It's time to face the music

Don't blindly quit your job

This post started as a rant. In March 2014, I was completely fed up with my job, I couldn't take it anymore. I spent one night in bed thinking about my experience, the stress, the anger and it was suddenly 3 am. I pulled out my phone and wrote my 2 weeks notice. I didn't send it, I just kept it for when I will be ready. The next morning I started writing this post and the first version was pretty much about how much I hated my job. But truly, I do not hate my job.

There is the interesting thing that happen when you write things down. Your ideas suddenly come to life when they are staring back at you on the paper. A lot of things that really pissed me off are not so bad when I read them back. Being angry only clouds your judgment. After reading my post with clear mind, I swore to myself I will not leave a job just because I am mad.

There are very few people I didn't get along with at work, but those few made it exceptionally stressful for me. I didn't want to deal with them anymore. They were the main reason I wanted to quit. But when I thought about it, there will always be someone I don't get along with. So instead of quitting and finding another version of them waiting for me in another company, I thought it would be best to learn to deal with them.

That's just what I did. You can't be friends with everyone but you can work with everyone. Programmers are not best known for their ability to write code, we are known for our problem solving skills.

So I took this like any other ticket I would get at work. My task was to fix a bug in an unfamiliar language. Let's say COBOL, since I don't know the first thing about it. I started spending more time with these people to learn their language first, and once I knew the basics, it was much easier to understand and communicate with them. The bug was merely a difference in programming style and once it was identified it was much easier to find a common ground.

It took time but today I can honestly say that these people are no longer a source of my stresses. Now that the main reason for me wanting to leave was gone, the more subtle reasons started to pop up.

The market salary for my job was higher then what I was getting paid. I was fine with it because I received enough to make a living and most importantly it provided me with an opportunity to work on high traffic websites. What I have learned in this job is priceless, I would never had learned as much on my own. But after 3 years I felt that I had hit the ceiling and couldn't get more out of it.

My place in this company is no longer a necessity. I did my fair share of work in the difficult times. Right now we are just riding with the wind. Any newbie, with proper guidance, can do my job. And I have trained enough people to do what I do, some are even better then me. Basically, I feel like I am no longer needed and I will not be learning much more from here.

This is the perfect opportunity for me to move on and find a new challenge. The one new skill I have in my arsenal is not the number of programming languages I am familiar with but the people skills. I cannot say I am great at it, but now I can tell when things go wrong and work with it. People are not like compilers, they are unpredictable and each comes with his own sets of variations that you have to learn to deal with.

I think I have had enough exposure at work to allow me to go out in the world and make something of myself. It may not be the best decision to quit my job without having something else lined up, but I think I am in a better position today then I was 3 years ago. What is success if not a succession of learned failures.

I may be on my own now, but I will be louder. I will have more time to focus on this blog, I will have more time to work on my projects. And the worst that can happen if all my ventures fail, is getting another job and trying again.

Quitting your job is what the cool kids do. I'm sorry to tell you but I am not cool. This is not a tale of "fuck the system, I will make my own." I know that it's like a honey moon. Soon I will start to miss the paycheck, but I still think it is something worth exploring.

Nobody ever changed anything by remaining quiet, idly standing by, or blending into the faceless, voiceless masses. If you ever want to effect change, in your work, in your life, you must learn to persuade others. — Jeff Atwood


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