I gave my two weeks notice on Friday.
As a result, I’m feeling all of the usual emotions associated with changing jobs including excitement, hesitation, uncertainty, eagerness, relief, happiness, and sadness.
He then took me on a tour of the building. It’s enormous. It’s filled with people. It shoots into different directions and, at some points, even turns back towards itself. This place is a labyrinth inside of a maze. Walking around it for the first time feels like being in Kubrick film. There are seven interconnected buildings, each color coded to help with the navigation. Even the parking garage pillars are painted with the building’s color.
At the end of the day, I looked around to make sure I hadn’t been fired, packed up my bags, and headed towards the exit. One problem: I had been escorted from the lobby to HR and then from HR to my desk, so once I stepped into the larger hallway, I may as well have been on Mars. I tried to make my way to the front lobby since that is where I had entered and close to the visitors lot, where my car was located, but I got turned around and, rather than ask for directions like an adult, I followed the crowd into the closest elevator. I stepped off the elevator into the parking garage.
Now I know the back stairwells and the cafeteria workers, the least crowded bathrooms and the best places to take a private phone call. I’ll miss the people and the perks of working in the headquarters of a Fortune 100 company, like a cafeteria, a gym, a store with delicious gummy bears, and tons of free promotional giveaways.
Just as I’ve gotten comfortable, it’s time to pack up and move on again.
So why would I leave a job I enjoy?
There are a multitude of reasons – promotion, salary bump, closer location, new challenges, better work/life balance the list goes on and on – and several of these certainly played a factor in my decision. Some things will be better; many will remain very similar; a very few may be a little worse. But the biggest reason is that, as Morgan O’Mally and Will Hunting once put it, management is restructuring and when that happens, jobs become scarce and those that do remain will be relocated to sunny Florida.
No one knows how quickly or how wide-reaching the moves will be, but we’ve already been told that my group and others like it will be affected, meaning that at least part of the team will be either cut or moved south and, even if you want to hang onto your job, you have to reapply and take a pay cut.
That’s not my wave, so it’s time to exit stage left.
In some ways, it’s hard to believe I’m in this situation again, but on the other hand, I should be used to it by now. I graduated from college twelve years ago and this will be the fifth organization that employs me. I never worked for more than four years at any of the previous four.
Oftentimes, if you want to move up, you have to move on.
I remember in junior high school a career counselor came to speak and he asked us to raise our hands if our fathers and/or mothers had been at the same job for more than five years. Virtually every hand went up. He continued to ask this question with escalating years and when he got to twenty, most of us still had our hands raised. He looked at us and said, “That is not going to be the case for you. All of you will move from job to job and company to company every few years.” At the time, we didn’t give it much thought, but he turned out to be prescient. While the days of everyone being a mercenary contract worker are not here yet, the days of going to the same office for a quarter-century are long gone.
When I told my colleagues the news, they were all happy for me and very supportive, but there was a distinct difference in how certain people reacted. About half – those that were younger, had worked elsewhere, or even knew the way the business world has been trending for the past couple of decades – were happy for me and reiterated that it was important that I do what’s in my best interests because the company will certainly do what is in its best interests.
The other half, though, were stunned, as if I had decided to move to Hollywood and become an actor. The majority in this camp were older, more reserved non-managers that had been coming to the same office for years and couldn’t fathom working elsewhere or leaving on their own accord. The changes are going to hit these folks especially hard.
“You’re very courageous,” one said, adding, “I can’t imagine leaving this place.”
And that’s exactly why it was time for me to go.
Christopher Pierznik is the author of eight books, all of which can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, Medium, The Cauldron, and many more. Subscribe to his monthly reading review newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.