I Quit with Much Rejoicing

Linda1I may have hinted I was unhappy, in reality absolutely and utterly miserable in my current employment. Nailing down the why’s hasn’t been easy. Truthfully, I knew some of the reasons but not all from the very beginning. The honest to goodness, oh my gawd, get me out of this madness fact was I was miserable nearly from the day I walked in the door and it only got worse. Exponentially worse each and every single day, it also got easier to identify the reasons why. Finally, this month I had enough of all of it, with great trepidation, I made a decision that I may well come to regret but is nonetheless the right decision for me.

I QUIT.

Yes, you read that correctly. I had enough, I reached my limit my wits end and I wrote my letter of resignation and pushed the send button. I had been contemplating this move for months, seriously contemplating for weeks but then it hit me and I hit the wall of ‘done’ and pushed send. Thinking to myself as that letter went out, ‘shit, can I take it back’.

Last year was very difficult for me, emotionally and financially. I was out of work for nearly six months, ran through my savings and was down to my last month of emergency funds when I accepted the position with my current employer. I had high hopes. I had made the decision to go from being self-employed to returning to the corporate world, to what I thought would be my last istock_000008650446small_custom-6ce6bb326422c9899f3e1b667f9bcae2444a689c-s6-c30job before retirement. I had researched this company, had spoken to more than twelve (12) people within the organization up and down the food chain. I was impressed with what I had seen and heard, I was happy with the salary and benefits, I was happy with the role I was taking. I was excited!

I wanted this to be wonderful.

Then reality hit, it hit hard and fast; it hit like a freight train and rolled over me, squashing me into the ground within the first two weeks. Honestly, I was left questioning my sanity, competency and value. I did not know where to turn, did not know whom to ask and did not have any direction. My boss was incommunicado, his boss simply said, ‘be patient’. The entire environment was toxic and I was miserable, I kept thinking it would get better; it didn’t.

Now less than a year later, I QUIT.

Scary as hell really, with bills to pay and a mortgage I am returning to independence. I am returning to contract work. I am going back to having some control over the environments I work within and those I work for and with every day. Is there risk? Yes, absolutely there is huge risk. Especially since I haven’t had time to rebuild my emergency fund. Nevertheless, misery is a far greater problem than the alternative, the possibility I might not stay busy and paid.

toxic-stress-response-pageIs it really I don’t have the patience to work within a corporate environment where the answer to many questions of inefficiency is, ‘this is the way it is always done’. Or is it that in my industry, consulting and IT, the culture is so toxic today I simply am incapable of surviving. I suspect it might be a mix of the two. Where the only concern is the bottom line, quality and human beings take a backseat. There is of course one other problem that everyone is afraid to mention, afraid to say aloud and that is cultural misalignment that has taken place within most large IT Consulting firms in the last decade.

Our industry, like so many others has been first outsourced then in-sourced through the H1B program, American workers replaced by primarily Indian workers. In the case of my employer, many  of management was Indian (2:1), most at my level were Indian (3:1), those one level below me (5:1) were Indian. Senior leadership of course were primarily American, this is the C-level those who were the face of the company but in all honesty they didn’t affect the lives of those of us who had to function with clients, or with each other day in and day out.

I am all for diversity in the workforce, however when it begins to create a toxic work environment I believe there needs to be something done. The fact of the matter is, when cultures collide especially in work environments all of us need to ask why and what we can do to fix the problem. We shouldn’t avoid the problem; we shouldn’t ignore what is causing the problem. We have an obligation to address the issues and create solutions, for our employees, our clients and our shareholders.

The H1B program was designed to bring qualified resources into the US, employers then sponsor those employees into Green Cards and even onwards towards their Citizenship. This provides large employers such as IBM, HP, Microsoft a source of educated IT professionals at a very low cost. Since the late ‘90’s when the program was expanded the program has brought millions of resources into the US and in turn sent millions of American professionals into the shadow economy of contracting versus full-time employment. One of the reasons for this is cost but as I think I have found out the cost is offset by the loss of organizational culture, the change in workplace culture is incompatible with our psyche and professional expectations, especially if we are women.

