more hours
I admit that I had some serious tunnel vision going on, and my eyes were pretty much focused on dollar signs. I chose to ignore the disadvantages and focused on the advantages. I gave them my resume and references, interviewed with the recruiter, then interviewed with a manager and a partner, and was offered a position. I accepted.
My Previous Job
Now, I want to take a step back and explain that I liked the job that I had. I enjoyed the projects, reports and responsibilities that I had. I liked my managers and the people I worked with. I actually started this job at the beginning of my senior year of college. They were looking for a recent graduate that could work full time, but my accounting professor got me an interview with them. Apparently I did well, because they agreed to hire me on a part-time basis until I graduated. I worked there for six years and learned a ton. And the more I learned, the more advanced the projects and responsibilities became (which is a good thing). In short, this was a good place to work. The hours were good. We had our busy times, but it was nothing too bad.
Really the only negative was that for me to move up any further from my current position, someone at a position above me would need to retire. Judging from the ages of those people, this was probably going to happen sometime within the next 5 to 7 years. I just wasn’t willing to wait that long.
Turning In My Resignation
I think the most difficult part of this process was having to tell my managers that I was leaving. I had a really good relationship with my managers, and this was a conversation I really didn’t want to have. Of course they asked why I was leaving, and I answered the best I could. I talked about how the new position was a great opportunity, that it could really open doors down the road, that the pay was better, etc. Both my managers started in public accounting, so they could understand all these things.
I gave my resignation in June, but wasn’t going to start the new job until September. So, I gave them almost three months notice to be able to hire a replacement and allow time for me to train them. It’s important to note that I didn’t want to burn any bridges. I didn’t slack off during those three months; far from it. I wrote out detailed procedures and instructions for my various job duties, I made sure all my projects were caught up, I made sure things were ready for someone else to step in and have a smooth transition. In addition, I knew someone from my MBA classes that I thought would be a great fit for the position. I told my managers and contacted my friend, who was looking for a position. He interviewed and got the job, and I trained him before leaving.
When my last day arrived, let’s just say it was bittersweet. I knew that I was giving up a lot by leaving my position. But I thought that the long-term benefits (basically the money) of my new job would make up for it. That didn’t quite turn out to be the case…
Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story.
Have you ever left a job? Did you leave on good terms or was there a blowup? How did your managers and co-workers react? Share your stories in the comments below…