I QUIT.10402430_10205015207440428_9211021343351180985_n

Yes, I did that. Today is officially my last day. Yesterday I handed over all my gear, my computer, my phone, my badge. Today if they need something they can call my personal phone, I don’t expect they will though. My resignation caused some angst, though I suspect also it caused some small rejoicing, as I was a thorn in the side of some. I do not regret my decision to accept the position, I do regret allowing myself to stay longer than I should have hoping that it would get better.

So onward and upward, the lesson I learned is to not allow others to treat me badly while making excuses for their bad behavior. Culture is not an excuse.

I QUIT and now I start something new.

Comments

  1. Wow, this is similar to my story. I’ve felt like every day I go to work is akin to torturing myself. I felt it within minutes of being inside the building. In trying to change that thought and those feelings, I tried channeling my energies on something positive, praying, watching motivational videos, trying my hand at creating new ideas, sleeping and finally, going to the store to buy wine so that I’d at least sleep with the misery putting me to sleep. This latter part works.

  2. Good for you. Far too many people are stuck in toxic drudgery with no way out especially parents.

  3. Just fucking YAY!
    xxx

  4. It’s a shame you had such high hopes and had to quit. A toxic workplace isn’t good for your health. Glad you cut ties and wish you much success and better working conditions. ❤ ❤ ❤

  5. I compliment your bravery my friend, and I really wish for you the very best…

  6. You are so brave, and I do believe that fortune favours the brave… so may good fortune and peace of mind go with you…. go well, friend,

  7. Oh dear god Val, I hear you. I am a director of a IT and Media company and we consult to big corporates. Nightmare. If it isn’t employees protecting their positions by sabotaging everything, it is the CEO who can’t make a decision. The internal politics is mine field. We are usually called in when the company is nose diving and even then the resistance to fix the issues is intense. We don’t waste our time with them if they don’t implement our suggestions.

    Here is my advice Val. Take a few weeks off to get your mojo back. Set up a little boutique marketing consultancy and take everything you have learned in the corporate world and apply. Seek companies or even businesses that need help, analyse their bottlenecks , restraints and web presence, and report back to the CEO (never an underling). Ask for a three month consultancy fee (that is long enough to prove your worth and doesn’t tie you or them in). In addition, set up a team of freelancers eg web designers, copywriters, SEOs etc who work under you. This gives you greater power to implement things faster as internal IT departments are usually hopeless and will waste time wanting to start everything from scratch.

    You can realistically manage 4-5 companies/businesses at a time.

    If you would like me to send you our company’s book Growing Your Business with S.P.E.E.D. and business rap CD just email me.

    • I have taken a contract for 6 months to work with a company to determine direction on a new project. I am good with this one. I would love to hear more on what you are doing, will e-mail.

  8. My dearest Val, I have been where you are a couple of times, and while I live shoestring to shoestring as it is, I am happy! Most recently, you know, I made a job change within my own company, but it was still so scary to leave the position I had come to be able to do like the back of my hand in exchange for a completely different route. However, as you also know, I am truly fulfilled now. My zest for work has been rejuvenated, and the days fly by. The old addage, “No risk, no reward” is very true I have found! Only the best will come from this for you-I am sure of it. Keep the faith, and when you are struggling, I’ll keep it for you! Millions of hugs!! XOXO-Kasey

    • Oh Kasey I am trying to keep all the faith in the world. This is such a leap for me, to return to contracting at my age and the stage I am at in my career. But it is the right thing to do, the only thing I can do.

      I am hoping my zest returns, my love for what I do returns and I can face the day with joy.

      {{{{ ❤ }}}}

  9. Good for you for following your instincts! I am a freelancer for my career and a few months back accepted a project that I had high hopes for (sound familiar?). It turns out they demanded much more work from me than they had led on, which meant that the pay actually wasn’t very good in the end. I quit too. The last I heard many of the team members had also quit. I bet you are not alone in being unhappy in that organization or thinking it is toxic. Upward and onward, as you say!! xo

  10. There are definitely a lot of negatives to working for Corporate America. For one, you can’t help but realize how dead-on accurate a satiric movie like “Office Space” really is. I don’t blame you for having enough and calling it quits, and wish you much luck on your journey of independence!

  11. Good for you Valentine! I do believe that for all its benefits, the IT industry has transformed work culture across the world. It has helped raise millions of Indians into the middle class, but I am not sure how much value systems have been eroded in the process. Perhaps I am just too old. I quit for more or less the same reasons. Hubby quit around the same time and we did struggle for a few years, but things worked out in the end. I am sure they will for you as well. Wishing you good luck with whatever you decide to do.

    • I agree it has raised standards as a whole. The problem for me, and for many Americans is a culture clash. There is nothing wrong with the programs that opened the doors, there is something really wrong when we lost our jobs in the process. There is nothing wrong with expanding to be inclusive, there is something really wrong when we are excluded from participating. That is what happened in the US.

      The culture clashes are terrible and there doesn’t seem to be a fix for it. Women in particular in the US seem to be getting the brunt of it. It was already a mans world, now it is worse. I love what I do, I just don’t love the corporate world any longer due to the environment I have to do it in.

      I suspect we always carry our baggage, where we come from and our thinking (culture, bias) with us wherever we go but when we take it into work environments and it is allowed to stand even against well established rules and laws, there is a problem. For the US, this is what is happening, many companies are facing lawsuits because of it. We will see what happens over the course of the next few years. For me, I just decided I need to do something else. I would rather keep my sanity, my friends and my life; not become bitter and mean spirited.

  12. Val, eleven years ago I walked away from a corporate job I had for twelve years that grew increasingly worse. Like you, I reached my breaking point and I quit. The job I have now does not pay as well and the benefits are not as good, but on the positive side, I work less hours so I have more time for my life. My current boss is someone with whom I share genuine chemistry and I have great colleagues. I hope that this decision you’ve made will lead to a better gig with people you like working with. Life is too short and we’re too on in years to be miserable. I wish you well.

    • I am sitting here this morning and thinking, ‘what have I done’. But then I think, well there is always downsizing and living life. I shrug my shoulders and that is it.

      I simply don’t want to live that way. You are right life is far to short.

  13. Bravo! Brava!
    Life is too short, darling.
    God has much BIGGER plans for you. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  14. Val reading your post, I can only say WELL DONE you.. for it takes courage to follow through with your convictions and stay true to you and your principles.. We are in our jobs far too long, too many hours a day to be miserable and feeling stressed .. No good what so ever for our health..
    I know know you have taken this step, you have freed up yourself to follow that which you can ‘Rejoice’ about.. And sometimes you know Val.. the unknown, yes can be daunting, but it can also bring in the best rewards as we step out into our future adventures..

    Keep the Trusting alive.. ‘Know’ All will fall into place.. don’t doubt…You will be fine I can almost feel your relief..
    Love to you… and sending special Hugs x
    Sue ❤

  15. Being miserable with employment is very trying in numerous ways. Nonetheless, there are times when one has to take the bull by the horns … and in this case, it meant walking away. Good luck, Val … and hoping for a positive future. 🙂

  16. The U.S. has become a contract-temp-freelance society. Those of us old enough to recall when holding a job and working hard actually meant something (e.g. had value) are caught between those two universes. Sometimes, though, a work environment is so toxic that one has to leave. That’s how I felt 4 ½ years ago, when I lost my job at the engineering firm. I tried hard to find another job before then, but I couldn’t. The economy was still so bad. Regardless, I wish you the best, Val!

    • Thanks Alejandro, I couldn’t take it. Truly it sucked my soul. So back to contracting where at least I might have some control. We will see.

    • Monster did a good job in identifying the signs of someone becoming a “battered employee.” This is why some states are considering work anti bullying laws.

      • There’s actually an entity called the “Workplace Bullying Institute” that’s now addressing these issues. Before I think people didn’t believe bullying could occur among business professionals. But I read another essay a while back that rightfully pointed out that some schoolyard bullies don’t really grow up; they just move into the workplace and find new targets. I know what it’s like to be bullied both in school and at work and can definitely say there’s not much difference between the two.

        • Agreed.

          Then there is simply the issues of cultural clashes that especially within IT is running rampant. I don’t know if this falls into bullying or something else. I do know that it often feels the same.

    • I filed away an NPR article from May, 2014 which states: “According to a recent Zogby poll commissioned by the Workplace Bullying Institute more than a quarter of American workers say they’ve experienced abusive conduct at work. Now, many states are considering laws that would give workers legal protections against workplace abuse.”
      “States like New York and Massachusetts, for example, have proposed considering abusive behavior as derogatory remarks, insults and epithets as well as conduct that is threatening, intimidating or humiliating. Also, an abusive work environment would be one where an employee’s work performance was sabotaged or undermined.”

  17. You are one brave soul. Bravo! You can, and will, come out on top…

  18. I am extremely proud of you Val. I wish you good luck and blessings in your fresh start. Congratulations on ending the toxic and starting anew.

    • I am extremely nervous and scared, but I believe it is the right decision even if a frightening one. Thanks for the support and push in the right direction.

  19. Somehow, I am pretty confident it will all work out for you, Val. I don’t think that culture is an excuse for anything. Diversity is great — but diversity doesn’t mean substituting one group for another!

  20. There is a great deal of energy generated when we make these kinds of transitions. The nervous that causes us to pace the floor can also propel us like a rocket toward the next big thing. It’s a matter of focusing that energy on where we want to go next. Make it do your bidding, lady. You will soar! All the best to you, Val.

  21. Very good for you Valentin.I am very proud of you and I wish you congratulations and good luck. If anyone can do this you can do it.

  22. Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

  23. It can be both liberating and terrifying to leave a job. I hope it proves to be more of the former for you, and I wish you the best of luck with whatever comes next. Knowing the strength and determination you possess, you’ll no doubt make a successful transition!

    • Thanks Carrie. For my sanity I think this is best. For my heart, I know it is. I know I need to do what is right and good professionally so I am pleased with results and not fighting for air.

      We will see. Maybe I will end up kicking myself for the loss of security, but then again maybe not.

      • You’ve made it on your own before, so at least you know what it takes. But yes, that security can be scary to walk away from. But again, very freeing, too.

  24. Congrats! A hard and wise move. A place full of broken can be tolerable with an openness to change. Without it, though, there is no hope. The way you have chosen, there is. Bravo!

    • I dragged through the broken as if it was the only hope, thinking only of the bills and my poor savings account. Fear my only motivation. Honestly, you showed me a light and I kept thinking, it is only me what the hell am I holding on to, really?

      I am still frightened, but this will pass and I will figure it out. Thank you for being one of my brightest lights. ❤

  25. Here’s wishing you the best for what’s coming up for you. You’d never know if you hadn’t made this decision …. there’s something about leaving the shore. Pocahontas: Just around the river bend: “Should I choose the smoothest course
    Steady as the beating drum?
    Should I marry Kocoum?
    Is all my dreaming at an end?
    Or do you still wait for me, Dream Giver
    Just around the riverbend?”

    My bet is on you!! You will be ok. Hugs …..

    • I am still scared as can be, honestly. Last year taught me a great deal about humility and just who had my back (no one). But my sanity is important, who I look at in the mirror every single blessed morning is critical. So this was the only answer.

      • I agree .. you know what’s best for you. Similar to my reason for retiring …. no toxic environment is worth anyone’s sanity!! 🙂

  26. Congratulations!! It takes courage but right now, the job market is showing signs of improvement. Your mental health and peace of mind is worth too much to compromise.

    • Agreed. Frankly, my industry has always been up and down but I would rather be sane and broke.

      • I worked for a company that I knew was heading in the wrong direction to where I quit out of conscience. Yes, it cost me financially. The work environment was so toxic and stressful that many of the employees were on antidepressants and/ or leaving on long term disability claims due to mental health issues. Middle management was not responsive to me voicing concerns. What is worse, this company’s productivity was okay but customer service satisfaction and retention rates were down, employee satisfaction and retention rates were down. The company’s profits were okay because of the savings in operation costs.

        After I left, I did contact the CEO in writing and I was fortunate because he did listen to me. A few months later, I met for lunch some friends, some who still worked for this same company. I was so pleased to hear how unbelievably improved the working conditions were.

        Your case looks like, you have no one to listen to you and that it was becoming too toxic to your health. You really had no option. It is unfortunate that so many places of work are becoming like this and it doesn’t have to be this way.

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